Established in 1988, Universidade Aberta (UAb) is the only institution of public higher education in Portugal of Distance Learning. Due to its purpose, UAb uses all the time, in its teaching activities, the most advanced technologies and methods of Distance Learning, saving no geographical borders or physical barriers, and giving special emphasis to the expansion of Portuguese language and culture within the Lusophony space (migrant communities and Portuguese speaking countries). In this context, UAb offers higher education anywhere in the world (Undergraduate, Master and Doctorate degrees) and Lifelong Learning courses. All pedagogical offers are integrated into the Bologna Process and are taught under elearning since 2008, the year that UAb became a reference European institution in the area of advanced elearning and online learning through the recognition of its Virtual Teaching Model, unprecedented in Portugal and developed by this institution.
In 2010, Distance Learning practiced at UAb was awarded with the Prize of EFQUEL - European Foundation for Quality in Elearning and certification of The UNIQUe Quality Label for the use of ICT in Higher Education (Universities and Institutes). At the same year, UAb was also qualified by an international panel of independent experts as the reference institution for teaching in elearning system in Portugal. In 2011, UAb was awarded with the 1st Level of Excellency of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM).
UAb is a member of the following international networks:
· AIESAD - Asociación Iberoamericana de Educación Superior a Distancia
· AULP - Associação das Universidades de Língua Portuguesa
· EADTU - European Association of Distance Teaching Universities
· EDEN - European Distance and E-Learning Network
· EFQUEL – European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning
· EUA - European University Association
· EUCEN - European University Continuing Education Network
· GDLN - Global Development Learning Network
· GUIDE - Global Universities in Distance Education
· ICDE - International Council for Open and Distance Education