Southwest Horizon School Division
|Southwest Horizon School Division (SHSD) is a located in rural Manitoba where it includes seven community schools. Schools in this area have met the challenge of providing specialty courses to students in schools where there may only be a few students in each class.
In 1995, SHSD implemented an interactive instructional television (IITV) delivery system with a capacity of three simultaneous sites. The initial system was prone to frequent breakdowns and was supplemented with
teleconference service. The Government began to offer WebCT®-based courses a few years later that further increased the options available to students.
In 2004, several SHSD teachers began to pilot Moodle®-based courses for both local and distance education courses. The original broadband IITV system was replaced with an IP-based IITV system that resulted in more remote sites being able to participate simultaneously. In order to increase the quality of the student-teacher experience, teachers have blended other messaging and screen sharing utilities with various learning management platforms.
At this time, students are participating in courses using traditional correspondence based courses, online courses, IITV-based courses, and various blends of these delivery methods.
Student participation in the eLearning Campus is limited to students in grades nine to twelve. Most students are enroled in five courses each semester with at least one of these courses being taken through the eLearning Campus. Students participating in a course from a teacher in a remote site are assigned a local teacher as a facilitator. At this point in time, the data indicates no difference in course results between courses delivered face-to-face and the eLearning Campus.
Alexandra, a grade twelve student, who at the time of her graduation had completed a variety of courses using both IITV and Moodle®. Her preference in course delivery was the asynchronous Moodle®-based courses. Her perspective was that the Moodle®-based course gave her more flexibility in time and effort required than when a teacher was physically in front of her.
Teachers in the eLearning Campus have a teaching load that includes both online courses as well as traditional face-to-face courses. One of the eLearning Campus teachers is Franz, who had many years of teaching experience prior to using IITV and Moodle® for course delivery. From Franz’s perspective, teaching online created an increase in his workload while at the same time allowing him to keep a favorite course in his teaching load that might have been otherwise cut.
A second teacher, Phoebe, also had several years of teaching experience prior to using online delivery. Phoebe found that the time allowed in her teaching load for asynchronous delivery and course development provided her with flexibility in her schedule family commitments.