Virtual School Meanderings

February 13, 2018

Tenth Annual State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada Report Released

Late last week this noticed was posted to the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada blog (see original entry at http://k12sotn.ca/blog/tenth-annual-state-of-the-nation-k-12-e-learning-in-canada-report-released).


Over the past four weeks we have been providing some of the initial sections of the tenth annual State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada report through this blogging medium.  Today, the researchers for the project released the 2017 version of the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada, which is available for downloadat:

http://k12sotn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/StateNation17.pdf

As noted above, this issue of the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada report marks its 10th year, and the fifth year of the Canadian eLearning Network’s (CANeLearn) support of this research. The report continues to be Canada’s own benchmark for the expanding use of technology-supported blended and online learning in Canada. The anniversary report continues the traditional incisive analysis of the state of K-12 e-learning in Canada as well as an expanded collection of research briefs and a description of several vignettes providing considerable insight about innovation and new approaches emerging in online and blended practices in K-12 programs across Canada. Full results of the research and work undertaken in this study, including all annual reports and associated papers, are published on the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada project website (http://k12sotn.ca/). This document provides a synopsis and overview of the published work on the comprehensive website.

Canada provides an interesting exemplar for the rest of the world, given its widely varying population and geography fostering comparisons with other countries/regions of similar population. With two official languages and a growing immigrant population combined with a rich indigenous population, Canadian schools offer online and blended learning programs in English, French, and in some cases Aboriginal languages, leading to comparisons with other English and French-speaking countries and those with significant indigenous populations.

The ‘Brief Issue Papers’ and ‘Vignettes’ published on the website capture some of this diversity of program and populations served. They make for particularly topical reading about the challenges and innovations underway in many places across the country, featuring some of the personalities of the online educators who are blending practice, creating learning programs and environments with a varied mix of classroom and online learning methodologies that increase flexibility and access to learning for students.

The State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada report, and its accompanying publications on its project website, provides critical information and insight into how Canadian educational authorities and governments are integrating technology-supported approaches to prepare students for today’s economy and a future society in which the use of technology will be ubiquitous. This anniversary report and website provide a benchmark for educators and offers background, guidance, and ideas for the improvement of policy and practice in online and blended learning.  This year’s report was sponsored by Manitoba First Nations Education Resource CentreCentre francophone d’éducation à distanceLEARNVirtual High School (Ontario), and Alberta Distance Learning CentreCANeLearn is a proud supporter and partner of this research, its publication, and the dissemination of its findings and publications.

February 9, 2018

New MVLRI Report: Examining Online Research in Higher Education: What Can We Replicate in K-12?

Examining Online Research in Higher Education: What Can We Replicate in K-12?

Abstract

One of the best ways for practitioners and scholars to understand what is already known in a field is to undertake a review of the existing literature. The existing literature related to K-12 distance, online, and blended learning is still developing. The literature published is heavy on the practitioner experience – either the direct telling of the experience by the practitioner or through the use of researcher surveys designed to capture the perceptions of the practitioners’ experience. Further, the available research rarely makes use of validated instruments or established theoretical and conceptual frameworks to guide their studies. However, research into distance, online, and blended learning with adult populations has a much richer and longstanding history. This report seeks to describe a series of studies that have been conducted with adult populations that may be of particular interest to researchers and practitioners in the K-12 distance, online, and blended environments.

Written By

• Michael K. Barbour, Touro University California

What We Already Know

  • One of the difficulties, at least in terms of the ability for this research to help guide the practice of K-12 distance, online, and blended learning, is that much of this research is contextually specific or methodologically limited.
  • This is not to say that it is bad research, just that the lessons that we learn from these studies are often based on the perceptions of or are mainly applicable to those involved in that specific environment.
  • However, there is a robust literature and research base in distance and online learning with adult populations and an increasingly growing body focused on blended learning.

What This Report Adds

  • The report seeks to provide guidance for K-12 scholars in the research that has been done in distance, online, and blended learning with adult populations, particularly with respect to methodological issues.
  • The report also explores promising practices for K-12 that have been shown to have success in adult contexts, with the caveat that there are differences in the adult learner and the child or adolescent learner.

Implications For Practice And/Or Policy

  • If research in the field is ever going to reach a point where it can truly guide the practice of K-12 distance, online, and blended learning without having to provide numerous caveats and qualifications, following in the footsteps of our colleagues who conduct research with adult populations will be required.
  • Researchers need to ensure that their methodological techniques continue to become more sophisticated by using or adopting validated instruments.
  • Researchers need to ground their studies in established theoretical and conceptual frameworks, such as the theory of transactional distance, the theory of social presence, and the Communities of Inquiry framework.

January 12, 2018

Just Released: Babson Survey Research Group Distance Education Annual Report

While higher education focused, there are lots of useful details in here for the K-12 environment.

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New Study: Distance Education Up, Overall Enrollments Down
A new report, Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States, by the Babson Survey Research Group reveals distance student enrollments have increased for the fourteenth straight year in 2016.
The survey reveals the most recent gain translates to over thirty percent of higher education students taking at least one distance education course. Growth, however, was uneven; public institutions grew by 7.3 percent, private non-profit institutions by 7.1 percent, while private for-profit institutions had their distance enrollments decline by 4.5 percent.
Download these and other findings in the report published today.
Babson Annual Report - Grade Increase - Tracking Distance Education in the United States
This is the 14th annual report of the state of online learning in U.S. Higher education. The Survey, conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and co-sponsored by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Pearson, and Tyton Partners, is the leading barometer of online learning in the United States.

View as Webpage

The Online Learning Consortium | P.O. Box 1238 | Newburyport | MA | 01950

[REPOST] Announcing French Version Of The State Of The Nation Website

Original entry available at http://k12sotn.ca/blog/announcing-french-version-of-the-state-of-the-nation-website/

With the assistance of Centre francophone d’éducation à distance (CFÉD), the past year saw a major undertaking related to the project website: the creation of a French version. Over the past 12 months, CFÉD has translated the major project components to provide the study with a basic French language website.  When the e-learning team at the Nova Scotia Ministry of Education and Early Childhood Development designed the tenth anniversary banner, they ensured that the text was in both English and French. The French version of the website can be accessed by clicking the “En français” link on the main project website or directly at http://k12sotn.ca/francais/

Additionally, CFÉD, LEARN (Quebec), and Manitoba Education and Training have provided in kind translation services for the 2016 version of their individual jurisdictional profiles.  We are issuing a call for other organizations that may be interested in providing an in kind contribution of translating the 2016 and 2017 version of their individual jurisdictional profile.  Please note that the most recent profile is approximately 3-4 pages in length, while older profiles tend to run approximately 1-2 pages in length – depending on the jurisdiction.

January 9, 2018

[REPOST] State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada – Project Update

Original entry available at http://k12sotn.ca/blog/state-of-the-nation-k-12-e-learning-in-canada-project-update/

The 2017 edition of the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada study represents the tenth anniversary of the project.  Over the course of this month, we will be announcing various aspects of this year’s study – culminating in the release of the full 2017 State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada report.

Provincial, Territorial and Federal Profiles Update

Each provincial and territorial profile, as well as the federal profile, have now been updated to reflect the data collected as a part of the 2017 report.  These profiles include:

  • an examination of the nature of regulation of distance, online, and blended learning;
  • a description of the K-12 distance and online learning activity;
  • a discussion of the K-12 blended learning activity;
  • links to each of the previous annual profiles;
  • a history of K-12 distance education in the jurisdiction;
  • a variety of vignettes related to practices within the region;
  • any brief issue papers that have been produced specific to that jurisdiction;
  • the most recent responses to the individual program survey; and
  • a discussion of how jurisdictions treat inter-provincial and international distance education.

It is our goal that the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada annual published report is a shorter version of the updated changes that have occurred in each jurisdiction from the previous year. However, the online version of each provincial, territorial, and federal profile is a more comprehensive resource for e-learning in each jurisdiction.

Finally, at the bottom of each of the jurisdictional profile pages there is a section entitled “Inter-provincial and International.”  The purpose of this section is to examine policies related to students living in a given jurisdiction that may want to take a course from an e-learning program in another jurisdiction, but receive credit in the jurisdiction that they live (e.g., a student in Nova Scotia that wishes to take a course from an e-learning program in Ontario, but receive credit for the course in Nova Scotia).  Similarly, it also examines policies related to when a student in another jurisdiction wishes to take a course from an e-learning program in another jurisdiction to achieve credit there (e.g., a student living in Manitoba wishes to take a course from an e-learning program in Alberta and receive Alberta credit).  This section was originally added to the report in the 2012 edition but has not been updated until this year.

Study Methodology

The methodology utilized to collect the data for the 2017 study included:

  • a survey that was sent to each of the Ministries of Education,
  • follow-up interviews to clarify or expand on any of the responses contained in the survey,
  • an analysis of documents from the Ministry of Education, often available in online format, and
  • follow-up interviews with key stakeholders in many of the jurisdictions..

During that data collection process, officials from the provincial and territorial Ministries of Education responded. The profiles were constructed based on these survey responses, along with information provided by key stakeholders involved in K-12 distance education in each respective province or territory, and in some instances an analysis of available documents. Table 1 indicates the history of data collection for the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada study.

Table 1. Data collection sources for the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
NL KS / DA MoE / DA DA MoE DA MoE / DA MoE / DA MoE MoE / KS / DA KS / DA
NS DA MoE / DA MoE / DA MoE / DA MoE / DA MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE
PE DA KS / DA MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE
NB DA MoE / DA MoE MoE / DA MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE
QC KS KS / DA MoE / KS MoE / KS MoE / KS MoE / KS MoE MoE MoE / KS KS
ON KS / DA KS / DA KS / DA MoE / DA MoE / DA MoE / KS MoE / KS KS / DA KS / DA MoE / KS / DA
MB KS MoE / DA MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE
SK KS / DA MoE MoE MoE / KS MoE / KS MoE / KS MoE MoE MoE / KS MoE / KS
AB DA KS / DA KS / DA MoE MoE / DA MoE / DA MoE / KS MoE MoE / DA MoE / DA
BC MoE / DA MoE / DA MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE
YT DA KS / DA MoE / DA MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE / KS MoE / KS
NT DA MoE / DA DA MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE / DA
NU DA MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE MoE / KS MoE / KS KS / DA MoE
Federal AANDC / KS / DA AANDC / KS INAC / KS INAC / KS INAC / KS

MoE – Ministry of Education; KS – Key stakeholders; DA – Document analysis; AANDC – Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada/INAC – Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Prior to publication drafts of each profile were provided to the Ministries, as well as key stakeholders that provided information for the profile. These individuals were given the opportunity to suggest revisions, most of which were accepted by the researchers (and all of which were seriously considered).

In addition to the data collection for the provincial, territorial, and federal profiles, the researchers also undertook an individual program survey. The individual program survey was sent to contacts from all of the K-12 distance, online, and blended programs across Canada identified by the researchers. Between the contacts that have been developed by State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada researchers over the course of this research project, in addition to contacts provided by the Canadian eLearning Network and leads from key stakeholders, the researchers identified 285 different K-12 distance, online, and blended learning programs in Canada.

The survey was sent to all contacts on six occasions from May through October. The response rate by jurisdiction is provided in Table 2.

Table 2. Individual program survey responses

Total Number of Programs Number of Programs Responding Response Rate
NL 1 0 0%
NS 2 0 0%
PE 0
NB 2 2 100%
QC 4 2 50%
ON 81 7 9%
MB 38 1 3%
SK 21 5 24%
AB 49 9 18%
BC 79 22 29%
YT 2 2 100%
NT 1 1 100%
NU 0
Federal 5 2 40%
Total 285 53 19%

Data as of the time the printed report was submitted for publication (K-12 e-learning programs can update their information at any time).

The most recent responses that the State of the Nation: K-12 E-Learning in Canada researchers have received are included in the provincial, territorial and federal profiles.

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