One of the first virtual schooling sessions I have been able to attend since arriving here at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) conference. Dennis had already begun presenting by the time I came into the room (as my session was scheduled during the first portion of the same time slot). The description for the session read:
The Challenges of Improving Synchronous Web-based High School Course Delivery in Isolated Aboriginal Community Settings
Dennis Sharpe, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
David Philpott, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
This paper is based on a current (2007-2010) Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada community-university alliance funded research project that is investigating ways to improve the success rate of aboriginal high school learners who have little option but to complete some part of their program through distance delivered courses. The study is focused on several small remote communities along the coast of Labrador, Canada that have a mostly aboriginal population Both qualitative and quantitative data were gathered through provincial records and interview and focus group work involving students, parents, teachers and school administrators to ascertain current success rates in e-learning courses and also to help determine appropriate interventions that might positively impact success student success rates. Initial results have helped identify a number of possible and practical interventions that could be implemented by schools and other agencies responsible for the delivery of education.
When I walked into the room Dennis was going through the various issues. The first full slide I got to see what the Summary and Recommendations slide.
- Discussions be held between stakeholders to address the scheduling issues associated with time zone difference and individual school schedules.
- School examine ways to improve on-site students supervision and the location of Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation work stations.
- Guidelines for school M-teams be re-established with the provision of in-servicing where necessary.
- Discussions be held between stakeholders to address the issue of students access to online distractions while engage.
- Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation and the Labrador School District collaborate to provide a consistent high level of bandwidth.
- The Labrador School District provide individual schools with increase financial support for needed Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation courses resources and teacher supervision.
- A Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation readiness course that includes the use of appropriate technology to be developed and implemented at the intermediate level.
- Stakeholders identify, articulate, and develop the student personal attributes that can contribute to the successful completion of Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation courses prior to enrollment in such courses.
- An ongoing plan be established to strengthen communication between Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation teachers and on-site teachers, Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation teachers and parents, as well as communication between home and school.
- A support committee be established with representation from the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation schools, Labrador School District, [I missed the last few words]
Apparently they started before the half hour mark, so they finished early. Dennis did mention that the paper that this study was based on is available at http://www.mun.ca/killick/home/