The University of the West Indies Open Campus (BARBADOS)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 2564-2572
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Distance learning has been in existence for more than 50 years from the beginning stages of radio broadcasts, correspondence, television, and online using the Internet. The purpose of distance education is to make education and training more readily assessable and convenient for persons who may not otherwise have access or opportunity.

Tertiary level institutions of higher education have been challenged with making education more readily accessible to persons throughout the Caribbean region. The University of the West Indies Open Campus has worked to meet this challenge with the incorporation of Blackboard as tool to facilitate further learning.

Blackboard used properly has the capacity to create a learning experience and environment that almost mimics the face-to-face interaction found in the classroom environment. Students have the option of reviewing course information and interaction via full instant replay. However, with the introduction of additional tools in e-learning, there is always the tendency of the lecturer to over/under use the technology.

To appeal to a larger student base, Tertiary institutions have utilized current online technologies to provide courses and programs to students who would not otherwise be served or have access (Masino, 2013). Unfortunately, the online learning experience has not always been a positive one for a substantial portion of participating students. Thus, a key issue for Tertiary institutions is one of trying to find ways in which student retention in online courses can be improved (Herbert, 2000). The purpose of this paper is to show how online learning using Blackboard has improved instruction and interaction among course facilitators, eTutors and students enrolled in online courses.
Distance Education, Blackboard, Online Learning, Online Courses.