“Vanier College, which currently shares distance learning materials with developing nations, hopes to send teachers and students on exchanges in India next year,” states Judy Macdonald, Coordinator of Learning Enrichment and Support Services for Programs and International Programs at Vanier College. To lay the groundwork for future projects, she recently participated in the Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning, held in Kochi, India.
The conference was sponsored by the Indira Gandhi Open University and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), an intergovernmental organization that encourages sharing open learning/distance education resources and technologies. COL also helps developing nations of the Commonwealth improve access to quality education and training.
Providing online learning materials abroad
“COL is a highly credible organization which Vanier would be pleased to be partners with,” indicates Judy Macdonald. “We have already provided them with online instructional materials produced by the Vanier College Learning Centre and the Math and Science Centre. Through this conference we strengthened our connection with them.” Vanier is also now exploring with the Rwandan Ministry of Education the possibility of offering online help with English instruction to Rwandan English teachers.
Building on SOMECE sucess
The Conference focused on the use of online materials for learning. This aligned with Vanier’s goal of developing Information Technology in the Classroom (ITC) to enrich the curriculum. Judy goes on to explain, “Vanier hopes to build on its recent success at the SOMECE Conference in Mexico where three faculty members reported on using online instruction (ITC) for teaching problem-solving in physics and on using online exchanges between Vanier students and those from Gaspé and Sept-Iles.”
New partnerships in India
Judy Macdonald also visited two universities, Teerhanker Mahaveer University in Morabad, and Mangalayatan University in Aligarh. “We wanted to strengthen ties so that in 2012, one of Vanier’s faculty members, Dr. Nathan Loewen, will be able to take a group of students to India to study several important Indian religions, including the Jain religion, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. We believe this kind of study experience abroad will have a very positive impact on Vanier students, themselves linked to many different cultures and religions.” Vanier has now established partnerships with these universities so that projects of student and faculty mobility can be organized.
This trip was largely funded through a grant provided by Cégep international.
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