The Arctic virtual learning tools project (2009-11) is funded by Nordic council of Ministers Arctic co-operation program and led by Thule Institute at University of Oulu and Thematic Networks office. Project joins together the University of Arctic (www.uarctic.org), the Arctic Portal (www.arcticportal.org), the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS, http://apecs.is/ ), and the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR, http://icr.arcticportal.org/ ). This project will improve the access to education in the Arctic region through online learning tools that support the existing programs and curriculum of the University of the Arctic. This will be achieved by the development of new learning resources (Open Textbooks), and online learning environments (Virtual Classroom). These new resources will serve to improve access to education and the standards of living of Arctic residents, especially in smaller communities. The virtual classroom will give enhanced and content rich opportunities for on-line discussion and alternative forms of interactive teaching. The open textbooks and virtual classroom will be managed and distributed through the Arctic Portal and will be open for on-line teaching conducted at the University of Arctic members and other partners.
The project workshop had representatives from the core partners and International Arctic Science Committee (IASC, http://web.arcticportal.org/iasc/ ), Arctic council’s project Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON, http://www.arcticobserving.org/ ), Polar Libraries Colloquy (PLC, http://arcticcentre.ulapland.fi/polarweb/plc/default.asp ), International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA, http://www.iassa.gl/ ) and Electronic Memory project in Russia (EMA, http://www.emaproject.com/ ). Participants shared knowledge and found good ways for co-operation in both making the data and text materials available on web and for using them in online education. The next step is finish the virtual classroom and run a pilot with online course “Adaptation to Globalization in the Arctic” developed by Professor Svein Mathiesen, Sámi University College, Kautokeino, Norway. Course is one of the new Master’s level courses developed in Thematic Network on Global Change in Arctic led by Thule Institute, University of Oulu. The course will be enrolled in fall 2010 and will be free of charge for UArctic students. In the meantime the online textbooks will be developed further and the final outcome of the whole project will be launched at UArctic council meeting in 2011, which is a 10 years anniversary meeting.
The workshop presentations can be found at http://www.arcticportal.org/vlt
More information on the coming course and the project: Project leader Kirsi Latola, Thematic Networks Office, Thule Institute, University of Oulu, Finland, tel: +358-8-553 3565, email kirsi.latola (at) uarctic.org