Technology and timing are rapidly changing the way continuing education is delivered as schools think outside the box to make programs work for second-career students.
The University of Alberta took the bold step of creating a travelling library to bring the university to ordinary people way back in 1912. Today it’s drawing inspiration from the TV game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Christie Schultz, the executive director of the learning engagement office, says it borrows the “ask the audience” feature to allow learners to provide real-time feedback to lecturers about comprehension levels, questions and to connect real-world events to classroom issues.
“You can see the answers your classmates are putting up and you can have a discussion about those responses,” she says.
The university also uses “synchronous web conferencing” to bring leading global experts into the classroom via the Internet.
Guillermo Acosta, the director of professional and continuing education at Humber College’s business school, says his college is taking the classroom into the boardroom to give students a real-life taste of business.
“The ideas that they learn are really fresh and useful,” he says.
“There is no better example of real, practical application of the theory than when you can go [to a business],” Acosta says. “It also opens opportunities for networking for students.”
Humber also has three annual intakes of students in the summer, fall and spring, to create more flexible start times for working students.