'We can't flip a switch': E-learning unlikely solution for all Canadian students if COVID-19 closes schools

""On the scale that would be required to offer consistency in terms of student learning and achievement over the next few months, we might have sufficient capacity to do it for a few days or a week," he said. "But we would not have the capacity, and we have never really developed the capacity to do it for longer than short periods of time.""

Some countries that have closed their schools have implemented online learning strategies. Universities in the United States, including Harvard and Princeton, have announced they will be cancelling on-campus classes and transitioning to online courses. Some Canadian universities, like Western University, are following suit, while others are exploring such strategies.

Still, that comes with challenges, Hoffman said. Repackaging a course that was designed for in-person teaching to the online environment will take extraordinary time, resources and energy.

"When you design courses for online, it actually takes deliberate thought and attention as to doing it in a good way. "So if we're asking people just to suddenly teach their in-person courses online, it will be very difficult for those instructors to offer equal quality."

Toronto District School Board (TDSB) spokesperson Ryan Bird said school officials are finalizing contingency plans in the event of indefinite closures. But he cautioned that switching over to online learning, also known as e-learning, would not be so simple for elementary and secondary students.

"That is definitely a challenge at the TDSB and school boards right across the province, if not [the] country. The fact is, with 247,000 [students in Toronto], we can't flip a switch. It really comes down to access to technology. And really something this widespread is really not something that can be easily planned for."

Read full article at cbc.ca
Written by Mark Gollom
CBC News
March 13, 2020
Read full article at cbc.ca
Contributed by the Here For Students Staff
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