The UWI, Mona Campus_Annual Report 2021-2022


Rebuilding Foundations that Support Student Development



he spread of COVID-19 from 2019 onwards, opened opportunities for student education that were before unimaginable. It brought the global to the local, and similarly allowed for the local to reach out to the global. The greater access that our students had to online learning meant that they could access programmes from anywhere in the world. This posed an obvious threat to The UWI Campus, but provided an opportunity for marketing our online programmes to be more accessible around the world.

In addressing the issues of Access to rebuild the foundations that support our student development, we therefore increased access to instruments, courses, and library resources online. Some of these innovations required support from external partners, others required generous donations from stakeholders, and some required our own infrastructural development provided by the core staff who remained committed to serving our students. To make up for the lack of face-to-face interactions, we increased the number of online workshops and seminars hosted for our students so that they could still remain connected both amongst themselves and with us, and where possible, brokered internship opportunities for learning and experience.

Our staff continued to be quickly retrained on how to convert courses through an exercise that combined the talents of the Office of Online Learning with our Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. This exercise altered how examinations were set pedagogically; it moved us from a ‘memory recall’ type of examination to testing comprehension and application, as students could now have access to sources of information during an examination. Rebuilding student Access for this revised mode means no going back, and incorporating such methods that continue to provide access for other eventualities in the future. This may or may not be health-related, but may be the challenges we face with the growing climate crisis.

unbroken. As a result of the focused and energetic response by our academic, technical as well as administrative staff, students were able to access courses whether they were in Westmoreland or Hanover, or indeed anywhere in the Caribbean. The response we made to the strategic watchword of Access, demonstrated the commitment of the institution to our student clientele. While we were aware that we were losing a lot by not having students in the physical space – because much of the learning takes place under the almond tree, or on the football field – we did all we could to provide the teaching and learning where they were comfortable and safe, and equipped them to be as fully engaged as possible.

We have the data in terms of number of increased hits accessed by Caribbean and North American students and scholars. The approach to teaching, learning and student development took on new meaning in the Campus’ effort to design learning experiences that mirrored the ‘in person’ experience of being on the Campus. It also meant an adjustment, not only to our policies and procedures, but to how we defined ourselves as a student-centred University. Internally we had responded rapidly to the problem of Access. In 3 weeks we converted 1800 courses to an online mode referring to this as Emergency Remote Learning, ensuring that our umbilical cord to our students and potential students remained

In 3 weeks we converted 1800 courses to an online mode referring to this as Emergency Remote Learning, ensuring that our umbilical cord to our students and potential students remained unbroken. “

20 UWI Mona Annual Report 2021 - 2022


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