April 20, 2020

Moving learning and teaching online

At Canada’s post-secondary institutions, online learning options are rapidly expanding. The Canadian Digital Learning Research Association’s latest report gives us a comprehensive look at the state of online learning in Canada, and highlights that 76% of institutions offer some form of online learning, and that interest in a wide range of alternative credentials continues to grow. In the current global context, this data is more relevant than ever and quickly changing.

In a previous issue of Perspectives, we shared the online, distance, and blended learning approaches that colleges and institutes have championed in almost every subject area. With such a strong history in online and blended learning methods, colleges and institutes all across the country were able to respond to distancing measures associated with COVID-19 incredibly quickly.

Within a week, Collège communautaire de Nouveau-Brunswick shared that it had converted 85 of its programs to online formats allowing 2,000 students to continue learning despite campus closures; in just four days, College of the North Atlantic implemented an extensive Academic Programs Continuity Plan to move 181 of 205 programs online; and at St Lawrence College classes are being delivered through a combination of online and digital simulations and collaborations until August, to name just a few. And now, as many colleges and institutes are working through the finer points of transitioning their regular programming online, still more are moving to train and support students, faculty, and community partners in unique online ways:

While studying and working online can open up access to education beyond geographical barriers, it may also pose challenges to maintaining mental health for students, staff, and faculty as many face additional personal, academic, and financial stresses. The Government of Canada has launched a new online Wellness Together Canada platform providing free online resources, tools, apps and connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals. Be sure to take advantage of these great resources.

Consult our COVID-19 resources page for more tips on online learning and teaching.