James Cook and Malaspina Together Again to Deliver Distance Master's Degree

April 30, 1997 - 5:00pm

Local teachers will soon be able to complete a Master's degree at Malaspina University-College, thanks to a special partnership with James Cook University in Northern Queensland, Australia.

Dr. Mike Grant, dean of Malaspina's education programs, said that the Master of Education in Rural Education degree is being offered in response to the professional development needs of recent graduates teaching in small and isolated communities in B.C.

"James Cook University's program was selected because of its world-wide reputation for leadership in the field of rural education," said Grant. "James Cook University has demonstrated the flexibility needed to enable students to continue living and working in their home communities while completing a graduate degree."

The program consists of three graduate-level subjects and a research thesis.

The subjects will be taught through such distance education methods as two-way video conferencing, teleconferencing, on-screen document sharing, email, fax and internet discussion groups.

Students also will have classroom instruction on campus in Nanaimo, and really adventurous students may want to travel to Townsville, in Australia, to take one or more subjects.

"It's really exciting to offer this program using new educational technologies; without this technology our students would have to travel to institutions in the States to complete their Master's degree in this area of expertise," Grant said.

Malaspina education faculty will teach the subjects in partnership with faculty from James Cook University, and thesis supervisors will be selected from faculties all over campus in response to students' research areas.

Research support and printed library materials will be available through interlibrary loan agreements with other provincial institutions.

Education instructor Jim Montgomery, director of Malaspina'sRural Communities Research and Development Centre, has received a lot of interest in the degree from teachers in rural areas throughout B.C. and the Yukon.

"Rural education as a field of study is very exciting because of the challenges it presents," Montgomery said. "The degree is of interest not only to teachers, but it's being looked at by other professionals practising in rural areas," he said.

Montgomery said that it will be possible to complete the degree in two years. Students will be encouraged to select research areas that complement their work.

Dr. David McSwan, director of James Cook University's Rural Education Research and Development Centre is at Malaspina to work out final details of the agreement.

"This is our first Canadian partnership," said McSwan. He added that this is not the first time James Cook and Malaspina have collaborated on a project.

"I understand from historical records that Captain James Cook and Captain Alejandro Malaspina--after whom our two institutions are named--collaborated on a number of projects in their days, so it's appropriate for our two institutions to work together."

McSwan will be at Malaspina until May 14 to meet with faculty and prospective students and finalize details of the agreement between the two institutions.

For further information on the Master of Education in Rural Education program, please contact Montgomery at Malaspina University-College, 753-3245, local 2161.

Tags: In the Community

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