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Ashley’s Story: Thriving in a Supported Distance Learning Environment

While it took Ashley time to adjust to the online delivery model, she thoroughly appreciates the flexibility it affords.
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Ashley Sturgeon has accessed her Academic Upgrading courses while travelling. She has accessed them from home. However, her favourite place from which to access her courses is from the Northern Lakes College campus in Peace River. The flexibility of the NLC LIVE Online™ delivery model, which allows her to access her courses from wherever she may be, is part of NLC’s unique Supported Distance Learning (SDL) environment.

Ashley lives in Grimshaw and travels to the Peace River Campus, about a twenty-minute commute. At the time of writing this story, she is in her second year of Academic Upgrading. Upon completion, she intends to enrol in the College’s Educational Assistant Certificate program. “I worked as an Educational Assistant for a year or so and I loved it. In order to continue to work in that capacity, I need a credential.” Ashley intends to stay in the Grimshaw and Peace River area and work for a local school upon graduation.

Of returning to school, Ashley says, “It has been a great experience. I am glad that I had the opportunity to come back when I did. I appreciate it more. When I was a teenager, I disliked school, even though I did not struggle academically. The difference is that I now enjoy the learning process. For example, I love chemistry – I enjoy the mixture of math and science and how understanding chemistry helps to make sense of the world around you.”

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“I had my daughter when I was 17 and left school to raise her,” explains Ashley. Ashley now has three daughters. Over the years, she kept pushing her desire to finish her studies into the future. When she did come back, she had been out of school for 14 years. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to finish my high school diploma.”

While it took Ashley time to adjust to the online delivery model, she thoroughly appreciates the flexibility it affords. “The fact that I can review the class recordings is really helpful. Upon second viewing, I catch things that I missed in class.” Having once tried a correspondence course, Ashley explains that NLC’s SDL model is worlds apart from the correspondence learning model. “Correspondence did not work for me. There was nobody checking up on me, no support, nobody to motivate me. I knew when I came back to school that [the correspondence] model of learning would not work for me. SDL holds me accountable to progress.”

One of the most important aspects of the SDL model is access to a campus resource person whose primary function is to ensure student success. For Ashley, that person is Campus Instructor, Marty Fullerton. “Marty is always checking in with students. He is so friendly and understanding of the struggles an adult learner might face. If you need anything, he will facilitate that as best he can. If he can’t answer a question, he will find someone who can.” 

SPONSORED CONTENT: This Content is made possible by our Sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.