The UWI, Mona Campus_Annual Report 2021-2022

Technology becomes the primary instrument that we must invest in a lot more. While in previous years you might have placed emphasis or put part of your responsibilities on the physical infrastructure or the library, our IT platform must receive the greatest attention in terms of the shift of funds in the future. “ – Dale Webber

Rebuilding Through Experience: Prescriptions for the Future W technological revolution Investment in Technology and The Metaverse

hile we have not yet fully entered the Metaverse – the latter a concept of an online, 3D, virtual space connecting users in all aspects of their lives, through interfaced multiple platforms – we are already beginning to employ aspects of this next

The idea of the digital avatar or robot who can personally engage your needs virtually, like the ubiquitous Alexa, is of course useful and valuable for standardised requests, or can harness and provide information from internet sources. However, in the near future, the uses of digital technology will still pose limits when it comes to dealing with the real problems that people encounter in their daily lives. Artificial Intelligence, though fascinating and exciting in its possibilities, for better or worse, remains ‘artificial’. The internet and deployment of digital technologies to recruit students, for teaching and learning, and to deliver seminars and disseminate information to a wider public, will require more administrative, technical, and professional staff rather than a reduction, as the fifth industrial revolution will have us commonly believe. Technology will of course be employed in distinctive and creative ways, but the human factor in a teaching and learning institution, and indeed in Education, is not to be discounted

both at the level of instruction and in the counselling of choices or dealing with administrative processes. Instead of one person dealing with a long line, you now need more persons reaching and interfacing with the different kinds of requests that are coming from various places. For example, in order to improve response time on queries, we need staff who will man phones or computers efficiently. With experience we have learnt that callers may call for one reason, as for instance a student might call about “how do I pay for a course?’ but end up talking about their commitment to a grandmother. Universities require personnel who are culturally aware of the social and financial challenges that people are now faced with while they are still attempting to complete degrees. This should of course be paired with training on how to counsel them through this, while providing the correct information on academic choices and financial options that will guide them through their predicament. In terms of rebuilding foundations for the future of learning and teaching, we need to meet students where they are. We have always

138 UWI Mona Annual Report 2021 - 2022


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