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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Distance Learning, Critical for University of The Bahamas System

As The University of The Bahamas becomes a reality, distance education will emerge as a natural mechanism to extend access to tertiary education throughout The Bahamas, according to College of The Bahamas President Dr. Rodney D. Smith.

The College, President Smith revealed, is developing a policy to make its distance learning platform more robust.
“The College of The Bahamas is challenged with providing quality education to students from the northern Bahamas to students in the far south of the country. It is simply not possible to put a building on each island and cay. The answer to providing students with borderless access to education is through comprehensive distance education offerings,” Dr. Smith announced at the recent National Conclave of Chambers of Commerce held at the Melia Resort on Cable Beach.
“We are currently working on a revised policy of open and distance learning that will allow students throughout all islands, with a secure and reliable Internet connection, to study for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education degrees and certifications.”
This was one of the innovations in higher learning to which Dr. Smith referred during his address on “Ideas and Innovation: Making The Bahamas A More Competitive Jurisdiction”.
As the leadership of The College prepares the institution to transition into a university, it continues to explore opportunities to make higher learning accessible throughout the country and the region. Making courses for degree programmes and continuing education certificates available via the Internet is a priority, so is developing specific academic programmes suitable for each island, according to the COB President.
“Learning materials can be delivered through print, online, radio, TV, podcast or any other format other than face-to-face interaction. We will also be flipping the classroom by using recorded lectures or other learning content that will be delivered to learners at home. Usually content is delivered in class time and applied work is done for homework. With flipping, students will come to class and apply the knowledge they have learned under the guidance of a teacher,” he said.
More technology in the classroom is innovative, President Smith said, particularly if it is used appropriately and effectively.