MDLC embraces online delivery during COVID-19

Mountain District Learning Centre (MDLC) moved to remote delivery of all programs in keeping with the directive made by the Victorian Government for schools to close during term two.

The decision was made due to the vulnerability of many of the participants attending the programs and the small size of the venue, making social distancing measures too hard to adhere to. Staff have mostly worked from home with a small number of staff remaining on site.

Where possible, accredited education programs including the English Language Programs, The Cottage Program and VCAL and pre-accredited programs continued with a mixture of Zoom classroom meetings with teachers, pre-prepared workbooks, contact via email/phone/Facetime/Facebook and Google Classroom and Drive programs. Laptops have been made available to students where needed. Youth workers and teachers support students each ‘school’ day.

English Language Program

This year a new certificate level English language program has been added to the scope of courses offered. It is the preliminary course in spoken and written English and caters for students who have little or no English language skills.

The class is led by a new staff member, Helen, who speaks Chinese as most of the clients at this level are from China. All classes enjoyed a trip to the Blue Lotus water gardens on 11 March just before the pandemic was declared. The classes that usually take place in Boronia library had to transition very quickly to remote delivery as the library shut down non-essential activities on 17 March. Everyone moved to the new format with only a
few minor glitches and some students even re- engaged with the program.

Looking to Reconnect to work or education?

MDLC is a provider of the Victorian Government’s Reconnect program offering additional support for people who have found themselves outside education and employment. Through Reconnect MDLC can help people re-engage with education or training that is right for them.

Kerri and Rachael from The Reconnect Team are very much involved in keeping the program running smoothly.

Rachael explains, ‘We are doing nicely with getting our target numbers for Reconnect. We currently have three places left for anyone age between 17- 64 years of age who are disengaged from education, have not completed year 12 or equivalent and are not employed.

If you would like any information on the Reconnect program, contact the office. We are keeping in contact with our Reconnect participants via phone and online. Most seem to be in good spirits and keeping engaged with their learning via online means.’

Kerri from Community Development adds: ‘The current projects have been rejigged from face to face contact to online. Several refurbished laptops will be going out to program participants at Community Housing Limited in Ferntree Gully, who we are working closely with to engage the residents who have low-level literacy skills. I have been promoting
services and free online workshops across social media platforms with great success.’

The focus during term two has been to maintain connections with students and participants via phone or internet to ensure everyone is supported throughout the pandemic. Some courses have been offered free to the public.

Information is available via the MDLC website  and MDLC Facebook page.

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