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JIS News

A programme to build nursing capacity at the University of the West Indies (UWI), by offering distance teaching from the Mona campus to nursing students at centres around the Caribbean, will soon be a reality.
Officials at Ryerson University in Canada, who are involved in the project, gave an update to Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall and his wife, Mrs. Rheima Hall and Jamaica’s Consul-General to Toronto, Anne-Marie Bonner, on October 26, following a tour of the Chang School of Continuing Education, named in honour of Ryerson’s Jamaican-born Chancellor, G. Raymond Chang. Professor Hall was Principal of the Mona campus last year when the project got underway.
Speaking to JIS News, Anita Shilton, Dean of the Chang School for Continuing Education, said the project involved developing Ryerson’s unique distance education nursing programme at the UWI, and making the courses accessible to nursing students in smaller islands in the region.
Ryerson’s School of Nursing has the largest nursing school programme in Ontario, Canada, and delivers its courses in 33 centres around the province.
The first course at UWI is expected to be delivered in January 2007 and the 11th and final course, sometime in early 2008, said Miss Shilton.
Dr. Keith Hampson, Director of Distance Education at the Chang School, said the programme was very interactive, utilizing the best designs to bring learning objects to life.
For instance, in the first course which teaches how to do a proper health assessment, in the section on the eye, the student will be able to see an anatomical representation of an eye, which will even contract just like a real eye, when the student directs a light into the retina.
“Instead of getting a boring two-dimensional image from a text book, the computer will bring it to life in three-dimensional form,” said Miss Shilton.
The Dean also said that Ryerson was working with the UWI on the management of the programme, and a professional development component would assist UWI instructors to get comfortable with online teaching.
“We hope that in three to four years, UWI will be able to make this project self-sustaining,” she added.
Thanking Chancellor Ray Chang for being their “special benefactor and donor”, in putting up the seed funding for the project, Miss Shilton said the new Chancellor was making an enormous difference to his country of origin and region.
Chancellor Chang, who attended St. George’s College in Kingston and was recently inducted in the school’s Hall of Fame, became the third Chancellor of Ryerson University in September.