Northern Lakes College’s supported distance learning (SDL) model allowed for a smooth transition during COVID-19 in Slave Lake and other northern communities.
In the 2020 winter term, NLC had 1,521 credit students in 39 programs. Of these students, 220 were registered at the Slave Lake Campus.
Below is a brief description of the model and how it has equipped NLC to respond to COVID-19 from the NLC spokesperson.
“Northern Lakes College embraced online delivery long ago, so we were able to adapt to this challenge swiftly.
“Supported distance learning (SDL) includes a unique online delivery model where the traditional classroom is recreated in an online environment. We use technology to bring instructors and students together at the same time, where they can interact and learn together online.
“SDL gives us an advantage over traditional face-to-face delivery for a variety of reasons, and particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Northern Lakes College SDL model provides learners with the flexibility to balance work, home, and school, and a ‘wraparound’ system provides a supportive learning environment with staff available to assist, counsel, and provide specialized learning assistance.”
Work is being done to help students without Internet or computers at home.
“While the college remains open, to combat the spread of COVID-19, all buildings are closed to the public,” says an NLC spokesperson. “Students and staff are asked to work from home.
“Students who cannot access their courses from home are advised to call their instructor, coordinator or chair and to check their NLC email for help documents for support in using cell phones or other mobile device to access courses.”
NLC is accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year.
For winter 2020, post-secondary programs ended in late April. The academic upgrading program ends in June. In the spring, normal programs will continue, but COVID-19 distancing protocols may impact practicum and work placements.
On April 20, the Alberta government announced increased funding for health care aides, and that up to 1,000 paid student practicum positions will be fast-tracked. This may impact NLC health care aide students.
Last year, NLC graduation was postponed due to wildfires. For the 2020 grad, NLC is assessing the situation and will reach out to graduates directly.