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October 27, 2017 8:05 pm

Rural Parents Opposed to Videoconferencing

Monday, November 28, 2016 @ 5:50 AM

McBride, B.C. – Some consider it a solution to ensuring rural students receive the credits they need to graduate while some parents call it an example of how kids outside the big city aren’t getting the opportunities they need.

Videoconferencing, or Distance Learning, is on the table for students in McBride and parents there aren’t happy about it.

“We ask that you do not suggest Distance Learning (online learning) as a viable alternative to teachers in front of students,” said Karen Dube, Parent Advisory Council president at McBride Secondary School.

“We send our kids to McBride Centennial and Secondary so that they can learn from their teachers and each other in a dynamic, challenging and interactive environment. If we wanted Distance Learning for our kids, we would choose homeschooling!”

Expanding video-conferencing was one of 14 recommendations made by the Prince George School Board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Rural Education earlier this year. It’s seen as better way to accommodate the needs of rural students and staff.

The issue was raised at a community meeting in McBride which included parents, community members, trustees and senior administration from the Prince George School District last week.

Dube confirmed to 250News following the meeting that a consensus has yet to be reached.

“We didn’t hear solutions directly for that. We talked about how the rural school funding model needs to change at the provincial levels to better support rural schools across the province,” she said.

“Videoconferencing came up but I don’t think we really resolved anything there. Online learning options were also discussed but I wouldn’t say we have anything concrete yet. So, we’re still looking to see what the school board will do for us next year and the years after for course offerings for high school students.”

School board chair Tony Cable was at the meeting and confirmed it’s still an option that’s on the table.

“I know it’s not for all students and many community members aren’t in favour of it but it is a possibility and it does give students a chance to get a biology 12 or physics 11 or courses like that,” he said.

“The other option that our senior staff looked at is the possibility of having a common timetable so if physics 12 was taught at 11 o’clock at PGSS – a student at McBride Secondary could also sit down at 11 o’clock and take that course via teleconferencing.”

Cable continued: “So sometimes people aren’t all that enamoured with videoconferencing and courses online but it is a definite, viable option and it will help students to fulfill their graduation requirements.”

Moving forward, he said trustees will work with senior district staff and will be looking at the long-term facilities report and the impacts it has on McBride.


Videoconferencing is being used very successfully between universities, including the medical program, and from what I understand, it links up distant students in a manner that is cost effective and timely for the instructors. While it might not be the total answer to what a parent feels will be effective for their hight school student, I believe that I’d rather have my tax dollars spent this way.

Good for you parents of McBride. This is a very good point where kids need to get infront of teacher learning. It is of my opinion that this is a problem which is larger than SD 57, it is an issue with the Ministry of Education to deal with.

They are fighting the wrong battle. They need to accept that they will never have the same course offerings as an urban school. The numbers aren’t there. You can’t run Physics for 10 kids, there isn’t the money for it. They should be fighting FOR better video conferencing facilities.

I have to agree with the parents in McBride. There are some applications for videoconferencing. I can see it being used to offer access or increase enrolment in courses that otherwise could not be offered in the district (e.g. language courses other than French and Spanish). But when it comes to core academic classes that are prerequisites for many post secondary programs (such as physics and biology at Tony Cable mentions), there really should be no substitute for having a teacher in the classroom. In my mind, when it comes to core academics, they should be offered in every high school in the province. Anything less represents an inequality to educational access for rural children.

I think you need to look at the balance here..Personally I had to go back and complete my GED and get some upgrades as an adult.. I did a portion of this through distance (online) learning. I got more done in distance learning in 3 months than I did in one or two years of face to face in the school system. And these were even courses which I did terrible at in elementary & highschool. I think the key here is if there was some flexibility in the system where parents and students had flexibility to schedule the theory portion of courses online and the practical exercises in a face to face setting this would be more effective use of time and resources. I also lived in a rural setting when I was a kid and my bus time every day was 4 hours. If there was distance learning available when I was a kid that 4 hours would have been dedicated to learning..

What im trying to get at here is not to throw the preverbal “baby out with the bath water” when it comes to distance learning..


    Distance learning is challenging enough for a motivated adult. I know, as I have completed many courses that way. I also know many people make the attempt and end up not completing the course.

    Think back to when you were in high school. Would distance learning have been successful for you?

    For the majority of teens, I am betting that distance learning will add up to a fail.

I can see doing some courses by videoconferencing, but doesn’t Physics have a lab component?

my2cents2–Have to agree with you. You make a good point.

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