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CeLC 2010 - State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada


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Barbour, M. K. (2010, June). State of the nation: K-12 online learning in Canada. A paper presented at the annual Canadian eLearning Conference, Edmonton, AB.

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CeLC 2010 - State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in Canada

  1. 1. State of the Nation: K-12 Online Learning in CanadaMichael K. Barbour, Wayne State University
  2. 2. Background• K-12 online learning began in British Columbia in 1993 with the creation of New Directions in Distance Learning and the EBUS Academy (Dallas, 1999)• Followed by district-based online programmes in Manitoba, Ontario, Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador (Barker & Wendel, 2001; Barker, Wendall & Richmond, 1999; Haughey & Fenwich, 1996; Stevens, 1997)• Wynne (1997) described few online learning programmes outside of British Columbia and Alberta and even less government regulation in this area• The Canadian Teachers Federation (2000) that there were approximately 25,000 K-12 students enroled in online courses during the 1999-2000 school year
  3. 3. Background• O’Haire, Froese-Germain and Lane-De Baie (2003) reported that Alberta had the most students engaged in online learning, but British Columbia also had a significant number of district-based and consortium programmes• Plante and Beattie (2004) found that almost 30% of schools – and almost 40% of secondary schools – in Canada were using the Internet for online learning• Haughey (2005) indicated that the growth of virtual schooling in Canada was slower than in the United States• The Canadian Council on Learning (2009) stated that “delivery of resources, however, does not guarantee learning, even when the initial barriers of access [to online learning] have been overcome” (p. 61)
  4. 4. iNACOL Report• State of the Nation Study: K-12 Online Learning in Canada – snapshot study in 2008 – Study-lr.pdf – complete study in 2009 - Study_200911.pdf – current study - 2010• Virtual Schooling in Canada – project wiki site - canada/
  5. 5. Methodology - 2009 Report• a survey that was sent to each of the Ministries of Education• follow-up interviews with Ministry officials• an analysis of documents from the Ministry of Education• eight of the thirteen responded • four of the provinces and territories ignored the request • e-Learning Ontario declined to participate these jurisdictions were based solely on the analysis of documents (and in some instances information provided by others involved in K-12 distance education in that province or territory, but not associated with the Ministry)• the Ministries of Education that responded were provided a draft copy of the profile for their revisions and• vignettes were solicited from suggestions made by the Ministry of Education contacts and existing relationships of the researcher
  6. 6. National Overview Single provincial online learning program Primarily district-based programs Combination of provincial online learning program and significant district-based Use district-based online learning programs from other provinces
  7. 7. Newfoundland and Labrador• Online learning began in mid-1990s• Single province-wide programme housed within MOE – Came from models developed in earlier district programmes• Initial focus on rural students• No specific policies for online learning, but work is currently being done in this area
  8. 8. Nova Scotia• Online learning began around 2003• A provincial wide pilot programme house within the MOE & a couple of district-based programmes• Initial focus on specialized subject areas (e.g., French as a second language)• No specific policies for online learning, but there are 11 provisions included in the Nova Scotia Teachers Union agreement
  9. 9. Prince Edward Island• 8 courses offered to 11 French-language & 23 English-language students provided by New Brunswick• MOE has issued two directives since 2001 containing guidelines for the use of distance education in K-12 environment – MOE approves all DE offerings
  10. 10. New Brunswick• Online learning began around 1998• Single province-wide programme housed within MOE – Grew from a single course to over 40 courses• Initial focus on technology, then all grade 11 and 12, & other optional & advanced courses – Used frequently by face-to-face teachers too• No legislative or regulation for online learning, but the Ministry has established a policy handbook that outlines the administrative procedures
  11. 11. Quebec• Networked Remote Schools or Écoles éloignées en réseau – Designed to connect rural and remote schools via the Internet to allow them to share curricular resources• Learn Quebec – English language, synchronous online learning programme• Province-wide programme for adult students – Société de formation à distance des commissions scolaires du Québec (SOFAD)  Three English & 37 French school boards manage their own programmes
  12. 12. Ontario• Online learning began around 1994• Primarily district-based programmes using the provincial CMS and course content – Some private school activity• No legislative regulations – e-Learning Ontario has issued numerous memos regulating online learning• New teacher qualifications for Teaching and Learning through e-Learning
  13. 13. Manitoba• Province offers three forms of distance education – MOE manages correspondence and audio teleconference systems – Districts manage their own web-based programme using MOE content• All districts appear to participate in web-based option to some extent• Ministry’s distance learning policy is still in draft form & awaiting final approval
  14. 14. Saskatchewan• Ministry devolved their responsibility for distance education to school divisions – Provided additional transition funding in 2008-09 to assist school divisions• Fourteen school divisions created the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Course Repository to provide capacity to other divisions• No specific legislation or regulations that govern K-12 online learning
  15. 15. Alberta• Online learning began around 1994-95• Numerous district-based, several private, and a province-wide programme• MOE has no specific online learning policies (simply advises school-based programmes to consider how they will treat online learning) – Had been in the process of creating a province- wide framework, but that process has stalled
  16. 16. British Columbia• First online learning programmes around 1993• Substantial public and private (independent schools) activity• Only province where MOE has concrete separate, legislative policies for distance education
  17. 17. Yukon• Utilizes programmes from British Columbia• MOE active in this provincial-territorial agreement – With the Northern British Columbia Distance Education School (NBCDES)• Involved 141 students in 51 courses in 2006- 07 (<5000 students in territory) – up from 87 students in 49 courses the previous year
  18. 18. Northwest Territories• Utilizes programmes from Alberta• MOE active in this provincial-territorial agreement – With the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC) – Online Northern Studies 10 course offered during the second semester through Aurora College• Involved 179 students in 38 courses from 18 schools in 2007-08 (~10,000 K-12 students in territory)
  19. 19. Nunavut• No active K-12 distance education programmes – Piloted programmes in the past and had plans for further pilot projects – Past have utilizes programmes from Alberta• No specific reference to distance education in the legislation & no individual regulations
  20. 20. State of the Nation 2010 Study• Received additional funding – Update provincial profiles  Attempt to add level of activity – Continue with new vignettes – Add new brief issue papers section• Areas of Concern – French language programmes – Quebec – Northern Canada
  21. 21. Bibliography• Barker, K., & Wendel, T. (2001). e-Learning: Studying Canadas virtual secondary schools. Kelowna, BC: Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education. Retrieved from• Barker, K., Wendel, T., & Richmond, M. (1999). Linking the literature: School effectiveness and virtual schools. Vancouver, BC: FuturEd. Retrieved from• Canadian Teachers Federation. (2000). Facts sheets on contractual issues in distance/online education. Ottawa, ON: Author.• Canadian Council of Learning. (2009). State of e-learning in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Author. Retrieved from• Dallas, J. (1999). Distance education for kindergarten to grade 12: A Canadian perspective. A presentation at the Pan- Commonwealth Forum, Brunei. Retrieved from• Haughey, M. (2005). Growth of online schooling in Canada. In C. Howard, J. Boettcher, L. Justice, K. Schenk, P. L. Rogers & G. A. Berg (Eds.), Encyclopedia of distance learning, (vol. 2, pp. 984-989). Hersey, PA: Idea Group, Inc.• Haughey, M., & Fenwick, T. (1996). Issues in forming school district consortia to provide distance education: Lessons from Alberta. Journal of Distance Education, 11(1). Retrieved from• OHaire, N., Froese-Germain, B., & Lane-De Baie, S. (2003). Virtual education, real educators: Issues in online learning. Ottawa, ON: The Canadian Teachers Federation.• Plante, J., & Beattie, D. (2004). Connectivity and ICT integration in Canadian elementary and secondary schools: First results from the information and communications technologies in schools survey, 2003-2004. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.• Stevens, K. (1997a). The place of telelearning in the development of rural schools in Newfoundland and Labrador. Prospects, 4(4). Retrieved from• Wynne, S. D. (1997). An overview of virtual schooling in North America and Europe. Victoria, BC: Open Learning Agency.
  22. 22. YourQuestions andComments
  23. 23. Assistant Professor Wayne State University, USA mkbarbour@gmail.com