Contributing to continuity of schooling provision in the Caribbean

With the declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic in March 2020, school campuses were closed in most countries. Governments in most developing and developed countries consequently recommended moving teaching and learning online. Even when campuses re-open, teachers and learners will probably need to continue to practise physical distancing and will need to continue to do some work online.

To support this process, the Ministries of Education in Belize and Trinidad and Tobago, who are currently working with COL on open schooling initiatives, were among other Caribbean nations who shared curriculum-based OER content in the open Guest Access space on the Notesmaster platform.

In a follow up discussion involving the Catholic Church, the Ministry and COL, it was agreed that more training and support for teachers would be needed for teachers in Trinidad and Tobago. While agreeing to work on a longer-term continuing professional development programme for teachers, it was agreed to offer a MOOC: Using Open Educational Resources for Online Learning: An Introduction in the short term. It was also agreed to open the MOOC to participants across the Caribbean region.

This course, targeting teachers of primary and secondary schools, uses contemporary learning design and accessible technology to introduce participants to using Open Educational Resources for some aspects of online learning provision. The course is particularly suited for teachers in developing country contexts and runs over four weeks. It requires up to three hours of time each week. Participants learn from readings, videos as well as discussions with fellow teachers and mentors. A Certificate of Completion is given to those who complete all the tasks in the course. The course was previously offered in the Pacific region.

Some 760 teachers registered for the start of the course. As one of the teachers explains:

I join with this course because I want to learn more about online learning for facing the Pandemic Era. Thanks for the chance given to me. I do hope there will not be any obstacle to learn with all of you.