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Tuesday, November 10 • 4:00pm - 4:55pm
Opening Access in Remote Communities: A Canadian North Perspective

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Three panelists discuss their perspectives on open education in the Northwest Territories of Canada based on the areas and students they serve.

Aurora College’s online pilot of the Personal Support Worker program aims to bring training for well-paid employment in an increasingly necessary sector to new immigrants and Indigenous residents of remote communities who may not otherwise engage in post-secondary education. Entrance requirements focus more on students’ suitability for this role in their communities. Necessary academic upgrading is designed into the program to open it to candidates with the cultural strengths to succeed in this career.

The School of Business and Leadership adapted to fiscal restraint and resisted pressures to close programs through partnering with quasi-government organizations and sharing technological resources. A blended format with synchronous video conferencing classrooms afforded new ways of opening higher education to learners on multiple campuses scattered across across 1.34 million square kilometers. Access to these programs is further opened with the College’s University and College Access Program (UCAP) and the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) course that grants secondary school credits for accomplishments of adult life.

Satellite learning centres in isolated (fly-in) communities provide free academic upgrading and Literacy & Essential Skills training to adults impacted by colonization, denied the academic credentials, self-confidence, or economic and social standing needed to move to the Territory’s three major centres and enrol in post-secondary courses on campus.

This broad range of sectors and student characters challenge commonly accepted delineations of open education. We contend that innovative educational programs, policies, and practices evolving in Canada’s north speak to equity and access in other colonized spaces.

Learning Outcomes:
To illustrate the importance of opening up of non-formal, informal and formal learning opportunities to all remote residents of the NWT.

To inform the diversity of educational needs.

To identify the array of necessary connections given geographical dispersion, variability of educational experiences and divergent needs amongst communities.

To provide examples of various methods used to open up education to remote populations.

Edited after session: In answer to a question about literature on educational trauma, Jim answered with the names of several Indigenous scholars, who, although not all address trauma directly, speak to the indigenous educational experience.  Here's a better sampling of authors than Jim could remember at the time:
Batiste, Marie 
Brayboy, Bryan McKinley Jones 
Brave Heart, Maria Yellow Horse
Smith, Linda Tuhiwai 
Archibale, Jo-ann 
Kirkness, Verna J. 

link to our open slides (now open for commenting only)  

avatar for Jim Stauffer

Jim Stauffer

Adult Learning Specialist - Educational Technology, Aurora College
lifelong learning, connected learning, rural and remote Indigenous communities, non-western ways of knowing and being
avatar for Tammy Soanes-White

Tammy Soanes-White

Adult Learning Specialist Instructional Design, Aurora College
My interests are in distributed teaching and learning, remote post-secondary and higher education and in technology enabled practices. 
avatar for Wanda Roberts

Wanda Roberts

Program Head, Health Programs, Aurora College

Tuesday November 10, 2020 4:00pm - 4:55pm EST
Concurrent 1
  Practices, Panel