Externado professors participate in designing a UNESCO MOOC

They are Martha Velez, Nancy Rueda, and Clara Inés Sánchez, professors of our Tourism and Hotel Administration Faculty.

The teachers participated in the design of one of the modules of the second version of a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) on Historical Memory and Heritage, of the UNESCO Unitwin Network in Culture, Tourism, and Development.

“Historical memory and social reconstruction: the role and responsibilities of tourism in World Heritage sites,” is the title of the module designed by this group of experts. The module was divided into three points: first, the difference between Memory and History; the second, Construction of Memory and Collective Identities; and, last, Memory and its relationship with tourism in world heritage sites.

The module’s case study was San Basilio de Palenque. For Martha Vélez, “tourism is one of the sectors that can activate the memory and give it value. The case of San Basilio de Palenque is about validating that it was the first place in America where people of African descent gained independence fleeing from slavery sites.”

Additionally, the professor stressed the importance of the MOOC theme – “it is very motivating to make this reflection for Colombia, a country in a peace process where the role of memory is fundamental to tourism development in these sites.

The professors emphasized the significance of Memory in the face of History and pointed out they are two different views of the past. They explained that memory validation is made as of today, from the social and collective experience. It is not a memory etched from outside, as is history, but permanently built by social actors and validated through tourism.

Likewise, Nancy Rueda added that within the MOOC module, they worked on the relationship between Heritage, Memory, and Tourism, and stressed that tourism is a tool to make heritage more visible and known.

MOOC, in its first version, attracted more than 6,500 trainees from 166 countries. Now, for the second version, the course has over 1000 enrolled students beginning activities May 6, 2019.

The Externado Tourism and Hotel Administration Faculty has been a member of the Unesco Unitwin network since May 2016.