The University of the West Indies said it is working assiduously to provide its students across the region with online classes during the coronavirus pandemic
Dr Luz Longsworth, principal of the UWI Open Campus, told BUZZ that the Open Campus has been providing support to the UWI to upgrade its online platform.
“We can’t at this point be sure that this crisis will end in June, or July.”— Dr Longsworth
“Everyone at the university is working 24/7. Across the faculty, across the region, everybody is working till 3 am in the morning trying to put things in place,” she said.
Dr Longsworth said though the UWI has an online system, it does not facilitate teaching.
She said the University expects to resume teaching online in each country, on or before April 14.
“It would be unrealistic to say that it will all go smoothly, but I think that the key thing that the students will appreciate is that we are doing all of this to ensure that they can complete the semester and not have to defer the semester because we can’t at this point be sure that this crisis will end in June, or July.
“We’re doing our best to see how we can get the students through the semester, and at the same time now looking to the future to see what we do for the summer school, and semester one,” she said.
However, she points out that her campus – The UWI Open Campus – faced no disruptions to its teaching schedule as all its courses are offered online.
“Currently we have about 7,000 students online across the region. Of those 7,000 about a thousand of those students are in Jamaica.
“Those students are least affected by the disruption of the COVID-19 virus because they are already online. The major disruption that they may face is in terms of examination because some of their courses have face-to-face examination. But the entire university is now looking at how we can adjust so that students could do examinations without having to sit in an exam room,” she said.
In the meantime, Dr Longsworth said the new online system that the UWI institutes will be the way forward after the coronavirus pandemic. “It is going to make our system across the region much more flexible and, in that regard, it’s a silver lining on this very dark cloud,” she said.