Greetings from the Chair
O! this learning, what a thing it is. -- WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
Another big change for the Board, which took place over the summer, is a turnover in staff. We said a sad farewell to Gwyn Butler, and welcomed our new Administrative Assistant, Shelley Martell. We're very happy to have Shelley with us. She has been busy the last few months facing all the challenges of learning a new job while operating a one-woman office.
The Board will be spending much of the next few months evaluating our two pilot projects - the Regional Resource Network and WebCT. If you have any concerns or comments you would like to share about these projects, or any other CLN activities, we would very much like to hear them. The next CLN Board Meeting will be held November 13 and 14 in Calgary.
CLN Online/WebCT Catching On
By now many Coordinators have taken part in the WebCT training at their Fall Regional Resource meetings. For those Coordinators who haven't, it is a good idea to try to navigate through the site on your own by following the steps in the user manual you received back in August, or by pairing up with a nearby coordinator who has had the training.
Bette Gray, CLN Online's moderator, reassures Coordinators that every year hundreds of adults in distance education learn how to use WebCT without any face-to-face instruction at all.
"If you're not sure how to use a specific feature, click on the online HELP button, or just experiment to see what happens," said Bette. "One of the secrets to learning how to use the Internet is to imitate how the younger 'Net' generation approaches computers - they don't wait for a course or manual to play the latest computer game. They just jump right in!"
Bette is well aware of the benefits WebCT can offer Coordinators, as she was a Council Coordinator in the past. She also taught distance education at the University of Alberta for five years and is currently working on her doctorate in online learning.
For those of you who aren't yet familiar with CLN Online it provides Coordinators with a password-protected, online group conferencing environment. In plain language, WebCT is a tool to allow Coordinators, Board members and Branch staff to share ideas and information using the Internet. This can be done via private email, discussion forums and even through live chat from any computer that has Internet access.
"WebCT is a great tool for coordinators since we often feel so isolated in our communities. This is a quick, easy and cost-effective means of staying connected and sharing information," says Vera Calvert, CLN Board Director and Coordinator of the Edson & District C.A.L.C. "When I have tried to collect information from other Coordinators by the phone, I have often found it a frustrating and time-consuming process since we all work such different hours. This is a real time saver, and I can print up the responses for future reference!"
WebCT is rapidly becoming popular with CLN Board Members and Coordinators. Since the site officially opened on June 21, 2000 it has been visited over 1000 times, with over 450 postings. Coordinators who aren't logging on, could be missing some valuable information sharing.
To log on to WebCT simply enter this website address: https://webct.srv.ualberta.ca/SCRIPT/cln/scripts/serve_home. You will be prompted by the computer to enter in your user name and password, which has already been mailed out to each Coordinator. If you have any difficulties with passwords or logging on, please email Bette at email@example.com. Once you're in the site - have fun! Getting around is really as simple as point and click.