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Online and Distance Education In Canada

Distance education is defined as "a form of education in which students pursue their educational course from anywhere in the world. They are segregated from their teachers by time and/or space". Distance education aims to deliver a quality university education to students who are not able to be physically present on campus.

Over time, distance education has become a consequential part of the lives of students as it satisfies the needs of students with disabilities and special needs, students outside of Canada and many more.

Canada is a world leader in distance learning as a means to increase access to post secondary education. These programs reach diverse populations of students whose schedules or personal circumstances make it unmanageable for them to study on campus, whether they live in remote communities or urban centers. Canada possesses a solid dedication, technology, and academic community for offering distance education and lifelong e-learning on a global scale. All jurisdictions have distance learning programs. Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec have developed open universities in addition to the distance-education programs offered by conventional universities.

Technologies Used: The technologies used include the Internet, video, audiotape, television, satellite, correspondence, video- and teleconferencing, facsimile, and e-mail, as well as print materials and telephone tutors.

Ways of Delivery

Thither are the ways of distance education delivery:
  1. Printed Correspondence: The traditional method is via printed correspondence. You require to sign up for distance education course at the university of your choice and then you receive a notification email having all the materials you will need to complete that course. Sometimes the printed materials are supplemented by audio tapes, or CD-ROM’s can replace actual printed materials.

  2. Television:  Some Universities offer a component of their distance education via TV. Such universities pre-record or live broadcast the course material and deliver at pre-determined times.

  3. Online: Most institutions offer distance education in an on-line format. The students just need the access to a computer and the Internet for pursuing this online training program.

  4. Pre-determined Physical Location: If enough distance education students live in close proximity to one another, the teachers organize mass tutorial sessions at a pre-determined location and time.  Video conferencing is used for the mass tutorial sessions.

  5. Face-to-face Sessions: Distance education is also offered via face-to-face interaction. This can be at predetermined intervals, or perhaps only during final exams. These face-to-face interactions happen at local community centers or schools or pre-set locations.

Dates and Duration

The distance education programs and courses are quite flexible with specific assignment deadlines. Students are permitted to commence their distance education course at a time of their choosing and students have between 4-8 months to complete all aspects including final examinations. This allows greater flexibility for students who are juggling post-secondary education with family or work commitments.

Available Subjects

Subjects that lend themselves to distance education include finance and business, social sciences, and most general arts. At community college, many continuing education courses are also offered as a distance education version, which is especially useful for people who are presently in the workforce but want to elevate their skills or prepare for a career change.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

You need to register according to those Universities general admission requirements. The admission requirements will vary depending upon the course and institute you choose. Admission deadlines for the programs and start dates for courses vary.

Degrees, Certificates, and Diplomas

Generally, distance-education courses count as credit towards a degree, certificate, or diploma. Every school has a different policy regarding the amount of distance education courses allowed for completion. There are several completely on-line universities in Canada: University of Fredericton, Meritus University, and Lansbridge University. At these schools you can take an entire degree without stepping foot in the classroom and in fact, these universities are virtual and accredited by the New Brunswick Department of Labor. In Alberta, there exists “eCampus Alberta”, which is a consortium of 15 post-secondary schools that collaborate to facilitate distance and online education for Alberta students.

List of Recognized and Authorized Distance Education Institutions in Canada
  • Athabasca University
    - 1 University Drive
    Athabasca   AB   T9S 3A3   Canada
    - Branch Campuses and Other Institutions
    Calgary, Edmonton, St. Albert
  • Athabasca University (British Columbia)
    - 1 University Drive
    Athabasca   AB   T9S 3A3   Canada

  • Cegep@distance
    6300, 16e Avenue
    Montreal   QC   H1X 2S9   Canada

  • Royal Roads University
    2005 Sooke Road
    Victoria   BC   V9B 5Y2   Canada

  • Tele-universite (Teluq)
    - 455, rue du Parvis
    C.P. 4800, succ.Terminus
    Quebec   QC   G1K 9H5   Canada

  • Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning (TRU-OL)
    (Thompson Rivers University)
    - BC Centre for Open Learning, 4th Floor
    Box 3010, 900 McGill Road
    Kamloops   BC   V2C 0C8   Canada
    - Branch Campuses and Other Institutions
    Thompson Rivers University

  • University of Fredericton
    - 371 Queen St, Suite 101
    Fredericton   NB   E3B 1B1   Canada

  • Yorkville University
    - Yorkville Landing, Suite 102
    100 Woodside Lane
    Fredericton   NB   E3C 2R9   Canada
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