The COVID-19 Pandemic changed the landscape for everyone this spring. For those of us in adult education, we recognized the need to respond swiftly and creatively in order to continue to deliver the high-quality programming needed to support our Métis students, families and communities. The staff collaborated to ensure that our students were able to finish their courses, graduate and move forward on their educational or employment paths.
DTI staff determined the need for consistency in programs moving forward in this new world of physical distancing, and implemented the Brightspace Learning Management System. This platform would allow for staff to help transform educational programming and delivery through the use of a ‘hybrid’ delivery system model, so students could take classes in a blend of online and in-person sessions. Brightspace gives DTI the capacity to deliver all of our programs online if required.
In addition to gaining the ability to provide classes in the hybrid model, DTI students were set up with the appropriate technology to allow them to do their studies at a distance. Adult Basic Education students and students in our longer term skills training programs were set up with chrome books or laptops complete with student emails and the required programs installed and ready to use, to make their transition to online learning as simple as possible.
DTI has made sure to reduce class sizes to allow for a safe distances between students within the classrooms, and have provided reusable masks to every student and staff member, ensuring that additional personal protective equipment and hand sanitizing options are readily available at all learning centres.
Students of Dumont Technical Institute have had a very positive response to the hybrid learning model, as many found the spring incredibly difficult as they felt disconnected from their school family and the supports that in person training provides. Students in our skills training programs also found it difficult to practice their hands-on learning that would have otherwise been taught in a lab setting. Students appreciate the in-person time that they have with their instructors and classmates in the classroom and lab settings and feel more confident in their skill development.