Memorial University is known internationally for its innovative approaches to teaching and learning, especially its legacy of leadership in distance education. Memorial, the only university in Newfoundland and Labrador, has a special responsibility to service all citizens of the province. Distance education has been central to the fulfillment of that mandate and civic responsibility.
In 1969, Memorial offered the first "for academic credit" course in distance education as a result of the creation of the Division of Summer Session, Evening and Off-Campus Courses for Credit. Over the next 45 years the names and the functions of the unit evolved. Core to all activity has been a culture of creativity and innovation. The unit (in all of its manifestations) has been recognized for pushing the boundaries in an effort to ensure equitable university access to all the people in the province.
CITL has been central to the university's mission and mandate since its inception. The university had benefited from early innovators such as Dr. A.M. House and Erin Keough in tele-health, Harvey Weir in K-12 delivery through StemNet, and Drs. Michael Collins, Emir Andrews and recently Brent Snook in distance education course development. These innovators have been supported by a culture of creativity and innovation in the academic support units, like CITL and others.
In addition to its activities in support of distance education and online learning, the unit has always provided support to the teaching and learning aspect of the university more widely. Beginning with media support, then classroom design and support, and the creation of the educator development team in 1997, and finally, the significant support to on-campus use of the learning management system (technology-enabled learning), the unit has been able to leverage its core expertise to the entire institution. This expertise is also leveraged to a unique relationship with the K-12 system through the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI). This combined expertise and support places Memorial University in a position of strength over other Canadian universities with respect to online learning, and the practices of teaching and learning.
As we celebrate over 45 years of service of credit based offerings to the university and external community, it is fitting for us to reflect on where we have been, where we are, and where we go next.
Our strategic plan is available online.