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A Snapshot State of the Nation Study: K-12 Online Learning in Canada.
To date, most of what is known about K-12 online learning from the media and literature is focused upon experiences in the United States. However, virtual schooling first began in Canada in 1994-95. Over the past fourteen years, there has been little federal funding for the development and research of K-12 online learning in Canada. This has largely been due to the fact that education is a provincial jurisdiction and there is no federal department with this responsibility in Canada. Therefore, there have been no federal guidelines or standards for these programmes to meet through reporting or external evaluations. With limited government, foundation, and private support for education research, K-12 online learning programmes have not received financial support for research and evaluation. Moreover, there has been little activity in Canadian higher education towards research of K-12 online learning, compounded by the fact that there are fewer than five-dozen Canadian universities, which limits the focus and scope of K-12 education research. As such, K-12 online learning has continued to develop across Canada quietly, and with little dissemination outside of the country and between individual provinces. This report is the first of many steps that researchers and the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) are taking to begin to address the lack of information about K-12 online learning in Canada. This report will provide an examination of online learning activity at the K-12 level and how it is governed in each province and territory. Thus the authors provide a brief overview of the national landscape of K-12 online learning, with a more detailed focus on three jurisdictions. A list of selected resources and bibliography are included.