The Beaufort Delta Education Council (BDEC), a school board based out of Inuvik, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, is using Moodle to bring high quality online education to remote areas.
The council serves nine schools in eight small communities which are spread out over the region. Travel to these areas can be difficult, especially during the winter months when the temperature plummets and the frozen river channels become the highways. Before BDEC discovered Moodle, students from these remote areas were required to board in the largest nearby town, Inuvik, in order to gain access to certain courses. This left some students homesick and struggling to succeed in their studies.
To overcome this problem, the BDEC decided to trial eLearning via Moodle. With some expert training and the basic tools to get a few courses off the ground, BDEC Moodle was up and running. Shortly after, it was adopted by the school board and teachers within the host community of Inuvik. Since then, Moodle has firmly established itself in the BDEC learning mix as an essential tool for allowing students to remain in their communities while having access to courses previously unavailable to them. There is now no need for students to leave their home towns as high quality distance education can come direct to them via Moodle.
Moodle continues to go from strength to strength in the region. Currently, eight courses a year are delivered from Inuvik to five communities throughout the Northwest Territories, reaching students as far as Fort Liard and Fort Resolution. Every day, there are community students throughout the Northwest Territories on high-definition video conference, accessing courses specifically designed for them on Moodle.
When students are returning from having already taken one of the eLearning courses, one of the first questions they ask is, “When will we get access to our new Moodle site?”
Moodle is changing the perception of learning for these students, who have grown up with classroom based teaching, pencils and paper. They are adapting and indeed flourishing, with high quality eLearning provided via Moodle.