College of New Caledonia Connecting Communities Through Digital Delivery Instruction
Delivering a variety of programing to communities in a service area spanning almost 12 per cent of the province has its challenges. Technology, however, has always stood at the forefront of higher education.
To address these challenges, the College of New Caledonia (CNC) has invested in new technology to expand educational opportunities for hundreds of students at its six community campuses.
The technology is called Digital Delivery Instruction, or DDI, and offers an immersive learning experience collecting students from different campuses into a live and interactive classroom through the use of up-to-date videoconferencing technology.
In 2015, CNC installed its first DDI classroom. Since then, it has enabled students to take classes in their communities that historically would not have been available in the past due to low enrolment.
“Students benefit greatly when they are able to study where they live,” said CNC President Henry Reiser. “Using this innovative and immersive delivery technology, students are be able to take a wider array of courses in their own community.”
The ability to study in her community is what empowered Nikki Chapdelanie to pursue her educational dreams of becoming at nurse at CNC’s Lakes District campus in Burns Lake.
In 2017, Chapdelanie discovered CNC Lakes District campus would be launching a Practical Nursing (PN) program. There were four prerequisite courses needed before she could apply. As some classes weren’t available in her community, this hurdle could have been a major setback for Chapdelanie’s dream of becoming a nurse. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.
CNC’s new “Pathways to Practical Nursing” preparatory program offered a combination of face-to-face and DDI instruction. Chapdelanie, along with other prospective PN students in Burns Lake and surrounding communities, enrolled in the program. For Biology 103, she was connected with 16 students from all of CNC’s community campuses.
“DDI was a lot better than online learning,” she said. “Just like any classroom, there were engaging group discussions with people from all different communities. I see a future where all sorts of courses can be offered in Burns Lake through DDI.”
Chapdelanie has successfully completed the prerequisites she needed and is ready to enter the PN program at CNC’s Lakes District campus in September 2018.
“I don’t know how I could have taken any of those courses if I had to leave my family,” she said. “DDI opened doors for me and my fellow students to succeed.”
DDI experienced tremendous growth and has expanded to all CNC’s community campuses since its implementation in 2015. In the 2017/2018 academic year, the College delivered 31 courses with 695 student registrations via DDI, an increase from 23 courses and 643 student registrations in 2016/2017.
The potential of DDI is wide-reaching. The technology can be installed into smaller First Nations communities and offer relevant and quality programming to students without having to relocate.
“We believe DDI can bridge the gap that distance has on access to education,” Reiser said.