North Island Distance Education School


Independent Learning Centres

August 30, 2013

Comox Valley parents and students who are considering distributed learning options may want to consider cross enrollment, an option that allows students to attend high school classes and take one or more of their academic courses online through Navigate, (NIDES). This flexibility allows students and school counsellors to put together a schedule that balances the curriculum and makes room for electives.

When students taking an online course do require the support of a qualified BC teacher, a classroom or computer lab referred to as an Independent Learning Centre (ILC), is made available within local high schools where students can ask questions to get the direction they need, work on projects, or take an exam. The ILC time is scheduled just as any other course block, but allows students the flexibility to learn independently. Comox Valley students can access an ILC at any of the local high schools: GP Vanier Secondary, Mark R. Isfeld Secondary, or Highland Secondary.

Comox Valley teacher Heather Corman, who will be supporting learners in the Mark Isfeld ILC this year, has seen the benefit of encouraging students to learn independently even in a regular classroom setting. Several years ago, she implemented her own classroom blog titled “Corman’s Corner”, where students could access study notes, homework assignments, and course information at any time. Her students could also submit assignments online through Google docs and email her to ask questions. Corman’s experience supporting this type of independent learning style will be of great benefit to students who cross enroll with Navigate and access the ILC.

“This is a very flexible learning style that encourages personal responsibility, and balances structure with independence,” explains Corman. “When students know that they can access information at a time when they are ready to focus on it, their stress level is reduced, which results in a more positive and rewarding learning experience.” For some students the benefit of independent learning is the ability to complete their courses faster. Some students achieve better grades when they don’t have to take several challenging academic courses in the same semester. For others, it means that they are able to take electives or a second language which may have only been offered at a time that conflicted with a mandatory academic course.

Jeff Stewart, District Principal at Navigate believes that the ILCs provided in these host schools contribute to student success. “It’s very important to parents and students to have flexibility in course options, scheduling and learning styles. Cross enrollment is a significant offering, not only within our school district but in the field of education for the 21st century. I’m very pleased that we can work together with local high schools to not only make these options possible, but highly successful as well.”

Students interested in learning more about cross enrollment are encouraged to talk to the high school counsellors at any of local high schools, or call the Navigate office at 250.337.5300.

About Navigate (NIDES)
Navigate (NIDES) is a distributed learning education school in Courtenay located in the former Tsolum School building. It serves students throughout Vancouver Island and offers online courses for students from kindergarten to adult. Courses are taught and facilitated by BC-certified teachers.

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