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Dealing with the Challenges Remote Communities Face with Online Learning


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This is a presentation by George Cavaliere and Sylvia Currie for the 2007 Moodle Moot confference.

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Dealing with the Challenges Remote Communities Face with Online Learning

  1. 2. Dealing with the Challenges Remote Communities Face with Online Learning Facilitated by: George Cavaliere Sylvia Currie
  2. 3. <ul><li>Rural BC is generally characterized by remote communities with high proportions of First Nations, low population densities, and poor technological infrastructure. </li></ul>
  3. 4. Interactive Status Map Courtesy of Telus
  5. 6. Zeballos Savona Mansons Landing Groundbirch Chilanko Forks Yale Sandspit Malakwa Grassy Plains Charlie Lake Yahk Rose Prairie Lytton Grasmere Celista Wynndel Rock Creek Lund Granisle Cape Mudge Woss Riske Creek Lower Nicola Gold Bridge Canal Flats Winlaw Riondel Little Fort Gitwangak (Kitwanga) Burton Wilson Creek Queen Charlotte City Likely Gitanyow (Kitwancool) Buick (Blueberry) Willow River Prespatou Lax Kw'alaams (Port Simpson) Francois Lake Bridge Lake Westwold Port Renfrew Lasqueti Island Fort Fraser Boston Bar Wells Port Edward Lac La Hache Forest Grove Blue River Vavenby Port Clements Kuper Island Field Big Lake (Ranch) Vananda Pinchi Klemtu (Kitasoo) Fauquier Bella Coola Topley Pinantan Lake Kitkatla Farmington Bella Bella Tomslake Parson Kitamat Village Edgewood Beaverdell Thetis Island North Bend Kispiox Dunster Bear Lake Tatla Lake Nazko Kettle Valley Dog Creek Bamfield Tappen Mount Currie Jaffray Denman Island Baldonnel South Hazelton Moricetown Horsefly D'Arcy Anahim Lake Sointula Montrose Hornby Island Danskin Alkali Lake Slocan Moberly Lake Hixon Crawford Bay Alexis Creek Skidegate Meadow Creek Hartley Bay Coal Harbour Ahousat Silverton McLeese Lake Hanceville Clinton 70 Mile House Sayward Masset Hagensborg Clearview 150 Mile House Communities Connected as of March 2006
  6. 7. <ul><li>Remote First Nations communities generally have poor access to telecommunications </li></ul><ul><li>80% of the provincial population has access to broadband while only 20% of remote First Nations communities have access </li></ul><ul><li>There are very few provincial government services required in these communities, consequently there is very little provincial government demand on which to build a higher level of service. </li></ul><ul><li>Many of these communities are also very remote, far from existing infrastructure </li></ul>THE CHALLENGE
  7. 8. THE CHALLENGE <ul><li>The Federal responsibility for providing services to these communities complicates the issue </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of properly trained teaching staff, difficulty in recruiting and maintaining appropriate teaching and support staff </li></ul><ul><li>Fear of formalized education resulting from the Residential School System </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional First Nations Learning occurs primarily through verbal-linguistic intelligence (story-telling) </li></ul><ul><li>To many, English may not be their first language </li></ul>
  8. 9. THE CHALLENGE <ul><li>Lack of adequate systems with appropriate programs </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of qualified Network Administrators to monitor infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of support (i.e. family, educational) </li></ul><ul><li>Online Learning is “different” </li></ul>
  9. 10. THE CHALLENGE If the solution to the provision of adequate courses is to be partially met with technological solutions, then the real issues of technical support, adequate IT provision, training and maintenance issues need consideration. However it is perceived that IT alone will not necessarily meet the needs of many of the ‘remote’ students.
  10. 11. THE CHALLENGE Frustrations of an Online Learner <ul><li>Feelings of Isolation </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of Motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of confidence with technology </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of support for online learners </li></ul><ul><li>Problems with the server </li></ul><ul><li>Slow Connection </li></ul><ul><li>Fear </li></ul>
  11. 12. QUESTIONS WE ASKED STUDENTS TO CONSIDER <ul><ul><ul><li>What are some barriers to education? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What are some of the challenges you might face learning online? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Where would you go to get support? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What makes a good online instructor? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What makes a successful online learner? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>NAME: “May” </li></ul><ul><li>AGE: 62 </li></ul><ul><li>LOCATION: Lillooet, Merritt </li></ul><ul><li>COURSE: 3 rd yr Social Work. (Hybrid) </li></ul><ul><li>COMPUTER SKILLS: Very Little </li></ul><ul><li>SUPPORT (Technical): Extremely low level </li></ul><ul><li>Credits NVIT for assisting in her successful online journey </li></ul>REFLECTIONS OF A TYPICAL ONLINE LEARNER (NVIT)
  13. 14. Figure 1 outlines a proposed model for the lifelong learners' environment, showing two learning environments, traditional learners' (A in Figure 1) and online learners' environments (B in Figure 1)
  14. 15. How is NVIT Using Moodle to Address these Challenges?
  15. 16. <ul><li>Provide equal services to our online students that we provide for our campus-based students </li></ul><ul><li>Make all students feel part of the NVIT community </li></ul><ul><li>Designated areas for student projects and collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Course design considerations </li></ul><ul><li>Site design considerations </li></ul>
  16. 17. <ul><li>Office hours using scheduled chat times </li></ul><ul><li>Messaging tools &quot;how are you doing?&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Quick check-ins with Students online </li></ul><ul><li>Help desk forum, self-serve resources </li></ul><ul><li>Drop in support (telephone/forum) </li></ul><ul><li>Shared support service for maximum coverage using a variety of tools (forum, chat, messaging, telephone) </li></ul>Provide equal services to our online students that we provide for our campus-based Students:
  17. 18. Make students feel a part of the NVIT community <ul><li>Blog for announcements about campus events, opportunities, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Images, profiles, who's online </li></ul><ul><li>Elder’s quotes using random glossary </li></ul><ul><li>Keep main page highlights section fresh and relevant for all students </li></ul>
  18. 19. Designated areas for student projects and collaboration <ul><li>Student Society </li></ul><ul><li>Student Lounge </li></ul><ul><li>Social Work Community </li></ul>
  19. 20. Course design considerations <ul><li>File upload size kept to a minimum </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporate resources that don't require special software to view </li></ul><ul><li>No complicated navigation -- direct access to courses and resources </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated help desk forums in every course </li></ul>
  20. 21. Site design considerations <ul><li>Shared use of help desk account so there is a help desk presence online </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle site tested on dial up for routine actions - performance excellent! </li></ul><ul><li>Integration of NVIT Library’s 25,000 electronic titles </li></ul><ul><li>Involving Aboriginal students in customization </li></ul>
  21. 22. Sylvia Currie Monica Macaulay George Cavaliere
  22. 23. REFERENCES Ministry of Management Services
  23. 24. <ul><li>What are your ideas for addressing the challenges faced by students in remote communities? </li></ul><ul><li>Are these challenges any of you face at your institutions? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some of the ways you have used Moodle to help close the gap between students in remote communities and those with better access to resources and services ? </li></ul>