When the pandemic commenced two years ago, there was an enormous effort put forth by the entire College community to respond – to make certain that we continued to deliver the highest calibre learning experience, allowing every learner to achieve their lifelong dreams. 

Starting in the winter of 2020, as programming was shifted to primarily remote delivery, we witnessed the enormous resiliency of our learners. While juggling multiple demands and challenges, learners’ desire to have program flexibility – already a trend – was made abundantly clear. It was a confirmation that our learner-driven strategies – commenced long before COVID-19 – were on the right path – and that building flexibility and choice into our program offerings was highly desirable. 

As outlined in the College’s Learner Driven Plan, the competition for today’s digitally minded, diverse and personalization-craving student body is well underway. We are committed to a strategy that will make Algonquin College a leader in personalized learning and a personalized college experience. 

Our journey toward highly personalized and flexible multimodal learning actually started almost a decade ago, when the Language Institute began practicing this alternate form of program delivery. The College also has long history of remote and online learning – with the launch of our AC Online Campus two years ago marking another significant step forward.  

With this established expertise – and to meet the ever-increasing demands for flexibility and personalized learning – the College initiated a multimodal pilot in the Fall of 2021. As programs continue to develop using this method – the College will be adding more multimodal classrooms over the next decade. 

What is multimodal? 

Multimodal is about anywhere, anytime, anyplace learning. It’s a course delivery method that give students two or three options or “modes” to choose from:  

  1. Participate synchronously, on campus – join live in-person classes at regularly scheduled times 
  1. Participate synchronously, virtually – join classes via web conferencing at regularly scheduled times 
  1. Participate asynchronously, virtually – study on your own schedule while meeting course requirements and deadlines 

You can choose your preferred learning experience based on your needs and life circumstances. Here are some examples of why you might select a particular mode: 

On-campus, in-person synchronous  

  • You get energy from being in the same room as your peers and professor 
  • You have other courses or activities on campus 
  • You have too many distractions at home; being on campus helps you focus during class 
  • You find it easier to build relationships in person 

Virtual synchronous  

  • You feel more comfortable learning virtually  
  • Your child had to stay home sick and you can join your class virtually while they rest 
  • You don’t want to drive to campus during a big weather event or heavy traffic  
  • You want to avoid a long commute 

Virtual asynchronous 

  • You prefer to learn at your own pace and/or at a time other than when the class is scheduled 
  • You have a doctor’s appointment during your regularly scheduled class 
  • You are asked to pick up a lucrative shift during class at your part-time job 
  • You are sick and can’t muster the energy to join the class during its scheduled time 

Each multimodal enhanced classroom is outfitted with the following equipment: 

  • Video camera(s) 
  • Document camera 
  • Array microphone 
  • External monitors to display remote students 

Additional classrooms will be also equipped with cameras and a microphone, and there is particular emphasis placed on audio quality – to ensure learners pick up every nuance from a virtual classroom setting.  

A recent pulse survey conducted with our learners was another confirmation that the vast majority of students are looking for choice and flexibility in how they learn. Of course, for those who want the full campus experience – that option will certainly remain as we increase in-person options in line with public health guidance. We are looking forward to the return of our vibrant campus environment, and the in-person connectivity that comes from face-to-face experiences and learning. The choice is totally up to each learner, catered specifically to their individual needs.  

Obtaining feedback from our learners is critical to how multimodal options will evolve – changes and tweaks will be made thanks to their input and feedback on the experience. As more programs and courses are offered in a multimodal option, students will be asked to participate in surveys and focus groups to provide their feedback. 

At its core, our multimodal delivery is all about supporting you in customizing your learning experience to best suit you. For more information, please visit this link.