News Releases

UWI launches state-of-the-art Technology Teaching Lab

For Release Upon Receipt - July 23, 2015

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago.  July 21, 2015 – Earlier this month, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal of The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine, Professor Clement Sankat commissioned a new Technology Laboratory at the campus’ Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning’s (CETL). Valued at TTD .5M, the lab marks an important step in the expansion of the campus’ Blended Learning Programme, which has been in pilot phase from 2012 to 2014.   

The CETL Technology Laboratory is a dynamic space that uses SMART technology and online tools as an avenue for lecturers to become familiar with cutting-edge technologies to enhance their teaching skills. Among the planned uses of the space are the introduction to new teaching and learning technologies, for example, the use of evaluation and feedback technologies such asPadlet and Poll Everywhere, podcasting software such as Screencast-o-matic, collaborative tools such as Twiddla and social media outlets like Pinterest.  

Lecturers will also be exposed to SMART and Digital Vision Touch Technology (DViT), a contemporary suite of interactive tools (hardware and software) that facilitate collaboration, learning and innovation. In so doing, lecturers will learn to use the SMART board that is not only a feature of the CETL Technology Laboratory, but is a feature of all tutorial rooms in the Teaching and Learning Complex (TLC). Training continues to be provided by CETL staff to assist lecturers in infusing technology into their teaching. 

Blended Learning involves leveraging the internet to afford each student a more personalized learning experience, meaning increased student control over the time, place, path, and/or pace of his or her learning. To accomplish the goal of blended course delivery as part of its curriculum, the Campus has employed the Replacement Model of Blended Learning. In this conception of blending, the goal is that a certain minimum percentage (45%) of a course will be mediated through technology, substituting for regular face-to-face course implementation. 

The implication of using the Replacement Model is that learning activities incorporated into the course must engage learners and facilitate their learning both within and beyond the four walls of the physical classroom. This therefore necessitates the re-conceptualisation and re-organisation of traditional face-to-face courses. With the new lab, UWI lecturers and instructors will therefore have the requisite resources to meet the challenges of teaching digital natives using elements of their language. 

Campus teaching staff are expected to use the lab to effectively utilise the Campus’s learning management system, myeLearning, a derivative of the Moodle system, and also to use a variety of “cool tools” that will allow them to manipulate and diversify the learning landscape to entice and engage learners who need more visual and non-traditional methods to facilitate their learning. 

The Technology Lab will also facilitate training in the use of the upgraded campus’s learning management system to myeLearning 2.X which will be piloted in the 2015/2016 academic year. This is one of three components of the 2015/16 Blended Learning project. The others are a campus-wide survey to assess the current status of Blended Learning as engaged on the campus and a marked increase the number of Blended Learning courses and programmes on the campus. 

Academic departments are an integral part of the Blended Learning Programme thrust, and will be required to play specific supporting roles in terms of identifying those persons who are interested in and committed to blending their courses/programmes, and in identifying those programmes and courses that they wish to target for blended delivery. Department Heads will also have a role in allocating reduced teaching loads for those directly involved in the process of blended course conversion and delivery. 

The commissioning of the CETL Technology Laboratory and the launch of the 2015/16 Blended Learning Project signal in no uncertain terms that the future is here and The UWI St. Augustine Campus has taken the lead amongst Caribbean tertiary education institutions in facilitating teaching and learning with technology that mark a paradigmatic shift in 21st century tertiary education. 


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website: 

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)