Monday, November 25, 2019

BTVI instructors to be trained as online facilitators

BTVI’s Dean of Academic Affairs (l) and BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson.
Photo: Shantique Longley

Twenty five instructors at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) will be trained in early 2020 to design, develop and facilitate online courses in the areas of math, literacy, information technology and entrepreneurship.

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and BTVI have signed an agreement to assist in expanding access to and ensuring the quality of online and blended learning at the school.
BTVI’s President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson underscored the importance of the institution moving towards conducting online courses.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with the Commonwealth of Learning on this important project to improve our training. Online learning will allow us to push our products to the Family Islands and as a technical school, we must embrace the rapidly expanding trend of online learning,” said Dr. Robertson.

Commonwealth of Learning Education Specialist, with responsibility for the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC), Dr. Mairette Newman, has worked to make the agreement a reality.

“Distance education is an important method for learning 21st century work place skills. VUSSC is delighted to work with the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute on this project,” stated Dr. Newman.

Headquartered in Burnaby, Canada, the Commonwealth of Learning is the world’s only inter-governmental organization solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning.

COL was created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of distance education knowledge, resources and technologies.

Dr. Robertson, who has taught online courses since 1993 at several colleges and universities abroad, stated that this agreement is very important to BTVI as a way to broaden the reach of courses across all islands of The Bahamas.

“Online learning and distance learning are flexible, convenient ways to gain access to higher learning. Being on an island shouldn’t be a barrier to higher education. We live in a new era of learning. Technological advances are at a rapid pace and we at BTVI are prepared to keep stride,” he stated.

COL and BTVI have partnered up to design and implement the two-phase project - Building Institutional Capacity to Develop and Deliver Quality Online Education to The Bahamas. The first phase will focus on developing and adopting quality assurance guidelines for open and distance learning.

The second phase will focus on building capacity among the 25 BTVI instructors in designing developing and facilitating online courses in addition to using Open Education Resources and developing tools for learner support and assessment. This will also include workshop sessions to develop 15 lead faculty trainers throughout BTVI.

Finally, an open session will be held for educators to share best practices with respect to online learning.