The Beaufort Delta Education Council Distance Education Program
Andrew Samoil, IT Teacher Consultant, Beaufort Delta Education Council

Like many workers here in the north I wear many hats and this is but one. We are excited about our new $110 million dollar high school and it is taking a great deal of my time to get ready for Monday classes.

During the 2009-10 school year, the Beaufort Delta Education Council began offering distance education to students under the age of 21 who live in the Beaufort Delta administrative district of the Northwest Territories. By 2010-11, the program had grown to include seven courses that were offered to 36 students in three different communities. This past year the number of available courses has more than doubled to 18 individual courses, with 25 students enrolled in those courses—keeping our three full-time distance education teachers busy.

The Beaufort Delta Education Council will continue with a newly revised online learning program for the 2012-13 school year. The e-Learning Program will now be administered and taught from the new East Three High School in Inuvik. In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Northwest Telephones, the Beaufort Delta Education Council Centre for Distance Education Excellence will serve the remote communities of Aklavik, Tuktoyaktuk and Fort McPherson with planned capacity for expansion to other schools in the district, and in the future to other school districts in the NWT.

Focusing on academic Sciences, Mathematics and English Language Arts the Centre will offer synchronous hybrid (face-to-face and online) courses along with asynchronous online-only courses to high school students. Enhanced Internet connections provided by NorthwesTel has expanded the capacity and quality of experience students expect in online, synchronous courses. Telephone and Video-conferencing equipment will be used in conjunction with the Moodle (Learning Management System), Mahara (electronic portfolios), and Kaltura (streaming media) servers depending on bandwidth restrictions to the remote communities. Teachers will use ElluminateLive (Blackboard Inc.) for web presentations.

Three full-time teachers and a computer technician are provided for the program along with part-time administration from Central Office.