Collaboration in a Competitive Environment


Charles Coe

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology




This presentation describes a collaborative project between the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and Red Deer College Computer Systems Technology programs. The project involves developing WWW based instructional materials that can be shared by both programs. The programs are very different in size and architecture but have a large amount of common content. Both programs are accredited by the Canadian Information Processing Society and their graduates work in the same job market. Currently, each program does significant work maintaining currency in the subject matter taught. This involves continual staff skill upgrading and rebuilding of course materials. Both programs have significantly more applications for student positions than the programs can handle. The instructional material being developed will be suitable for distance delivery or classroom delivery. The project promises the sharing of the development of common materials and the ability to provide access to the program for students who currently cannot be served by the programs.

Core instructional material is being developed as self-contained instructional components, each component having built-in exercises and testing for successful understanding. The components are then combined together in different ways to produce different courses. The components can be customized to meet the specific needs of the individual programs by adding additional readings, assignments and tests. These additions will allow the programs to appropriately orient the material to their environment. It will also allow the material to be used in different programs that share common content but put it in a different context. For example teaching a programming language to computing students compared with teaching it to engineering students.

The instructional components are stored on a WEB server and the course architectures and student management material on a database server. Different courses can be built using the same underlying instructional components. All courses have a common touch and feel, though will have unique identification and their customized materials when delivered. The development and delivery technology used is SQL server running on Windows NT with the simple WEB material developed mainly in FrontPage.

Students will have the option of participating in a number of modes. For example, one student may use the materials for personal upgrading only, another may choose review the materials and complete assessments to receive credit, while another may wish to complete the course and have assess to tutorial support to provide a more directed learning environment. There is even the option of a student just using the test materials as a challenge exam.

The project is designed to initially cover about a quarter of the content of the two computer systems programs. It is hoped that as material is developed for an initial subject area other institutions may wish to join in the project, both using the developed components and providing their own components to the mix. Because of the design of the system there is no limit as to the subject matter, or the institutes that may be involved.

This work is supported by the of the Alberta Advanced Education and Career Development Learning Enhancement Envelope (LEE) funding and contributions from both institutions.



About the Speaker ...

Charles Coe is the Coordinator of CST on the Web, which is an initiative of the Computer Systems Technology programs at both the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), and Red Deer College (RDC). Charles is an instructor at NAIT although much of his time is spent coordinating a team of Co-op students that convert instructional materials to web format.


Charles Coe

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Edmonton, Alberta T5G 2R1

Work phone: (780)471-8602

Home phone: (780)471-8608

Fax: (780)471-8843