University of Colombo School of Computing (SRI LANKA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 6424-6434
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
In Sri Lanka, less than 5% of qualified students can obtain admission to follow CS/IT degree courses in national universities. However, the country requires a significant workforce of qualified ICT professionals for the industry and development activities. In 2000, the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) launched an external degree Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) to address this national requirement. Few years later, BIT was enhanced using an innovative ICT enabled learning environment called “ViduPiyasa” to showcase the potential of online learning mode in higher education. This paper presents the details of approach followed and the current evaluation to develop the virtual campus based learning model for higher education.
When BIT was launched as a traditional external degree in which only examinations were conducted based on the published curriculum, there was a huge demand for the registration during first two years due to absence of similar programmes in the local context. However, the registration was gradually come down and the pass rate and dropout rate significantly went high while the quantity and quality of qualifying students were also challenged. In 2003, UCSC carried out a pilot study to identify how to face such challenges using ICT enabled framework. Since, BIT degree programme is a mass scale where a batch consists of more than 2000 students and it was established cater less privileged students with low income (Initial cost for the course is around 25 US$ and the full cost is less than 300 US$), it was not possible to apply typical e-learning based solutions based framework within the context and constraints of the programme. Under the pilot study, the possibility of using a LMS was investigated based on a collaborative learning and assessment. The results were used to launch a full scale online programme with a revised learning pedagogy from 2006 onwards and it was funded by Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).
The success of e-Learning depends on how effectively the paradigm shift was designed from teaching to learning. As a first step, the traditional courses of BIT were converted to a learner centric curriculum in order to establish online learning framework. It was named as e-BIT process in which the conceptual design of Virtual Campus was developed by integrating several learning services with a collaborative learning model. Learning and testing goes hand in hand and the constructive alignment must be maintained to achieve the expected outcome as described in the curriculum. On other hand, both teachers and students had to undergo a transformation with respect to their role in a learner centric environment and e-BIT triggered it as a business process reengineering to establish the Virtual Campus.

Figure 1: Conceptual Design of e-BIT Process to establish UCSC Virtual Campus

Figure 1 shows the conceptual design of e-BIT process which was used to develop the “Vidupiyasa: Virtual Campus of UCSC”. This paper describes in detail those functionalities given in the figure. This innovative approach to produce ICT professionals using an online framework named as Virtual Campus was evaluated independently by several agencies such as UNISCO, British Computer Society and Information and Communication Agency of Government of Sri Lanka during last three years and awarded the due recognition in their annual events. Details are published at
Virtual Campus, Virtual Learning Environment, On-line Degree, e-Education, e-learning, Teaching to Learning Paradigm Shift.