DWU moves to online learning next year

Divine Word University (DWU) will offer its programs online alongside the traditional classroom teaching and learning mode starting next year.

DWU President Fr Jan Czuba said this was a strategic move by the University to cater for the growing number of school leavers that the institutions of higher learning (IHL) in Papua New Guinea, which includes the six universities, cannot accommodate.

He was speaking to staff in the Madang campus during the end-of-academic year review session which was held last week from Monday 16th November to Friday 20th November, 2015.

Fr Czuba said something has to be done about the growing numbers of school leavers and online learning is DWU’s contribution towards addressing this socio-economic challenge.

He said there were over 20,000 Grade 12 leavers coming out of the secondary schools nationwide and the number keeps growing each year while space in tertiary institutions remains stagnant and they can only cater for about 7000 school leavers.

Fr Czuba said “DWU has a moral duty to make university education more accessible to our people and online learning is the way to achieve it.”

“It is impossible for us to build more and more classrooms and other infrastructures and hire more lecturers as we have limited land space and not enough qualified senior lecturers and professors,” Fr Czuba said.

“Therefore online learning is the way forward to bring university education to as many of our people using modern technology that is available,” he said.

“Our country also has a serious reputation problem overseas with constant reports of crime and lawlessness and professors from other countries are not prepared to come and teach here.”

“But through online teaching, professors from overseas can remain in their countries and teach online and help our students.”

Fr Cuba said: “Students who will study at DWU will receive DWU degrees and certificates from the best universities that they successfully complete some units with.

“This will enhance the possibility of the students to obtain a good job.

“DWU graduates will have the necessary competencies and skills to further advance their studies at different universities during their lifetime. This is an additional unique contribution we make to the development of our students”.

He said DWU is already using information and communication technology to enhance the teaching and learning environment and online learning builds on from what has worked well.

DWU staff already present lecture notes and assignments and tests online which complement their classroom teaching and interaction with students.

Earlier this month, DWU offered its second semester exams online to all its undergraduate students at the Madang campus for the first time and this went well without any major setback.

Fr Czuba called on deans of faculties and their staff to take online teaching and learning seriously and prepare to offer their programs online next year and onwards.

He said: “DWU Community aspires towards a seamless integration of existing information and learning systems so will seek ways to support coordinated University-wide strategic management of both data and systems and providers that impact the student learning experience.

“We will continue to develop a comprehensive and coherent approach towards electronic tools and resources that support learning and teaching. For student-focused systems, this will include the development of the DWU eLearning Environment (DWUeLE) and for staff-focused systems the DWU eWorking Environment (DWUeWE).”

Fr Czuba said: “We are the University, thus we will explore new opportunities to enhance the supporting infrastructure for independent and classroom-based learning to ensure that it is fit for purpose, specifically, in the area of mobile learning.”

He said the university is doing everything possible to offer training and put in place the ICT infrastructure required for online learning to take place and staff must make use of the great opportunity for the future of Papua New Guinea.