How can Perlego help us get through this semester of uncertainty?

In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic – with its significant economic and public health effects, global instability and border closures – the management and faculty of the University of New York in Prague are preparing to face the enormous challenges and uncertainty that the Fall 2020 semester will bring. It isparticularly challenging to forecast the progress of the virus; we need to monitor the situation and be ready for various possible scenarios. The prolonged uncertainty is unbearable for all of us here at UNYP: faculty members planning fall classes, administrators setting timetables, and students making significant life decisions. This year, UNYP’s academic community has been rethinking how we can teach in times of confusion, and how we can make sure our students keep learning in the most successful way possible. 

Most certainly, UNYP will endure. Pandemics in the past centuries have devastated higher education, stressing universities and reducing enrollments, but the academies mostly survived, and emerged changed by the experience. In our society and economy, academic communities remain essential, advancing knowledge through the interplay of intellect and ideas. This crisis may have stripped away many traditions and trappings of conventional campus life, but it has also cleared our calendars and our minds, reinvigorated our pedagogy, and relaxed certain regulations, granting us an unprecedented opportunity to reconsider our lifestyles and reinvent our work. 

UNYP’s partnership with the Perlego digital library will ensure the continuity of the education process during the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic. 

When the Covid-19 situation developed this spring, UNYP’s management immediately started looking into new opportunities to provide its students with all the necessary educational resources online. That’s when UNYP decided to partner with Perlego – an environmentally-aware online digital library service. With 800 accounts giving our students and faculty free and unlimited access to over 400,000 digital textbooks and manuals, we hope that this deal will make the next academic year a little more comfortable for everyone. 

Of course, this new partnership doesn’t mean that students will be unable to use UNYP’s physical library! The UNYP library underwent complete disinfection earlier this year. All books returned post-lockdown were “quarantined” – handled with gloves (for the safety of both the handlers and the books), and wiped down with special disinfectants, while taking care not to damage the books. We also equipped the library with a UV-C LED light to sanitize surfaces. This device is mainly used for keyboards, but can be used for books as well.

However, as the pandemic is not yet over, the new principles of social distancing call for a focus on digital library facilities. Throughout the lockdown, UNYP highlighted the community’s needs for resources and connectivity: not just digital library services, but maintaining contact to avoid isolation, having fun, and encouraging learning and teaching for both students and faculty. There is no doubt that this semester will require us to continue to use digital libraries and online platforms more than we did pre-Covid. 

Working with Perlego, the University of New York in Prague will save our students up to CZK 20,000 (EUR 760) per year on the cost of textbooks. While this is a significant expenditure, we hope that the learning process will become more convenient by ensuring transparency and diversity. Free online access to a library of this size means that our students will not be limited to a single compulsory book per class, but can work with hundreds of extracts from various publications. Additionally, the digital library will help many of our students who were not able to return to Prague in time for the beginning of the semester. At UNYP, we have students from over 60 countries all over the world, and shopping for English-language educational materials in many of them is complicated and overly expensive. With Perlego, we can assure access to these books for all UNYP students and faculty. 

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