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Feb 14, 2017 08:02 AM EST

Northern College has confirmed its partnership with two other Canadian institutions. The schools will be collaborating on a new online education program. In its official website, Northern College will be working with Algoma University and Durham College to develop a new online Bachelor of Computer Science bridging program. The project's funding is confirmed to total $307,735, which is provided by eCampusOntario.

The program will be the first in Ontario. An online bridging program will be developed for students to move up from Computer Engineering Technician diploma programs at Ontario Colleges to Bachelor of Computer Science degree programs. Currently, there is still no online program that allows learners to move between the schools.

The Bachelor of Computer Science bridging program is intended to remove geographical barriers for students completing their degrees across the province. Particularly, it is for students from rural and remote communities in Northern Ontario, where access is a challenge.

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Dr. Audrey J. Penner, Vice President for Academic and Student Success at Northern College said that the collaboration is expected to "ensure quality, accessible education." It will build on knowledge and expertise that students have gained from the colleges involved and is intended to support under-served students.

It will comprise of six three-credit courses which will be completed in two academic terms. Northern College and Algoma University will be providing subject matter expertise in computer programming and online learning while Durham College will be focusing on online design techniques and interactive multimedia.

Qualified graduates of Computer Engineering Technician diploma programs throughout the Ontario system will be eligible for admission to the program. The first batch of students will be starting in the fall of 2018.

According to Dr. Richard McCutcheon, Academic Dean at Algoma University, this collaborative effort is brought about by the successful partnership between the institution and Northern College. He added that Durham College's involvement "further enhances the possibilities provided by this initiative.

Dr. Elaine Popp, Durham College's Academic Vice President, also expressed her excitement for the partnership. The initiative is expected to support student mobility and make it easier for students to complete their degrees.

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