Pairing online courses with personalized support
Algonquin College’s integration of the latest high tech with personalized learning is burnishing its reputation as a leader in online learning. The Ottawa college currently offers over 130 online certificates, diploma programs and graduate certificates, and these are growing in popularity as students seek the credentials to jumpstart their careers, switch professions or simply stay up to date in a quickly changing field.
Committed to continually enhancing its student experience, the college has invested in a team of designers, multimedia experts and specialists in e-learning. This group now works alongside faculty members to create innovative and interactive e-learning experiences.
“We’re leveraging the latest technology to make video, interactive activities, immersive simulations and virtual reality experiences part of our online courses,” says Dr. Patrick Devey, dean of the Centre for Continuing and Online Learning.
But he is quick to point out that this emphasis on enhanced online experiences hasn’t come at the expense of person-to-person interaction. Dr. Devey says that academic advising, online orientations and learning analytics software that flags students who are falling behind and in need of a friendly check-in are just some of the ways that high tech is complemented with a personalized approach.
Recent graduate Shelley Creswell says that when she was considering enrolling in a certificate program, talking with an Algonquin program co-ordinator was invaluable.
“She helped me figure out the courses I should take and when, and gave me exemptions from some requirements based on my educational experience so I could complete the program faster,” says Ms. Creswell. “She gave me the confidence to jump in.”
Having taken a few years off to focus on her family, Ms. Creswell wanted to return to employment in health care in a position that would enable her to work from home. The medical transcriptioning field was the answer. What she needed was the credential.
Ms. Creswell enrolled in Algonquin’s medical transcription certificate program in January 2016.
“The curriculum and online environment were engaging, and you could work ahead if you wanted to,” she says. “I had opportunities to connect with other students through online discussions, and the course teachers were always available.”
Graduating with honours in the fall of 2017, Ms. Creswell was immediately hired by a transcription services company. Her new job gives her the flexibility to work from home and set her own hours.
“I was so pleased to be hired right away,” says Ms. Creswell. “Having Algonquin’s credentials on my resumé helped me stand out.”
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