This item was recently featured in Stephen’s Web ~ OLDaily – March 11, 2021.

A Worldwide Journey through Distance Education—From the Post Office to Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities, and Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Agnieszka PregowskaKarol MasztalerzMagdalena GarlińskaMagdalena OsialEducation Sciences, Mar 11, 2021

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This article was published as part of a special issue on Online Communities and E-Learning. I think it’s useful to have included a history of distance education, but I don’t think this article should be cited as authoritative; it cites, for example, the Canadian Encyclopedia as its source for Canada, which is OK maybe, but gets the information wrong, which isn’t (they misread ‘BC minister of education’ as ‘minister of education’, and mistakenly claims that the first the provincial consortium, Ontario Learn, was the first college that used the Internet as a learning source). I didn’t check every claim for every country, but readers are advised to be cautious. Still, the article is a useful collection of historical examples, provided they are verified before being cited.

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There were a limited number of specific references in both the original article and in the Canadian Encyclopedia entry related to K-12 distance and online learning in Canada to highlight.

A Worldwide Journey through Distance Education—From the Post Office to Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities, and Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • “In 1921, the Ministry of Education received a letter from one of the parents of a child who was living in a rural area. They were requesting study materials for their children, as they lived too far away from a school to attend in-person classes. As such, the first correspondence school began.” (3 of 26)
  • “In 1980, TV and Radio companies such as OLI, TVOntario, Radio-Québec, the Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN), Northern Canada Television, and ACCESS Alberta delivered educational television programs to a wide range of audiences.” (8 of 26)

Canadian Encyclopedia “Distance Learning” Entry

  • “In 1921, a parent wrote the BC Ministry of Education requesting study materials for his children because they were too far from a school, and at first primary and then secondary correspondence education was begun. As the provision of schooling across Canada changed, the need for correspondence materials, especially at the primary grades, decreased. However, secondary course materials were always in demand. Today most provinces continue to develop and offer k-12 distance education programming.” (para. 3)
  • “The 1960s brought increasing demand for further education and more universities began technology-based programs. Memorial University was famous for the use of slow scan video to provide a consulting service to doctors in remote communities. This led to the development of an extensive number of audio- and then video-conferencing sites that were used for k-12 and adult education.” (para. 5)
  • “Soon other telecommunications authorities, TVOntario, Radio-Québec, the Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN), Northern Canada Television and ACCESS Alberta were using broadcast television and, in some cases, other technologies to provide educational programming for learners of all ages.” (para. 7)
Canadian K-12 coverage in “A Worldwide Journey through Distance Education”

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