UWI Open Campus gets US$25m grant for global online strategy

The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica – A grant from Silicon Valley-based company, Eon Reality, to The UWI Open Campus is the largest in decades for the University, and provides a critical foundation that will support the rise of The UWI Global Campus.

Funded by Eon Reality’s Educational Foundation, as a part of its support towards educational institutions in the post-pandemic period, the US$25 million grant specifically enables the setup of an Interactive Digital Centre/Lab primarily for the development of content using Augmented and Virtual Reality Tools.

This alliance makes The UWI the first institution in the English-speaking Caribbean to have an Eon XR Lab. The hub of the Eon XR Lab is earmarked to be located at The UWI Open Campus site in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago.

During the five-year project, The UWI Open Campus will be able to offer training to UWI-wide faculty on the Eon XR Cloud Platform as well as student internships to those interested in learning how to develop content using this technology. Eon has already delivered the cloud platform, and training of staff is carded to begin in the next week.

Commenting on the novel partnership that helps bridge the digital and physical worlds, Dr Luz Longsworth, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Global Affairs and Principal of The UWI Open Campus, noted the remarkable revenue generation opportunity for the Campus and The UWI.

“We see this as a way to open up even further collaboration with industry in developing new training tools for their staff. Furthermore, Eon Reality’s global academic network educational institutions on several continents, allows us to leap frog into the international access of The UWI’s courses and programmes within their network. This signals a new move forward for developing exciting content for our online and blended programmes.”

This latest collaboration for The UWI in garnering international resources to support its global agenda opens up a whole new world for programmes in areas such as engineering, medicine, science and technology to develop content that can enhance the students’ learning experience in an online environment, and helps overcome some of the limitations that the institution has faced in taking its programmes online.

Remarking on the value this adds, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles congratulated the championing role that Dr Longsworth has played, not just in securing these game-changing resources, but also in the overall strategising of the UWI Global Online as a natural expansion development for our teaching and learning environment.

“This collaboration will provide the impetus for realising The UWI’s Global Campus initiative, our future without borders. The Open Campus is demonstrating very practically, how it is driving our access revolution, with agility and alignment of our internal capacities across all our campuses.

“We celebrate the brilliance of our Open Campus leadership in pioneering this. Here is our frontline campus, evolving to keep apace of the changing times, while simultaneously changing the delivery of Higher Education in the region and at The UWI as a whole.”

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