Transcript: How to Learn Online | Apr 16, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "How to learn online. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says THE PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENT RECENTLY MANDATED
THAT AS OF 2020 ONTARIO
SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS MUST
TAKE AT LEAST FOUR CREDITS OUT
OF THE 30 NEEDED TO GRADUATE
ONLINE.
TO HELP US BETTER UNDERSTAND
WHAT EDUCATORS, STUDENTS AND
PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
DIGITAL LEARNING, LET'S WELCOME:
IN VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
VIA SKYPE: RANDY LABONTE, CEO OF
THE CANADIAN ELEARNING NETWORK...

Randy is in his early fifties, clean-shaven, with short white hair. He's wearing a light gray suit, red sweater and earphones.

Steve continues AND HERE IN OUR STUDIO: JEFF CUMMINGS, TECHNOLOGY ENABLED
LEARNING COORDINATOR WITH THE
WELLINGTON CATHOLIC DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD...

Jeff is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He's wearing glasses, a checkered blue shirt, and a striped blue tie.

Steve continues AND BEYHAN
FARHADI, DOCTORAL CANDIDATE AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO,
COMPLETING THE FIRST-EVER STUDY
ON THE TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL
BOARD'S EFFORTS IN E-LEARNING.

Beyhan is in her thirties, with long straight brown hair. She's wearing a black blazer and a white hoop necklace.

Steve continues GOOD TO HAVE EVERYBODY ON OUR
PROGRAM TONIGHT FOR THIS TIMELY
DISCUSSION.
WE SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE OFF THE
TOP, BEFORE WE GET STARTED, TVO
IS A PROVIDER OF e-LEARNING
SERVICES AND ONE OF THE
GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO'S PARTNERS
IN DIGITAL LEARNING, AND WE PUT
THAT OUT THERE FOR EVERYBODY TO
KNOW IN THE INTERESTS OF FULL
DISCLOSURE.
BAY HAN, GET US STARTED HERE.
FOUR ON-LINE CREDITS TO GRADUATE
FROM HIGH SCHOOL.
THAT'S GOING TO BE NEW STARTING
NEXT YEAR.
WHAT DO WE THINK?

The caption changes to "Beyhan Farhadi. University of Toronto."
Then, it changes again to "Grading the plan."

Beyhan says I THINK WE, I'M GOING TO SAY
WE COLLECTIVELY, THAT'S
SPECIFICALLY THE FOUR CREDITS
MANDATED FOR ALL STUDENTS IN ALL
OF ONTARIO, IS DISAPPOINTING
FROM MY PERSPECTIVE IT'S
NEGLIGENT.

Steve says IN WHAT RESPECT?

Beyhan says FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND, THESE
COURSES ARE GOING TO BE... LIKE
STUDENTS ARE GOING TO BE TAKING
THEIR ENTIRE COURSE ON-LINE.
THERE HAS BEEN VERY LITTLE BY
WAY OF DETAILS.
THERE HAS BEEN LITTLE MENTIONED
ABOUT WHAT KIND OF SUPPORTS
STUDENTS WILL RECEIVE, AND IT
SAYS IN THE... IT SAYS IN THE
ANNOUNCEMENT THAT IT WAS GOING
TO REPLACE SECONDARY PROGRAM...
WHICH IS INTENDED FOR ARTS
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENTIAL
LEARNING, AND SO THE WORDING OF
THIS ANNOUNCEMENT HAVING
e-LEARNING REPRESENT WHAT THEY
CALL MODERNIZATION AS REPLACING
WHAT IS... WHAT WAS INTENDED TO
DEVELOP A WELL-ROUNDED STUDENT
IS NEGLIGENT.

Steve says SO YOU ARE NOT A FAN.
JEFF, HOW ABOUT YOU?

The caption changes to "Jeff Cummings. Wellington Catholic District School Board."

Jeff says UMM, I WOULD AGREE WITH SOME
OF THE POINTS THAT BEYHAN HAS
MADE, FOR SURE.
WE CERTAINLY HAVE SOME QUESTIONS
ABOUT HOW THIS IS GOING TO LOOK.
BUT I DO THINK IT HAS RAISED
SOME POSITIVE ASPECTS HERE ABOUT
e-LEARNING IN GENERAL, HOW IT'S
DELIVERED, AND IT HAS US NOW
THINKING ABOUT HOW WE CAN ENSURE
EQUITABLE OUTCOMES, BECAUSE THAT
IS CERTAINLY GOING TO BE A
CHALLENGE IN THIS... YOU KNOW,
IN THE ROLLOUT.
HOW DO WE ENSURE LEARNERS ACROSS
THE PROVINCE HAVE ACCESS TO
DEVICES, WI-FI, ET CETERA.
e-LEARNING IS HERE.
I BELIEVE IT'S HERE TO STAY, SO
THIS IS CERTAINLY AN EXPANSION
OF WHAT WE ORIGINALLY HAD SEEN.
IT TOOK AWAY CHOICE, AND NOW WE
HAVE THIS MANDATORY PROGRAM.
SO THERE'S SOME REAL POSITIVES
HERE TO OPENING THE DISCUSSION
FOR SURE.

Steve says SO I'M MARKING YOU
DOWN AS MAYBE YES MAYBE NO?

Jeff says I'M GOING TO BE IN THE MIDDLE
A LITTLE BIT HERE.

Steve says CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC
MAYBE.
OKAY, RANDY?
HOW ABOUT YOU ON THIS?

The caption changes to "Randy Labonte. Canadian Elearning Network."

Randy says WELL, I WOULD SAY THAT I'M
ACTUALLY SUPPORTIVE OF ANY
INITIATIVE THAT INCLUDES SOME
e-LEARNING COMPONENTS, HOWEVER,
NOT IN PLACE OF OR INSTEAD OF.
I THINK THAT e-LEARNING IS AN
EXCELLENT VEHICLE AND FORM FOR
LEARNING TO OCCUR, BUT THE
CHALLENGES IN TERMS OF THE
SCALABILITY OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT
IS WHAT CAUSES ME CONCERN, AND
WITHOUT DETAILS, IT'S VERY
DIFFICULT TO COMMENT.
THERE ARE NO COMPARABLES TO A
PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENT SUCH AS THE
SCALE ONTARIO HAS.
WE'VE NOT FOUND ANYTHING IN
OTHER JURISDICTIONS THAT IS AT
THAT KIND OF LEVEL.
AND IF IT IS MANDATORY, THAT
ALSO SETS REQUIREMENTS, WHICH
MAY, AGAIN, BE VERY CHALLENGING
AND DIFFICULT TO COME FORWARD
WITH.
THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, JUST
ON THE PROGRAM EARLIER, HAD
ANNOUNCED THAT THE FOCUS ON
TEACHERS AND SUPPORT FOR
TEACHERS WAS A PRIMARY DRIVER.
AND I'D LIKE TO TAKE THE
MINISTER AT HER WORD FOR THAT.

Steve says YOU MENTION THE WORD
"MANDATORY" IN THAT ANSWER.
MOST OF THE e-LEARNING THAT...
WELL, ALL OF THE e-LEARNING IN
ONTARIO THAT GOES ON RIGHT NOW
IS ALL VOLUNTARY, THE STUFF THAT
WE PROVIDE HERE IS ALL
VOLUNTARY.
IT'S STUDENTS WHO WANT TO DO IT,
NO ONE'S TELLING THEM THEY HAVE
TO.
DO YOU THINK MAKING IT MANDATORY
CHANGES THE GAME AT ALL?

The caption changes to "Randy Labonte, @rlabonte."

A map appears briefly, showing the location of Vancouver, B.C.

Randy says I WOULD SAY THAT IT TIES THE
HANDS OF THE PROGRAMS AND THE
SUCCESS OF THE PROGRAMS THAT
CURRENTLY ARE OFFERING
e-LEARNING IN THAT THEY ARE VERY
CAREFUL IN TERMS OF HOW THE
PROGRAMS ARE DESIGNED FOR THE
INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS TO ENSURE
THAT IT MEETS THEIR LEARNING
REQUIREMENTS.
AND I THINK THAT THAT'S WHERE
THE IMPORTANCE IS IN THE DETAILS
ABOUT HOW THIS IMPLEMENTATION
MAY ROLL OUT.
AND I THINK JEFF HAD INDICATED
IT QUITE LIKELY THERE ARE VERY
MANY POSITIVE ASPECTS TO IT, AND
CERTAINLY BEYHAN YOU NOTED THAT
THERE ARE ALSO SOME NEGATIVE
CONSEQUENCES, AND WHAT'S
IMPORTANT IS IN THE DESIGN OF
THE STRUCTURE OF THE PROGRAMS
AND THE SUPPORTS THAT ARE
PROVIDED, NOT JUST TO STUDENTS
BUT ALSO TO TEACHERS IN HOW THAT
PROGRAM IS ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTED.

Steve says CAN WE JUST... SOME
QUICK STATS HERE.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE ABOUT HOW
MANY PEOPLE ARE DOING e-LEARNING
IN TORONTO OR IN ONTARIO OR
CANADA RIGHT NOW?

The caption changes to "Beyhan Farhadi, @BBFarhadi."

Beyhan says MM-HM.
IN THE CONTEXT OF TORONTO, THERE
ARE 73,000 HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS.
I TAKE A LOOK AT 1200 SEATS
ROUGHLY.
THAT'S PROBABLY ABOUT 1.1, 1.5 percent,
TO BE GENEROUS, WHICH IS LIKE A
SORT OF MEDIUM-SIZED SCHOOL.

Steve says SO 1.5 percent SOON IS GOING
TO TURN INTO 100 percent IF THE
GOVERNMENT CONTINUES ALONG THIS COURSE.

Beyhan says YEAH.

Steve says YOU LOOK VERY UNHAPPY
ABOUT THAT.

Beyhan says I'M VERY UNHAPPY ABOUT IT.

Steve says IS IT JUST A QUESTION
THAT DIFFERENT PEOPLE LEARN
DIFFERENT WAYS AND SOME PEOPLE
CAN'T LEARN ON-LINE?
IS THAT YOUR CONCERN?

Beyhan says MY CONCERN IS THAT WHEN WE
SAY SOME PEOPLE LEARN
DIFFERENTLY IT DOESN'T TAKE INTO
ACCOUNT WHICH PEOPLE.
SO WHAT WAS REALLY CLEAR IN MY
FINDINGS IN TORONTO WAS THAT THE
STUDENTS WHO CHOSE e-LEARNING
WERE IN HIGH-ACHIEVING SCHOOLS
LARGELY, AND THOSE YOU ARE
FAMILIAR WITH THE THREE CITIES
MAP.
YOU KNOW, THEY WERE MAPPED ALONG
THE SORT OF MORE SORT OF WEALTHY
AREAS OF THE CITY.
AND THE CITY PARTICULARLY IS
RACIALIZED AND MULTICULTURAL,
AND SO I'M SITTING HERE THINKING
ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO PROMOTE A
MULTICULTURAL LEARNING
ENVIRONMENT.
I'M THINKING ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS
THAT WE HAVE REALLY STARK
CONTRASTS BETWEEN STUDENTS WHO
ARE RESOURCED AND
UNDER-RESOURCED AND WHAT THAT
LOOKS LIKE ALONG RACIAL AND
CULTURAL LINES.

Steve says LET ME GET RANDY TO
RESPOND TO THAT.
DO YOU WANT TO COME BACK ON TOM
OF THAT, RANDY?

Randy says YEAH, I WOULD AGREE.
I THINK BEYHAN IS PUTTING A
CAUTIONARY OUT THAT'S REALLY
IMPORTANT, BUT AGAIN, THAT'S THE
EXPERIENCE OF ONE BOARD IN ONE
PROGRAM IN ONE PART OF A PROVINCE.
I HAVE SEEN e-LEARNING USED
QUITE SUCCESSFULLY FOR
MARGINALIZED STUDENTS.
I HAVE SEEN THOSE STUDENTS WITH
HIGH ANXIETY THAT HAVE BEEN
BULLIED THAT DON'T... THAT
LEARNING IN A CLASSROOM
ENVIRONMENT WITH THE STRUCTURES
THAT ARE THERE ARE NOT AS
SUCCESSFUL FOR THEM, AND I'VE
SEEN THEM THRIVE IN e-LEARNING.
SO I THINK THE CAUTION IS IN THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DESIGN OF
HOW e-LEARNING IS USED AS
ANOTHER ENVIRONMENT.
IN THE SAME WAY WHEN I WAS
TEACHING ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, I
USED THE LIBRARY AS AN
ENVIRONMENT FOR SOME STUDENTS.
SOME STUDENTS COULD WORK WELL IN
THAT ENVIRONMENT.
OTHERS NEEDED MORE STRUCTURE IF
WE WERE GOING TO USE THE
ENVIRONMENT.
SO I THINK THERE'S SOME
POSITIVES THAT ARE HERE, AND I
THINK AS JEFF SAID, IT'S SHINING
A LIGHT TOWARDS e-LEARNING IN
THE PROVINCE, WHICH I THINK IS
IMPORTANT, BUT THE DEVIL IS IN
THE DETAILS AROUND THE
IMPLEMENTATION.
AND AGAIN, I WOULD TAKE THE
MINISTER'S WORD TO SAY THAT THE
SUPPORTS WILL BE THERE AND THAT
THE OPTION AROUND OPTING IN OR
OPTING OUT IN THE CASE OF
STUDENTS THAT ARE NOT
NECESSARILY GOING TO THRIVE IN
THAT PARTICULAR ENVIRONMENT,
THAT THE SCHOOL BOARDS HAVE THAT
OPTION AND OPPORTUNITY TO ENSURE
THAT THEY HAVE AN ALTERNATE
MEANS OF LEARNING FOR THOSE
STUDENTS.

Steve says JEFF, TELL US ABOUT
WELLINGTON CATHOLIC AND WHAT
PERCENTAGE OF YOUR STUDENTS
RIGHT NOW MIGHT BE e-LEARNING.

The caption changes to "Jeff Cummings, @MrJCummings."

Jeff says YEAH, IT'S AN IMPORTANT POINT
ABOUT CONTEXT, LOCAL CONTEXTS
ARE IMPORTANT.
SO THE CONTEXT OF TORONTO, THAT
IS CERTAINLY A CONCERN, AND I'M
HEARING THAT, AND I'D LOVE TO
READ THAT STUDY AND HEAR MORE
ABOUT THAT.
OUR CONTEXT IS DIFFERENT, AND
WE'RE A SMALL BOARD.
RURAL.
WE HAVE SOME RURAL STUDENTS.
SIGNIFICANT GROWTH, THOUGH.
WE HAVE SEEN... AND I WOULD...
THESE ARE SOME STATS I CAN GIVE
YOU.
I WOULDN'T KNOW HOW MANY
EXACTLY, BUT WE STARTED WITH
AROUND 80 STUDENTS ABOUT EIGHT
YEARS AGO, AND TODAY WE'RE
LOOKING AT A THOUSAND STUDENTS
GETTING e-LEARNING.
SO THAT'S SIGNIFICANT GROWTH.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says AND HOW IS IT GOING?

Jeff says I THINK IT'S BEEN A QUITE
POSITIVE EXPERIENCE IN OUR
BOARD, AND I TAKE ALL THE
CONCERNS TO HEART.
I CERTAINLY HEAR ALL THOSE, BUT
OUR STUDENTS HAVE BEEN TAKING
COURSES PREDOMINANTLY IN THE
SUMMER AS A REACH AHEAD MODEL.
THESE ARE STUDENTS WHO ARE
LOOKING FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF
LEARNING EXPERIENCE IN THEIR
REGULAR DAY SCHOOL, SO THEY ARE
REACHING AHEAD IN SUMMER SO THAT
THEY CAN TAKE MORE HANDS-ON
LEARNING, CO-OP, EXPERIENTIAL
LEARNING.

Steve says REACHING AHEAD MEANS
THEY ARE TRYING TO GET AHEAD FOR
NEXT TIME AS OPPOSED TO MAKING
UP FOR COURSES THEY FLUNKED IN
THE PAST.

Jeff says CORRECT.

Steve says SO THEY ARE MOTIVATED.

Jeff says CORRECT.

Steve says WOULD YOUR EXPERIENCE
ON THE ON-LINE MATERIAL AND THE
ON-LINE APPROACH TAKES, YOU
CAN'T REALLY EX-TRAP... WELL, I
SHOULD ASK.
CAN YOU EXTRAPOLATE FROM YOUR
EXPERIENCES AT WELLINGTON TO A
BROADER PROVINCIAL SCENE?

Jeff says I THINK THAT'S WHERE I'M
GOING WITH THIS, IS THAT EVERY
BOARD, EVERY LOCAL COMMUNITY HAS
BEEN DIFFERENT.
WE'VE INVESTED IN OUR TEACHERS
SIGNIFICANTLY IN HOW TO DELIVER
THESE COURSES IN ENGAGING WAYS.
OUR THINKING HAS BEEN AROUND
SUPPORT.
WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE... THEIR
MAIN ROLE IS TO GO DIRECTLY TO A
STUDENT WHO IS IN NEED OF
SUPPORT, WHO IS SUFFERING, WHO
NEEDS SCHOOL TO HOME CONNECTION.
WE HAVE THOSE SUPPORTS IN PLACE
SO THAT WE THINK ALL LEARNERS
ARE BEING SUPPORTED IN THAT WAY.
AGAIN, IN OUR MODEL, WE ARE A
SMALL BOARD.
WE'RE ABLE TO DO THAT
DIFFERENTLY THAN TDSB WHO HAS,
YOU KNOW, EXTREMELY LARGER BOARD
AND SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES THAN
OUR BOARD.

Steve says MUCH MORE
MULTICULTURAL POPULATION THAT
IT'S SERVING AS WELL.

Jeff says FOR SURE, POTENTIALLY.

Steve says CAN YOU TELL ME,
BEYHAN, WHETHER YOU BELIEVE
ON-LINE EDUCATION CAN WORK?

The caption changes to "Teaching with technology."

Beyhan says I THINK... I WOULD SUSPECT
THAT SOME OF THE REFERENCES THAT
RANDY'S MADE ARE NOT ENTIRELY
ON-LINE.
SO STUDENTS WHO ARE TAKING A
COURSE AND ARE HAVING SOME
ACCESS TO THEIR FACE-TO-FACE
ENVIRONMENTS, THAT COULD LOOK
LIKE HAVING A CONTACT THAT
RETURN TO IF THEY ARE
STRUGGLING.
IT MIGHT LOOK LIKE SOMEONE
CHECKING IN ON THEM IF THEY ARE
ABSENT.
IT MIGHT LOOK LIKE A KIND OF
MORE BLENDED MODEL WHERE
STUDENTS ARE ALSO, YOU KNOW,
ACCESSING A LOT OF FACE-TO-FACE
INSTRUCTION.
AND SO I THINK THAT IN THE
CONTEXT OF THIS ANNOUNCEMENT,
WHERE I STRONGLY SUSPECT MY
EDUCATED OPINION IS IT'S GOING
TO BE A STUDENT TAKING THEIR
ENTIRE COURSE WORK ON-LINE WITH
A TEACHER.

Steve says WITHOUT ANY REAL
PERSON BACKING THEM UP?

Beyhan says WELL, WE CAN SAY... I WOULD
SAY EVEN SO FAR AS HAVING A
GUIDANCE COUNSELLOR OR HAVING
SOMEONE THERE.
THE LOGISTICS ARE PROBABLY QUITE
CHALLENGING TO ENSURE ALL
STUDENTS HAVE THAT ACCESS.
BUT SAY EVEN IN THAT INSTANCE,
TO BE GENEROUS, I SUSPECT THAT
THEY ARE GOING TO BE... THERE
ARE GOING TO BE MANY, MANY
STUDENTS LEFT BEHIND.

Steve says RANDY, FAIR TO SAY
THAT NOT EVERY STUDENT CAN
SUCCEED ON-LINE?

Randy says I WOULD SAY THAT THE DEVIL IS
IN THE... THE ISSUE IS AROUND
THE SUPPORTS THAT GO IN THERE.
AS BEYHAN SAID, MANY PROGRAMS
ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAVE BEEN
VERY SUCCESSFUL.
WHEN THEY STARTED, THEY DID A
LOT MORE OF THE AT A DISTANCE
WITHOUT SOME SUPPORTS.
IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT THERE
WAS SUCCESS FOR ALL STUDENTS IS
THAT A LOT OF THE PROGRAMS BUILT
IN MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR
FACE-TO-FACE TIME FOR LOCAL
SUPPORTS, AND THEY WORKED VERY
HARD TO ENSURE THAT SOME OF THAT
CONNECTION, THAT BEYHAN, YOU'RE
SPEAKING OF, IS IN PLACE.
SO IT'S... IF YOU WERE
SUGGESTING AND TALKING ABOUT
GOING... STEPPING BACK TO WHERE
IT IS BASICALLY A CORRESPONDENCE
MODEL, WHERE CONTENT IS PUSHED
OUT TO STUDENTS AND THEY ARE
EXPECTED TO SEND THAT BACK TO A
TEACHER WHO MARKS IT, WE KNOW
THAT THAT MODEL HAS NOT BEEN AS
SUCCESSFUL IN THE PAST FROM
EXPERIENCES, AND MANY OF THE
PROGRAMS HAVE EVOLVED TOWARDS A
MUCH MORE INTEGRATED MODEL WHERE
THE DELIVERY AND THE CONNECTIONS
ARE BUILT AT THE LOCAL SCHOOL
AND THE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
LEVEL.
VERY MUCH WHAT JEFF IS
DESCRIBING THE PROGRAMS WHICH IS
VERY SIMILAR TO THE CONSORTIUMS
OF BOARDS WHICH ARE SHARING
e-LEARNING PROGRAMS AND SHARING
CONTENT AND TEACHERS ACROSS THE
DIFFERENT BOARD STRUCTURES.
I KNOW FOR A FACT IN ONTARIO
THAT e-LEARNING HAS BEEN THE
SOLUTION FOR THE LAST TWO
DECADES FOR THE FRANCOPHONE
BOARDS IN ORDER TO KEEP THE
STUDENTS ENGAGED IN FRENCH
LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION IN COURSES
INSTEAD OF THEM GOING TO THE
ANGLOPHONE SCHOOLS FOR THAT.
SO THEY SEE IT VERY MUCH AS A
VERY STRENGTH TO ENSURE CULTURAL
AND LANGUAGE IDENTITY REMAINS IN
THOSE RURAL COMMUNITIES.
OR URBAN COMMUNITIES, IN THE
FRANCOPHONE COMMUNITY IN
ONTARIO.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Steve says WELL, BEYHAN, CONFIRM
OR DENY FOR ME, IF YOU WOULD.
I PRESUME IF YOU HAVE LEARNING
DISABILITIES ON-LINE IS GOING TO
BE TOUGH FOR YOU.
I PRESUME THAT IF YOU'RE
SOMEWHERE ON THE SPECTRUM AS IT
RELATES TO ASPERGER'S OR AUTISM
OR SOMETHING, e-LEARNING IS
GOING TO BE TOUGH FOR YOU.
YOU HAVE TO HAVE AN ACTUAL
PERSON BACKSTOPPING YOU FOR THAT
TO WASHING.
TRUE OR FALSE?

Beyhan says IN MY WORK, THERE WAS A
DISPROPORTIONATE NUMBER OF
STUDENTS WHO WERE GIFTED.
THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS WHO HAD
LEARNING DISABILITIES WERE ABOUT
THE SAME.
THERE WERE A NUMBER OF STUDENTS
WHO ACTUALLY INTERVIEWED, THERE
WERE TWO I INTERVIEWED WHO WERE
HARD OF HEARING, AND IT WAS
REALLY, REALLY HELPFUL, SO I...
YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT THERE
ARE... TO BE HONEST, I THINK
ABOUT COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENTS WHO
ARE OFFERED ALMOST NO OPTIONS
ON-LINE.
I CHECKED OUT... I DON'T KNOW IF
YOU CAN SPEAK TO THAT AS WELL,
ABOUT YOUR OWN SORT OF BOARD,
BUT IF BOARDS AREN'T OFFERING
COLLEGE STREAM COURSES AND IF
COLLEGE STREAM COURSES ARE
GENERALLY THE ONES THAT REQUIRE
MORE... LIKE, THERE ARE MORE
CHALLENGES TIMETABLING THOSE
COURSES, I WOULD ASK WHY.
LIKE, WHY IS IT THAT WE'RE
CURRENTLY NOT SERVING STUDENTS
WHO ARE... BECAUSE NOT EVERYONE
IS HEADING TO UNIVERSITY.

Steve says YOU WANT TO PICK THAT UP?

Jeff says I DO.
THAT'S A FAIR POINT.
THERE IS DISPROPORTIONATE NUMBER
OF STUDENTS TAKING
UNIVERSITY-LEVEL COURSES
CURRENTLY, AND I KNOW THE
MINISTRY HAS DONE WORK ON
COLLEGE-LEVEL COURSES.
THERE'S BEEN REVAMPS TO THE
CONTENT, TO UPDATE THEM, TO
MODERNIZE THEM.
BUT THE REALITY IS THAT THERE IS
STILL A DIFFERENCE IN THE NUMBER
OF STUDENTS TAKING AT THAT
LEVEL.
SO DOES THAT CREATE INEQUITY?
CERTAINLY.
AND BECAUSE NOW WE HAVE
POTENTIALLY THIS SYSTEM WHERE
UNIVERSITY-BOUND STUDENTS ARE
GETTING MORE FLEXIBILITY IN
TIMETABLE, WHERE THEY ARE
GETTING THAT POTENTIAL OUTCOME
OF BEING ABLE TO TAKE COURSES
THAT ARE MORE HANDS ON AND
UNIQUE.
THAT IS A CONCERN FOR SURE.
AND SO I DO KNOW THIS, THOUGH.
THE MINISTRY HAS BEEN WORKING ON
WAYS, AND IT IS IN PART OF OUR
DESIGN AND WORKED WITH THE GROUP
FOR... TEACHERS, AND THAT HAS
BEEN THE CRUX OF OUR WORK, IS
AROUND SUPPORTING ALL LEARNERS,
AND SO THAT IS DEFINITELY ONE
PLACE THAT HAS BEEN TARGETED
OPEN LEVEL AND COLLEGE LEVEL
STUDENTS.

Steve says RANDY, WE HAD AN
EXPRESSION BACK IN MY DAY, I
DON'T KNOW IF THEY STILL USE IT,
BUT IF A COURSE WASN'T ALL THAT
CHALLENGING OR PRETTY EASY OR A
LITTLE BIT DORKY WE CALLED IT A
BIRD COURSE.
AND I HAVE HEARD OVER THE PAST
MANY YEARS THAT ON-LINE COURSES,
A LOT OF ON-LINE COURSES ARE
THOUGHT TO BE QUOTE UNQUOTE BIRD
COURSES.
CAN YOU SPEAK TO THAT?

Randy says WELL, I WOULD BE CAUTIOUS
ABOUT MAKING GENERALIZATIONS AND
STATEMENTS LIKE THAT.
WE OFTEN GET CAUGHT IN THAT TYPE
OF RHETORIC IN EDUCATION.
IT'S NOT BLACK AND WHITE, IT'S
NOT SIMPLE.
WERE SOME OF THE PROGRAMS BEFORE
OFFERING CREDITS OR GIVING
CREDITS WITHOUT THE LEVEL OF
SCRUTINY THAT MAY OCCUR IN A
CLASSROOM OR MAY OCCUR IN OTHER
PROGRAMS?
THE ANSWER TO THAT IS YES.
I'VE SEEN A RATIONALIZATION OF
THAT ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHEREBY
THE ACADEMIC STANDARDS OF
INTEGRITY IS CERTAINLY THERE AND
STRONG.
I'VE ALSO SEEN PROGRAMS THAT
HAVE BEEN DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY
USING e-LEARNING COMPONENTS TO
ADDRESS THOSE STUDENTS THAT ARE
MARGINALIZED AND NOT SUCCESSFUL
IN MAINSTREAM HIGH SCHOOLS OR
CLASSROOMS.
SO IT'S BEEN APPLIED
DIFFERENTLY, AND I THINK THE
CHALLENGE HERE IS REALLY WHAT'S
IN FRONT OF ONTARIO IS THE
SCALABILITY BECAUSE IF IT'S NOT
SUPPORTED AS IT HAS EVOLVED AND
HAS PROGRAMS ARE SEEN TO
INCORPORATE DIFFERENT COMPONENTS
IN TERMS OF SUPPORT, IF THOSE
SUPPORTS DO NOT COME AND THEY
ARE NOT PART OF WHAT'S
ENVISIONED AS A PROGRAM WITH
THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, THEN THE
SCALABILITY WILL END UP WITH AN
INFERIOR PRODUCT.

Steve says JEFF, HELP ME WITH
THIS.
IF NOT EVERY STUDENT HAS THE
SAME ACCESS TO INTERNET, TO
HIGH-SPEED INTERNET, TO
HIGH-QUALITY INTERNET, AND YOU
HAVE TO TAKE COURSES ON-LINE,
YOU GOT TO GET FOUR CREDITS
ON-LINE, HOW DO YOU SEE THAT
PLAYING OUT?

Jeff says I THINK... I SEE THAT BEING
PROBLEMATIC, AND I THINK AS A
BEGINNING POINT THERE HAS TO BE
CONDITIONS IN PLACE TO ENSURE
THAT THIS IS A SUCCESSFUL
LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR
STUDENTS.
SO THE WI-FI IS ESSENTIAL.
THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT EVERY
STUDENT HAS TO HAVE ACCESS TO A DEVICE.

Steve says LIKE SOME BOARDS ARE
GOING TO HAVE WI-FI ON THE
BUSES, FOR GOODNESS' SAKE, AND
OTHERS DON'T.

Jeff says OUR BOARD DOES.
WE UTILIZE THAT FOR LEARNING
TIME, FOR e-LEARNING COURSES.
BUT THIS IS THE TYPE OF THINKING
THAT'S GOING TO HAVE TO GO INTO
THIS PROGRAM FOR IT TO BE
SUCCESSFUL, AND IT'S TOTALLY
UNFAIR IF A STUDENT IS OUT THERE
WHO DOESN'T HAVE A DEVICE THAT
THEY CAN ACCESS AT HOME.
SO IT WILL HAVE TO BE PART OF
THE CONDITIONS FOR SUCCESS FOR
THESE STUDENTS.
IN ADDITION TO THE LEARNING
TOOLS THAT COULD SUPPORT
STUDENTS WHO ARE ON IEP.

Steve says IEP?

Jeff says INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

Steve says OKAY.

Jeff says SO WE HAVE TO HAVE ALL OF
THIS IN THE DESIGN OF THE
PROGRAM FOR IT TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
I'M HOPING THAT THE MINISTRY
ENGAGES ALL OF THE BOARDS AND
THE EDUCATORS WHO HAVE THIS
EXPERTISE AND THE PARENTS.
THEY NEED TO BE PART OF THIS
DIALOGUE.
WHEN WE SEE THE FINAL PRODUCT,
BEFORE WE SEE THE FINAL PRODUCT
COME OUT, BECAUSE IT HAS TO HAVE
THESE LEARNING CONDITIONS.

Steve says DO YOU KNOW HOW THE
GOVERNMENT PLANS TO MAKE SURE
THERE'S A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
FOR ALL OF ITS STUDENTS?

Beyhan says I'M CYNICAL.

Steve says I'M PICKING THAT UP.

Beyhan says YEAH.
WELL, I MEAN, IT'S... THE
WORDING OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT WAS,
YEAH . . .
SO ALL THIS TO SAY I DON'T KNOW.
WE DON'T HAVE DETAILS.
I HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS, AND I
THINK THE... I WOULD SAY THIS,
THAT THE ANNOUNCEMENT TO ROLL IT
IN SO QUICKLY IS CONCERNING WHEN
WE HAVE SO MUCH THAT WE NEED TO
DO TO MAKE SURE...

Steve says I'M INFERRING FROM
THAT THAT YOU THINK THERE WASN'T
A LOT OF THOUGHT BEHIND THE ANNOUNCEMENT.

Beyhan says I'M GOING TO MAKE A BET THAT
THERE WASN'T.

Steve says SO WHY DO YOU THINK
THEY'RE DOING IT?

Beyhan says I THINK IT'S A... I MAY BE
MISSPEAKING, BUT I UNDERSTAND
THAT THERE ARE... EVEN WITH THE
CLASS SIZES, THEY WOULD ENROL A
FEW MORE STUDENTS IN THERE
BECAUSE THERE'S HIGHER ATTRITION
ANTICIPATED.
I THINK THEY'RE GOING TO DO IT
BECAUSE IT'S AN EASY FIX TO A
SPATIAL PROBLEM, RIGHT, WITH
SCHOOL CLOSURES AND LABOUR
ISSUES LIKE THERE IS A WAY IN
WHICH... WHAT IS DISAPPOINTING
TO ME IS I THINK THE WORK RANDY
HAS DONE AND JEFF HAS DONE IS
IMPORTANT, AND THIS KIND OF
ANNOUNCEMENT DIMINISHES THAT AND
DISRESPECTS WHAT POTENTIAL
e-LEARNING HAS IN THE CLASSROOM.

Steve says RANDY, THE SUGGESTION
IS THIS WAS DRIVEN MORE BY THE
NEED TO SAVE MONEY AND REDUCE
BODIES IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM
AS OPPOSED TO PROMOTING THE
VALUES AND THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT
e-LEARNING.
DO YOU WANT TO SPEAK TO THAT?

Randy says LIKELY NOT IN THE SENSE THAT
I'M NOT SURE WHAT THE
MOTIVATIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT
WERE.
I JUST KNOW THAT THERE IS AN
INCREDIBLE CHALLENGE IN THE
SCALING UP OF WHAT IS REQUIRED
BASED ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT.
AND SO I'M ENCOURAGED BY THE
FACT THAT THE MINISTRY IS OPEN
TO AND LISTENING TO BOARDS AND
PROGRAMS AND THOSE WHO HAVE HAD
SOME BACKGROUND IN e-LEARNING
AND HOW THAT MIGHT BE MANAGED
EFFECTIVELY.
AND I THINK, AGAIN, THAT THAT'S
THE IMPORTANT POINT TO BRING
VOICES TO THE TABLE AT THE
MINISTRY.
ONTARIO'S HAD A RICH SUCCESS IN
HISTORY IN TERMS OF ITS
CENTRALIZATION AND SUPPORT THAT
HAS BEEN PROVIDED.
THERE'S DISTRICT CONTACTS IN
EACH OF THE SCHOOL BOARDS THAT
ARE PROVIDED SPECIFIC TO
TECHNOLOGY AND LEARNING AND
e-LEARNING.
THERE IS A PROVINCIAL LICENSE
FOR A LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
THAT IS PROVIDED.
THERE'S PROVINCIAL CONTENT THAT
IS CREATED.
THAT IS NOT THE CASE IN OTHER
PROVINCES.
ONTARIO HAS A LOT OF RICHNESS TO
IT AND AVAILABLE FOR TEACHERS
AND BOARDS TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT
THIS.
AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT
THE STRATEGIES THAT ARE IN PLACE
THAT MAKE ONTARIO QUITE
SUCCESSFUL, THAT ARE LEADING TO
ANYWHERE FROM AN 85 TO A 93 percent
COMPLETION RATE FOR STUDENTS IN
THE TAKING e-LEARNING COURSES,
THAT THAT SUCCESS CONTINUES
FORWARD IN THE SCALED UP
ENVIRONMENT HERE.
AND I WOULD ENCOURAGE EVERYONE
TO TAKE... BRING THEIR VOICES TO
THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION BEFORE
THE MAY 31 CONSULTATION
DEADLINE.

Steve says TO THAT END, I GOT 30
SECONDS LEFT.
JEFF, THIS IS GOING TO HIT YOU
WHERE YOU LIVE.
YOU'RE THE BOARD THAT'S GOING TO
HAVE TO IMPLEMENT THIS POLICY.
ANY ADVICE YOU WANT TO GIVE TO
THE MINISTER HERE?

Jeff says I WOULD LOVE TO SEE CONTEXT
AND THE BOARDS AND LOCAL
COMMUNITIES ENGAGED ON HOW TO
IMPLEMENT THIS MODEL,
INCORPORATE OUR THINKING,
INCORPORATE THE WORK THAT WE'VE
DONE TO SUPPORT VARIOUS
INITIATIVES WITH THE e-LEARNING
SO THAT WE CREATE A PROGRAM THAT
MAKES EVERY KID SUCCESSFUL.
I HAVE THREE KIDS IN THE SYSTEM.
I HAVE AN INVESTMENT HERE.
I WANT TO SEE AN EDUCATION
SYSTEM THAT SUPPORTS THEIR NEEDS.

The caption changes to "Producer: Cara Stern, @carastern."

Steve says GOTCHA.
THANKS TO THE THREE OF YOU FOR
COMING ON TVO TONIGHT AND
DISCUSSING THIS.
RANDY LABONTE, THE CEO OF THE
CANADIAN e-LEARNING NETWORK IN
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA.
JEFF CUMMINGS, WITH THE
WELLINGTON CATHOLIC DISTRICT
SCHOOL BOARD, AND BEYHAN
FARHADI, GOOD LUCK FINISHING UP
THAT DOCTORAL THESIS OF YOURS.

Beyhan says ALMOST.

Steve says SHE'S COMPLETING HER
FIRST STUDY... RATHER THE FIRST
STUDY ON THE TDSB e-LEARNING
PHENOMENON.
THANKS TO THE THREE OF YOU.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

All the guests say THANK YOU.

Watch: How to Learn Online