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N.W.T.'s Aurora College to offer business program via videoconference

For the first time in Aurora College's history, a full program will be taught using videoconferencing technology starting in September.

All business administration courses to be offered via videoconference in September

The Aurora College campus in Inuvik, N.W.T., held a demonstration Monday of the new e-conferencing technology that will be used to deliver its business administration courses. (CBC)

For the first time in Aurora College's history, a full program will be taught through video conferencing technology, a move made to reduce costs and offer more courses to students on their home campuses.

The announcement was made Monday night, as college officials unveiled the new technology which will be rolled out on Aurora College's three campuses across the Northwest Territories.

"It will be very different for students and instructors," says employee Trevor Clarke of the new technology, which works similar to the popular video conferencing program Skype.  

Aurora College adopted the technology after seeing the success of a similar project by the Beaufort Delta Education Council, which used the technology to connect students in remote communities with instructors in Inuvik. 

Trevor Clarke, chair of Aurora College's school of Business and Leadership, says the new way of delivering business administration courses will be "very different" for students and instructors. (CBC)

Starting in September, all of Aurora College's business administration courses will be taught through e-conferencing.

Malcolm Gorrill, who works at the college and graduated from the business administration program in 2011, says the program is a step in the right direction.

"It'll change things," he says. "It's not just your own classroom."

Each videoconferencing unit will cost the college roughly $10,000. It will cost an additional $5,200 a month to book dedicated lines for the service from Northwestel, but according to Clarke, those costs will decrease once a fibre optic line is installed along the Mackenzie Valley.

Despite the excitement of increased access to courses, reviews on the technology haven't all been positive, says Clarke.

"The fellow from Hay River was very persistent: 'We want programs offered in Hay River,'" he says. 

The college says when only a handful of students sign up for a course in one community, it can't afford to offer the course there. With this technology, they can bring together enough students to make it work.

  • On mobile? Click here to see a short video clip of the technology in action

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