Articles

AGBU Armenian Virtual College

The Armenian Virtual College (AVC) is AGBU’s newest learning institute – one that will carry on its lifelong dedication to education with an entirely innovative approach. The AVC aims to provide Armenians throughout the world the opportunity to receive a full-fledged Armenian education, regardless of their age, country of residence, or knowledge level. With the latest advances in the world of virtual education, it will create a virtual learning community that can foster both the cultural education and social connections otherwise out of the reach of most students across the Diaspora. While the virtual institute most apparently targets Armenians who do not have access to face-to-face Armenian educational programs, the AVC will also supplement the education of those who attend traditional Armenian learning institutions. The distance learning program will not only reach a wider base of Diaspora students worldwide, but also provide state-of-the-art multimedia resources to students and instructors in traditional Armenian educational systems. The Armenian Virtual College project was initiated in 2004 by AGBU’s Silicon Valley Chapter, which had long noted the need for an educational program that better addresses the current demands of the Armenian Diaspora and appeals to present-day students. Since then, the technology at the heart of the project has been developed largely in Armenia with the collaboration of scientists and engineers at Yerevan State University. Through the use of both synchronous and asynchronous technology, the virtual college will allow students to learn new material at their own pace, but also to confer with tutors and classmates face-to-face during office hours. In addition to weekly lectures, students will have access to multimedia study tools, games, assignments, course calendars, syllabi, quizzes, drop boxes, and gradebooks. Moreover, discussion forums and live chat options will provide students with the opportunity to better connect with their classmates and to forge friendships with Armenians from across the globe. The AVC is currently comprised of three departments – Language, History, and Culture – which will each offer 4 courses at varying skill levels. In order to truly accomplish the institute’s aim to widen the reach of Armenian education worldwide, instruction has been made available in six languages: Armenian (Eastern & Western), English, French, Russian, and Spanish. Students can choose to earn credits for each course that they complete, ultimately leading to a diploma from the institute. Moreover, students may transfer credit from AVC courses to various universities and learning institutes across the world. To be officially opened in January 2009, the AVC is prepared to surmount the educational barriers which have plagued the Armenian Diaspora for decades. A new Armenian classroom has emerged and will finally be available to any Armenian, anywhere, anytime.