No face-to-face classes for UWI Five Islands this semester

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The University of the West Indies (UWI) Five Islands Campus will be delivering all of its classes for the first semester of the 2020/2021 academic year, remotely.

A release from the university yesterday referenced the decision made by the campus to suspend face-to-face teaching and initiate online delivery of its courses after the Antigua and Barbuda was shut down in March.

It therefore announced that “given the recent spike in new cases across the Caribbean and the assessment from the scientific community”, the fear is that “the second wave of the virus might be accelerated in the winter”.

This recent decision was derived from a meeting of the Senior Management Team who met to assess the readiness and potential risks to the campus upon re-opening with increased face-to-face teaching.

 “In light of the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, The UWI Office for Online Learning for staff conducted a comprehensive course on online delivery to the teaching staff of all UWI landed campuses,” the communique said.

“With the new training, lecturers transitioned to e-learning platforms to deliver their coursework and student assessments in that environment. During the summer session, students of the Five Islands Campus accessed courses and received instruction primarily via online modalities and upgraded teaching methods,” it continued.

And having adjusted to online modalities, the university officials decided to utilise “a phased hybrid structure of engagement”.

That means that “Semester 1 will be delivered entirely online with exceptions made for courses and programmes requiring laboratory work. Students must submit requests to the registrar who will then make the relevant preparations in keeping with Covid-19 protocols.

“In Semester 2, robust online delivery will continue. Limited face-to-face elements for smaller classes will be initiated with the maintenance of social distancing and other health and safety protocols.”

However, the release stated that the plan and design needed to effectively deliver the hybrid model is still ongoing as the use of the physical facility and support services are being assessed. Nevertheless, “the UWI Five Islands Campus is confident that all its teaching staff are competent to instruct students for extended periods via these new modalities and commits to continued training to ensure high-quality delivery,” the release stated.

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