Glenn van Dijken, the (UCP) MLA for Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock accepted our invitation to visit the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC) campus in Barrhead on March 13, 2020.
The purpose of the meeting was to increase MLA van Dijken’s knowledge about ADLC operations, so he might influence the Minister of Education’s decisions regarding the delivery of distance education in the province.
MLA van Dijken heard three key messages:
- ADLC is not a distance education school; it is a provincial service that levels the playing field of access to distance education in the province.
- The Course Completion Rate is a measure that is best considered in context. Factors such as students who choose not to start the course and students who only need part of a course appear as incomplete and therefore impact the calculation.
- ADLC is a cost-effective service that supports the government’s goals for Choice in Education and Red Tape Reduction.
ADLC staff members demonstrated the efficient and seamless technology infrastructure that already exists to serve all of Alberta’s schools and school authorities. The demonstration showed how ADLC provides access for schools from across the province to register their students in courses with no fees. In addition, any Alberta classroom or online teacher can use curriculum resources created and maintained by ADLC.
The services provided by ADLC are cost efficient for the province. They level the playing field for all types of Alberta schools, both with traditional and online delivery. There is minimal administrative effort required and minimal ‘red tape’.
Responses from a survey of Distance Education Facilitators were also shared. Over 700 responses were collected in one week. 78% of respondents indicated that ADLC services are critical (46%) or complementary to (32%) their school’s programming.
ADLC looks forward to a similar visit with Education Minister LaGrange in the weeks to come.
At the regularly scheduled Board meeting on Wednesday, March 18th, Board Chair Tuininga will share the information presented to MLA van Dijken at this visit. Board meeting agenda information is available at https://www.pembinahills.ca/school-board-meetings/.
We will continue to provide updates as we work collaboratively to clarify understanding about ADLC’s critical role as a distance education service provider.