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College Boreal improves its award-winning online training program for peer tutors


Sudbury -- College Boreal has added new features to its online training program for peer tutors, which received an award for Excellence and Innovation in Student Services, in June. Last year, this program was only available to students in Technology and Health Science programs in Sudbury but, from now on, will be available to students in all programs and at all seven of Boreal's campuses.

Through the user-friendly BORE@L.EDU portal, tutors in training need only input their username and password to access a website where they can learn, through readings, assigned questions and case studies, about topics such as a tutor's responsibilities, the roles of counsellors, the limits of tutoring, etc...

Brigitte D'Amours, a participant, appreciates the online training very much. "I like the flexibility of the program. The fact that I can do the training when and where I want is great," she said.

"The case studies at the end of each section force us to think of real-life situations, which helps us understand the concepts presented in the module."

Taking into account feedback from tutors who did online training last year, the program was updated by adding a few new features, such as a discussion forum and a logbook.

The forum allows participating tutors to communicate with each other, which was difficult, if not impossible, before online training was available.

This type of discussion makes it possible for participants to learn from one another and, therefore, to get more out of the program.

"The discussion forum is very useful; I like being able to share ideas and points of view with other tutors," said Brigitte.

The logbook is also helpful because it allows the counsellors to monitor the progress of peer tutoring and take action, if necessary.

Before the advent of the online training program for peer tutors, College Boreal's Learning Support Services were only able to train 20% of peer tutors.

Now, 100% of them are trained, which corresponds to about 60 students in 2004-2005.

U of K?

The University of Waterloo is investigating whether to create a branch campus in oil-rich Kuwait.

Kuwait is "quite serious" about exploring the idea, UW president David Johnston said.

While it's still in the early stages, UW is studying the feasibility of establishing a college of engineering campus there, said Johnston, who recently returned from Kuwait.

Students would likely spend time at both the Kuwaiti and Waterloo campuses, he said.

Kuwait's government would provide the land, but the campus would be financed as a private venture, he said.

Johnston said UW's feasibility study will take two to three months. If it looks promising for all partners, the university would apply to a Ministry of Education panel, which would take another six months, he said.

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