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K-12 Online Education in Canada

K-12 Online Education In Canada

 

Education is always important. It goes without saying that passing on the knowledge generation by generation is a duty for any qualified human-being for the sake of continuing our civilization. But how much education is enough? The best sounding answer is probably ‘never’. K-12, “a term used in education and educational technology in the United States, Canada, and possibly other countries, is a short form for the publicly-supported school grades prior to college. These grades are kindergarten (K) and the 1st through the 12th grade (1-12)” (WhatIs) [1], is usually what people expect you to have as basic education. The higher the better. Whether or not if one should pursue a post-secondary, meaning anything after K-12 is totally a personal choice. Therefore, an efficient and well-designed K-12 system is extremely important to the society.

 

As the modern technology continue to shape our society in every aspect and it is only growing faster and faster, we need to realize the importance of integrating more technologies into the education system to make the best use of technology to help the student to learn more effectively. The change brought by the technology is so tremendous that while we enjoy the convenience we also need to stay utterly alert to prevent the potential damage caused by the misuse of technology. In this research paper I will present you the current state of K-12 online education in Canada and what we could do potentially enhance the field and prevent the negative affect it might cause to our society.

 

Here is a definition of K-12 “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.” [2] 

 

Here we can see that the trend in online education in Canada is steadily increasing. 

 

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Here is an image of the general distribution of K12 across canada

 

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There are also some voice online criticizing the online school. According to Consumeraffairs, “I was put into K12 in 8th grade after 7 years of public schooling. It completely ruined me. I became very lonely and depressed which also led me to gaining anger issues.” “Please do not attend K12 schooling. My daughter went for a year & she was constantly swamped with work. The teachers barely teach anything. There are always problem with it. The teachers never answer direct questions as well as threatening to kick my daughter out because of missing 1 day.” “In home school (K12) isn’t the best one to put a child in. It’s stressful. The outings are once in a blue moon. My teachers are nice but they get mad quickly if you don’t participate. Also you have to be sitting or they will put you in a “zzz” room or they will kick you out. LOTS OF EMAILS. Homework is a lot.” 

 

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It is cheaper to attend online school too “During the 2017-18 school year, the basic allocation school-age equivalent (i.e., FTE) for students attending a brick-and-mortar school was $7,301 (or $-912.62/course), while only $6,100 (or $-762.509/course) for a student attending a distributed learning school.” 

 

Less retention rate for online course “ The Research Institute of America have found that this is not the case with eLearning. Rather, online courses have increased student retention rates from anything from 25% to 60%.” [3] Less time investment “A Brandon Hall report on eLearning within corporations found that this style of learning typically requires 40-60% less employee time than learning in a traditional classroom setting.” [3]Greener too, less energy consumption. “The Open University in Britain have found that online courses equate to an average of 90% less energy and 85% fewer CO2 emissions per student than traditional in person courses.”[3]

 

Online study can cause worsen eyesight, practice less speaking skills.Requires high self-discipline and motivation. Traditional class have face-to-face interaction to help student on task. Though social interaction doesn’t happen as often but still happen regularly. However “Online education has failed to reduce costs and improve outcomes for students,” according to a new report [4] Online education is the fastest-growing segment of higher education and its growth is overrepresented in the for-profit sector; Faculty and academic leaders, employers and the general public are skeptical about the quality and value of online education, which they view as inferior to face-to-face education;

Students in online education, particularly underprepared and disadvantaged students, underperform and on average experience poor outcomes;Online education has failed to improve affordability, frequently costs more than in-person alternatives and does not produce a positive return on investment;Regular and substantive student-instructor interactivity is a key determinant of quality in online education, leading to improved student satisfaction, learning and outcomes.[4]

Also while having your personal information online, you are more prone to to online scams and frauds. While using phones and laptops, you are easily distracted by other entertainments like social media and games.   

The sense of community created by bricks and mortar schools can hardly be replaced by online school. It is an important step for young people to meet other same-age people learn how to be social.  You will definitely make more friends going to a traditional school. You can attend all sorts of clubs and parties organized by real school. It is such a big part of life, at least for the past thousands of years people go to school as part of life. Students need to experience different places and learn to live independently.  

For some it could be more convenient for them or their only option is to choose online school. People with disabilities etc. 

Also there is another reason for brick and mortar school to exist and not disappear soon is that the school usually bring up the local economy. They will continue to be there for quite a while. Replacing them with online school will destroy the local economy. 

In the future there could be more technology when online courses can be more similar to conventional school for example augmented reality through which people can see the teacher and classmates pretty much in person, therefore creating a real world like class.  

 

   

https://k12sotn.ca/bc/

https://www.capterra.com/p/111592/K-12-Online/#reviews

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/education/k12-inc.html?#sort=top_reviews&filter=none

https://www.k12.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference

[1] WhatIs, https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/K-12, 2019

[2] https://k12sotn.ca/bc/

[3]https://www.dexway.com/5-reasons-why-online-learning-is-more-effective/

[4]https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2019/01/16/online-learning-fails-deliver-finds-report-aimed-discouraging 

 

 

 

Open Education Feedback (Showcase)

[1]Source: Google translation

After reading the materials given on course website about  ‘open education’, I found the word ‘open’ occurs every now and then in the readings, which inspired me to really contemplate on the word. In the readings, from the definition of  ‘open’ in LEXICO dictionary to the chart that depicts different attributes of open pedagogy, then the urgency of teachers regarding reforming textbook policy at schools, the central idea that these writings revolve around is again the word ‘open’. I don’t think I can explain the concept better nor can I summarize in a short post, but I have some thoughts on open education to share with you.

[2]Source: PCmag 

For me the notion of open education is graceful because it essentially promotes the spread of knowledge, inspired by the rapidly developing modern technology. It is important especially for people working in the education field to catch up with the new technologies and to utilize them and incorporate them with the existing teaching methods to better serve the purpose of passing on the knowledge. Through online education student not only learn but also enhance and reproduce the current materials since the threshold for letting your ideas heard is lowered with the ubiquitous internet access. Open course has been around for quite a while, even before the computers came out. In the early 1900s, US, 4-H clubs [3] were formed to teach youth the latest technology advances in agriculture and home economics, which got to spread across the country and illuminated the world with the idea of open education. Today, almost every family has a computer at home, making online education accessible like never before. Students can choose when, where and what to study, without paying too much for bulky textbooks. In addition, people can communicate better online because they have more time to think about what to say and they can post their thoughts to people of their choice to see. Considering nowadays people constantly check on their phones, it becomes harder and harder to connect with people around physically. Online education provides opportunity for those who are too shy to approach other people in real world. Once the connection is created online, students are always welcome to meet up offline and enjoy real world activities.

[4]Source: Quora

Like anything else there is downside for open education too. While it is easy to learn online, it is also easy for anyone, some without any credential or just think they are thoughtful but are actually ordinary, to post or start teaching useless ‘knowledge’. After all, if all things are free online you cannot make sure to always choose the right one. That being said, it is important that we have a quality assurance system to scrutinize the content before it is posted online for educational purposes. Wikipedia, for example, is a popular website that millions of people view every day to quickly get the information of all kinds, from Brad Pitt’s marriage to the explanation of quantum mechanics. The fact that everybody can edit the content in Wiki page makes it more of a recreational website, meaning you can only browse through the marriages Brad had but if you want to learn some serious physics you will need to read a real book or sign up for a legitimate course.

At last I would like to talk about how my opinion changed about online study. Actually it was more of a discovery than change. The reason I said almost every family has a computer is because they are the people around me, and I am privileged to a point that I don’t even know people who don’t have a computer, but those people consist world’s most population. About 4 billion people still don’t have access to internet according to United Nation. Would online education make us the privileged and the not-so-fortunate people further apart? We are experiencing the advances brought by the technological boom while a lot of people are striving for food for tomorrow.  I started to think more about how we can create a more inclusive environment for every body to access. It might sound cliche but it is crucial for us to not forget about people who have limited resource and just lack an opportunity to be enlightened and become part of the world and contribute to it. This would require persistence, determination and resources that help people to get equal access to online education.

[5]Source: International Telecommunication Union :

No matter how, online education is going to take on a more and more significant role in the future. Embracing it and enhancing it can make our way into the future easier. The advance of augmented reality, for example, could potentially make online course face-to-face and just like a conventional class where you interact with real people. Perhaps the artificial face-to-face class could hardly replace real face-to-face experience, but hey, think about hologram technology, the Inception? the Matrix?

Original Post:

https://tuhe.opened.ca/2019/08/10/open-education-feedback/

 

Reference

 

[1] Google Translate https://www.google.com/search?q=open+definition&rlz=1C1CHBD_enCA755CA755&oq=open&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j69i61j69i57j69i60l2j69i61.4161j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

[2] PCmag  https://www.pcmag.com/feature/293079/10-excellent-free-online-education-resources

[3] Wikipedia:     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_education 

[4] Quora https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-examples-of-double-edged-swords

[5] International Telecommunication Union https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/facts/default.aspx

 

 

 

Open Education Feedback

After reading the materials given I have found that the word ‘open’ occurred the most often in the readings, which inspired me to really contemplate the word. In all the readings, from the definition of the word in LEXICO dictionary to the chart that depicts different attributes of open pedagogy, then the urgency of teachers regarding reforming the textbook policy in school, the central idea that those factors revolve around is the word ‘open’. I don’t think I can explain the concept better nor can I summarized in a short post, but I have some thoughts about open pedagogy that I would like to share with you.

 

For me the idea about open education resources is fantastic because it essentially promotes the spread of knowledge, inspired by the ever-developing modern technology. It is important especially for people working in the education field to catch up with the new technology to utilize them and incorporate them with the pre-existing teaching methods to better spread the knowledge. Though open course has been around for quite a while even before the computer came out. For example, in the in the early 1900s, US, 4-H clubs were formed to teach youth the latest technology advances in agriculture and home economics, which got to spread across the country and illuminated the world with the idea of open education. Now almost every family has at least one computer in their home, open education is easy like never before. Students can choose when and where and what to study, without buying bulky textbook. And sometimes people can communicate better online because they have more time to think about what to say and they can just post their thoughts to people of your choice. Especially nowadays people constantly check on their phone and it becomes harder and harder to connect with people around you physically.

 

Like anything there is downside for open education too. While it’s easy to learn online, it’s also easy for anyone, some without any credential or just think they are thoughtful but might not be, to post or start teaching ‘knowledge’. After all, if all things are free online you cannot always choose the right one. Therefore, it is important we have a quality assurance system that scrutinize the content posted online for educational purposes. Wikipedia is a great website that millions people view every day to get the information they want, from Brad Pitt’s marriage to the explanation of quantum mechanics. The fact that everybody can edit the content in Wiki page makes it more of a recreational website, meaning you can browse through the women Brad had but if you want to learn some serious physics you will need to read a real book.

 

At last I would like to express my biggest concern about online study. The reason I said almost every family has a computer is because they are people I know, and I am privileged to a point that I don’t even know people who don’t have computer, which is most of the people in the world, about 4 billion people still don’t have access to internet according to United Nation. Would this make us the privileged and other not so fortunate people further apart? We are experiencing technological boom while a lot of people are striving for food for tomorrow. I hope I don’t forget about those people while we are enjoying life.

Resource:

Wikipedia

United nation

Social Media in Online Learning

Using social media to connect with community of leaner is a relatively new field considering the recent boom of computer technology was not available until very recently in the course of human history. Humans have been enjoying and relying on the idea of community ever since the beginning. In fact most animals rely on its community to continue passing on the species. Humans, the somewhat more advanced species on earth got to develop to today’s civilization with the help of community too. People pass on the wisdoms through teaching and learning. From verbal to written lesson, and today’s online technology. I am sure in the future there could be knowledge available for download directly into your brain but now we should focus on the current era, that is the things we can do to enhance the learning in a community using online resources.

Slack

Source from: Slack websites

Hypothes.is

Source from: https://guide.pressbooks.com/chapter/hypothesis-for-webbook-annotation-comments/

 

In the course we have studied multiples tools to help online learners to learn, those tools include slack, which people can use to communicate with each other both synchronously and asynchronously by commenting and calling each other; then there is also hypothes.is, which enables students to comment and annotate over a public webpage and share within each other.  It is quite unique way of communicating for it provides members of communities an opportunity to study on one article together directly over the article, making it easy to break up the articles into desired parts and study them individually. Then I would like to discuss a bit about Twitter, where the ultimate trending is happening. Well-known people and ordinary people can tweet about anything in a limited number of words, forcing them to make their point concise and precise.

The above tools all provide the bridge between people no matter which community they identify themselves in, while each of them varies in terms of the type of communication they provide. The online courses nowadays can utilize different tool to better serve the goal of the course. For some people studying side by side is the right way to go since it provides the unparalleled advantage of just being present with each other. You immediately have a sense of community even without any communication. It would be even better if you get to make a few friends that you can rely on every time you have a question and the teacher is not available. Being online with other students requires you to know the basics of using computer and you still face the problem of loneliness if you don’t interact with classmates. If those don’t seem like a problem for you then, online courses could just be as good as face-to-face, if not better. Learners can communicate with each other pretty effortlessly because you don’t need the courage to walk to them a start a conversation. You can have as long as you want to type the words you want to say to express yourselves. If you find each other click you are always allowed to meet up in real world and hang out just like you would when you meet someone in the classroom. It is quite easy to find the right friend when you can see their profile and posts online, which in normal life you will need a long and deep conversation to find out.

At the end I want to say that full online courses are still just starting to take on its meant-to-be significant role in the learning institutions. We need to tailor each course down to each individual student to best serve their learning habits, which will take much effort but efficient if implemented.

Online Privacy & Security

After researching into the data and privacy related tracking system used by online companies, the thing that stands out the most to me is the relentless consistency in profit-seeking among most tech companies today. One can understand that making profit is important but for what price? What’s concerning is that many people online don’t know they are being tracked, as a matter of fact not even close to the real extent the online companies are actually doing.

Simple as the screenshot provide by Collin indicating the activities on the course site, every step by every student is recorded. The pizza ordering video is of course exaggerating how much companies know about you; however, it is only exaggerating the conversation and in reality the companies might have your information as much as in the video but just pretend to be innocent. The Lightbeam extension works very well in terms of tracking the websites that are tracking you. I visited a car website called the motor1 and found in Lightbeam that it tracked my information an distributed them to a various of websites.

 

Lightbeam

 

Then I went on to check the Google Privacy and Personalization setting and saw my location history. They keep a record of where I went for the past few years and I could see it clearly on the Google map. It is interesting to review where I have been to but I paused all the activity controls because I don’t want anybody to have a copy of my information, which could be used against my interest. We should tell K-12 learners to use Google services very carefully as they might gather your personal information behind your back. It’s always good to know what is happening around you when you are part of it. Gathering your personal doesn’t necessarily hurt you directly after all that’s what online companies do to make profit and we can continue to use their services. It is just that we need to know what our data are being used for and where it is distributed to and most importantly, people know the fact that their information is being collected. Oral Roberts University is introducing wearable technology to better serve the physical fitness class. Again, this is a double edge sword as they information collected could be used against student’s interest, in this case the amount of detail is massive considering you wear the wearables all the time.

After looking at the terms of use of Turnitin and its privacy and security part, I found nothing substantial because first the term page is too long and it takes so much time to scrutinize and second the terms are vague and its only telling me that the customers’ privacy are important. It is not telling us where the data will go to.

 

In conclusion while we are enjoying the convenience brought by the online technology we need to be cautious what out personal information is being collected and that we have the right to opt out from that.

 

My Experience with Different Learning Modalities

I would like to talk about three different systems I have personally experienced. Two of them are similar to each other in a sense that they both serve as the learning management system (SLM) of university and the other one is a self-learning course dedicated to getting a certificate.

 

   iNTU and NTULearn

When I was an exchange student at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, I mainly used iNTU and NTUlearn, which is very similar to UVic’s Mypage and CourseSpace. One for course registration and finance and one is for class materials such as assignment and textbook excerpt. Personally I think UVic’s system works a little bit better because everything is integrated together whereas NTU separates each portal and I did find it confusing when directing myself to the page I want. The other system is the Canadian Security Course website to which people purchase the access and read the text book and do practice question.

 

CSC website

 

Below I will analyze the three in Major’s five aspects.

Enrollment

While the CSC is an open enrollment course nationwide, the other two remain closed enrollment for their students only. Anyone with one thousand Canadian dollar and access to a computer with internet is able to take the CSC.

Amount

CSC is a fully online course during which you don’t interact with anybody except the interactive practice questions.  NTU and UVic offer similar learning experience mingling online and face-to-face. One thing notable is NTU teachers tend to upload the lecture recording more often.

Timing

Both NTU and UVic offer synchronous meaning student attend class at the same time. CSC is achromous and student allocate time completely on their own, as long as they take the test within one year of registration. However a lot of university student choose not to attend class and study on their own and end up passing the class, which makes it less synchronous by definition.

Platform

NTU students use iNTU and NTULearn and UVic folks use Mypage and Coursespace.  The former is Moodle and the latter is Blackboard, both other similar experience. The CSC has its own website that provides online registration, textbook and practice question.

Pathway

Like we mentioned about NTU and UVic offer similar LMS and they are both centralized system. The CSC system is also a simple centralized course as everything happens through the website and you don’t really need to go anywhere for the study.

Bottom line

Despite the differences among the three, students get to adjust the method they learn given more flexible and versatile platform and the border between different learning is diminishing. We can see a general trend that the traditional fully offline teaching is stepping off the stage and the technology is playing bigger and bigger role in our everyday life and hence our in learning too.

References

Major, C. H. (2015). Teaching online: A guide to theory, research, and practice. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press.

 

 

 

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