From closing campus doors to opening up online forums, academia has been running at top speed to shift to a new normal in the midst of a pandemic. With physical distancing practices in full effect, the classroom has gone virtual.
This is familiar territory for Sarnia-based startup, Online & Digital Education Academy (ODEA), who has been enabling innovative, technology-driven learning experiences since launching their gamified business courseware in 2019.
An entrepreneur, educator, and parent himself, ODEA President Brian Maxfield has become completely immersed in the adjustments that the coronavirus outbreak has forced teachers, children, and parents to adopt. He sees ODEA’s online course, “The Foundations of Business”, as a unique opportunity to teach valuable skills, no matter the learning level.
This business simulation game has marked a milestone in Ontario’s educational landscape. Currently, college students can learn the ropes of entrepreneurship through this curriculum-approved course, while earning college credit. Equipped with overwhelmingly positive feedback and new demand for digital education tools, ODEA is ready to expand their offerings.
With precautions around the coronavirus outbreak keeping learning-aged children and their caretakers within the confines of their homes, Maxfield and team are opening up a modified version of this course to help grades 7-12, as well as interested parents, understand the fundamentals of entrepreneurship with expert instruction and insights.
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“Now, more than ever, we need to engage students in a way that works. We need to play in their world,” says Maxfield. With this approach, ODEA has done an exemplary job of engaging and connecting students to a tried-and-true entrepreneurial toolkit. Now, with an accessible option for new learners, they’re committed to helping the masses do the same.
“Parents especially are having a hard time right now. They’re being put in a completely different role than they might be used to, often tasked with teaching courseware that might be unfamiliar to them,” he adds. Parents are also likely to be under heightened stress, with business ecosystems around the world having to answer the calls of unpredictable conditions. Many have halted operations, moved their work online, or closed up shop altogether.
Maxfield is optimistic about the potential outcomes of releasing the course to the public. “When we get out on the other side of this, we want people to be equipped with the skills they need to make money and keep it. Learning about the business landscape could actually create more small businesses and help really strengthen the economy as a result.”
Students who are currently enrolled in an Ontario college can still register for the full “Foundations of Business” course for college credit on the OntarioLearn platform. Speak with your college’s director of e-learning for more information.
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