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New Collaborative IT Program Takes Northern Students Into Cyberspace

Northwest Community College (NWCC) has joined forces with College of New Caledonia (CNC), Northern Lights College (NL), and Yukon College to develop a new and innovative Information Technology program that takes the classroom and students into cyberspace. Developed under the umbrella of the Northern Collaborative Information Technology program (NCIT), the program will be delivered through a combination of online and videoconference with hands-on learning that uses a variety of applications such as game development and social media. Development of the program was done with significant input from business and industry including CIPS (Canadian Information Processing Society), ICTC (Information and Communications Technology Council), CISCO, and Microsoft. The participation of these organizations has been vital to the creation of the program, states Dave OLeary, Dean of Trades & Technology at NWCC. They have brought ideas, resources, and support to the table that elevate the program to a new standard and ensures it incorporates leading edge technology and applications. These are some of the potential employers of our graduates and they have helped develop the program so that it meets the industrys HR needs. An example of the contributions made to the program from industry include Microsofts donation of full access to their XNA Game Development platform and Robotics Studio. Use of gaming applications is a unique feature of the program and provides a relevant and engaging way to introduce students to programming and its applications and creativity. Microsoft has a long history of supporting post-secondary education, states John Oxley of Microsoft Canada. This unique cyberspace approach to the delivery of ICT training is a real step forward in meeting the current critical shortage of ICT Professionals. CIPS is thrilled to see a College program that makes professionalism a key component of the students curriculum, comments Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P. (CIPS President 2007-2008). This is a direct response to the stated needs of Business and Industry. The collaborative development of this program is funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education through the Northern Post-Secondary Council (NPSC). "The NPSC was formed to enhance post-secondary opportunities and services in the north," states Stephanie Forsyth, President, NWCC and Chair of NPSC. "The new NCIT program is an excellent example of the innovation that occurs when institutions and industry collaboratively draw upon their strengths to bring the very best training to northerners. This is an exciting program that is a cut above anything we have seen in the country." NCIT is a dual credit program offering a one-year certificate and two-year diploma. This year the program is offered at Northwest Community College as the Computer Technology program. In 2009 the program will add the diploma level and change to the Information & Communications Technology Professional Program. Students can register for the program through any of the partner institutions. The Program can be taken on a full or part-time basis with students working toward a certificate or taking only those courses that interest them. Courses are scheduled throughout the year and are approximately seven weeks in length. Complete program information can be found on NWCCs web site at Computer Technology Program page or at

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