Pearson representative visits DWU

Pearson1The Head of Sales for Pearson Australia, Brett Wilson, visited Divine Word University’s Madang campus recently to advise how to implement the Pearson online MyWritingLab and MyMathLab programs.

He met with staff and students and demonstrated and explained the Pearson online literacy and numeracy programs which will be introduced at DWU this year.

Mr Wilson met with the President of the University, Fr Jan Czuba, vice presidents, deans of faculties, heads of academic departments and their staff, director for Information and Communication Technology Services, Mr Chandana Silva, and the director for online education, Ms Amuthageetha Nagarajan, and registrar, Mrs Cecilia N’Drower. 

Mrs Salome Yegiora, DWU’s Director for International Relationships and Partnerships, said Mr Wilson was on an implementation visit to develop the program for the students. He needed to find out from staff the priority areas to be included as content in the programs.

Mr Wilson said: “In the initial stage, students take diagnostic tests. This shows them which areas they need to work on and which areas they are good at and then a suitable study plan is developed.”  

He explained to the academic staff that the main idea is for the students to use the online programs to develop computer skills and improve their English literacy and numeracy competencies.  Students have opportunities to practice until they become competent.

Mr Wilson said the university’s investment in ICT was a major plus for the students in their studies.

“With the University equipping each student with a laptop and at the same time providing them internet connectivity 24/7 free of charge anywhere within the institution grounds, this university is really investing in you,” Mr Wilson told the students.

“It helps you to study when you want to and it gives you an opportunity to study online and it helps you by getting the help right away when you are stuck,” Mr Wilson said.

He told students that university life is very challenging without the basic numeracy and literacy skills, herefore the training was relevant.

Professor Pam Norman, Vice President Academic, said the approach to provide online basic numeracy and literacy skills to the DWU students is a part of the University’s plan to develop graduate attributes and is also an implementation of one of the recommendations of the external audit that was carried out in 2011.

Professor Norman said this is a compulsory program which will be assessed and given credit points. The online study will cater for 1200 students for three years.

Meantime, Fr Czuba explained the benefits of the Pearson package to academic staff at the end of last year.

He said then that: “The Pearson Online Literacy and Numeracy programs are online learning programs that provide efficient, thorough, and interactive instruction and practice for academic writing. In the program, Diagnostic Tests are given where they comprehensively assess students’ skills in grammar and punctuation. Students are given an individualised learning plan based on the results, identifying the areas where they most need help.”

Fr Czuba told staff at the time that online training also enables progressive learning where students follow a learning path from understanding and recalling important concepts, to repeating and applying them in a variety of exercises and finally incorporating them into their own writing. This progression of critical thinking enables students to master the skills and concepts they need to become successful academic writers.

He said included in the Pearson program is the online grade book which provides reports detailing students’ scores allowing the lecturers to track the progress of individual students or a class.

Some of the benefits of the online programs highlighted by Fr Czuba are as follows:

  • Each student will be assessed separately according to his or her level of knowledge and different schedules of activities will be developed for each individual student to enhance his or her literacy and numeracy skill;
  • This approach will add to the quality of academic experience of our students as they will acquire important skills for the future to continue studying online;
  • This approach to teaching and learning will enhance the student skills to manage his or her time better and do assignments outside of the contact time with the lecturer.
  • Mr Wilson arrived at the campus on Monday 18th March, 2013 and left on Thursday 21st March, 2013.