The status of online learning in Canada in 2012

Tony Bates, online learning, distance education resources, Jun 13, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Tony Bates reviews this new report released by Contact North on the state of online learning in Canada. Major points:

  • Contact North estimates there are approximately just under one million online course registrations equivalent to about 100,000 FTEs
  • there is a good deal of innovation and development of online learning, but it is mainly at the grass roots level
  • quality still varies considerably (although not as much as in the USA)
  • a lack of strategic focus on online learning at national, provincial and above all institutional levels threatens its future development and may well result in Canada being left behind by international competitors.

Bates also compares this report to the 2001 report of the Federal Government’s Advisory Committee for Online Learning. The report (like all reports before and since, it seems) called for a national strategy, a program in 'learnware development', and a pan-Canadian initiative. None of these have been implemented, and it is not likely they will ben

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