College of the North Atlantic (CNA) was presented with two awards at the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Awards of Excellence last evening in Winnipeg, as part of the CICan 2015 Conference.
The theme of the conference, Leading Change
, explored how colleges and institutes lead change through innovative practices and approaches in teaching and learning, applied research and engagement with business, industry and community partners. It was only fitting that CNA’s innovative blended learning offering of the Heavy Duty Equipment Technician (HDET) program was recognized for Program Excellence, and its instructor Greg Ryan was recognized for Teaching Excellence.
The HDET program combined a group of eager but geographically isolated apprentices in Labrador West, an innovative instructor, and a creative use of technology to create an engaged class which seamlessly integrated students from two separate locations. HDET apprentices from Labrador West remained in their community to complete their entire classroom training, and a portion of their practical training, under the direct supervision of an HDET program instructor at the Bay St. George campus in Stephenville Crossing some 1,600 kilometres away.
Ryan, who had less than two years of formal teaching experience before proposing the blended learning model, says he is especially honoured to have been selected for Teaching Excellence through CICan.
“You give up a lot of yourself when you are devoted to a program like this, ensuring it’s successful for students and the institution,” said Ryan. “It is a great feeling to win a teaching excellence award. While I’ve been sent around North America to accept awards for our program, and I’m proud of the program receiving those awards, this award means more to me, mainly because it acknowledges my personal dedication to students and their learning.”
The first award for this blended learning model came in 2013 from the National University Technology Network (NUTN). The college received the Shirley Davis Award for Excellence in Blended Learning which is part of NUTN’s much sought after international awards program. The award recognizes significant contributions, innovation and leadership by individuals and organizations in applications of technology to teaching and learning in higher education. Later that same year, CNA was the recipient of the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) Effective Practice Award from the leading professional online learning society. The Sloan-C awards program recognizes outstanding achievement in asynchronous learning networks.
CNA’s reputation has been elevated as a result of the blended learning model and while presenting at conferences in Canada, Ryan has been approached by individuals, groups and organizations that are waiting for CNA’s blended learning pilot to leave the provincial borders.
CNA President and CEO, Ann Marie Vaughan, says awards such as those from CICan are a testament to how the college is changing the future of program delivery in this country.
”At CNA our mandate is to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to embark on a career and help meet the labour force needs of our province’s businesses and industries – and we hold fast on that mandate,” said Vaughan. “This project has not only had an impact on the way we deliver programming as an institution, but it has raised the reputation of CNA provincially, nationally and internationally. Greg is someone who is going to have incredible impact on how we think about teaching and delivery in colleges and institutes in Canada for the years to come. His initiative and dedication are unparalleled and his actions are the epitome of excellence in teaching.”
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic