Promoting higher education
Kivalliq students take advanced courses in pilot program

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet(Feb 02/00) - Some Kivalliq students are conquering a vast distance to start preparing for post-secondary education.

A pilot distance-education program available online -- designed to give students a chance to obtain higher-level science courses -- kicked off in Rankin Inlet this past month.

The program, which is being funded by the Kivalliq Divisional Education Council, offers accredited science 10 and physics 20 courses.

Steve Wadlow, a distance-educator from Camrose, Alta., is facilitating the program, which has 19 students in the science class and 11 in physics.

The program will run from January until June.

Science students have eight modules to complete, physics students seven.

Wadlow says modules are due about every two weeks, with a final examination on May 25.

"These students will need these classes if they're going onto post-secondary education," says Wadlow.

"They are prerequisites in biology, science and chemistry."

There are five Kivalliq schools involved: Alaittuq high in Rankin Inlet; Whale Cove's Inugluk school; Chesterfield Inlet's Victor Sammurtok; Baker Lake's Jonah Amitnaaq and Coral Harbour's Sakku school.

Wadlow says distance education can be difficult because there's rarely a strong support group involved.

"We're trying to provide a unique situation here where, initially, the kids come to Rankin for a science and a physics camp.

"We spent a great deal of time talking about how they can become effective independent learners."

Craig Myers, 14, is a Grade 9 student from Whale Cove in the science program.

"I got involved because the science I was doing here in Whale Cove wasn't very challenging for me," says Myers.

"I decided I would get my Grade 10 science now, so I wouldn't have to next year.

"I'd like to go to college after graduating and eventually be an electrician."

Amanda Ningeochuk, 15, is a Grade 10 student from Coral Harbour who took the program because she wanted the highest level available.

She intends to go to university someday and is impressed with what she's learned so far.

"I think the program will work if the students work with it the way he (Wadlow) wants," says Ningeochuk.

"I like the e-mail aspect because it will keep me in touch with the other students to see how they're doing.

"There might be ways to help each other with the work."

When Wadlow leaves the Kivalliq, he will keep in touch by e-mailing and conference calls to create regular dialogue with his students.

The students will also have an on-site teacher who will devote a number of classes to them each week to troubleshoot any problems.

"We have a strong support network in place for them," says Wadlow.

"The kids have the opportunity to e-mail each other and it's important for them to understand they're in it together.

"They're a class, despite the distance that separates the communities."