The Marine Institute of Newfoundland goes virtual
Since it opened in 1963 as a Fisheries College, the Marine Institute of Newfoundland has focused on educating post-secondary students for employment in marine-related fields. Now, however, with the help of an innovative faculty, the Marine Institute is reaching out to kindergarten to grade 12 students and their teachers in an attempt to increase awareness and interest in marine studies while, at the same time, providing a research resource. To do this, the Marine Institute enlisted the help of the weapon of choice of the 90's -- the Internet.
Unfortunately, like everything else these days, the project was going to cost money. Luckily for the Marine Institute and the project's chief fund-raiser, Rob Wells, the funding was available, along with plenty of advice.
The funding came in the form of a grant furnished through an agreement between both Provincial and Federal levels of Government known as the Canada/Newfoundland Cooperation Agreement on Human Resources Development. The advice came by the boatload from the Department of Education and the knowledgeable staff at STEM~Net.
With its financial situation secure, and all the advice and guidance it needed, the project was well underway. In June of this year, MI-Net, under the guiding hands of site designer Joanne Corrigan, became a reality on the world's largest virtual library.
When asked where the inspiration for MI-Net came from, Rob Wells said that it was the numerous questions the Institute received from teachers looking for information on marine issues that sparked the idea. The teachers had no resources in which to find the answers they sought, so the Marine Institute created MI-Net to fill the void; and it does so very well.
The site contains tons of information on marine-related topics as well as a multitude of other links to other sources. As Joanne Corrigan put it, "If it's not in our site, there's a link to it". The site also includes in-class activites for teachers and other teaching resources. MI-Net is a definite essential bookmark for any student or teacher involved in marine-related courses or projects, or anyone who is simply interested in marine studies.
When asked what the future holds for MI-Net, Rob Wells said that he hopes to hear back from visitors to the site and use their comments and suggestions to improve the fledgling web page. "We want feedback so we can continue to refine it," he said. He also mentioned that, in the near future, we may see direct links between the Marine Institute and local high schools.
MI-Net is indeed an important step towards informing the public, and especially the students of Newfoundland and Labrador, about marine studies. Along with providing an important service to students, it also provides a diversity of career options to youth in a sector of our economy that, despite the cod moratorium, is far from sunk.
If you would like to check out MI-Net for yourself, which I highly recommend doing, please visit the site at www.ifmt.nf.ca/minet.htm.