Strategic management applied in Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic to organize online classes at universities where they were previously given face-to-face: a case study


  • Miriam Roxana Vázquez Zamudio Universidad Tecnológica de Manzanillo
  • Jorge Delgadillo Partida Universidad Tecnológica de Manzanillo
  • Heriberto Pérez Romero Universidad Tecnológica de Manzanillo
  • Rodrigo Israel Cancino Uribe Universidad Tecnológica de Manzanillo


With the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus in Asia towards the end of 2019 and its spread to the rest of the world in the first quarter of 2020, the World Health Organization determined it was a pandemic and urged all countries to take isolation and social-confinement measures. Because of these COVID-19 measures, universities were forced to suspend all face-to-face activity and find a way to overcome the educational disruption. The vast majority opted for distance education through the use of virtual platforms. Faced with this new challenge for the educational system, higher-level educational institutions in developing countries obviously had to accept this new paradigm and somehow continue teaching, but new and unexpected technological obstacles arose that were to hinder their mission. In Mexico, some large public and private universities such as Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM) or Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) had already been employing digital platforms and this facilitated the transition en masse from face-to-face classes to virtual ones and the migration of their study plans to the online system. Universities in general had to provide a timely response to the contingency or else confront the worse challenge of a short- or medium-term interruption of their syllabuses. This research examines the technological, academic and administrative strategies applied when designing and building an online teaching platform, taking into account the technological factors and their associated variables. The study also considered the emotional effect of these decisions, their repercussions on the students’ academic performance and the labor aspects and stress imposed on the teaching staff. Our research took pains to analyze the specific case of Universidad Tecnológica de Manzanillo (UTeM), through a descriptive cross-sectional study. The results led us to conclude that the decisions taken by the University’s senior management had a direct impact on the new way of operating the administrative and distance-teaching functions. The study further highlights the fact that almost 40% of the students failed to positively assimilate the transition to the online modality and, moreover, that 3 out of 5 students did not actually have their own computer at the time to follow the classes from their homes. Therefore, one may assert that UTeM senior management’s decision-making, when faced with the dire reality of the pandemic, was designed and implemented - over the short term - as a knee-jerk response to an admittedly complex situation. It is imperative, however, when taking such transcendental decisions, that the conditions and scenarios and their technical analysis, testing and trials be first completed, so as to guarantee the correct assimilation of the guidelines subsequently provided and that these in turn permeate the work of the university community.


Covid-19, Educational Strategy, Higher Education, Online mode, UTeM


Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior [ANUIES]. (2003). Estudio sobre el uso de las tecnologías de comunicación e información para la virtualización de la educación superior en México.

Bautista, G., Borges, F., & Flores, A. (2016). Didáctica universitaria en entornos virtuales de enseñanza. (3 ed.). Narcea ediciones.

Briones, R.A. (2007). La educación en línea, un sistema socio-tecnológico que permite transitar hacia la sociedad del conocimiento. UNAM.

Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe [CEPAL] (agosto de 2020). La educación en tiempos de la pandemia de Covid-19.

Cobo, C. (2003). El comportamiento humano. Cuadernos de Administración, 19(29) 113-130.

Fernández-Fernández, J. M., & Ferreras, A. P. (2009). La noción de campo en Kurt Lewin y Pierre Bourdieu: un análisis comparativo. Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas (REIS), 127, 33-53.

Jardines, F. J. (2009). Desarrollo histórico de la educación a distancia. Innovaciones de negocios, 6(12), 225 -236.

Johnston, S. (09 de marzo de 2017). Meet the new hangouts.

Martínez, A. (2009). El diseño instruccional en la educación a distancia. Un acercamiento a los Modelos. Apertura, 9 (10), 104-119.

Meléndez, C. F. (2013). Plataformas virtuales como recurso para la enseñanza en la universidad: análisis, evaluación y propuesta de integración de Moodle con herramientas de la web 2.0. [Tesis de doctorado, Universidad Complutense de Madrid].

Morones, D. G. (2013). La educación superior en México. México: Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior.

Navarrete, Z. & Manzanilla, H. (2017). Panorama de la educación a distancia en México. Revista Latinoamericana de Estudios Educativos, 13(1),65-82.

Nolasco, A. (05 de Julio de 2014). Estrategias de enseñanza en educación.

Núñez, N. (2009). La webquest, el aula virtual y el desarrollo de competencias para la investigación en los estudiantes del ciclo de educación. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación, 55(1), 1-13.

Padilla, A. (2012). El sistema modular de enseñanza: una alternativa curricular de educación superior universitaria en México. Revista de Docencia Universitaria, 10(3), 71-98.

Roquet, G. (2001). Antecedentes históricos de la educación a distancia. UNAM.

Suárez, J. M., & Anaya, D. (2012). Educación a distancia y presencial: diferencias en los componentes cognitivo y motivacional de estudiantes universitarios. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación a Distancia, 7(1-2), 65-75.

Tillman, M. (18 de mayo de 2020). ¿Qué son Google Meet and Chat y cómo funcionan?

Yeskel, Z. (12 de agosto de 2014). More teaching, less tech-ing: Google Classroom Launches Today.

Zapata, R. M. (2004). Secuenciación de contenidos y objetos de aprendizaje. Revista de Educación a Distancia (RED), 2-39.

Zabalza, M. (1997). Diseño y desarrollo curricular. Narcea