originally published in the 2012 Summer Issue
Just as there are in-class courses to attend in June, July, and August, there are distance education courses too. Some are print based (correspondence), many are on-line, which could include video conferencing as well as blogging with the teacher and fellow students. Through Distance Education you can earn high school, college and university credits.
Although many online courses are offered on a term basis, some are offered on a continuous intake basis or on a monthly intake basis. Some have a class-based schedule while others have an individualized schedule. With an individualized schedule, you can work at a speed that suits your commitments to work and family. You could spend your summer sitting on your balcony doing a course.
Independent Learning Centre
High School Credits
The Independent Learning Centre (ILC) is designated by the Ontario Ministry of Education to offer high school credit courses online and by correspondence. Since ILC has continuous intake and an individualized schedule, you can start as soon as you register, go as fast or as slowly as you can manage, and take time out to deal with a family or work crisis. You can earn your whole high school diploma this way. ILC is the only provider of the GED test in Ontario, which is another way to get your high school equivalency. Adults who successfully write the GED test will be granted a high school equivalency Certificate. GED stands for General Educational Development.
ILC offers ESL courses online, both for credit and not for credit. For these courses, you will need a volunteer tutor. Perhaps someone who has been helping you informally may be willing to help you work your way through one of these courses. Call 416-484-2704 or go to www.ilc.org
Term and Monthly intake.
Please see Learning in the Summer: June July and August for a sampling of courses offered by Toronto and GTA colleges. In fact, you can take courses from any of the twenty-two Ontario Colleges through Ontario Learn. See www.ontariolearn.com. On this website, courses are organized by monthly start date. When you click on Course Inventory, you will notice that the courses are organized by monthly start dates: June 1, July 1, August 1. If you need to do Academic Upgrading in math, sciences or English before you undertake a college course, you can do these online as well as in class. The online ACE courses have continuous intake and run through the summer months. See www. acedistancedelivery.ca Note that you must register through a college, not on the website. Universities Term-Based and Continuous Intake. Please see the front page story Why not U? for information about the three Toronto universities. University courses are offered both in-class and online but many of them require that you be admitted to a program of study whether you go part-time at night or parttime in the day. This is unlike the colleges which generally have open admissions for their part-time evening courses. While many of these courses are term-based with their pace of study being set by the class, some have continuous intake and are taught according to the pace of each individual. That being said, universities also offer evening courses with open admissions through their Departments of Continuing Education.
See front page story, Why not U?
It’s important to realize that your choice of university is not limited to Toronto, the GTA or even Ontario. You take courses from universities all across Canada. See Canadian Virtual University www.cvu.uvc.ca Athabasca University, for example, located in Alberta, offers continuous intake, “independent”schedules as well as termbased, class-paced courses.
In fact, you can earn an entire BA or Masters online. Athabasca is an open university, as in open admissions, so you can always take one course that catches your eye without going through an admission process for a program. The key criterion for undergraduate programs is that you must be 16 years of age. For Masters programs, there are more criteria. By going to www.athabascau.ca, you can choose an undergraduate degree in Commerce, Health Administration, Nursing, Science, or a broad range of other subject areas. You can also pursue a graduate degree in Business Administration, Counselling, Distance Education, Health, or another field.
Experienced adult learners know that even if you find a course that you like online, but you are working on a program of study at another educational institution, your home institution will often
not credit that course to your program. Before enrolling in an outside course, make sure you have a written agreement from your home institution stating that the outside course will be accepted
and credited towards your program. The Ontario government is starting to work on the credit transfer issue. In the Spring 2012 issue of Learning Curves, www.learning-curves.ca, you will find two articles on this initiative: one
on page 5, “Certificate, Diploma, Degree: Ontario’s plan to give credit where credit is due,” and one on page 13, “ONCAT and the Transfer of Credits.” ONCAT stands for Ontario Council on
Articulation and Transfer. www.ocutg.ca Keep an eye on this site since OnTransfer will be regularly posting guides about course equivalencies among post-secondary institutions.