E-Learning Takes Off

High school students can now opt for online courses.

E-Learning Takes Off

Image(s) licensed by Ingram Publishing


The availability of e-Learning in high school is giving students a flexible way to reach their goals.

Just ask Bryce, a Grade 12 student who took two online courses last semester – Writer’s Craft and Economics. The courses weren’t offered at his school at a time that was suitable for him and taking them online allowed him to work part-time.

“Taking the courses I needed online meant that I could work the afternoon shift and do my classes in the evening or in the early morning, depending on my schedule,” notes Bryce.

Emmy, a student in Grade 11, is interested in pursuing a career in advertising in the world market. However, the courses she needed to take weren’t available at her high school. So she went online to take courses in Computer Science and International Business, essential stepping stones to achieving her ambitions.

Benefits to e-Learning

Secondary school students have the option of using e-Learning if:
a certain course is not offered at their school, but they need it to enter a post-secondary program
there is a conflict in their timetable; for instance, two courses they want to take are offered at the same time
they need the flexibility to do course work at different times during the day, especially when juggling other responsibilities like part-time work

These credit courses are available at no cost to students, are taught by teachers within the school board, and are recognized by post-secondary institutions.

The Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board offers “online credit courses for Grade 11 and 12 students in a wide range of subjects, including Math, English, Business, Law and Computer Technology,” says Todd Pottle, e-Learning consultant.

At the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board, “We offer 18 courses mainly in Grades 11 and 12 and also Grade 10 Civics and Careers,” says e-Learning consultant Jonathan Berlingeri.

One of the main benefits of e-Learning is that it provides students with 24-7 access to their course work. “Some students like the flexibility of online courses to make their own schedule, to study early in the morning or late at night,” says Berlingeri.

E-Learning is also designed to be highly interactive. Both boards use the Ministry of Education’s Desire2Learn Learning Management System, which incorporates online discussion forums, chat rooms, instant messaging, drop boxes, an electronic portfolio, and simulations.

Learning styles matter

How do you know if e-Learning is right for your child? “Many students excel in the online learning environment because it may better reflect their learning styles and preferences,” says Pottle.

E-Learning is a good option for students who are self-motivated, organized and can learn well independently. Others may prefer face to face learning.

For Emmy, “communication is really big. I prefer being in the classroom and learning face to face, because I’m pretty social. But I would take another online course if it wasn’t available any other way.”

While Bryce thrived in the online environment, he recommends “that students not take more than two online courses per semester so that they don’t lose the personal element.”

And what happens if students fall behind or have difficulties?

The e-Learning teacher will call the school and parents if a student hasn’t logged in for awhile. The guidance counsellor can follow up to determine what’s going on and to arrange for extra help if needed.

To find out more about online learning, please contact the school’s guidance counsellor or visit www.edu.gov.on.ca/elearning.

Author: Joanne Culley

Joanne Culley is a writer and documentary producer with two sons; joanne.culley@sympatico.ca or www.joanneculleymediaproductions.com.

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