ERIC Number: EJ713506
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-May-1
Reference Count: N/A
RACOL Project Delivers Distance Education to Rural Alberta Schools through Videoconferencing
T.H.E. Journal, v32 n10 p51 May 2005
The Fort Vermilion School Division (FVSD) covers an area twice the size of Vermont, yet the school system only has 3,600 students. This region of northwestern Alberta, Canada, is a mixture of agriculture and oil exploration, with most towns having fewer than 5,000 people. The mandate of the school district is to provide the best possible education to all students, but the distance between communities can often make that difficult. The six small high schools in FVSD are so far apart that there is no opportunity to combine them into one or two larger facilities. For the last six years, the district has been using audio graphics to synchronously deliver eight academic courses to all of its high schools. Although this technology has been somewhat successful, teachers and students expressed dissatisfaction with their learning environments. In response to this challenge, researchers, technologists and teachers developed one of the most sophisticated video conferencing systems ever created for K-12 education to help provide students with the same quality of education as their big-city peers. The Rural Advanced Community of Learners (RACOL) project was launched in September 2003, after two years of planning and development, with the involvement of the district, two local universities, the provincial government and a host of supporting businesses and partners. The RACOL project has graduated from a pilot project to the main method of education delivery for high school students in FVSD. Teachers using the system have also noted some interesting changes in their teaching styles since the program went online.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, High Schools, School Districts, Distance Education, Educational Quality, Program Descriptions, Teaching Methods, Educational Technology, Teaching Styles, Teacher Attitudes, Delivery Systems, Rural Areas
T.H.E. Institute, 18528 Westside Hwy., Vashon, WA 98070. Web site: http://www.thejournal.com/institute/contactus.cfm.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada