Continuity in a time of crisis
In response to the pandemic, CBe-learn decided to make all of its existing course content available to classroom teachers who were struggling to deliver their classes online. D2L’s Brightspace learning management system was the key to this initiative.
“We quickly moved all of the course content from our junior and senior high programs into Brightspace Learning Repository using dynamic linking. The Learning Repository’s dynamic linking feature allowed us to update and adjust the content centrally, without having to edit thousands of individual courses by hand. It also gave classroom teachers a starting point, so they had the content to support their transition to online learning in the early stages of the pandemic.” — Ken Weipert, Principal, CBe-learn
To help address students’ accessibility issues, the Calgary Board of Education loaned out over 5,000 laptops and other devices to students and encouraged local internet service providers to provide free internet access for students who needed it.
Meanwhile, to help classroom teachers get up to speed with both the technical and pedagogical aspects of teaching online, CBe-learn adopted a “train the trainer” strategy. Its experienced educators and course design experts have helped a group of lead teachers gain the necessary skills, and they will now act as the first point of contact and support for other teachers on their teams.
Ken Weipert gives an example: “Courses like career and life management are required for graduation, but they don’t always fit well into a school’s 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday schedule. We used Brightspace to train a group of teachers to teach them in a blended way within community schools. It enabled us to reach thousands more students without adding more teachers to our team.”
Going forward, the Calgary Board of Education is also planning to work with CBe-learn to increase its use of the Brightspace platform for teachers’ professional development.
“There are some serious efficiencies if you don’t have to pull 200 teachers out of their schools and bring them to a central location for leadership training—and during pandemic conditions, we can’t do that anyway! So, we expect our use of Brightspace for professional development will continue to grow.” — Ken Weipert, Principal, CBe-learn