The Canadian context is as important in an online environment as in any face-to-face classroom. Teachers and learners in Canada are faced with unique challenges and opportunities, and their teaching and learning context needs to reflect a Canadian perspective, not just in the curriculum taught, but also in the legal, ethical and cultural framework.
The geography of Canada has necessitated Canadian educational institutions to create online alternatives so all students could access high-quality instruction. Canada has many rural and remote areas that aren't well served by traditional educational models. If a student on a remote island in BC wants to take an advanced placement science course in High School, he/she can now access high-quality materials and personalized instruction through the use of online classes and technology.
Research into the Canadian K-12 online context is difficult to obtain, as the field is still in its infancy. However, there have been a few seminal reports published in the past few years that will set the stage for future research and recommendation to all education environments in Canada.



Canadian

  • Geography
    • The geography of Canada necessitates online and blended program offerings; rural and remote areas rely on technology to bring teachers and students together
    • The BC Ministry of Education has identified online learning as a critical component of education in remote areas, including Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands)


  • Legalities
    • Canadian Law may differ from other international laws, so all teachers and learners must pay particular attention to local laws relating to use of online resources and access to materials
    • Students must be contentious when downloading or using online materials or media, and must adhere to local laws and restrictions

Research

Barbour, M.(2010). State of the nation: K-12 online learning in Canada. Vienna, VA: International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Retrieved from:http://www.inacol.org/research/docs/iNACOL_CanadaStudy10-finalweb.pdf
This is

Canadian Council on Learning. (2009). State of e-learning in Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Council on Learning. Retrieved from: http://www.ccl-cca.ca/pdfs/E-learning/E-Learning_Report_fINAL-E.PDf
This is a comprehensive study of e-learning practices and philosophies across Canada. By suggesting that e-learning is a critical component of the future of education in Canada, this report aspires to inform, engage the audience, while maintaining a specific, Canadian, focus. One method the report uses to understand the Canadian context is by comparing and contrasting Canadian values of e-learning with other selected countries (Australia, UK, Korea, France, USA). This report highlights the potential benefits of e-learning, including accessibility, flexibility and skill development. However, the report clearly espouses the philosophy that e-learning is a tool that's not meant to replace solid pedagogical practices, but rather needs to be used to enhance teaching practices with established benefits. This report is critical of the fact that Canada does not have a nation e-learning strategy, and there aren't any current plans to create or implement one. The report's findings suggest the creation of an e-learning "data clearinghouse" where trends can be monitored, targets can be established and evidence can be collected. These trends, targets and evidence can then be succinctly communicated to government, education, business and the general public. A leader in technology would be able to use this report as a way to review national and international policies around e-learning at all levels, K-12, post-secondary and adult education are covered in the overall analysis, offering a broad context of all e-learning across the country. A significant combination of literary and practical research, this report cites and references many other reports, researchers and literature that are all directly related to e-learning theory, philosophies and strategies.