Online Degree, Online Courses and Distance Learning in Canada

Conestoga College, Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Kitchener, Canada
Connestoga College is one of Canada’s top polytechnic universities, founded back in 1967 as a small community college. Its main campus is located in Kitchener (Doon), offering a wide pool of courses – ranging from short ones to full four-year degrees in Business, Engineering, Health & Life Sciences, Media & Design, and so on. The institution is ranked among the best colleges in Ontario, for which reason it is not surprising that about 89 percent of graduates find employment within six months of graduation. It has also started the development of a new campus with the support of the... See full description.

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About Online Degree, Online Courses and Distance Learning in Canada

Distance learning is a program that makes use of existing technologies and other means to deliver a high quality education to students who are limited by either time, distance or both, thus making it difficult for them to take advantage of educational opportunities offered through the traditional university model.  Since the turn of the century, and even earlier in some countries, the distance learning model has become increasingly widespread and is now an integral component of the higher education system in universities throughout the developed world.  Nowhere is this truer than in the country of Canada, a country that is second in the world in terms of landmass, but only 35th in the world in population. 
In Canada, higher education, which includes programs at universities, colleges and community colleges, is very highly prized, as many of the best paying occupations require at least some type of vocational training, with some requiring an undergraduate or graduate degree.  However, because most of the universities and colleges in Canada are located in the country’s largest cities, those living in rural or less developed areas, of which there are millions, may find it difficult to achieve their academic goals.  Fortunately, the country has a very advanced system of distance and online education, giving full access to the educational opportunities the country offers to every individual, including those limited by distance, disability and time, as is the case with many full-time employees.
Higher education in Canada is administered not by the national government, but by the 10 individual provinces.  As a result, distance education opportunities may differ from province to province, although generally speaking, most of the universities in each province offer at least some form of distance education for its students.  In Alberta, for example, distance learning is offered by “eCampusAlberta,” a consortium of 16 universities, colleges and technical institutes established to facilitate access to high-quality online learning opportunities.  At eCampusAlberta students can choose from more than 700 online courses in 60 programs of study, including those that lead to provincially accredited certificates, diplomas and degrees.
Campus Manitoba, which is Manitoba’s distance education initiative, is a consortium of post-secondary institutions in the public sector that provides full access to college and university courses and programs for Manitobans using a number of distance-oriented learning mechanisms, including the Internet.  The goal of this program is very simple: “to remove the barriers to education faced by many students and enable them to achieve their academic goals.”
In the largely French-speaking province, Quebec, distance education is made possible by the Comité de liaison interordres en formation à distance, or CLIFAD.   CLIFAD is a collaborative effort between all of the universities in Quebec and is dedicated to providing high-quality distance education using all available technical and non-technical means.  Courses are offered in almost every major field, leading to degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
For each and every province in Canada there is a similar policy that has helped to widen the scope of distance education and to ensure its quality.  This even holds true for the unincorporated territories, such as the Yukon, where a project called YuWin has helped to promote distance and continuing education to its residents.  Collectively these groups have made distance education a viable option for every Canadian student and have helped to reshape the future of the Canadian higher education system.

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