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repositioned in an international context and will grow in demand,” he says. Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Beedie School of Business offers an online graduate diploma in business administration (GDBA), which is equivalent to half of an MBA. Tom Brown, SFU’s director of part-time MBA and GDBA programs, says the diploma program takes about two years to complete and enrols about 100 new students every year who work through modules while using the Canvas online learning management system. “They have a great deal of freedom about when they want to work on the courses,” says Brown. Students who are more introverted by nature may find learning online to be a better fit than a traditional classroom setting, according to Brown. “The quality of the discussions tends to be more thoughtful and more thorough,” he explains. As with any educational program, online learning can involve a learning curve, but students are taken through an orientation to get them accustomed to e-learning. Besides individual study, online learning also entails teamwork and a focus on collaboration and provides

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Avi van Haren, director of product management at Vancouver-based patient engagement software developer Ayogo Health, calls herself a “huge advocate” of online learning | ROB KRUYT

an opportunity for students to discuss their ideas with each other. “People get very close relations with people they work with in an online environment,” says Brown. “It’s a dynamic, interactive, shared environment.” For professionals who have completed degrees and are looking to acquire additional skills and training without a huge time or financial commitment, online certificate learning is a viable option. Vancouver resident Catherine Aung is working toward an environmental monitoring certificate through Prince George’s University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), a program offered fully online. Aung, who has a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the National University of Singapore and runs Green Canada/Asia Consulting Services, says she enjoys the flexible schedule and not having to commute to classes. Originally from Myanmar, Aung says she enrolled in the UNBC program to learn about Canadian environmental laws and regulations. “As professionals, we need to learn continually,” says the 46-year-old. “Lifelong learning motivates me to learn online.” É

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Right Course 2016  
Right Course 2016