|SCcyber E-learning Community
SCcyber E-learning Community is an accredited private school (formerly known as Sunchild E-learning Community). The school has seen course completion rates for Aboriginal students greater than 70% and graduation rates greater than 80% over 14 years of operations. This compared to graduation rates of less than 4% and course completion rates of less than 20% in northern Alberta public school divisions. The SCcyber E-learning Community programme was developed from a “passion to dramatically improve education through Aboriginal people’s inclusion and participation into Alberta’s and Canada’s economy.”
SCcyber E-learning was started in 2000 to address the inexcusable graduation rates of Aboriginal students exposed to the traditional “colonial school” model of education on reserves. Currently, SCcyber E-learning delivers educational services to over 20 First Nation communities throughout Alberta and into the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories. The SCcyber programme has been recognized by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) for graduating First Nation students. In 2000, e-learning began on four reserve locations offering ten courses. Now we offer over 80 Alberta Education approved academic courses with over 700 students taking over 2,000 courses annually.
A Model of Success
SCcyber E-Learning is different from conventional distance learning programmes in that it creates accountability and interaction between student and teacher. We offer 100% synchronous instruction in over 80 courses offered towards an Alberta high school diploma! Students are expected to be logged into the computer during class times and can speak with the teacher at any time through our live virtual classroom interface. Teachers interact on a whiteboard where lessons are discussed and students can visit a website together or share a desktop to solve a math problem. The teaching and learning relationship between teacher and student begins with email, text messaging or via a microphone. Experienced certified teachers with a passion for teaching First Nations students have personally created the online lessons, which contain interactive elements–even the asynchronous component is engaging to our students. Pedagogically our instructors are doing more than just passing on information. At SCcyber, we are committed to helping our students cultivate self-direction and we are purposefully making learning a reflective process through metacognitive pedagogy.
In most cases, students work within a physical classroom environment where a Mentor addresses technical concerns and ensures student participation at the face-to-face level. Achievement is tracked on a weekly basis so that intervention and support can be provided as soon as it becomes necessary. Accountability is a very significant facet of SCcyber’s success. Every Monday morning, SCcyber provides an updated report card mark to all students in each of their courses. Mentors at each of our site locations can download data through their E-learning campus on exactly how their students are progressing in their virtual courses. This high level of accountability and tracking provides students with assistance in time management and how they will plan their week to tackle their assignments. However, the programme also allows for flexibility. Students who miss class time or change residences can easily catch up by reviewing archived classes. This system also allows students to work at a comfortable pace.
In 2012, Mount Royal University studied our e-learning model and has determined several key elements in our e-learning design that make the SCcyber pedagogical approach a gold standard for Aboriginal education. The SCcyber programme has been awarded and recognized provincially, nationally and internationally for its value to society. Recently it has been recognized as a “Changemaker” with the Ashoka foundation as the top project for student retention from across Canada as part of the Changemakers Initiative. In keeping with being at the forefront of educational technology, SCcyber E-learning is now offering 100% mobile learning compatibility with all course offerings. With the recent conversion of all our course content to HTML5, students can view our lessons or connect live into one of our virtual class sessions from their phones or tablets, for example using iPhones or iPads. Learning has never been easier or more accessible!
An Investment in the Future
SCcyber E-Learning Community has met with remarkable success. In record numbers, adult and high school-aged students are re-entering the school system, staying in school and graduating with their high school diplomas through SCcyber. SCcyber provides individualized career planning and goal setting to focus students on an exciting future for themselves and their families. As a not-for profit charitable organization, SCcyber receives donations from various corporate sponsors who support the tuitions for students in the SCcyber programme. This partnership with industry, in conjunction with government support, continues to help to create skilled candidates for advanced training and future employment.
SCcyber E-learning College
SCcyber continues to work with post-secondary partners like the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) to offer the Oil and Gas Production Operators Level 1 & 2 certification. These courses have catapulted students into employment with oil and gas companies. In 2014, With corporate support, SCcyber will be moving into developing a post-secondary arm called the SCcyber E-learning College and will be offering “Power Engineering 5” to students throughout Alberta. This development will further train students to develop high-demand skills needed in our oil and gas sector. First Nations students will be in the lead in terms of engaging with our economy. Through this unique training, they will be well positioned to provide the human resources necessary for strategic growth.