It started with a visit to Fraser Lake – and one to India.
“There were two young mothers out there,” CNC President Henry Reiser said Tuesday morning, “who asked about access to post-secondary education.”
The school was downsizing the satellite campus in Fraser Lake at the time, but Resier remembered a trip he had made earlier.
“While I was in India, we had real-time conversations with Ottawa on a number of issues. The quality of the transmission was really good.”
So Reiser and CNC started looking into the possibility of s new form of learning.
On Tuesday, they announced that Northern Gateway was donating $250,000 to the new Digital Delivery Initiative (DDI), which will bring CNC courses to the north and, possibly, the world.
“This is not online learning,” Reiser stressed during a media conference where the agreement was signed “This is synchronous learning, where a group of students in a number of different locations can be ‘cobbled’ together to form a class.
“Online is usually asynchronous, with the student accessing the course materials on their own schedule. The problem is the student needs to be intrinsically motivated, and some can be caught by surprise at the workload.”
Northern Gateway senior manager of community benefits and sustainable development Catherine Pennington said Monday was a very exciting day for the company.
“We believe education is the key to a brighter, sustainable community. This initiative opens up a whole new world of opportunities for learners.”
Reiser said there was a lot of groundwork to be done before the initiative could get started, anticipating a three-year period before the first classes.
“There are engineering costs and consultants costs up front, and there will also be teacher education to be done.”
He says the plan now is for a pilot program to be done with university transfer programs, including business, before possibly expanding to other areas. DDI classrooms will be set up at each CNC campus throughout northern B.C.
“This is not a new idea,” Reiser said. “UNBC has been using the same idea for their medical program.”