“Uarctic,” a non-profit organization created in Finland in 2001, is going to be presenting a new online education service proposition to help connect and serve remote Northern colleges and universities.
“Our proposal will be made at the Arctic Assembly. We want to create a collaborative online international learning (COIL) experience, a form of a virtual education system that would connect Northern Universities around the circumpolar north by using tools such as zoom and teams,” said Izzy Crawford, representative for Uarctic.
The idea is to get students from different countries and perspectives to work as one on global problems, therefore bringing new solutions to the table.
“Uarctic collaborations between students of various northern universities could be the key to solving problems affecting the north,” said Crawford.
“Universities and organizations could offer their specialty classes online for other students to access,” explains the representative. Three universities have currently shared their interest in participating: Robert Gordon University (Scotland), the University of Eastern Finland and Southern Maine University.
“For the proposal, we will present the idea of a web-based resource that is user-friendly and inclusive along with examples on how to do COIL projects,” said Crawford.
Online schooling is an accessible solution for Nunavummiut, who represent the territory with the lowest higher education rate of any province or territory in Canada. Only 14.3 per cent of people aged 25 to 64 had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016, according to a Statistics Canada report.
The courses taken from any participating arctic university by a student in Iqaluit at the Arctic College, for example, would be embedded into the student’s university record by gaining credits and there is also the option of providing separate certificates for specific formations, according to Crawford.
With the risk of future pandemics around the corner, Crawford explained other benefits of online education:
“It’s carbon-neutral, students don’t have to travel, limiting risks of having to pause education through Covid for example. Students participating will obtain transferable skills valuable to enter the workforce, but also intercultural sensitivity,” said Crawford.
The service is also being organized to not bring additional fees to students’ school tuition.
“The goal is to offer free programs and projects. We already have some projects which after lots of trial and error have come to fruition in Finland,” said Crawford.