The history of distance learning in Ontario dates back to 1926 when the Department of Education made elementary education accessible to remote areas of the province. In addition to the correspondence courses for adults, the government introduced the Railway School Car Program, which took teachers and “classrooms on wheels” to rural communities. A complete high school curriculum known as Independent Learning Centre (ILC) was made available and the name “ILC” was made official in 1984. In 2002, the Ministry transferred responsibility of ILC to TVO, an organization that had more experience in emerging communication technologies and mandate to enhance and expand distance education in Ontario and beyond.
What is TVO and TVO ILC?
A public agency of the Ontario government and a registered charity, TVO is a multiplatform digital learning publisher that delivers powerful moments of learning to Ontarians of all ages. TVO offers a portfolio of in-depth current affairs analysis, thought-provoking documentaries, award-winning TVOkids content, and impactful digital learning products and services, such as TVO mPower, TVO Mathify, TVO ILC.
TVO ILC is the chosen distance learning partner of the Ontario Ministry of Education, and the largest online high school in the province with almost 19000 students taking one or more credits each year. TVO ILC is managed by the Ontario Educational Communications Authority. In 2007, TVO ILC won the Canadian New Media Award for Excellence in Education.
Over the years, the TVO ILC course delivery and learning model has continued to evolve. In April 2019, the ILC courses were launched in the Ministry’s Brightspace Virtual Learning Environment with TVO using its unique capabilities to bring superior design features to ILC courses.
TVO ILC offers 144 credit courses in English and French, opening all post-secondary pathway options (workplace, college and university) for students. All courses are designed and developed with the triangulation of the Ontario curriculum, educational pedagogy and media technology, with student engagement and learning at the centre.
The courses are collaboratively developed and designed inhouse at TVO. Experienced and innovative Ontario certified teacher-writers and pedagogues develop the content based on the Ontario curriculum. Learning experience designers, web designers and video/audio producers create custom interactives, custom animations and artwork that bring courses to life.
TVO ILC courses offer four key components:
- Learner-centred design that gives students choices of how to engage with course material, or the option of reading or watching a video on a certain topic.
- Differentiation that allows students who are challenged by the course material and those who are more advanced to proceed at different paces.
- Technology for engagement that provides interactive text, audio and video components
- Transferable skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration and entrepreneurship.
The TVO ILC school is led by a Principal, Vice Principal and Manager. A team of Administrative Services Officers register students for the courses, provide technical support, and are available throughout each student’s learning journey. The Guidance Counsellors support students in course selection and developing course completion plans, and they provide direction as students work towards reaching their academic goals. Academic Officers pro-actively respond to students, provide clarification for questions about the course content and assignments. The teacher markers monitor students’ progress, provide feedback during the course and grade assignments and exams.
What makes TVO ILC unique from other online/e-learning models in Ontario?
At TVO ILC, we believe that all Ontarians deserve an accessible, quality high school education. Here’s what makes us unique.
- Ontario’s largest online high school – TVO ILC serves all 72 school boards in Ontario and 250 + Ministry inspected private schools. Individual students in Ontario take TVO ILC courses and so do student from 90 + countries. TVO ILC has 12 + International Partnerships
- Independent, but not alone – TVO ILC is an independent learning course program, which means the courses do not have instructors. However, from the beginning to the end of their learning journey, TVO ILC students have access to a network of administrative, guidance and academic support.
- For all students – TVO ILC serves students who are 14 years old and adults. This includes students who are in schools and those who are not able to attend school.
- Asynchronous delivery – Students can start a course anytime in the year and study in a semester-free environment in English or French at their own pace.
- In-house development of content and design – Since TVO ILC courses are created in-house, we are able to iterate, be responsive to current educational research, and continuously update the courses – all of which enables us to bring new, unique design features to ILC courses.
From a school on wheels over 90 years ago, to an online high school that is a leader in digital education, TVO ILC continues to evolve, empowering our students to realize their personal, career and life goals.