ILC has been offering a distance education program since 1926, when it started
providing elementary education for children of miners and loggers living in isolated areas
of Northern Ontario. Now, adults, anywhere in Ontario, are the predominant client group.
ILC offers courses from Grade 10 to OAC, in English and French. It also has a Grade 9
program for adolescents, as well as courses in English as a Second Language and Adult
ILC students choose distance learning as a convenient alternative to the classroom. At
any time of the year, they can start a course, finish a course, or earn their high school
diploma. They study independently, fitting education into their busy lives.
"Many of our graduates have gone on to university or college programs and new
careers over the years. The success stories are many, and often moving," says ILC
director Paul Raymond.
More adolescents have joined ILC since the day school program was re-established in
1997. This program expands course offerings in schools where a full program cannot be
offered, augments alternative programs and supports students who cannot enroll in a course
because of timetable conflicts.
ILC courses are mostly print-based, but many also include audio or video cassettes. The
service includes all printed materials, the loan of textbooks and tapes, assessment by
licensed teachers, and academic assistance via mail, phone, fax or e-mail. There is also a
Students work through the lessons on their own, then submit their work by mail for
evaluation. They write their final tests in their own community.
CHANGING WITH TECHNOLOGY
Computer technology is resulting in more options for taking courses. ILC is undertaking
several pilot projects in computer-mediated courses and electronic course delivery.
"The intention is not to eliminate the traditional paper-based correspondence
process," says Raymond, "but to widen the choices that students have in
accessing educational opportunities with ILC. We are taking advantage of new ways to
facilitate learning for those who choose distance education."
ILC is testing the software for an electronic course journal that can replace the
print-based course journal students currently use. The new journal will be submitted and
returned electronically instead of by mail.
One of ILCs first electronically delivered courses will be Career Connections, a
web-based, Grade 11 course developed in partnership with Humber College. The course will
be accessed through ILCs web site and will take advantage of the vast resources of
Courses are being developed for delivery by CD ROM in partnership with several school
boards. These courses include French-language OAC Physics and English-language Grade 12
With TVOntarios Virtual Classroom,
ILC offers an optional, additional interactive component to enrich its OAC Chemistry
In this project, the TVO on-air teacher demonstrates scientific principles and
facilitates an interactive question-and-answer session. Contact North, a long time
partner, is working with ILC and TVO to expand the use of the Virtual Classroom in the
ILC and the Special Education Technology Consortium of Ontario have been working on
ways to expand learning opportunities for students with special needs. The project, called
SNOW (Special Needs Opportunities Window), is making selected ILC course materials
available through the SNOW web site.
This project has also developed a free, on-line workshop for teachers with students who
fall within a wide range of special needs.
ILC, Education Network of Ontario, and Ontario Learning for Sustainability Partnership
have developed a two-credit science course that enables students to use the Internet to
cover the material in both Environmental Science (SEN4A) and Information Technology
(DEC4X). The course is conducted through electronic communication only. All lessons and
resource material are available on the Internet.
ILC has expanded into areas related to distance education to offer even more options.
For people who do not want to enroll but would like to purchase the material, ILCs
sales program lets anyone buy course material.
Distance education remains a necessity for many, but it is also the choice for many
For more information go to ilc.edu.gov.on.ca
or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax (416)
325-4675, call 1-800-267-2979 or (416) 325-4222.
Larry Anderson is acting manager of the Program Design and Development section at
ILC. Before joining the ministry, Anderson taught for 16 years with the Peel Board of
Education. Mary Yannakis is ILCs communications officer.