The UWI Open Campus provides free online teaching training to 600 Caribbean educators

Among the ways that The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is leveraging its expertise to assist in the Caribbean response to COVID-19 is by providing support to the regional education sector.

With over a decade of proven competency in distance, blended, and online learning modes, The UWI Open Campus is leading professional development training on alternative ways of continuing education for students.

From March 30 to April 3, it is conducting training via webinar to college academic staff, primary and secondary school teachers, principals and education and curriculum officers from ministries of education across the region.

Participants from St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Saint Lucia, the British Virgin Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, Barbados and Anguilla will be trained on topics such as using web conferencing tools to facilitate online delivery of content, basics for use of the Moodle learning management system, and how to engage students in the online environment.

“The objective of the training is to assist staff in educational institutions to quickly move to online modes for continuity of teaching and learning activities in the current school year,” says Dr Denise Gaspard-Richards, Director of the Academic Programming and Delivery Division (APAD) at the Open Campus.

The University’s response follows a meeting among regional education stakeholders, including the Eastern Caribbean Joint Board of Teacher Education (ECJBTE) held last week.

Professor Joel Warrican, Director of the School of Education at The UWI Cave Hill Campus, and Chair of the ECJBTE noted that it was a strategic decision to call on the Open Campus to provide the training. “It is the only entity in the Anglophone Caribbean space with its core business being that of online education,” he explained. “The UWI Open Campus is equipped with a cadre of experts in online education and has the capacity to respond rapidly and with agility to this emerging need.” The professor also expressed, “The alliance formed between the ECJBTE and The UWI Open Campus is an excellent demonstration of rapid response in a time of international crisis that is having an impact on education in the region.”

On February 28, 2020, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles established The UWI COVID-19 Task Force to help inform the Caribbean’s response to the virus’ threat. The UWI is committed to providing clear and accurate information on the pandemic for public and private stakeholders, as well as sharing its research, resources and expertise with national and regional agencies in managing the COVID-19 pandemic in the Caribbean. It leverages the University’s knowledge and experts to assist the Caribbean in its readiness and response to the virus outbreak, mindful that the region’s best defense is a coordinated and collaborative approach.

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