"For me, every adult learner is in his or her way courageous. Many of them undertake a learning journey despite everything that is usually going on in their lives such as work, family, or sometimes even a crisis. It is always inspiring to witness."
Andrew Hahn, Course Facilitator
For the last two decades, the Centre for Adult Education and Community Outreach (CAECO) in the Faculty of Education at Brock University has been providing experienced and aspiring adult educators the knowledge and skills to enhance their work with learners in adult teaching and learning contexts.
Offering a BEd as well as a certificate in adult education, CAECO is proud to offer one of Canada’s most recognized adult education programs. Incorporating innovative e-learning technologies and the expertise of faculty and subject matter specialists, and the talents of facilitators, the Centre offers a robust academic program of courses exploring theories and practices of:
Courses are offered in flexible study options to meet the needs of a diverse group of students; adults managing the complexities of life who, “often work during the day, juggle family responsibilities or are trying to transition into a new field in mid-career,” says Director Dr. Sharon Abbey.
CAECO offers learners options of engaging in small, site-based courses or entirely online courses on a part-time schedule. This allows them to balance academic, professional and personal life goals.
In addition to foundational core courses, the program also offers a variety of Adult Education electives – all available online – that allow students to specialize their skills. With courses like “Geragogy: Educating the Third Age Learner”, “Gender Issues in Adult Learning”, “Learning in Digital Contexts”, “Adult Learning Disabilities” and “Intercultural Communication in Adult Education”, opportunities for professional development and enrichment are not limited to teaching in a classroom.
CAECO graduates apply their degrees in many sectors, including business, industry, health care, government, financial services and manufacturing, where training and development require a solid foundation in the principles and practices of adult education.
Faculty members develop courses in cooperation with subject matter specialists. Course facilitators lead learners through course materials that are continually revised and refined to ensure currency and relevancy.
“CAECO hires facilitators who are specialists in their field, many of whom have remained committed to our program for many years,” says Abbey. “They encourage active self-directed learning by working closely with learners to set relevant goals and evaluate their progress.”
According to Course Facilitator Andrew Han, who has taught most of the program’s core courses, he is motivated by the drive shown by his students on a regular basis. “For me, every adult learner is in his or her way courageous,” he said. “Many of them undertake a learning journey despite everything that is usually going on in their lives such as work, family, or sometimes even a crisis. It is always inspiring to witness.”
Even with a long history in adult education, Abbey says there are no signs of slowing down curriculum development and outreach work. Much like its student body, CAECO realizes the need to evolve to match an ever-changing landscape. With a small but dedicated team of staff, facilitators and faculty, the program looks to expand its reach into new markets.
“I find it exciting to consider the endless possibilities CAECO is capable of taking from vision to reality,” says Abbey. “Currently, we are exploring the global market and third-age learning.” Global Initiatives Coordinator Kathy Rose embraces the challenge to create intercultural and transnational collaboration in this increasingly interactive world.
“The CAECO program delivery model provides diverse classroom, field and work experience opportunities beyond boundaries and borders for adult learners and facilitators,” she says.
“I am extremely proud that CAECO is recognized, by both Brock University and adult education communities across Canada, for its exceptional online undergraduate degree program,” says Abbey. For more information on the Centre for Adult Education and Community Outreach, visit www.brocku. ca/education/futurestudents/adulted
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