Distance education at the University of the West Indies: Report of an appraisal carried out on behalf of the Commonwealth of Learning

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Commonwealth of Learning


An appraisal was made of the policy implications of a commitment by The University of the West Indies (UWI) to develop distance education as an integral feature of its teaching responsibilities. Information was gathered through interviews with 163 educators and administrators at the three campuses of UWI, its eight member countries, and the University of the Virgin Islands. The study found that the proportion of students enrolled in distance education is expected to grow greatly by the year 2000, straining the resources of the university. Therefore, more faculty members and administrators are needed, and technical equipment must be upgraded and increased in order to provide distance education. It was concluded that the university is becoming more a dual-mode delivery system, with on-campus and distance education becoming more equal in importance and emphasis. The study recommended that the university should embark on a broad-based range of programmes in four categories; 1) certificate, undergraduate, graduate, and diploma programmes; 2) leadership programmes drawing on research writings and experience distinctive of UWI and the Caribbean; 3) non-credit programmes of continuing education and professional updating; and 4) distance education programmes for students undertaking sixth form or preliminary courses


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