Province invests in distance education
The technology used to deliver distance education across Newfoundland and Labrador is becoming more advanced, offering a 21st century learning experience for students taking distance education courses.
Joan Burke, minister of Education, announced Jan. 22, that Memorial University, College of the North Atlantic and the K-12 education system have teamed up with Desire2Learn, a world-leading provider of e-learning technology, to provide a common, cutting-edge technology system in the public education system.
About $1.3 million will be invested to bring this technology to students.
“Newfoundland and Labrador continues to be a leader in the field of online education,” said Minister Burke. “This is the first time in any jurisdiction in North America that all public educational institutions have come together to provide students with a common technology. Students moving from high school into post-secondary, who are continuing to take courses through distance education, will no longer have to learn or adapt to a new system.
“The same will apply for students who may move from the college to the university or vice versa. Students will use the same teaching and learning software throughout the course of their education.”
The previous technology was in place since 1999. A new learning management system was needed for the province based on significant advances in web-based learning resources and teaching practices.
The announcement is also in keeping with the White Paper on Public Post-Secondary Education, which recommended greater collaboration between the college and the university in the delivery of distance education. Existing distance education courses have been transferred to the new learning management system and training sessions for teachers and faculty have begun.
“Memorial University is proud to partner with the college and K-12 system in this province,” said Eddy Campbell, acting president of Memorial University. “Our Distance Education and Learning Technologies Department is constantly working to keep Memorial and the province on the leading edge of new technologies. This partnership is a great example of how working together benefits all of the students studying in our province. It is our expectation that this new learning management system will significantly change the way in which we think about the delivery of knowledge, both at a distance, and on-campus.”
The number of students registering for distance education courses has continued to rise since it was first introduced. Today, about 1,000 students in Levels I, II and III are doing a portion of their high school program through 1,650 course registrations.
Memorial University has over 15,000 course registrations in the last academic year from all over the province and as far away as the U.K., China and India.