By Ryan Los, Ph.D.
As part of the Manitoba Flexible Learning HUB’s mandate, we ensure that great efforts are put in to making all of our partner institutions, regardless of distance/size are supported equally.
While web conferencing to partner intuitions is a fantastic and convenient benefit of technology, meeting face-to-face allows for the opportunity to foster deeper connections. Manitoba Flexible Learning HUB also provides all partners with equal opportunity at our long line of professional development workshops.
August 2017 saw Tamara Chelle and myself (Ryan Los) of the HUB team journeying to University College of the North in The Pas. After an early arrival at the James Armstrong International Airport in Winnipeg, we arrived in The Pas and were greeted by our fantastic host, Terralyn McKee and her husband who drove us into town.
After a quick tour of University College of the North, we began our first meeting of the day with, Olivia McCorriston, with whom the HUB is currently working with toward developing a course. As mentioned earlier, a face-to-face meeting can often be more effective than email communication. This was followed by lunch and then a presentation we put on for the Deans and Directors at their first meeting of the school year. The primary purpose of the presentation was to spread awareness of the HUB, specifically the opportunities that the HUB can provide and how our process works.
Our last event of our day at UCN was a workshop entitled Practical Applications for Teaching Online. UCN is breaking ground in the world of online courses, however instructors use UCNLearn (D2L) in F2F courses so there is great experience among instructors already. The workshop was highly attended and was also streamed into a well-attended classroom in Thompson (which was a first for me as an instructor). The Practical Applications for Teaching Online workshop addresses the following learning objectives:
- Recognize the diverse characteristics of online students
- Examine the challenges faced by online instructors
- Implement strategies to overcome these challenges
Great discussion and questions were intertwined between theory in an effort to present a well-rounded workshop. Feedback from the workshop was by far very positive with a few comments asking for a longer workshop and for the Manitoba Flexible Learning HUB to return and present future workshops!
After the workshop and dinner, we were driven back to the airport and since all passengers for our flight were present, we left 40 minutes early, which was a first for us. Overall, a fantastic day spent with our northern most partner and we look forward to visiting again!