Memorial celebrates 40 years of distance educationBy Courtenay Griffin
Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT) launched its 40th anniversary celebrations recently, recognizing four decades of distance education service to the province. Outside of the G.A. Hickman building on the St. John’s campus, a group of volunteers dressed in graduation caps and gowns, waved to morning traffic with banners and balloons to commemorate the milestone.
The display was organized to raise awareness of the unit’s four decades of service and to pay tribute to Memorial’s distance education students. There are currently over 500 exam locations in Newfoundland and Labrador alone, in addition to the numerous others throughout Canada and around the world.
“After 40 years, the unit which is now known as DELT has evolved to achieve its place in the institution, thanks to Memorial’s continuous commitment and mandate to serve all citizens of the province,” said Ann Marie Vaughan, director of DELT. “The goal of these celebration efforts is to acknowledge Memorial’s leadership in distance education innovation and the connections we’ve established both with Memorial’s faculties and schools, as well as the rural regions of the province.”
Starting in the fall of 1969, the unit began to push the boundaries of technology to increase access and enhance the delivery of post-secondary education. Psychology 341 was launched as the first distance education course using videotape recorders, television receivers, mobile carts and long-distance phone service.
Four decades later, DELT will celebrate Memorial’s anniversary throughout the year through various marketing and communications efforts. The campaign aims to build awareness of the institution’s history, as well as the unique position DELT has in providing an online education supported by the credibility of a residential university.
Since the beginning with three off-campus courses televised to 13 communities in the province, Memorial currently offers some 400 courses in numerous degree programs to over 17,000 distance education registrants annually. “Memorial has become recognized as a national leader of innovation in education,” said Ms. Vaughan, “and we continuously explore technologies that aim to enhance the teaching and learning experience.”