Universidade Aberta (UAb) was founded in 1988 and it has been playing a pioneer role in distance higher education in Portugal (summary information in English at http://www.uab.pt/web/guest/english/the-university). Besides its headquarters in Lisboa, the university has delegations in two major Portuguese cities: one in Porto and the other in Coimbra.
In partnership with the civilian and local society, the university has been developing a network of small core units spread over the country: these Local Learning Centres support all learning activities and are vocated to promote lifelong leaning activities.
Universidade Aberta has four departments:
The academic offer ranges from degree-obtaining programmes – 1st cycle (Bachelor), 2nd cycle (Master) and 3rd cycle (PhD) programmes – to shorter Lifelong Learning Programmes, designed to develop specific skills and personal competences.
As far as research is concerned, Universidade Aberta awards PhD degrees in different subject fields however paying special attention to research in distance education.
The university teaching model rests on e-learning and on the intensive use of different online communication tools. Because online learning requires specific skills on the part of the student, all degree programmes include a preparation program. The assessment of knowledge and skills, centered on a system of year-long assessment, will assume differing forms considering this teaching model.
Universidade Aberta is one of the largest producers and editors in Portugal in what concerns teaching and learning materials. It has publications on a wide range of issues: European languages and literatures, history, social and political studies, education studies, law, European studies, information technology, mathematics, and management. It has over 400 published works, 3500 hours of AV production and 6000 hours of television broadcasting, produced at the university studios. The catalogue is available at the Online Library.