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Presentation to the Quebec English School Boards Association

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1 Presentation to the Quebec English School Boards Association
Toward a Virtual Learning Service For Québec schools and centres: From concept to project Presentation to the Quebec English School Boards Association Pierre Giguère September 7, 2012

2 Presentation Outline The concept of ”virtual school”
SOFAD’s report of November 2005 Why a Virtual Learning Service? Origins and development of virtual schools On our doorstep: virtual schools in Ontario Still waiting for a Québec distance education policy A strategic development priority for SOFAD Creation of a Partners’ Committee to design and implement a Virtual Learning Service for Québec Links with other developments

3 1. The concept of “virtual school”
A school without walls, without classrooms and without a limit on the number of students A particular form of distance education A learning organization that uses the potential of web technologies, usually in asynchronous mode

4 1. The concept of “virtual school” …
Definitions A virtual school, or cyberschool, describes an institution that teaches courses entirely or primarily through online methods. Though there are tens of thousands of commercial and non-accredited courses available online, the term "virtual school" is generally reserved for accredited schools that teach a full-time (or nearly full-time) course of instruction designed to lead to a degree. iNACOL (also used on Wikipedia) Virtual school refers to an institution that is not "brick and mortar" bound. All student services and courses are conducted through Internet technology.  The virtual school differs from the traditional school through the physical medium that links administrators, teachers, and students.  The Technology Source Archives, University of North Carolina

5 1. The concept of “virtual school” …

6 2. SOFAD’s report of November 2005
- Based on an analysis of cases of young students who could benefit from distance education - Shows the evolution of some virtual schools - Ends with recommendations regarding a distance education service for secondary-school students and envisions the creation of a public virtual school in Québec

7 3. Why a Virtual Learning Service?
To increase accessibility and flexibility in our educational system To offer a common service to all the school boards To give schools and centres more options To more effectively meet the needs and constraints of particular client groups To bring back to the public sector those students who are not enrolled in our institutions To solve the difficulties that many regions face with respect to recruiting specialized teachers and starting classes for optional subjects To modernize learning environments in Québec’s school system To facilitate perseverance and success for all students

8 4. Origins and development of virtual schools
Florida Virtual High School: The first FLVS was founded in 1997 and was the country's first, state-wide Internet-based public high school

9 4. Origins and development of virtual schools …
FVHS is also the best known, the largest, the most documented, the most covered, the most open (to sharing)… Student Enrollment FVHS served over 122,000 students in 259,928 half-credit enrollments in the school year. Enrollment is open to public, private, and home-schooled students. Courses are offered from P1 to S12 FVHS students come from all of the other American states and from other countries (57)

10 5. On our doorstep: virtual scools in Ontario
There is a private virtual school in Ottawa: the Ottawa Carleton E-School The Ontario Virtual High School https://www.virtualhighschool.com/ The Virtual Learning Centre Le Consortium d’apprentissage virtuel de langue française de l’Ontario -located in Ottawa -under the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE)

11 6. Still waiting for a Québec distance education policy
The MELS had a working committe on a distance education policy from 2008 to 2011 Many entities in the educational system have been asking for such a policy for more than 15 years Around the year 2000, we were told that such a policy would be covered in the Politique gouvernementale d’éducation des adultes et de formation continue (2002) A possible turning point: in July 2010, through videoconferencing, CLIFAD members explained the value of a virtual high school to representatives of the MELS’s Direction des politiques and to the Minister of Education’s parliamentary assistant, Mr Michel Pigeon

12 7. A strategic development priority for SOFAD
Our first priority: To promote the development of distance education To make distance education available to secondary-school students To create a Virtual Learning Service in Québec • for young and adult students • for francophones and anglophones

13 8. Creation of a Partners’ Committe to design and implement a Virtual Learning Service for Québec
A small committee began meeting in September Its membership will be augmented in the near future by: - representatives from the secondary education sector and the adult education sector. SOFAD suggests that we start by offering Secondary IV and Secondary V courses. So far, 5 meetings have been held. We are now working on describing and designing the Virtual Learning Service we envision and on writing proposals to be submitted to the school boards and the MELS.

14 9. Links with other developments

15 This, and other, presentations are available at
Presentation to the Québec English School Boards Association September 13, Pierre Giguère This, and other, presentations are available at


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