CNA recognized through provincial partnership in distance learning

5/20/2010 12:19:22 PM

L to R: John Baker, President & CEO, Desire2Learn; Dr. Chris Loomis, President and Vice Chancellor pro tempore, Memorial University of Newfoundland; John King, former Chair, Distributed Learning Service, College of the North Atlantic; Ann Marie Vaughan, Director, Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT), Memorial University of Newfoundland; Jim Tuff, Director, Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI), Department of Education

A partnership between Newfoundland and Labrador’s public education institutions has been recognized by the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE) with the 2010 national Award for Excellence and Innovation in Partnership and Collaboration.

“This is the first time in North America that public education providers in one jurisdiction have achieved this level of collaboration and this award recognizes our significant accomplishment,” said the Honourable Darin King, Minister of Education. “Most importantly, this unique partnership benefits all of our secondary and post-secondary distance education students, particularly those in rural areas, by providing a common technology for distance learning. As students transition between educational institutions in the province they can avail of the same distance learning software throughout their education.”

The Department of Education’s Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI), Memorial University’s Distance Education and Learning Technologies and College of the North Atlantic’s Distributed Learning partnered with Desire2Learn Incorporated, a world leading provider of mission-critical enterprise eLearning solutions. Through the partnership, the three education providers currently offer a province-wide system that supports distance education regardless of location, time or educational level. This enables ease of transition and access between institutions for students; supports rural-based education development and delivery and contributes to a province-wide learning culture. The Provincial Government invested $1.3 million for the initiative.

The unique partnership originated in part from the Provincial Government’s White Paper on Post-Secondary Education, which called for greater collaboration among publicly funded education providers in the province. Recognizing the need for updated technology, the education providers identified an opportunity to select a common learning management system to support all distance education in the province.

“As a result of this partnership, Memorial University and the provincial education system have built a reputation as leaders in the field of distance education,” said Ann Marie Vaughan, Director of Memorial University’s Distance Education and Learning Technologies. “Not only has the collaboration with Desire2Learn allowed us to enhance teaching and learning on campus, but most importantly it means people in rural parts of the province have access to a university education that they wouldn’t otherwise have. This has made a tremendous impact on the opportunities available to our learners, and has also had a positive effect on their families and the communities in which they live.”

The award, which recognizes initiatives that contribute to supporting open and distance education within the primary, secondary and post secondary sectors, was received on May 18 at the 2010 CNIE conference in Saint John, New Brunswick. This is the second award the partnership has received. The first was the international 2009 Desire2EXCEL Community Service Award.

"The new system is providing a quality online learning experience for our students,” said John King, former Chair of Distributed Learning at College of the North Atlantic. “It gives them greater access to course materials and it is a common platform with other provincial online education systems. We are very pleased to have been recognized for this partnership, but the real winners are our students."

The Provincial Government has made significant investments to enhance distance learning opportunities in the K-12 system and post-secondary education systems. This includes $2.2 million for computer replacements in the K-12 system; $1.5 million over a three-year period for a technology integration plan and $1.5 million for Memorial University to increase the number of courses available through distance education.

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Media contacts:

Roger Hulan
Communications Specialist
College of the North Atlantic


Tara Power
Director of Communications
Department of Education
709-729-0048, 727-5953


Courtenay Griffin
Communications Coordinator
Distance Education and Learning Technologies
Memorial University