Cultivating Adaptation and Resilience in Academia
8th April 2020
Nassau, THE BAHAMAS — COVID-19 has brought with it both adversities and opportunities which are playing out in higher education systems across the globe. The impact has prompted University of The Bahamas (UB) to consider the delivery of its academic affairs through a different lens.
With the restrictions on face-to-face contact, the dependence on virtual conduits has surged. On the first day of registration for Summer classes on 31st March, hundreds of students registered online. More than 1,000 courses for the current Spring 2020 semester are being taught via online educational applications.
“There has been an impact on students because there are different needs and varying abilities in the use of technology,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs (Acting) Dr. Maria Oriakhi while recently appearing as a guest on a local talk show. “But we are doing our best to facilitate the smooth running of courses.”
Doing so has meant providing additional support for faculty during the transition. The University has completed dozens of tutorials for its educators on using applications like ZOOM and Moodle and has provided access for students to a slew of online resources to support remote learning. Even UB librarians and the IT Helpdesk are accessible remotely, as well as academic counselling, advisement and psychological services.
The situation has led to heightened evolution. Initially, when the institution transitioned to remote operations, laboratory classes were suspended. But now, the labs for biology, chemistry and physics courses are being done online through simulators. Due to the national lockdown, however, teaching practice, kitchen classes, internships, and fieldwork are still on hold.
“So while in no terms can we describe the current situation as normal, I’m really proud of the way that UB faculty and administrators have responded to the challenge, and we can say that we are providing the best possible educational services under these extraordinary circumstances,” said Dr. Bethel.
UB plans to continue advancing its Open Learning to fulfil higher education and personal and professional development needs throughout the archipelago.
“We are committed to increasing access to quality educational opportunities for all learners, particularly those presently underserved because of geography, scheduling, price, entry qualification, or any other barrier,” added Dr. Bethel. “Central to this mission is the development of remote and online learning opportunities to ensure that every Bahamian has access to higher education.”
Academic Affairs officials continue to monitor the situation and adapt as the situation warrants.
“Education is growing and continuous and it is the tertiary educators who look at different ways to continue even in difficult circumstances,” said Dr. Oriakhi. “University of The Bahamas is leading the way in tertiary education in The Bahamas, showing that life can continue in the face of difficulties.”
Office of University Relations
University of The Bahamas
2nd Floor, Michael H. Eldon Complex
Oakes Field Campus
P.O. Box N-4912
Nassau, The Bahamas
Tel: (242) 302-4355/4354/4365
Chartered on 10th November 2016, University of The Bahamas (UB) is a beacon for national transformation. Approximately 5,000 students are enrolled in the University of The Bahamas system which includes campuses and centres on New Providence, Grand Bahama, San Salvador and Abaco, as well as UB online education. UB’s diverse academic programmes, research engagements, athletics and leadership development experiences equip our students to become global citizens in a dynamic world.