University of the West Indies

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The University of the West Indies (UWI) is an autonomous regional institution supported by and serving 16 English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean. The aim of the university is to help 'unlock the potential for economic and cultural growth' in the West Indies.

UWI has campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad, and 12 learning centres in the other contributing countries (known as the Open Campus). The university has a total enrolment of over 39,000 students.

The University of the West Indies Distance Education Centre (DEC, or UWIDEC) was established in 1996 to expand the university’s initiatives in distance education and works with faculties on all three campuses to develop and deliver distance-learning programmes. There are DE centres located in each country that supports UWI.

DEC offers various certificates and diplomas, and degrees at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. According to 2006-07 promotional materials on the UWI web site, printed matter remains a focal point of DEC content delivery, though courses may also be supported by CD-ROM, asynchronous email/web discussion, and face-to-face or teleconference tutorials. The UWIDEC offers a full undergraduate degree in business management, a certificate in Gender and Development Studies and a certificate in egovernance at its thirty-one (31) centres located throughout the English-speaking Caribbean. Traditionally, these programmes have been offered using a combination of synchronous (real time) and asynchronous (delayed time) interaction. The synchronous interaction has been facilitated through the audioconferencing system of the UWIDEC and face-to-face tutorials, while print materials and some computer-based activities and resources comprise the asynchronous elements.

One of the goals of the institution has been to make greater use of asynchronous technologies to widen access to education in the region. In 2004, a formal decision was taken for UWIDEC to adopt a blended approach to delivery, which would facilitate more efficient use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the delivery of teaching and learning. This information was provided by Dianne Thurab-Nkhosi, Editor, University of the West Indies, Distance Education Centre in her paper "The Successes and Challenges of Blended Learning at UWIDEC: ICT innovations widening access to higher education" which provides a case study outlining the “blended learning approach” adopted by UWIDEC UWIDEC Case Study

See also the School of Continuing Studies, (formerly known as the Department of Extra-Mural Studies).

The University of the West Indies web site is at

The UWI distance learning centre is at

More details

In 1983, UWI began offering distance education courses via an audio teleconferencing system, later known as Enterprise-UWIDITE.

The University was originally instituted as an independent external college of the University of London, UK.

The 16 UWI member states are: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos.

UWI is also one of 20 designated community institutions of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

> Programmes