Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 06, 2016 (SKNIS): The University of the West Indies (UWI) strongly supports and recommends online learning through its country Open Campuses as this provides easy access and reduced cost for tertiary education, especially for those who have families to take care of or who have work commitments.

Karen Ford-Warner, Campus Registrar, noted that some persons may find online learning intimidating because persons may feel isolated. She urged prospective students to get familiar with online learning, as it can actually be rewarding and is convenient because persons have the flexibility to plan their lives around classes.

“In fact, it may really work well for some people. We certainly don’t throw you in the deep end,” said Mrs. Ford-Warner. “When you sign up for an online degree programme there is a series of orientation programmes to orient you on how to study; first of all, even how to be familiar with the computer and how to do all of the various things and know the various functions that you are going to need in this process. From there, you are actually going to use this [orientation] in the programmes themselves – when you go into the learning exchange, which is the online environment.”

Equally important is the training of the tutors, to which the Campus Registrar stated that all e-tutors and course coordinators are required to take a course in online teaching before facilitating the programmes.

Craig Tucket, representing the UWI Alumni Association, said that the UWI programmes are such that they facilitate group work, therefore persons wishing to take online courses ought not to worry or feel isolated.

“For instance, some of the university programmes or courses are not all 100 percent examination, so you have the opportunity to develop a group work grade that actually goes to the final degree mark,” said Craig Tucket, while adding that course work may be 30 percent, whereas final examination is 70 percent. “What we are trying to hopefully achieve as the Alumni Association is to provide that type of support. We would have had graduates who would have done these programmes at different times in their lives and we are hoping that at some point we can offer mentorship to other students who are enrolled at UWI or in online campus programmes.”

He noted that the Alumni Association has a cadre of mentors that can help to mentor students who have opted for the online programmes to be successful.