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Video link helps Haida Gwaii students get needed training

HAIDA GWAII Residents of Haida Gwaii know all too well that the elements can and will foil best laid plans. And Northwest Community College (NWCC) students here are no exception. But thanks to the technology of videoconferencing, Early Childhood Education (ECE) students from Haida Gwaii were able to take a needed 3-credit course despite inclement weather cancelling ferry service on the eve of the course offering in Terrace. The course ECE 142 Environments is required for the basic ECE certificate and was delivered in a two-weekend intensive format March 4-5 and March 11-12 with 14 students in Terrace and three students at the Village of Queen Charlotte Campus on Haida Gwaii. Ruth Wheadon, Administrative Assistant on Haida Gwaii, says islands residents have limited travel opportunity during winter months and the travel cost and time away from family can be a barrier to education. Due to a storm on the night of March 2, the ferry between the mainland and Haida Gwaii was cancelled so even if the students had decided to travel to Terrace for the weekend intensive, they would not have been able to do so, Wheadon said. By enabling videoconferencing, Haida Gwaii students Jessie Fletcher, Norina Gladstone and Corrine Pearson obtained the three valuable credits towards their ECE Basic certificate while joining a larger cohort of students and learning in a less isolated location. Jessica Hrechka Fee, ECE Program Coordinator, taught the class in Terrace and Wheadon opened the campus and provided the students with support. It was a lot of work but I really enjoyed it, said Fletcher. We all worked really well together and I learned a lot. The Skidegate Band Council contributed the cost of tuition, fees, and texts for two of the three students. Peter McKay of the Kermode Friendship Society in Terrace and Tawni Davidson, the Early Learning Coordinator with School District 50 on Haida Gwaii, both came and spoke to the class. The Skidegate Nursery School provided a space for Haida Gwaii students to work on their practical portion of the courses. Students do have a month to submit assignments and will continue to work together at the Skidegate Nursery School.

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