Helen Roos had seen D2L’s Brightspace learning platform in action at other institutions, such as the Virtual High School and some of the other colleges in northern Canada.
“When we started looking seriously at learning management systems, Helen just said, ‘I want that one.’ When I saw the Brightspace platform and compared it to the previous software product that I’d been using, I remember thinking, ‘Oh, this is great.’ For example, when I’m building quizzes, I love that it gives me a live preview. As I’m putting in the questions and answers, I can instantly see what the quiz looks like.” – Trish Rennie, Formal Technical Coordinator, iSDC.
Since adopting the Brightspace platform, iSDC has developed over 100 courses, ranging from foundational subjects, such as computer basics, to more specialized courses in areas including occupational health and food safety.
“We look at everything from the traditional social and cultural and perspectives of Inuit communities,” says Trish Rennie. “For example, we’re developing the first program on safe food handling in the Arctic. Food safety is different up here. We don’t really have problems with rodents or pests because it’s too cold. On the other hand, learning to use a traditional tool like an ulu for food preparation is very different from learning to use a standard kitchen knife.”
She adds: “Inuit culture puts emphasis on prior learning and experience, and that matches well with the competency-based learning approach that we’re taking with D2L. The goal isn’t to get a high test score, it’s to demonstrate that you have developed your knowledge, skills, and abilities.”
To that end, iSDC is embracing gamification as a key mechanism in its online courses. Working with D2L Creative Services, iSDC has built interactive graphical storyboards featuring Inuit characters, which helps students confront the kind of tough decisions and real-world scenarios they will face during their work placements. In these activities, there are no wrong answers—just a safe place for students to practice their skills and learn.