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What does “online learning” look like?

If you have done learning at a distance yourself, you might recall receiving lessons to work through and send off for correction.

Or you may picture children sitting around a kitchen table or a school room in their home working on computers. Although these are facets of online learning, West Coast Adventist School (WCAS) is much more than that! Let’s peek into a couple of online “rooms”!
Members of the Fort St. John church in British Columbia wanted to provide Adventist education for their children, but didn’t have enough children to start a school.

In the spring and summer of 2013, families met with Pastor Cavin Chwyl expressing their desire for Adventist education.
Pastor Chwyl contacted Lee Richards, the principal of WCAS to explore how WCAS might help support the church’s hopes.
By September, 2013, three students had signed up for the new Fort St. John WCAS Learning Centre that meets in the fellowship hall of the church…and by January, their number had grown to five.

Gloria Lansall, the learning centre supervisor and her faithful volunteers work with students in their online classes, providing daily support to help students with their assignments.

Teachers Melanie Kartik and Erin Sutherland provide online instruction and elementary vice-principal Clarissa Long supports these teachers in their quest to provide quality online Adventist education.

Pastor Chwyl explains how WCAS has helped fulfill his church’s desire to provide Adventist education. “West Coast Adventist School has been helpful…they are a phone call away and are accessible. Although there have been bumps in the road of this growing experience, we want to see what has happened at Fort St. John this year expand to the church in Dawson Creek next year!”

Let’s add colour to your picture of the family that has school space in the dining room of their home.

Nicole (grade 7) and Kirsten (grade 10) Wong are two WCAS students who enjoy the freedom that online learning has given them.
Nicole works through her daily assignments with the help of her teacher, Ms. Sutherland and her mom, Iris. She recently completed a project about the Forbidden City in China that she presented to her weekly online class.

She also enjoys vigorous discussion of class topics with her online peers!  Kirsten attends daily, live, online classes that originate in the live classroom in Williams Lake but this semester is trying out one self-paced online course—letting her sleep a little later in the morning than the live class would allow!

Kirsten’s favourite memory of being a WCAS student is her experience at Face2Face week where she traveled to meet her teachers and fellow students in a live classroom for a week.

Because Kirsten and Nicole learn in an online environment, they have the flexibility in their schedules to enjoy a whirlwind life filled with other experiences! Along with a responsibility-building paper route, they are involved in Pathfinders, music lessons (piano and violin for Kirsten and piano and guitar for Nicole), German lessons, fascinating field trips with other students who learn at home, and travel.
Kirsten has parlayed her involvement in the German school to a paid tutoring position, something she may not have be able to do as a student in a brick-and-mortar school.

Why does the Wong family choose West Coast Adventist School when there are other options?

Iris explains. “We choose West Coast Adventist School because it meets our family’s commitment to providing Adventist education, knowing we have met educational standards in a way that fits our lifestyle and our family’s needs.”

By Lisa Stevens, British Columbia Conference Distributed Learning Coordinator

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