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New programs are going the distance

By Courtenay Griffin

Adding to the comprehensive roster of online and distance education programs and courses, Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT) have been busily collaborating to roll out new online programs for Memorial’s fall 2008 semester. The new Memorial@Home programs include bachelor of arts, bachelor of arts (police studies), and master of physical education.

The online master of physical education program is entirely new and has been developed by DELT and the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation. Designed for practicing teachers, it will be the first online master of physical education program in Canada.

“This online graduate program provides new options for physical education teachers who are outside of St. John’s or limited by family life and other time commitments,” said Ann Marie Vaughan, director of DELT. “We were very pleased to work with the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation on this program. The creation of new learning options such as this one truly reflects the history of Memorial – to serve the citizens of the province regardless of location.”

The Faculty of Arts at Memorial has also seen significant increases in its online registrations over the last year. In the past, distance education courses were available to supplement a bachelor of arts, but did not have all the components to fully complete a degree. Now, thanks to collaboration between the Faculty of Arts and DELT, students are able to complete a bachelor of arts degree program entirely online.

Combined with course development of the bachelor of arts for online delivery, resources have also been used to establish the online bachelor of arts (police studies) program.

“This is a wonderful example of leadership in the Faculty of Arts responding to the needs of their students and the policing community,” said Ms. Vaughan. “We were thrilled to work with them on this new program.”

The development of these programs stems from the provincial government’s previous investment of $1.5 million in funding toward distance education courses and programs from Memorial. This means that students will gain access to 72 new distance education courses over the next three years, in addition to DELT’s development of 60 courses from its existing operating budget over the same period.

“We have been very fortunate to have the continued support from the Department of Education to realize these new programs and others that we have under development,” Ms. Vaughan added. “Funding provided by the Department enabled us to fast track course development, work with faculties and schools, and collectively respond to the needs of our students, particularly mature learners and those who reside in rural areas of our province. Students should watch for additional programs in the semesters ahead.”

Memorial University’s distance education capabilities make it the largest among Canadian comprehensive universities. In achieving DELT’s primary mandate to meet the demand for credit courses for students with limited access, Memorial currently offers over 350 undergraduate and graduate degree courses from 10 faculties and schools.
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