VIU launches new educational technology partnership in the Caribbean

From left to right: Tracy Vandermolen, Darrell Harvey and Anwen Burk in a computer lab and smiling at the camera

From left to right:  VIU International Projects Officer Tracy Vandermolen, Manager of Global Engagement Darrell Harvey and Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Specialist Anwen Burk are excited about the new partnership.

Photo: Vancouver Island University

September 26, 2022 - 1:30pm

VIU and Canadian partner institutions will help six Caribbean nations expand capacity in online learning.

Vancouver Island University (VIU) is helping Caribbean institutions develop and expand capacity in online learning.

The new $480,000 international cooperation project, delivered in partnership with Durham College and Humber College, will grow the capacity of institutions in Belize, Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, Guyana, and St. Lucia to integrate educational technology in their teaching practices. The project is part of the Global Affairs Canada-funded Colleges and Institutes Canada Skills to Access the Green Economy (SAGE) program.

VIU’s Global Engagement team and subject matter experts in the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL) will implement the project over the next two years.

Darrell Harvey, VIU’s Manager of Global Engagement, said the need for a project like this really came to light during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID really exposed the need for online learning opportunities and in many of these countries, that just hadn’t been part of their teaching toolbox,” he said. “As a result, when the pandemic hit, a lot of their classrooms went dark because they weren’t able to shift to online learning, or if they did, it was in a very rudimentary way.”

The opportunity is an exciting one for Anwen Burk, a Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Specialist at VIU. Her areas of focus include the integration of technology into face-to-face, blended and online courses. She will be one of VIU’s lead subject matter experts for the duration of this project.

“Partnerships like this provide the opportunity for everyone involved to build their knowledge and capacity in ways that can have a positive impact on their respective communities,” said Burk. “It also creates new and international communities of learning and challenges us to think about our own work in new and creative ways.”

The project will assess the needs of instructors at institutions in each of the six Caribbean partner countries to determine where they’re at in terms of knowledge and skill when it comes to online learning and teaching, what tools currently exist, and what other tools can be used to design, develop and deliver an online teaching and learning teacher program that will meet their needs.

Burk is excited to work with people who hold similar roles as hers at other institutions.

“This will be an opportunity to exchange different theoretical and practical approaches to the work we do,” she said. “This will expand and enrich my knowledge of the field and I look forward to applying this knowledge to the work I do at VIU.”

She said another highlight will be learning more about how educational institutions work overall in the Caribbean: “How are they similar to Canadian institutions? How are they different? What can we learn from their approach to teaching and learning?”

The partnership builds on VIU’s growing portfolio of international cooperation partnerships in the Caribbean and elsewhere. The work planning phase is happening now through the fall, with curriculum development and training taking place over the course of the next two years.

To learn more about VIU’s international cooperation projects, visit the Global Engagement website.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Eric Zimmer, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.618.7296 | E: Eric.Zimmer@viu.ca | T: @VIUNews


Tags: Global Engagement | Teaching and Learning