Monday 10 August, 2020

UWI, IDB partnership to offer more online education to Caribbean

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are partnering to bring more online learning to citizens across the Caribbean region and the world.

IDB data shows a significant demand in the English-speaking Caribbean for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) content.

Previous Caribbean-focused MOOCs offered through the IDB’s delivery platform, EdX, recorded a total enrolment of over 11,000 students over the period 2014-2018, with highest participation from countries including Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica, Belize, Barbados, and the Bahamas.

The UWI IDB partnership explores opportunities to cooperate on the development of joint MOOCs; translation of existing Bank MOOCs from Spanish to English with Caribbean content and assessment of selected Bank or joint MOOCs, training courses and/or educational programmes for academic credit and certification by The UWI.

Learning and Knowledge Management Lead Specialist, from the IDB, Edgar Gonzalez said these MOOCs are positively impacting the academic, professional and social life of learners in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“In fact, MOOCs are generating benefits in the region, especially in less developed countries where access to formal education and information and communication technology are more limited,” he added.

Gonzalez was speaking during a presentation on how MOOCs are impacting learners in Latin America and the Caribbean, at The UWI Regional Headquarters in Mona, Jamaica, on Monday.

Also commenting on The UWI-IDB collaboration Therese Turner-Jones, General Manager, IDB Caribbean Group applauded the move.

“I am delighted that The UWI has decided to start the process to award academic credit to IDBx MOOCs. We are certain that this collaboration between The UWI and IDB would not only serve to increase the leverage of the knowledge created and disseminated by our institutions but will also allow students worldwide to access these courses, learn more about the Caribbean and receive academic credit for it.” 

The University presented a special collection of UWI Press publications to the IDB covering socio-economic development and history of the English-speaking Caribbean.

During the handover, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The UWI Open Campus, and Chair of the Board of UWI Press, Dr. Luz Longsworth said The UWI Press was delighted that the scholarly work out of The UWI and the Caribbean will now be available in the IDB’s Library. 

“This will be an invaluable resource for cutting edge research that will help in the formulation of policy and support for our region,” Longsworth said.

The November 5 event follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by The UWI and the IDB in August 2018.

The objective of the MOU is to formalise a non-exclusive framework of cooperation and to facilitate collaboration between the institutions on programmes and projects to promote evidence-based decision-making on economic and social policy issues in the Caribbean region, through the development of a joint knowledge creation and dissemination agenda.


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