Mon | Nov 20, 2017

Husband, wife provide virtual learning for CSEC students

Published:Sunday | August 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Ricardo Thompson and his wife, Nichole Crawford-Thompson, creators of the online learning website, www.niritech.co. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Sheldon Williams, Gleaner Writer

Students preparing for Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations next academic year will have a new option that will allow them to attend classes without leaving their homes through the launch of e-learning website www.niritech.co.

The husband and wife team of educator Nichole Crawford-Thompson and software engineer Ricardo Thompson, have combined their talents to launch the virtual learning environment and provide an alternative option to the more traditional form of pedagogy.

The site will allow students to attend live classes anywhere in the world they may be after registration.

"There are no borders to learning. You know there was a time when, as a teacher, you struggled to get content in the classroom. Now you don't have to worry about that anymore. It is all accessible online, that is what technology has done. Now you can take your classes to Australia and Egypt," Crawford-Thompson said as she and her husband carried out a demonstration of the site for The Sunday Gleaner last week.

She shared an experience of one of her former high school students highlighting his frustration with attending regular classes. This, she said, motivated her to make an attempt to diversify learning.

"I had a student who told me, 'Miss, can't you just inject the notes into my arm? Why do I have to come to class?'".

Crawford-Thompson said the learning techniques to be used will include videos along with other methods students are more familiar with in regular classrooms.

"While you are showing a video, the students are seeing it on their screens. For example, you go to teach a class and the teacher brings a PowerPoint and brings that equipment to set up learning, it's right here in the live class," she outlined.

"We can also do group work. We can break them up into groups and have them do work in different breakout rooms. You can ask questions, you can do polls, they can give you feedback through the chat on the site, and you can allow them to speak and the entire class hears."

DIVIDED IN TWO SEMESTERS

Niritech's CSEC Track (online classes) will be divided into two semesters spanning eight months.

The Thompsons said students preparing for January exams can register for classes from the summer semester in May through to August until the end of the fall semester from September to December. Those who are focusing on the June examinations can register for classes from the beginning of the fall semester in September to December until the end of the spring semester, which runs from January to April.

Crawford-Thompson explained: "Students will attend their live online class for a total of two sessions per week. Each session will last for one hour. In addition to attending live online classes, students will be able to follow weekly lessons which include notes, videos, assigned weekly assignments, group activities, quizzes, mid-semester exams and a mock exam which can be found on our e-Institute Learning portal." Lessons will be taught by teachers from across the world.

"Our classes will be taught not just by teachers in Jamaica, but by teachers all over the Caribbean and from the United States and Canada who have subscribed," Thompson outlined.

Registration opened on August 11 and early applicants have been given a chance to win a tablet computer.

Classes will begin on September 8. There will be an open house today where persons can log on and meet the teachers. The total cost for the eight-month school term is $22,000, but payment plans are available with persons being able to pay $11,000 per semester or as low as $3,000 on a special plan.

sheldon.williams@gleanerjm.com