Eddie invited a number of Tertiary Providers to speak with ePrincipals about courses they are offering on the VLN next year. There was a good turn out from a range of tertiary providers: Telford, NatColl, Northtec, Wintec.
Up for discussion was the outline of courses available, costs, quality assurance, monitoring student achievement and attendance and communicating with schools. We also talked about how we should be promoting these courses not only to our students but to teaching staff and the local community.
Telford Rural Polytech specialises in Agriculture, Equine & Forestry. They also provide Horticulure & Apicultue courses. They have been providing classes to our students across the country through the VLN for a number of years.Star Funding $19 credit for courses. Practicals are FTs funded $85 for all included (except for travel). They deliver blended learning through VC & Moodle. Adult students can enrol in these classes (though they have to pay for it themselves - STAR funding doesn't cover)
Wintec also provides courses that can be Star funded
The Tourism course has been running for some time & is self paced through Moodle, will also use Adobe Connect & VC. There are also Floristry, ECE unit standards.
We have asked them to look at providing a L4 Computing course for our North Island students similar to one run by Otago Polytechnic.
NatColl has a focus on digital media with a vocational direction.
In 2009 they will begin offering short courses through the VLN using Adobe Connect as a delivery tool. First offerings will be basic graphic design (Introduction to Photoshop), no experience necessary but need access to a computer & basic computer skills; Indesign - graphic layout & design. Short courses (2 hours week/ 10 weeks) $200 - schools can use STAR funding. There are no NCEA credits attached to their courses which we thought would put off some students. I can see an opportunity for PD for our teachers - in particular many at Patea have expressed an interest in learning to use PhotoShop and teachers at Stratford who use Indesign and there is a small group of them who use it to create the school magazine.Open to requests for customing courses for schools.
NatColl also talked about their Creating Futures programme which Waitara has students enrolled in. (Thanks to NatColl for awarding a scholarship worth $5900 to our elearning student Duke - who i wrote about recently) Another programme they are trialling is iCreate - a year long foundation course in digital media being trialled. Covering things such as animation (blender), moviemaker, photoshop etc.
There was some discussion around the concern about access to software - schools have educational pricing on this software & can use concurrent licencing. We expressed an interest in them developing more courses that used open source software.
Northtec cam along just an introduction. They are beginning to realise the potential of the Virtual Learning Network and will get back to us soon with some possible offerings.
So in Taranaki? WITT - what are you doing??? I visited them a couple of months ago to promote the VLN and opportunities to collaborate with TaraNet. They seemed really interested at the time and there was some talk about meeting the needs of Schools Plus. I have had no follow up from them since this time - perhaps its time for another visit...
We closed the meeting with some discussion around TEC rules of funding to regions. This has been an obstacle for Dunedin Polytech providing their computing course in other areas. Our students and others in the North Island have been keen to enrol in this course but unable to. Wintec talked about the protocols they have about not stepping into other areas & poaching students. The Tertiaries said that they try to work around this if they can & we need to lobby TEC to make this rule more flexible for those of us who are teaching & learning across geographical boundaries.