Distance Education offers people a better future

By Richard Massie
Roncalli High School
Port Saunders, Newfoundland

Educators across Canada are using technology to offer distance education programs.

On Wednesday July 8, Charles Bachman, co-ordinator of the Distance Education program at the University College of Cape Breton, gave a presentation showcasing its particular Distance Education Program.


By forming partnerships with MTT, Jones Knowledge Group, and local partner, Silicon Island, the University College of Cape Breton has developed a powerful education program. The Jones Knowledge Group has developed a software known as Jones E-Education, which is an online learning environment with texts, audio, video, and tests. MTT has provided technical support through a 1-800 number as well as an online help desk. With the support from these partners, this online learning service is free, provided you are willing to pay just a few dollars for site license.

This distance education program is totally online - from registration to test writing. The students simply go to the Web site and fill out an application, and will then be assigned a username and a password. The process is very quick and involves no human interaction.

The courses are generally university level courses in specific subjects such as chemistry or biology. However, there are some other special and less specific programs, including a bridge program, which helps people who have not been to school for a number of years and want to catch up on their basic skills. Although the online learning is not as efficient as a classroom setting (it takes twice as long to complete most material), Bachman feels it is still a wonderful opportunity to help people get their education. He feels that "It's a new way to learn".

In order to take advantage of this free education, you must have the right equipment. This includes:

  • P75 computer or higher
  • internet access
  • RealAudio/RealVideo
  • java compatible browser
  • 28.8 kbps modem
  • scanner
  • video camera
  • audio/video capture card

Bachman hopes that, in the near future, people will be using this program and will get a good education from it.