Case Study: Island Prosperity Rural Broadband Fund Holland College Telepresent Remote Classroom
The Computer Information Systems Distance program is targeted to students interested in entering the technology sector, existing technology workers who want to upgrade skills, transitioning workers in traditional industries who want to change occupations, and part-time learners who wish to continue to work in rural areas and obtain training outside normal working hours. By targeting these market segments with innovative, engaging, and accessible methods to acquire new information technology skills and providing ways for existing workers to upgrade their current skill set, the project has significant benefits for rural areas of PEI as well as the information technology industry.
Traditional distance education is static and non-engaging by nature. Instructors typically post lecture notes and assignments to the web via a learning management system. Distance students traditionally worked in isolation and independently to complete the assignments and send them back to the instructors. Student queries in these situations are generally handled by e-mail. This can be inefficient, causing frustration for students, because they may not be able to get the information they need until the following day, if they are doing their class work at night. Lack of communication or perceived lack of response leads to frustration and, in some cases, may cause students to drop the course. Staff in the Computer Information Distance program at Holland College wanted to find an effective way to circumnavigate those problems.
Through Telepresent, distance learners can connect to live lectures and participate in discussions via web cams and desktop sharing applications, enabling them to be part of the in-class experience, and reducing the drop-out rate. Part-time learners who work during traditional class hours can review taped lectures during the evenings. In-class students will have the option of reviewing the recorded lectures to assist with understanding and retention.
“We recognize that the use of this is not new or cutting edge; all of the technology that we’re using has and is being used in many other areas. However, now that it is affordable, stable, and accessible, we have found a creative way to apply it to better engage our distance learners, the majority of whom live in rural areas.”
Mike Beamish, Learning Manager
Computer Information Systems Distance program