The University of the West Indies
has made getting an upper education even easier with the advent of the Open
The new initiative means that
students can take courses using the Internet as well as being on campus.
The Open Campus was approved by the
University Council in April 2007 and launched at the CARICOM Heads of
Governments meeting in Antigua in July 2008.
Formed by integrating the former
Outreach departments, UWI Open offers programmes in blended format, online,
dual mode and face-to-face modalities to those who qualify and wish to access
tertiary education through the Internet.
UWI Open is therefore virtual but it also has real nodes in the form of 42
facilities in 16 countries across the Caribbean.
UWI Open has spent much of the last
two years transitioning to a well defined campus structure predicated on the
functional imperatives needed for the efficient operation of such a
campus. It has positioned Student
Services at the Centre of its operations and has nine other offices that
support its academic and administrative affairs. The concept of openness espoused by the
campus seeks to present prospective students with opportunities to acquire
certification required for entry to university thus enabling study at
successively higher levels.
The Division of Academic
Programming and Delivery, responsible for the development of courses, has
designed several innovative programmes based on areas of need in countries
served by UWI Open, while simultaneously undertaking curriculum review of
existing courses and shaping them according to standards established by UWI for
its online programmes. Some of these
will be offered in academic year 2010.
The creation of the Open Campus
represents the fourth Aim in the University’s 2007-2012 Strategic Plan, and the
campus aims to achieve the seven specific objectives set for it. Those related to the incorporation of the
campus into the University have been achieved while others necessary for its
success, such as increasing access and creating a student-friendly learning
environment, are being addressed consistently.
Mindful of the fact that the
formation of the campus coincided with the onset of an economic downturn that
has negatively affected the economies of the countries supporting the
University, UWI Open has been striving to establish itself as a business
enterprise that will become viable over time.
In order to achieve this aim, it is positioning itself as a demand-driven
enterprise which will deliver programmes that have been identified as being
most needed by countries served by UWI.
Referred to as a campus for the
times; a campus for the future, UWI Open is defining itself accordingly by
making its operations more functional; providing more learner-friendly services;
introducing state-of-the-art technological innovations, and promoting systems
and programmes to ensure its continued relevance in the future. Its motto:
online, onsite, on demand captures the intrinsic nature of the campus
which, like similar tertiary level institutions in the region, represents the
hope for transforming tertiary education offered via distance in a meaningful
way for the benefit of Caribbean people.