Aurora College plans to continue with blended learning programs that combine distance education with limited face-to-face short courses for the winter and spring semesters, the college said in a news release on Thursday.
The format of programs that began in the fall will continue as they are for the rest of the academic year. The blended learning formats were established in accordance with the NWT’s Emerging Wisely Covid-19 recovery plan.
“Making this decision early in the academic year will allow students and those who support them to prepare for the winter 2021 semester,” the college said.
The winter and spring 2021 semesters will include more trades and industrial training-related programs that contain face-to-face learning, and more continuing education opportunities at campuses and community learning centres.
A full list of continuing education options can be found on Aurora’s website.
Community learning centres will continue to offer most programs by distance, with a continuous intake during the academic year for adult upgrading, or adult literacy and basic education (ALBE).
Aurora has also recently been given approval from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) to expand some services and programs in the communities. The college plans to continue working with communities to possibly roll out more program offerings, subject to approval by the OCPHO.
The winter semester begins in January 2021 for most post-secondary programs, and in February 2021 for adult upgrading programs, including: university college access (UCAP), occupations college access (OCAP), and ALBE.
The offering of face-to-face courses is determined by the required learning outcomes and the college’s ability to meet public health requirements set by the OCPHO. Limited face-to-face learning has been approved for some courses in health, education, trades and adult upgrading programs.
To encourage student success with distance learning and blended delivery, the college is offering several supports for the 2020-2021 academic year:
- A tuition refund guarantee if a student’s online learning experience is not satisfactory
- Residences continue to be open and available to full-time students
- Financial assistance for internet access and assistance in purchasing or financing computer hardware
- Online access to all library services and to textbook ordering, and contactless textbook pick-up and delivery
- Remote access to counsellors, wellness coordinators, and student success staff; and
- A number of loaner computer units and turbo sticks to access the internet are available for individual students at community learning centres