Project to rev­o­lu­tionise ed­u­ca­tion de­liv­ery

Midwest Times - - NEWS - Zoe Keenan

Na­gle Catholic Col­lege is tak­ing the lead in an on­line project that ex­perts say could rev­o­lu­tionise de­liv­ery of Catholic ed­u­ca­tion in WA.

Regional stu­dents who do not al­ways have ac­cess to Year 11 and 12 ATAR cour­ses and of­ten have to move lo­ca­tions to com­plete stud­ies will be able to fin­ish their cour­ses on­line as early as next year.

The project sparked from a com­mon prob­lem for Na­gle Catholic Col­lege’s Carnar­von cam­pus, with stu­dents not hav­ing ac­cess to Year 11 and 12 ATAR cour­ses and hav­ing to com­mute to Ger­ald­ton or Perth.

The project has now be­come much big­ger than Na­gle in­tended.

The project is called Vir­tual School Net­work and is led by Na­gle Catholic Col­lege deputy of teach­ing and learn­ing Meredith Roe and a group of ex­perts that is now tack­ling com­mon is­sues that sec­ondary schools have across the State. Ms Roe said Year 11 and 12 ATAR cour­ses were usu­ally taught by spe­cial­ist teach­ers.

“And when you’ve only got four kids do­ing ATAR cour­ses out of 22 kids, you can’t have staff,” she said.

“We’ve come up with a model that re­lies on a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach where a num­ber of Catholic schools in WA con­trib­ute on­line ATAR cour­ses, so they put for­ward a teacher who will cre­ate and de­liver that course on­line to stu­dents.”

The model has never been at­tempted be­fore but with a team of ex­perts in­clud­ing Dr Cathy Ca­vanaugh, an in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned ex­pert in on­line learn­ing, it is set to rev­o­lu­tionise Catholic ed­u­ca­tion. Ms Roe said it had be­come far big­ger than just Na­gle and the orig­i­nal prob­lem that started the project.

“It is about pro­vid­ing eq­uity and ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion, so it doesn’t mat­ter whether you are re­mote, ru­ral or metro,” she said. “This lev­els the play­ing field. “We’re tak­ing the lead be­cause we are the Catholic school in WA who has done the most re­search into this and that, for Ger­ald­ton, I think, is an amaz­ing thing.”

There are eight schools in­volved in Vir­tual School Net­work across WA which have put to­gether 10 cour­ses ready to be de­liv­ered in 2018.

Ms Roe said schools had got on board with ViSN for stu­dents who could not ac­cess tra­di­tional mod­els of school­ing be­cause of mental health is­sues or stu­dents with elite sport­ing com­mit­ments.

Th­ese stu­dents could now ac­cess their school­ing with­out be­ing locked into at­tend­ing.

It is about pro­vid­ing eq­uity and ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion. Meredith Roe

Dr Cathy Ca­vanaugh vis­ited Na­gle Catholic Col­lege ear­lier this month to dis­cuss the pro­gram with deputy of teach­ing and learn­ing Meredith Roe.

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