A highly successful distance learning course on slum upgrading actions in Brazil is being scaled up and offered by the Brazilian Ministry of Cites with support from the Cities Alliance.
The course was initially offered in August 2008 in conjunction with the University of São Paulo to 300 municipal and state administrations in northeastern Brazil. It covered different aspects of slum upgrading, including the national policy framework, environmental legislation, social participation, cost calculation, project design, and monitoring and evaluation. A multi-disciplinary team of academics, all of whom had strong practical experience, conducted the three-month course.
The scaling up of the course was done based largely on the positive feedback received after the initial offering. In evaluations conducted at the end of the initial phase, very high marks were given to the level of knowledge and dedication of the teachers involved; the quality of the technical support teams; and the teaching methodology and overall learning environment.
The first phase of the course was awarded the “Prêmio e-Learning Brasil 2009/2010” (“E-Learning Brazil Prize for 2009/2010”). The University of São Paulo Polytechnic School was awarded the National Reference seal of approval in e-learning for designing the teaching technology for the course.
The upgraded course material has been designed to align it even more closely to the implementation of various slum upgrading projects under Brazil’s national Accelerated Growth Programme (PAC). Technical and local government staff associated with such projects has shown an interest in signing up for the scaled up course. However, in order to maintain the high standards and to make the course material relevant to the needs of the target audience, the number of students will be capped at 600.
To help continue to improve the quality of the teaching material, each subject offered under the upgraded course will be individually evaluated at the end of each module. An overall evaluation will also be conducted at the end of the entire course.