Lumsden School Complex

lumsden Lumsden School Complex (now Lumsden Academy) was a rural all grade school with a student body of approximately 125 students and a teaching staff of 15. The students at Lumsden School Complex came from three different communities: Lumsden itself, Cape Freels and Deadman’s Bay (approximately 15 kilometers north and south). The three communities combined have a population of approximately 950. The fishery continues to be the main

industry, although a seasonal tourism industry has developed over the past decade.

Because of the small enrolment, students at Lumsden School Complex had accessed online courses each year the provincial virtual school, the CDLI, had been in operation. Students at Lumsden School Complex completed their online studies in a distance education room, located less than approximately 5 meters from the school’s main office. The room contained computer workstations provided by the CDLI, along with an all-in-one printer and a video-conferencing equipped television. Up to nine students could engage in their online courses in this room, supervised only by an occasional visit from the school’s administrator or one of the teachers.

According to Tiffany Stagg, a former student who completed five online courses over a three year period in French, mathematics and physics, her experience quite different than being face-to-face with her teacher in an actual classroom setting. She described herself as a very dedicated and disciplined student who wanted to excel in her learning, so she put in extra time into her studies to do well in these online courses. She indicated that you needed to put in the extra time and effort in order to get anything from the classes or instructors, and at times it was really hard to concentrate with her fellow classmates around and without being supervised by an actual person. But their online teachers knew the situation and always tried to keep them on our toes during synchronous classes by often asking sudden questions to unsuspecting students. Looking back, Tiffany believes the experience made her more responsible and mature because she knew she had to do the work herself, and there was no teacher physically present to actually help her.

Cassandra Goodyear, another former student who completed three online courses in French and mathematics while she was in high school, found her overall experience with online learning as very positive. Her online courses gave her the opportunity to take courses that were not offered at her school due to the small student enrolment. She felt that her online courses made her more independent and increased her problem solving abilities. The online courses she completed in high school provided her with experience that she feels has helped her with her other online courses she has gone on to complete at university. Cassandra knew what to expect and what was required of her, and feels that her past experience with online learning also helped with the intimidating setting and requirements found at a university level.

The year following their graduation the secondary students began to be bussed to a school located 40 km away. After graduation Tiffany completed an online programme from College of the North Atlantic, while Cassandra is working on a degree from Memorial University.