October 12, 1999: Bridging curriculum prepares students for the world of employment

      October 12, 1999
      Contact:  David Bernard, program coordinator
      Tel:  (604)  986-1911, 2488

      A new kind of learning is being offered to Environmental Science students at North Vancouver’s Capilano College.

      The one-year, post-graduate diploma program (ENSC) has, for the past six years, offered classroom studies with applied projects, field and laboratory investigations and a four-month practicum. This is a dynamic and successful combination, but until last year, students were still viewing courses more as the usual burden than an opportunity. This year, a new bridging curriculum hopes to address that problem by making students more proactive in their learning.

      "The bridging curriculum is designed to encourage a culture of self-directed, graduate level learning on the part of ENSC students at Capilano College," says David Bernard, leader of the bridging curriculum initiative. "It also provides our diverse faculty with an opportunity to fine-tune individual course designs and materials to help ensure a more integrated program."

      The Environmental Science bridging curriculum is a unifying theme that involves students and teachers. Courses are taught by environmental professionals who serve as part-time faculty while maintaining an active presence in fields such as environmental law, toxicology, applied ecology and environmental planning. The revamped program hopes to improve the degree to which students can adapt and apply their academic skills and knowledge to the applied science arena.

      "We want to help students think more creatively," says Dr. Sarah Groves, ENSC program coordinator. "Course participants will put together a portfolio that may include a report, a geographic map made in a computer class, a slide show, that sort of thing. At the end of the year, they can use these materials to better showcase and market their knowledge. Creating the portfolio will also assist students in acquiring a better understanding of the value and contributions of each course and activity to their overall education."

      Capilano College serves the communities of the Lower Mainland, Howe Sound, and the Sunshine Coast through campuses in North Vancouver, Squamish and Sechelt. Enrolment totals 7,000 students in credit programs each term with and additional 7,000 people taking non-credit courses annually.

      For more information, contact David Bernard, ENSC program co-coordinator, at (604) 986-1911, local 2488.