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Certificate of Commendation for the Education Planner and Administrator Category

From BIT to e-BIT: An Innovative Use of ICT to Produce ICT Professionals
University of Colombo School of Computing, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Admission into IT programmes at national universities in Sri Lanka is limited, but the country's need for qualified IT professionals is great. The University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) offered an external Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) degree in 2000 to increase opportunities for qualified students to obtain an IT degree and meet Sri Lanka's IT workforce requirements.

The BIT was designed to optimize the use of ICT for communication, registration, delivery of the curricular content, examination and so on through the website at http://www.bit.lk. Today, it is a student portal that allows one to retrieve examination results as well. The BIT programme has become the most popular IT degree in Sri Lanka.

The UCSC does not have the capacity to teach the 1,000 students per intake; thus self-learning is an important part of the BIT programme. However, many students fail or drop out after the first year. To address this problem, in 2006, the UCSC launched the e-BIT programme through which online learning contents and e-testing are provided. This e-learning framework has converted the BIT into a high quality IT degree programme for less privileged and low income students, irrespective of their location.

The success of e-BIT can be attributed to the efforts of the e-Learning Centre of UCSC through its research and development (R&D) activities. The curriculum was revised to develop online courses considering user-centric collaborative learning pedagogy and constructive alignment. The R&D work in VLE based on Moodle established a customized and localized e-learning framework, Vidupiyasa: UCSC Virtual Campus (http://lms.bit.lk). The SCORM compatible online e-learning lessons were developed based on the curriculum. Video lectures were distributed using a local TV channel, CDs and online environment. An e-assessment system for formative and summative tests was developed.

After one year, the pass rate of first year (Diploma of IT) courses has increased three times, with many students obtaining good grades.