The challenges of distance education in Nord-du-Québec

Since the summer of 2020, the educational team of the adult education and vocational training sector of the Kativik School Services Center has shown solidarity and ingenuity to organize online education for registered students. The École branchée spoke with Isabelle Bertolotti, in charge of the project, who tells us about the challenges and successes of recent months.

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Since the summer of 2020, the educational team of the adult education and vocational training sector of the Kativik School Services Center has shown solidarity and ingenuity to organize online education for registered students. The École branchée spoke with Isabelle Bertolotti, in charge of the project, who tells us about the challenges and successes of recent months.

Needless to say, education in Nord-du-Québec has its share of challenges, even in “normal” times: communities far apart from each other, very small schools, school calendars different from the rest of the province, necessity. to give courses in French and English, etc. With the pandemic, the difficult access to the Internet and its instability due to the weather have added to the challenges.

As of spring 2020, schools had closed and had never been reopened. “In distance education, we had nothing. We had to start from scratch, ”says Isabelle Bertolotti, who took up her post in the summer of 2020 to build a distance education service for the adult education and vocational training sectors of the Service Center. Kativik school. “You had to have something to offer for the start of the school year in September. "

Ms. Bertolotti is surrounded by a team of ten people. “We're all at a distance, but the teamwork is amazing. Everyone is committed to the project and wants to offer quality courses to students. "

Downloadable courses

The choice of the team stopped on Moodle as a platform to host and deliver distance learning courses. Why? Quite simply because Moodle allows lessons to be downloaded to the student's computer. He does not need to be connected to the Internet at all times to have access to it. “This is one of the things to consider in the North. You have to adapt to reality and you have to be as easy as possible for the students to avoid dropping out. "

Ms. Bertolotti's team also wishes to make life easier for the teachers who offer the courses. “Distance education requires a lot more preparation. We aim to build complete courses that will be offered turnkey to teachers. Obviously, they can adapt them later. It becomes real collaborative work ”.

The team is working as a priority on the creation of compulsory courses for obtaining a high school diploma, both in French and in English. Several of them are already available on the platform. “Obtaining the DES is decisive for moving to other levels of education and enabling our clientele to progress. A recognition of prior learning component is also in preparation. »Tailor-made optional courses will then be prepared.

A distance course bank?

Ms. Bertolotti dreams of the day when a bank of distance learning courses for adult education will be available online. “I am sure that at the moment other school service centers are adapting the same content as us for online education. Why not share them? ".

It is still too early to know the real impact of this digital shift. The CSS Kativik adult sector currently has 370 registrants. “This is a long-term project that will certainly open up new possibilities for our students. They already have more flexibility to complete their course. Some courses even have a self-registration feature, allowing students to register themselves.

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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