Online Student Life:
Online student life is all about the Student and the environment created as you start your journey to academic success with the Open Campus.
To ensure a start on the right path to success, it is important that all students participate in all the orientation exercises – both face-to-face and virtual.
There are four phases of orientation exercises in which students may participate to prepare for studying online (see below).
Online Orientation for New Students:
♦ All new students in Undergraduate Programmes are required to participate in a face-to-face orientation at their local UWI Site as well as a Virtual Orientation
♦ To attend the Virtual Orientation you must have a computer and Internet access to work from the comfort of your home
♦ New students should log on to and listen to the video as well as read the Academic Advising documents for their programme prior to registration http://www.open.uwi.edu/undergraduate/academic-advising-students-undergraduate-programmes
Visit the Web Site at least two days prior to the date for your Virtual Orientation to download the software to your computer. If you experience difficulty downloading the software, you are encouraged to request assistance from your local Site.
The PDD Orientation includes activities developed for students to become acclimatized to the online learning environment. Such activities teach students how to edit their profile pictures, how to add a discussion topic, how to reference sources accurately and how to upload an assignment. The orientation sessions last for approximately six weeks and is done in four phases.
Phase 1 (two weeks)
During Phase 1 students are engaged in the Introduction to the Learning Exchange (LE); that is, the Open Campus’ virtual classroom. The aim of this phase is to use the instructional training videos on how to navigate the LE to teach students to develop the relevant navigational skills to function online. Students are encouraged to listen to the videos and practice the activities that follow.
Phase 2 (approximately three days)
The focus of Phase 2 of the orientation session is the academic programme advising. Students are made aware of their programme structure through meetings with their Programme Managers and other PDD staff members. Through these meetings, PDD ensures that students are prepared for the upcoming Registration period.
Phase 3 (two weeks)
All students are encouraged to enrol in the Programme Delivery Department‘s Orientation Course (PDDO) found on the LE. In this phase, students are prepared for their academic journey in the Learning Exchange. Students are given the opportunity to demonstrate what they learnt during phase 1 in the “Introduction to the Learning Exchange” course. They are given activities to simulate an actual course. These activities included updating their profile, participating in quizzes, uploading assignments, adding discussions, citation (referencing), accessing emails, becoming familiar with the plagiarism policy and many other important activities.
Phase 4 (approximately 5 days)
Phase 4 is done at the start of the teaching period. Students interact with their actual Course Coordinators and e-tutors. The aim of this phase is to give students an overview of what is expected of them in their courses. These activities includ uploading a close-up picture of their face to humanize their course page, posting a welcome message to introduce oneself, and outlining students’ expectations of their Course Coordinators and e-Tutors.
Students’ comments on the PDDO:
"To me, the Programme Delivery Department (PDD) Orientation course was essential and obligatory. This experience was very vital to the success of my journey with UWI Open Campus since it opened me to the do’s , don’t and what is to be expected throughout my journey as an online student. Everything ranging from forum discussions to the uploading of assignments and so forth was informative and beneficial. I am very pleased with the outcome of my experience and certainly do not see the necessity of additional explanatory material."
"This is my first time doing an online course. It was a great experience and everything went well, questions were answered promptly. Finding my way around was easy as instructions were clear and simple. I really enjoyed every bit of it. I hope when classes commence I can say the same."
"I believe that this course accomplished what it had set out to do, that is, to help students learn to manoeuvre their way around the online system. I was impressed with the structured way in which the course was conducted: the information and exercises were sequenced well and the resources were apt and helpful. In addition, I was satisfied with the quality of the responses of the course personnel and their responses were given in a timely manner. Even though I studied at UWI before, I learned important things that I was not aware of; for example, my knowledge about plagiarism was greatly expanded – for instance, I was not aware of the different levels of plagiarism and that the treatment of the issue depends on the severity of the offence."