A hard decision to make
The choice was made over the summer to move Course 1 and the new Course 2 curriculum from a hands-on in-person workshop to remote delivery. This was a hard choice for the team to make, because in-person delivery works so well for the project’s community-based approach, and allows participants to work together through hands-on activities and discussions.
As soon as the DigitalNWT team learned of the COVID-19 pandemic, we immediately decided to cease all travel to NWT communities to avoid potentially spreading the virus. As well, following NWT public health protocols, the University of Alberta and Aurora College had paused in-person course instruction in Fall 2020 .
To ensure that NWT community members could still benefit from the DigitalNWT course materials we are developing, the team shifted to a remote delivery version of the courses. We spent a long time thinking through this change and discussing how to re-envision our Course 1 and Course 2 curriculum in a way that remained engaging for students, but could also be delivered through distance education this year.
A further challenge is that most NWT communities have unreliable, slow, and expensive broadband connectivity.
To address this challenge we decided to create pre-recorded video versions of the Course content that could be delivered through USB sticks rather than over the internet, if that worked better for participants in NWT communities.