Oct. 8, 2002
FREDERICTON (CNB) -- The Department of Education, through its TeleEducation NB branch, will lead Atlantic Canada's contribution to a national research and development initiative called eduSourceCanada, Education Minister Dennis Furlong announced today.
"This project will further enhance New Brunswick's already strong reputation as a leader in the digital world," Furlong said. "We are all very proud of the role TeleEducation New Brunswick will play in this major project."
The eduSourceCanada project will bring together Canada's leading experts in the field of e-learning. They will collaborate on complementary work packages that together will enable educators to more easily reuse and exchange course content stored in digital form as 'learning objects.' TeleEducation NB and other participants from the Atlantic Provinces will be responsible for developing the Repositories Content Development and the Digital Rights Management packages and will be co-participants in the Metadata package.
"This has the potential to significantly decrease the costs of developing high quality online courses," Furlong said. "This is extremely important to our province, which already offers more online courses per capita than any other jurisdiction in the world. As well, Greater Opportunity: New Brunswick's Prosperity Plan includes goals for e-learning in two of its cornerstone priorities, the Quality Learning Agenda and Skills Training and Retraining. So the work done for eduSourceCanada will contribute directly to these priorities, supporting the expansion of educational opportunities in schools, colleges, universities, community access centres, workplaces and elsewhere."
Furlong said he was pleased to see TeleEducation New Brunswick's expertise in the field of online learning being used to contribute to the cause of education across the country.
"It is important that we work collaboratively on issues that matter to all Canadians," he said. "This initiative will allow us to make an important contribution in the field of education."
Stephen Downes, Senior Research Officer for the e-Learning Research Group of the National Research Council's Institute for Information Technology, said the eduSourceCanada project has brought together Canada's leading experts, researchers and practitioners in the field of e-learning for the purpose of defining and testing a world-class infrastructure for learning object repositories, or collections of learning objects.
"What this means is that learning objects will be created, catalogued and stored in communities across the country and will be linked together digitally so that anyone, anywhere will be able to access them," Downes said.
Business New Brunswick Minister Norman Betts said the research and development work being undertaken by TeleEducation NB and other partners will greatly enhance the Province's ability to achieve its goals for e-learning.
"New Brunswick is embracing innovation by prioritizing e-learning to ensure that we, as a province, fully exploit the opportunities of this new information revolution," Betts said. "By joining forces with a team of Canada's finest researchers, e-learning experts and practitioners, we will ensure that New Brunswick stays globally competitive in the digital world. Business New Brunswick is very pleased to have collaborated with TeleEducation NB and the National Research Council in bringing this project to the Atlantic region."
Business New Brunswick will contribute $250,000 to the project.
EduSourceCanada is sponsored in part through a cost-shared grant from CANARIE, Canada's advanced Internet development organization, which is contributing $4.25 million, and by matching funding provided by each participating partner. The Canadian Repository Action Group (CRAG), a consortium of Canadian e-learning experts, will lead the work nationally. CRAG's primary partners include New Media Innovation Centre, Netera Alliance, Athabasca University, University of Waterloo, TéléUniversité and TeleEducation NB. Primary partners will also involve representatives of the e-learning community in both the private and public sectors across Canada.
Regional associates involved in the project include the New Brunswick Department of Education (K-12 sector and TeleEducation NB), the National Research Council's Moncton-based e-Learning Research Group, eNB.ca, l'Université de Moncton, the University of New Brunswick, the N.B. Department of Training and Employment Development, New Brunswick Community College, College of North Atlantic, Nova Scotia Community College, Holland College and local and regional private sector companies including E-COM, Mosaic Technologies Corporation, IDON East and Future Learning Inc. The work of the national and regional teams will begin as early as September 2002 and is scheduled for completion by March 2004.
TeleEducation NB provides direction and expertise in the practical application and integration of instructional methods and technologies for e-learning.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Steven Benteau, communications, Department of Education, 506-444-4714; Margot Chiasson, TeleEducation NB, Department of Education, 506-869-6004; Judy Cole, communications, Business New Brunswick, 506-444-4983.