Number of K-12 Schools: 307
Number of K-12 Students: 98,906
Number of K-12 Distance Learning Programs: 2
Number of K-12 Distance Learning Students: ~5,134
Note that these profiles are taken from the most recent edition of the report, please review additional annual profiles below.
Governance and Regulation
While there is no specific legislative language concerning K-12 distance, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development defines distance learning as the delivery of a course where the teacher responsible for assessment and instruction is in a location physically remote from the student. Online teachers communicate with the school to relay information about student progress.
Both the Anglophone and Francophone sectors of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development manage their own K-12 distance learning programs. These programs are funded through the Department directly, and are provided at no cost to schools or districts. The Department has published policy handbooks and web resources, different for both the English and French programs, which outline who can take distance courses, list the courses offered, describe the registration process, and outline duties of each role in the process. Additionally, as of the 2019-20 school year, the organization of distance learning courses in the French-speaking sector had a new structure to allow school districts to be involved in decision making through a management committee.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development defines blended learning as the use of online and distance learning resources to support a teacher delivering a course onsite to students. Students continue to have access to the online material outside of class time for independent work.
K-12 Distance and Online Learning Activity
The two distance learning programs service secondary students in New Brunswick in either of the province’s two official languages. Both distance and blended courses use content created by the department and information is recorded in a learning portal, which records information about courses taken, school of origin and basic student demographic information. Some additional registrations, such as adults upgrading high school, are manually recorded, but not tracked with the same level of detail. During the 2021-22 school year, there were 2,800 regular students enrolled in 55 different courses in the Anglophone program, while there 1,584 students enrolled in 53 different courses in the Francophone program.
Additionally, the Anglophone program offered a free online summer program that allowed interested high school students and recent graduates the opportunity to take a single course for credit. During the Summer 2022 there were 750 students enrolled in 21 different courses offered by 24 teachers. The experience was used as a paid professional learning opportunity for teachers to gain online teaching skills.
Finally, a single school district began a pilot project to deliver Advanced Placement (AP) courses across a small network of schools. This pilot will enable smaller schools to offer these courses through a primarily synchronous delivery model.
K-12 Blended Learning Activity
All students are enrolled in MS Teams sites for each courses through the integration with the student information system. Additionally, the content that has been created for all of the distance learning courses is available to all teachers in the province as a professional learning resource. Teachers can request access to this content in the Desire2Learn environment to use in their classroom teaching. While the Ministry tracks the number of courses requested by teachers, it does not track the number of students enrolled therein.
Fall 2021 Reopening
Schools returned to in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. Class size returned to full capacity for K-5 with no ‘bubbles’ or cohorts in grades 6-8. High school students returned with full time, in-person attendance, and music programs and extracurricular activities continued without restrictions, though masks were required indoors and assemblies were still not permitted. Should students return to remote learning due to an outbreak, K-8 students would engage in a mix of ‘virtual and paper-based learning’ or learning kits, while high school students would have a blend of synchronous and project-based learning (LaBonte et al., 2021).
2021-22 School Year
The Fall reopening plan remained in place and for the most part in-person learning continued, with the exceptions of a Canadian Union of Public Employees strike in November and/or local community outbreaks when students returned to remote learning. The reopening of schools after the December holidays was delayed until January 10, and schools returned to home learning due to increasing community spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The return to in-person was further delayed until January 31 to allow time for purchase and installation of 2,000 portable HEPA filters for classrooms along with a supply of KN95 masks as all students were required to wear masks while in school as well as outdoors for grade 9-12 students. February saw the gradual release of community restrictions across Canada and the New Brunswick government lifted mandatory restrictions March 14 that included a return to full physical education and music classes and no requirement to wear a mask while in school (LaBonte et al. 2022).
LaBonte, R., Barbour, M. K., & Mongrain, J. (2022). Teaching during times of turmoil: Ensuring Continuity of learning during school closures. Canadian eLearning Network. https://canelearn.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Teaching-During-Times-of-Turmoil.pdf
LaBonte, R., Barbour, M. K., & Nagle, J. (2021). Pandemic pedagogy in Canada: Lessons from the first 18 months. Canadian eLearning Network. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gaNFXDCt44W9DaAC9iRAf33pDTKup2C8/view
Previous Provincial Profiles
History of K-12 E-Learning
Since its inception in 2001, the distance learning program has evolved to offer over 40 courses online with an additional 10 as a F2F resource. Initially based on the WebCT platform, by 2008-09, the program was staffed by 20 teachers and served more than 4000 students and teachers. In the following year restructuring saw the program contract to half that size, and with a shifted focus to core courses and supplemental support. Since then, the program has grown to be supported by 14 teachers, and offers a diverse mix of courses that are able to satisfy the province’s graduation requirements.
Almost since the beginning, the program has offered a Mi’kmaq language course and supplemental materials for Wolastoqey. In 2015-16, both languages saw the release of new courses so that both of the province’s First Nations groups can have access to language instruction via distance. The program now offers courses in five languages.
Individual Program Survey Responses
|Program||Most recent response||Medium||# of Students||# of Teachers||# of Courses|
|2021-22||Online||1,584 online||14 full time||33 online|
|New Brunswick Virtual Learning Centre
|24 full time
1 part time
* Blended program is delivered by local classroom teachers in schools and courses are available to anyone who requests them.
To update this information, visit http://tinyurl.com/sotn-program-survey
Inter-provincial and International
While the graduation requirements for the province are currently under review, for a student in New Brunswick to receive credit for a course taken from an online program in another province or territory the student would need to have enrolled in the course in New Brunswick and been unsuccessful in completing it. In such instances the online course would be considered an independent study course. Students can only have one independent study course count towards their graduation requirements. Approval to apply outside credit for a single course is infrequently sought or approved. The same process applies for a student seeking to obtain credit for a course from an online program in another country. In both cases the curriculum for the course in question would need to be reviewed and approved, typically in advance of the student beginning the course.
In instances where a student living in another province or territory, or another country, took a course from an online program located in New Brunswick, a transcript would be issued by the Ministry and sent to the district or school-based coordinator responsible for the student. Whether the student receives credit for the course is determined by the individual jurisdiction where the student resides. At present both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have agreements in place to allow students to receive credit for courses taken through New Brunswick’s French language distance education program. Typically a review of the New Brunswick curriculum is carried out first by the school authority interested to ensure the student would receive credit should they complete the course (in much the same fashion that New Brunswick reviews the curriculum of other programs before granting credit to students who wish to take courses from other jurisdictions).