The Ontario government has revealed its plan to require all High School students to take a minimum of 4 online courses out of the 30 needed to acquire an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. This is part of Ontario’s plan to modernize the curriculum they are feeding students, as they feel it is time for an update.
Questions and concerns arise whether this move is best for the students or if the government is ready for e-learning—among others.
Ontario is a large province that has many differentiating regions—urban, rural, and everything in between. Whether it be downtown Toronto or the rural town of Tiny, students in these places all have different environments of learning.
The curriculum might be the same but the styles of teaching and the schools themselves vary significantly. Thus, implementing e-learning might seem appropriate with students in Toronto, but maybe not so much with students on the First Nation reserves in northern Ontario where access to the internet (via satellite) can be expensively inconsistent.
There can be ‘hidden’ problems with enrolling over 600,000 students into an e-learning environment as this group is vulnerable to online data breaches and swindling.
As the economy increasingly values data currency, the demand for information regarding online usage patterns and personal information is growing. Both solicited and unsolicited acts that allow you to do things like ‘Sign Up for Free’ are suspects here and students are no different than adults when it comes to being exploited for data use.
The income disparities of students across households can become a barrier for students being fully equipped with the equipment to perform course requirements. The idea of offering online courses to students—accessible anytime, anywhere—seems beneficial and straightforward on the surface, but in reality, it may fail to fully address the modern-day digital divide.
Some students may have access to computers at home, but there are plenty of students who come from families that have poor access to the internet.
1. Ministry of Education. 2019. “Education that Works for You – Modernizing Classrooms. Ontario.ca