Commonwealth of Learning (2009) Virtual University expands training, course development Connections, Vol. 14, No. 1
The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) is moving forward with a new online training programme, another content development workshop and progress with an international accreditations framework.
The University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus has launched “Managing and Facilitating Online Instruction”, a five-unit online course on how to motivate and manage online students. Funded by COL in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the course was offered to 23 educators from VUSSC member states.
An important VUSSC priority is developing a widely recognised system of accreditation. The Transnational Qualifications Framework Management Committee held its first meeting in Singapore from 6-10 October 2008. The Management Committee developed a consultative document for the implementation of the Transnational Qualifications Framework (TQF) for VUSSC. The TQF will be available for application in any of the VUSSC member small states of the Commonwealth.
The sixth VUSSC training workshop scheduled for Samoa in April 2009, will focus on creating course materials related to the maritime industry. VUSSC training is beginning to shift from these face-to-face workshops to online learning. As the cadre of VUSSC workshop graduates grows, there will be a need to expand their training with courses such as the UWI online instruction course. Online courses from accredited institutions in more participating VUSSC countries are expected to start in 2009.
As work continues with developing the Transnational Qualifications Framework, educational institutions in small states of the Commonwealth will begin to offer VUSSC courses through open and distance learning. This will include non-formal courses from a recognised national institution and formal courses leading to a diploma that will have approval from the country’s qualifications authority. All VUSSC courses will be approved by the national institutions and where appropriate, the national qualifications authority of the country offering the programme.