The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC): Using Technology to Increase Access to Learning Opportunities in Small States
25th AAOU Annual Conference, The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC): Using Technology to Increase Access to Learning Opportunities in Small states by John Lesperance, Education Specialist - VUSSC, Commonwealth of Learning, 30 September 2011 // When VUSSC started, its main priority was the development of skills in areas of need in the Commonwealth small states. Capacity development was limited to the education systems in most of the participating countries, and thus the need to build it up systematically. Historically, there has been a strong focus on using one-off professional development workshops as a primary strategy for developing this capacity. However, these workshops by themselves, one-off, professional development workshops tend to be of little educational value that can be very expansive. // Today the VUSSC has expanded its network and more countries are now participating in it. It has developed its first degree programme and emphasising more on technology. It has played a major role in building capacity in ICT and institutions have been empowered to deliver eLearning using a combination of technologies. // The VUSSC proposal that was presented to Ministers in 2003 (COL, 2003) contained the following statement: // ‘The vision that emerged for a virtual university serving small states was one of a consortium of institutions, enabled by appropriate ICT applications, working together in practical ways to plan programmes, develop the required content and ensure the delivery of those programmes and support services to learners.’ // It has also created a Transnational Qualifications Framework (TQF), the first of its kind that has helped to establish an accreditation mechanism for the small states thus enabling greater access to quality learning opportunities and mobility of learners within the small states.