Access to University Studies: Implementing and Evaluating Multi-point Videoconferencing

  • David A. Keast University of Alberta


A formidable geographic barrier exists in Canada for institutions wishing to provide opportunities for university education but serving clients and communities in remote regions of a province. In early September l995, the University of Alberta, Fairview College, and Kayas Cultural College embarked on a new partnership in offering a selected number of introductory Faculty of Arts courses in remote regions of northwestern Alberta. The primary mode of delivery was synchronized, multi-point videoconferencing (to as many as six sites), with all courses delivered from the University of Alberta campus. Slightly more than 70 percent of the student cohort for the first academic year were Aboriginal students. This paper provides a contextual background, describes the implementation, and reports the findings from a detailed formative evaluation of this partnership. The focus is primarily administrative in that questions addressed will relate to how such programs can be planned, implemented, managed, and monitored.