CBC Radio Ontario Today
Produced by CBC Radio, 2020

In the last year, I have been called by CBC radio to offer expert insight on new mandatory online learning requirements for high school graduation, and then, during the COVID emergency pivot to online instruction, to comment on what online learning at-scale has meant for students and educators. Pre-COVID, data gathered on the learning impacts of online approaches to instruction were situated in an opt-in context.  For the most part, students opted in to online learning because of their self-identified needs, and in a context of choice. Even in jurisdictions such as Michigan and Florida where students have to take at least one online course to graduate high school, systems of schooling provide extensive in-person mentorship to online learners. These human investments in learner support are fundamental. Personal anecdotes from students, teachers and families shared during these two radio shows suggest that online learning has fallen far short of needs in this province. Access to internet infrastructures is inequitable across the province. Professional learning supports provided to educators have varied widely. Students have struggled to find community, connection and inspiration in their school work. Moving forward, it will be important for us to mobilize human supports that reconnect our learners to one another and to schools where they can access all of the resources they need. 

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