Population: 5,020,302
Number of K-12 Schools: 1933
Number of K-12 Students: 633,805

Number of K-12 E-Learning Programs: 74
Number of K-12 E-Learning Students: ~65,000

Note that these profiles are taken from the most recent edition of the report, please review additional annual profiles below.

Governance and Regulation

The Ministry of Education defines distributed learning (i.e., a term used to include both distance and online learning) as a method of instruction that relies primarily on indirect communication between students and teachers, including Internet or other electronic-based delivery, teleconferencing, or correspondence.

The distributed learning landscape has remained relatively stable over the past years. The legislative language in section 3.1 and section 75 (4.1) of the School Act, 2006, as well as section 8.1 of the Independent School Act, 2006, still govern the operation of distributed learning programs. Both pieces of legislation contain similar language concerning the establishment of distributed learning schools “only with the prior agreement of the Minister” and ensuring that students may exercise their rights under legislation to choose distributed learning instruction within a coordinated province-wide distributed learning system. Districts and independent school authorities that enter into an agreement with the Ministry are required to:

  • commit to meet or exceed the Distributed Learning Standards;
  • for public distributed learning schools, agree to participate in the Quality Assurance Review process and aligns its website to meet Ministry requirements; for independent distributed learning schools this quality assurance function is conducted through scheduled inspections as set out in the Independent School Act
  • ensure it has supports in place to comply with the Ministry policy and standards;
  • provide training and professional development for teachers, and – for public distributed learning school – employs only teachers who have experience and/or training in distributed learning methodology;
  • meet policy requirements related to funds for designated resources to parents and learners;
  • ensure that all learners in the board’s catchment area who are receiving distributed learning instruction from anywhere in the province from a public distributed learning school are receiving appropriate support;
  • provide records and reports on student achievement as specified by the Ministry;
  • work to achieve a 100 percent participation rate in Foundation Skills Assessments and Satisfaction Surveys;
  • provide current and accurate distributed learning contact information to the Ministry; and
  • each public distributed learning school provide accurate information regarding its Distributed Learning website, courses offered, and contact information to the Ministry by July 31 of each year, updating the information as required.

Finally, the funding for distributed learning is somewhat different than traditional brick-and-mortar schools. For full time students in kindergarten to grade 9, traditional bricks and mortar schools, school districts are funded one time for a program of studies, as at September 30th (students in seats), while students in grades 10-12 are funded per course. K-9 distributed learning schools have three funding opportunities depending on when the students meet eligibility requirements:

  • September (30th) distributed learning schools receive 100% of per pupil funding,
  • February distributed learning schools receive 50% of per pupil funding, and
  • May distributed learning schools receive 33% of per pupil funding.

During the 2018-19 school year, the basic allocation school-age equivalent (i.e., FTE) for students attending a brick-and-mortar school was $7,468 (or $933.50/course), while only $6,100 (or $762.50/course) for a student attending a distributed learning school. Further, Group 1 independent schools receive 63% of the public distributed learning per pupil amount (all independent distributed learning schools in the province have Group 1 Certification.

It should be noted that in February 2018 an Independent Review Panel launched consultations with all 60 school districts and independent schools to examine how K-12 education, including distributed learning, was funded. This Panel presented a report to the province in December 2018. Four Working Groups from all education representatives and advocacy groups were formed and invited to respond to the recommendations. One of those Working Groups focused on online learning and was tasked with assisting the Ministry of Education in determining the best approach to implementing Recommendation 10 of the Independent Review Panel’s report:

With the shift to a per-student-based funding model, the Ministry should develop a new policy and program delivery model for Distributed Learning to ensure consistent access to quality programming for all students in the province.

The conclusion of this process is expected during the 2019-20 school year.

K-12 Distance and Online Learning Activity

The Ministry tracks student enrolment through the Student Achievement Data Exchange (SADE). SADE collects course level data for every student for all distributed learning schools offering kindergarten through grade 12. School districts and authorities operating distributed learning schools are required to submit this information annually.

In 2018-19 there were 57 district-level public distributed learning schools and 16 independent distributed learning schools that enrolled approximately 65,000 unique students in one or more courses. Additionally, Open School BC also provided provincial content and online hosting services on a cost-recovery model to school districts lacking the capacity or desire to manage their own distributed learning program. Finally, the Western Canadian Learning Network is a consortium of school districts providing online courses and digital resources for use by distributed learning schools in British Columbia, as well as Alberta and the Yukon.

K-12 Blended Learning Activity

Under the current policy, the delivery method is considered distributed learning as long as the student is at a distance from the teacher for the “majority of the time,” which is not explicitly defined. The current funding model in British Columbia does not differentiate between distributed learning and blended learning or between face-to-face and blended learning. However, there are different funding amounts for face-to-face courses and programs, as compared to distributed learning courses.

At present, the Ministry of Education has also not yet begun to gather data on blended learning programs. However, in the 2017-18 school year the Ministry did administer a survey to all 74 distributed learning schools in the province and through this survey learned that 39 of the 58 public distributed learning schools offered some form of blended learning and 13 of the 16 independent distributed learning schools offered some form of blended learning.

Previous Provincial Profiles

History of K-12 E-Learning

K-12 distance education in Canada began in British Columbia in 1919, when the province began offering correspondence education to students living in isolated parts of the province (Toutant, 2003). This centralized system of correspondence education continued until 1984, when the province began to establish the first of nine regional correspondence schools (Dunae, 1997-2008). K-12 online learning began in British Columbia in 1993, with the introduction of New Directions in Distance Learning and the EBUS Academy. By 1994, the responsibility for distance education had largely shifted to individual school districts. Over the past two decades, both public district-based and independent online learning programs have proliferated considerable. Winkelmans, Anderson, and Barbour (2010) provide a comprehensive history of the development of K-12 distance education and e-learning in the province.

References

Dunae, P. A. (1997-2008). Correspondence education. The Homeroom. Nanaimo, BC: Vancouver Island University. Retrieved from https://www2.viu.ca/homeroom/content/topics/programs/corresp.htm

Toutant, T. S. (2003). Equality by mail: Correspondence education in British Columbia, 1919 to 1969. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. University of Victoria, Victoria, BC

Winkelmans, T., Anderson, B., & Barbour, M. K. (2010). Distributed learning in British Columbia: A journey from correspondence to online delivery. Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, 14(1), 6-28. Retrieved from http://journals.akoaotearoa.ac.nz/index.php/JOFDL/article/viewFile/29/26

Vignettes

Brief Issue Papers

Individual Program Survey Responses

 Program  Most recent response   Medium   # of Students   # of Teachers   # of Courses 
Abbotsford Virtual School
avs34.com
2018-19 Online
Blended
2,900 online
40 blended
16 full time
6 part time
14 blended
95 online
55 blended
Anchor Academy
www.ark.net/
2018-19 Online
Correspondence
872 30 full time
5 part time
114 (gr. 10-12)
full K-9 program
Bulkley Valley Education Connection
www.schoolius.com/school/1507332162859575/
Bulkley+Valley+Education+Connection
2015-16 Online
Blended
180 supplemental
30 full time
180 blended
2 full time
1 part time
2 blended
>50 distance
>50 blended
Burnaby Online Program
online.burnabyschools.ca
2018-19 Online 2,200 7 full time
12 part time
55 secondary
Choices DL
sd70.bc.ca/school/cdl
2016-17 Online
Correspondence
Blended
200 FTE distance*
60% students blended
4 full time
all blended
40 grades 8-12
full K-7 program
Christian Homelearners eStreams
www.estreams.ca
2017-18 Online
Correspondence
200 7 full time
3 part time
some grades 10-12
full K-9 program
Coquitlam Open Learning
www.sd43.bc.ca/col/Pages/landing.aspx
2016-17 Online
Correspondence
Blended
~2,500 distance 7 full time
18 part time
3 blended
35+ distance
3 blended
Cowichan Valley Distributed Learning / Encompass K-9
www.cowichanopenlearning.ca/dl.html
2017-18 Correspondence
Online
Blended
77 full time (K-9)
26.4 FTE (gr. 10-12) distance
77 blended
2 full time
4 part time
3 blended
44 secondary
full K–9 program
Creston Homelinks
homelinks.sd8.bc.ca
2016-17 Online
Correspondence
Blended
130.5 FTE distance*
130.5 FTE blended*
3 full time
3 part time
6 blended
42 secondary
full K–9 program
Delta Access
www.deltasd.bc.ca/content/programs/deltaaccess
2018-19 Online 185.625 FTE 15 part time 41
Distance Education School of the Kootenays
desk.sd8.bc.ca
2015-16 Online
Correspondence
Blended
1,000 distance
14 blended
5 full time
3 part time
1 blended
33 distance
1 blended
Diversity by Design DL Academy
diversitybydesign.ca
2012-13 Online
Correspondence
100 2 full time
7 part time
~80
Ebus Academy
ebus.ca
2018-19 Online ~4000 (~1000 FTE) 28 full time
11 part time
59 grades K-6
37 grades 7-9;  129 grades 10-12
40 learner services
École Virtuelle CSF
ecolevirtuelle.csf.bc.ca/
2014-15 Online
Blended
204 online
12 blended
6 part time online
1 full time blended
19 online
1 blended
Education Outreach Program
eopmoodle.sd83.bc.ca/
2017-18 Online ~500 2 full time
2 part time
108
eSchoolBC
www.eSchoolBC.com
2017-18 Online
Blended
3,000 online
3,000 blended
6 full time
6 part time
6 blended
60 online
10 blended
Fraser Valley Distance Education School
www.fvdes.com
2012-13 Online
Correspondence
~3,500 30 full time
1 part time
~150
Hands-On Home-Learning
oakandorca.ca/handson/index.html
2014-15  Correspondence (PDFs) 82  12 part time
Heritage Christian Online School
www.onlineschool.ca
2018-19 Online
Correspondence
Blended
3240 full-time
2400 cross-enrolled
1,944 blended
59 full time
142 part time
89 blended
280 distance
66 blended
Home Quest
homequest.deltasd.bc.ca/home
2018-19 Online
Correspondence
73 FTE online
67 blended
2 full time
1 part time
3 blended
10 grades 8-9
full K-7 program
Island ConnectEd K-12
island-connected.sd68.bc.ca/
2018-19 Online
Correspondence
1,600 online 17 full time
2 part time
75
Juan de Fuca Distributed Learning
jdfdl.web.sd62.bc.ca/
2015-16 Online
Correspondence
2,800 distance
1200 blended
8 full time
22 part time
23 blended
55 distance
26 blended
Kamloops Open Online Learning
kool.sd73.bc.ca
2018-19 Online
Blended
2,500 distance
500 blended
3 full time
25 part time
20 blended
140 distance
60 blended
Key Learning Centre – NBCDES
www.keylearning.ca
2018-19 Online
Correspondence
Blended
285 FTE (1450 head count)
12 blended
6 full time
1 blended
160+ secondary
full K–7 program
K-1 blended
Kleos Open Learning
www.kleos.ca
2017-18 Online
Correspondence
Blended
210 distance
25 blended
20 full time
2 part time
3 blended
25 distance
15 blended
Kootenay Discovery School
www.sd5.bc.ca/school/kds/Pages/default.aspx
2018-19 Online
Correspondence
~600-800 1 full time
2 part time
~60
Navigate (NIDES)
navigatenides.com/
2017-18 Online
Correspondence
Blended
2600 distance
250 blended
~25 full time
~25 part time
10 blended
~50 distance
full K–7 program blended
Next Step Outreach Program
www.nextstepoutreach.com/
2017-18 Online
Correspondence
Blended
400 online
400 blended
1 full time
1 blended
20 online
20 blended
North Coast Distance Education School
ncdes.ca
2012-13 Online
Correspondence
~3,400 8 full time 65
North Vancouver Distributed Learning School
www.sd44.ca/school/distributed/Pages/default.aspx
2016-17 Online
Correspondence
Blended
 ~3,000 distance
~550 blended
8 full time
15 part time
6 blended
57 distance
3 blended
Partners in Education
www.sd47.bc.ca/school/pie/Pages/default.aspx
2019-20 Online
Correspondence
 673 6 full time
14 part time
100+
Quesnel Distributed Learning School
qdlonline.com
2015-16 Online
Correspondence
Blended
150 online
35 blended
2 full time
1 part time
1 blended
25 online
16 blended
Richmond Virtual School
RichmondVirtualSchool.ca
2015-16 Online 1800 online
1700 blended
2 full time
45 part time
45
Rocky Mountain Distributed Learning School
getsmartbc.ca
2015-16 Online ~350 3 full time 75
Sea to Sky Online School
www.seatoskyonline.com
2018-19 Online
Correspondence
1438 (179.75 FTE) 3 full time
1 part time
50+ distance
5 blended
SelfDesign Learning Community
www.selfdesign.org
2016-17 Online ~2200 ~30 full time
~145 part time
full complement of K-12
South Central Interior Distance Education School
www.scides.ca/
2018-19 Online
Correspondence
Blended
1,370 distance
27 blended
7 full time
4 part time
1 blended
220 distance
1 blended
South Island Distance Education School
www.sides.ca/en.html
2018-19 Online
Correspondence
2748 students (684.25 FTE) 24 full time
9 part time
59 grades 9-12 & full K–8 program
South Peace Distributed Learning
dcss.sd59.bc.ca/spc/spdl
2015-16 Online
Correspondence
55 FTE* 1 full time
4 part time
16
Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning
www.sailacademy.ca
2016-17 Online
Correspondence
Blended
~2000 distance 21 full time
300+ blended
80+
Traditional Learning Academy
www.schoolathome.ca
2016-17 Online
Correspondence
Blended
1000 distance
250 blended
50 full time
35 part time
15 blended
80 distance
40 blended
Vancouver Learning Network
vlns.ca/
2016-17 Online
Correspondence
 ~5000 8 full time
31 part time
 ~90
Vernon Virtual Learning
vlearn.ca
2017-18 Online
Correspondence
Blended
1200 distance (248 FTE)
70 blended
7 full time
5 part time
72 secondary & 80 elementary (distance)
5 blended
YouLearn.ca
youlearn.ca
2016-17 Online
Correspondence
630 6 full time
3 part time
48

* Full-time equivalents, not the total number of students.

To update this information, visit http://tinyurl.com/sotn-program-survey

Inter-provincial and International

If a student in British Columbia took a course from an online program in another province or territory, or even in another country, the student would present him/herself at a local school or distributed learning school and request either equivalency for a credential earned in another jurisdiction or permission to challenge a course for credit based on prior learning or experience. The Ministry’s policy is to allow each school to have their own procedures to guide this process.

At present there is only one school district business company (i.e., SD73 Business Company) that has an agreement with the Ministry to offer distributed learning content to non-resident students.  The Business Company is owned by the Kamloops-Thompson School District No.73  but operates at an arms-length and is not able to grant British Columbia credits.  A non-resident student who completes a course through the SD73 Business Company would have to go through the process of receiving credit for the student’s course based on the guidelines established in the student’s own jurisdiction, or the BC jurisdiction they register to study in as an international student.

Additionally, there are a few distributed learning programs that have specific agreements in place to serve students in a given jurisdiction. For example, the Northern British Columbia Distance Education School can serve students in the Yukon by special arrangement. The Yukon Department of Education is responsible for recognizing those credits (although the Yukon does follow the British Columbia K-12 curriculum).