In 1983, UWI formally began offering distance education courses using an audio teleconferencing system that was known as the UWI Distance Teaching Experiment- later Enterprise- UWIDITE. Course deliver was primarily via teleconferencing, but students also received supplementary print materials. In addition to formal programmes such as the Certificate in Business Administration and the Certificate in Education programmes, UWI also offered outreach and related programmes in heath, agriculture, and education and facilitated UWI administrative meetings over the teleconferencing system.
The Distance Education Centre
The name UWIDITE soon became associated with the audio conferencing system through which UWI made education and training more accessible, especially to people in the Eastern Caribbean.
Most programmes previously offered under the "Challenge" scheme, which since 1977 had allowed students in non-campus territories to sit Part I of degree courses without attending a campus, soon began to piggy-back on the UWIDITE teleconferencing system. This brought students from non-campus sites into immediate contact with their campus-based lecturers.
In recent years, the drive has been to improve the quality of UWI distance education offerings, and move towards being a full dual mode institution, in which distance education programmes are offered alongside traditional face to face programmes. On August 1, 1996, the amalgamation of the Distance Education Unit, Challenge, and UWIDITE was completed, giving rise to the Distance Education Centre (DEC).