Dr Anjeela Jokhan, Dean of Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment.
Given the situation, that the demand on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure increases every year The University of the South Pacific (USP) is taking steps to ensure that it meets the educational demands of the Pacific region in a sustainable way.
Some of these initiatives were presented by Dr Anjeela Jokhan, Dean of USP’s Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) and Mr Dhiraj Bhartu, Learning Systems Manager, during the Regional Campus Directors Forum held at the University’s Laucala Campus on 9 May 2017.
The duo talked about two of the significant approaches. One is where USP is working with its member countries to use fiber as countries connect to fiber. This ensures better connectivity for students at cheaper costs. Connecting to fiber also releases demand on the University’s satellite for use by other countries.
The second one is looking into using the cloud solution for data storage with high end computing, etc.
Some of the other services that the University is looking to provide cloud storage are its website, data backups, and external DNS.
To access the cloud facilities it will require good connectivity and the University is planning to further improve its internet connection.
Dr Jokhan said that using the cloud services should not be a problem for those countries that are connected to fiber.
“As more countries get fiber it will be easier for them,” Dr Jokhan said.
In order to achieve the ICT objectives of USP’s Strategic Plan (2013-2018), following are some of the things that need to be done:
Introduce new ICT tools;
Create new learning platforms for students;
Create conducive learning environments;
Have Staff development to make this shift; and
Deploy appropriate ICT infrastructure
Several of these are currently being done at the University and USP needs to keep strengthening them.
Some of the other USP and FSTE ICT initiatives discussed in the forum were the Online Mathematics Diagnostic Test (OMDT), Mobile Device Management System (MDM), Tablet Project and the Lecture Capture project.
Dr Jokhan provided an update on the Tablet Project and said that the University is negotiating with local service providers for good data deals for students to purchase.
For the Lecture Capture project, the University has installed all equipment at seven (7) main lecture theatres with more than 2400 lectures captured and available for students to view anytime.
The Lecture Capture project is in line with USP’s Strategic Plan (2013-2018) and is trying to address few of the objectives under Priority Areas 1, 2 and 4, which are Learning and Teaching, Student Support and ICT, and using state-of-the-art facilities to deliver high quality education.
Mr Bhartu said that the two larger campuses Alafua and Emalus will be fitted with the Lecture Capture equipment from semester 2 this year, as they have a fairly large number of face-to-face course delivery which will be beneficial to students.
“We will start expanding this to other campuses when they offer more face-to-face classes,” Mr Bhartu said.
Because of the lecture capture, Dr Jokhan said, USP is able to offer many more courses this semester across the region than we would otherwise offer. We will be continuing to do this next semester as well. And going on from there
This, Dr Jokhan added gives more scope as to how much more the University can offer to its member countries.
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