Red Deer College students will have another way to connect with their school this year. College officials announced on Wednesday a new RDC application for BlackBerry phones. The college had previously created an app for iPhones.
Soon students will be able to download the new technology for free, allowing them to find out information on their timetables and classes, give them a map and show them how to get to where they need to go. Students will be able to follow the RDC Kings and Queens schedules and RDC will have the ability to contact students quickly in an emergency situation.
RDC president Joel Ward said the Blackberry application is the first of its kind in Canada for students. “We’re on Twitter, we’re on Facebook and all of the new social media. All will be available to our students. That is the way they want to be communicated with and that is the way that we decided we would go to make sure they can access everything they need whenever they need it,” Ward said.
It comes at the perfect time, with enrolment numbers up again this year at RDC.
Last year’s enrolment saw a 10 per cent increase, moving to 7,800 full-time equivalent students. This school year, numbers are up by more than two per cent, with around 8,000 full-time equivalent students at RDC. Those numbers don’t include the 16,000 students who attend the Series: Summer School of the Arts, band and other camps or the between 13,000 to 15,000 students who take one of the community classes offered through the college during the year.
RDC is working to improve its facilities and expand, with space in the downtown core. College officials expect to announce more details on how the space will be used on Sept. 21. “It will be huge for downtown development and huge for Red Deer College,” Ward said.
The post-secondary institution continues to see a high demand for health-care programs. Gerry Paradis, acting vice president academic, said the nursing program at RDC is always full, with a long waiting list. This year, more students have been accepted into the practical nurse program and the health-care aid program. The trades programs for machinists, millwrights and rig techs have expanded. The college is also offering a new medical lab assistant program and two new computer tech programs in information systems and computer systems tech.
RDC hasn’t put up fees or tuition substantially this year, only increasing by the amount allowed by the provincial government. However, RDC Students’ Association president Steven Kwasny said it can still be a challenge for students to make ends meet in the current economy.
He had friends this summer who had to put out 30 resumes as they tried to find a job and he expects like last year at RDC the food bank will again be in high demand. Kwasny said one thing that has helped students is housing being more available.