4 academic terms and more than 500 students from 35 countries:

On July 2, Armenian General Benevolent Union’s (AGBU) Armenian Virtual College (AVC) celebrated the first anniversary of its activities. The online forum organized by the AVC was attended by AGBU Central Board member and Founding-Chairman of the AVC Dr. Yervant Zorian, AGBU Central Board member and member of the Phoenix University Board of Directors Carol Aslanian, RA Diaspora Minister Hranoush Hakobian, education specialists.

Having been launched in June 2009, the AVC has become the first Armenian online university, with a distinct goal to make Armenian education available to everyone and everywhere through modern technologies. During the one year of its activities the Armenian Virtual College has had four academic terms and more than 500 students from 35 countries of the world including USA, Russia and France, as well as Venezuela, South Africa and Reunion Island. Education at AVC is conducted in six languages; Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian, English, Russian, French and Spanish.

In his opening speech Dr. Zorian presented the activities and achievements of the AVC during the first year. Carol Aslanian, member of the Board of Directors of the University of Phoenix, the biggest university of online education in the world, talked about the recent developments and innovations of online education, presented certain statistical analyses of the field. Online education specialists professor Molly Freeman (University of Berkeley, USA) and professor Nelson Baloyan (Chile) also spoke about the peculiarities of the field.

Many students of the university from different countries of the world, as well as online instructors and online education specialists participated in the forum through live online bridges. Live video connections were established with the students from Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USA, France, Russia, who shared their experience of online education at AVC and answered the questions of those present.

As well as online courses during which the online instructors establish connections with the students, the AVC has also introduced “mixed education”, where the online teacher joins a traditional class and conducts the lesson together with their teacher. This method has been successfully implemented at the Ohanessian School of United Arab Emirates. Chairman of the Ohanessian School Board Hrach Bronsuzian also joined the AVC online forum and shared his experience with those present. AGBU Lazar Najarian-Calouste Gulbenkian School of Aleppo will start a similar cooperation with the AVC soon.

In her congratulatory speech RA Diaspora Minister Hranoush Hakobian thanked the AGBU and the faculty of the Yerevan State University for establishing such a high quality online university. She also suggested inviting all the students of the AVC to Armenia for a graduation ceremony.

Today, the AVC has three departments; Armenian language, history and culture, each of which offers courses of different levels. A new course of history of Armenian music will soon be introduced at AVC. Course developer professor Mher Navoyan spoke about this during the forum. Artur Avagian, the AVC Development Team manager, presented the course management system at AVC, while the online instructors talked about the team work, forums and assignments implemented during the classes. Talar Kazanjian from Georgia and Davit Abrahamian from South Africa shared their opinions about the influence of the Armenian Virtual College on the Armenian communities spread all over the world.

At the end of the forum the guests visited the AVC office to get acquainted with the activities of the online university and taste the jubilee cake.



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