Convenience is the Key to Continuing Education

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    Jul 07, 2014
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Convenience is the Key to Continuing Education Photo by Jason White

Within each post-secondary institution, there are various "schools" of study that cater to students' career goals. For example Centennial College offers its students eight such schools and each contains a specific focus. An especially unique school of study at this institution is the School of Continuing Education, which is geared towards students who wish to attend school on a part-time basis. This is appealing, as students with a host of responsibilities don't have to sacrifice giving up any of their duties outside of school. It is so appealing in fact that the School of Continuing Education sees nearly 22,000 learners each year in 160 programs that feature more than 1,200 courses and a 97 per cent learner satisfaction. Many of these learners are returning to school after they have been in the workforce for a number of years, wish to upgrade their credentials in their current field of switch fields totally or graduated from high school years ago and are for the first time pursuing a post-secondary credential. As such, these students have acquired the nickname "mature learners."

Obtaining a Toronto education in this part-time manner can be achieved in three distinct ways. First, there are evening and weekend classes that function just as the full-time classes would. That means students complete assignments, partake in projects and presentations as well as group discussions and field trips. Instructors, however recognize that the needs to mature learners who are returning to school on a part-time basis are different than those of full-time students, who, more often than not, have just graduated from high school and are pursuing an education for the first time. As such, instructors are trained to offer flexible, learner-centered teaching methodologies; provide practical hands-on knowledge to place relevant theory into context and perspective; recognize and respect both the level of maturity and work experience of students; and provide effective instructor to student ratio and an optimal classroom size enabling competent peer interaction. Through the part-time evening and weekend classes students attend programs within areas such as: Business, Communications, Community Services, Engineering and Technology, General Education and Training, and Transportation and Motorcycle.

If, on the other hand, a student's schedule or other responsibilities prevents him or her from attending on-campus classes he or she can enter the virtual classroom and learn at his or her convenience. These online classes are perfect for those who enjoy learning on their own or have full-time jobs and can only study at night or early in the morning. They still get a sense of a class from discussion boards where they can talk to their fellow peers and email communication with their instructors. If, on the other hand a student doesn't have a computer, he or she can opt for print-based correspondence. In this option, materials are mailed to the home of the student who completes assignments, within typically a six-month time frame, on his or her own. In most cases both delivery methods (online and print-based) require that students attend the campus towards the end of their class to write a continuing education final exam that signals the completion of their Toronto education.

Author's Profile

Jason, the author who wrote this article, takes a look at how Centennial College's School of continuing education caters to mature learners who wish to obtain a post-secondary credential. One of the unique aspects of this option is flexibility.

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