TIMMINS, ON: Dr. Audrey J. Penner, Vice President, Academic and Student Success at Northern College has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the newly-created Ontario Online Learning Consortium.
The consortium will allow participating colleges and universities to share innovations, insights and best practices in online education delivery. It will also serve as a central body to advocate for technology-enabled learning development and adoption.
Dr. Penner was one of two college vice presidents appointed to the consortium’s inaugural Board of Directors. Penner has extensive experience developing, implementing and evaluating online courses and programs, both as an administrator and instructor. She currently teaches educators at a Master’s level using technology-enabled methods.
“Over the past few decades, technology has profoundly challenged our traditional ideas about education,” says Penner. “Students today are able to attend a variety of courses and programs regardless of their location or schedule. The range of what we can offer through technology-enabled platforms is only going to grow as new technologies are developed. The Ontario Online Learning Consortium is going to ensure that Ontario’s post-secondary institutions are at the forefront of developing and utilizing these technologies.”
Northern College has long-established expertise in online and technology-enabled learning. Due to the college’s small class sizes and distant campus locations, technologies like e-learning and video conferencing have been standard practice at the college for many years. Many colleges in larger urban centres are only now starting to use these technologies.
Northern is currently working in collaboration with Loyalist College to develop a pair of online surveying courses where students enter a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and learn using virtual avatars. The fully 3D VLE allows students to interact with virtual surveying equipment that functions identically to real equipment they will find in the field.
“Our commitment to providing quality online learning options is rooted in our commitment to increasing access to post-secondary education,” says Fred Gibbons, President of Northern College. “Northern College serves a large geographic area, and we have long embraced new technologies in order to deliver high-quality education throughout our area. We are pleased that the appointment of Dr. Penner to the Ontario Online Learn Consortium’s Board of Directors will allow us to share our expertise in this field with other institutions in the province.”
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