The COVID-19 pandemic, in a unique way, helped Miae Choi become even better at her future profession.
The Okanagan College Education Assistant student couldn’t complete all of the program in person due to the pandemic, so she got a quick and substantial lesson in online learning that will only help her down the road.
“It was really a great experience for me, because in the future I have to help students online as well, so I’m very comfortable doing it online,” Choi says. “Unexpectedly, I got some extra learning.”
Okanagan College’s certified Education Assistant Program will be conducted online once again this fall, so the online learning will be front and centre in more ways than one.
Choi, who has already earned a job placement, has nothing but great things to say about how the program was conducted virtually. Okanagan College uses Blackboard technology, which is similar to Zoom but more conducive to post-secondary learning.
“It turned out to be really good, actually,” Choi says. “I enjoyed it as much as the in-class program.”
Choi especially loved how interactive the software is, making it feel like she was right there in the classroom with her instructors.
“It was very easy to use,” she says. “I can interact easily with instructors and also with other classmates. It was really great.”
The full-time program normally requires students to be in class from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, but the pandemic changed everything. It was replaced by a two-hour online session, and students were required to complete assignments on their own. Choi says she still committed to six hours of learning each day—four on her own and two online.
School District 23 human resources manager Jayne Booth says Okanagan College’s Education Assistant Program has “high standards” and “prepares students well.” The fact the students are already doing their practicums in the district gives them an advantage in the hiring process, too.
“The Okanagan College course particularly prepares them and actually has them integrated into our own schools,” Booth says. “I’m already seeing the quality of candidates that come to us.”
The need for education assistants in the district has been increasing lately, which is why Okanagan College and School District 23 put their heads together and created a September intake of students to offset retirements and maternity leaves after the winter break.
Virtual classes will begin in September, originating from the college’s Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton campuses. Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke will have January intakes as well.
Choi believes hopefuls will get what they want—and more—from the program.
“I couldn’t thank them enough at the end of the program,” Choi says. “It was a really good experience, and I felt I got a really good education.”
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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