The National Survey of Online and Distance Education in Canadian Post-Secondary Education


eCampusAlberta is pleased to announce its support for the National Survey of Online and Distance Education in Canadian Post-Secondary Education.

eCampusAlberta, along with its Canadian consortium counterparts: BCcampus, Campus Manitoba, Contact North and eCampusOntario have committed financial and in-kind resources to help launch this important project.

Lead researcher, Dr. Tony Bates is passionate about this project and is “excited to be leading an effort to capture comprehensive Canadian data on online learning and distance education.”

Currently there are no current national data on how many students are taking online courses, or what proportion of courses in Canadian universities or colleges are online.

In the USA, the Babson Survey Research Group, WCET and the Federal Department of Education have been surveying institutions and collecting this kind of data for more than 10 years. These annual surveys have recorded rapid growth in online learning and identified policies and directions being taken by universities and colleges in the United States. Institutional planners, state higher education officials and the media have made heavy use of the annual survey reports.

The Canadian Survey is being launched with support from Dr. Jeff Seaman, from the Babson Survey Research Group, and Russell Poulin, from WCET.  The survey will be launched in late April, 2017 and will focus initially on credit courses and programs in public funded post-secondary institutions. Independent Canadian researchers will conduct the research.  As well as Dr. Bates, Jeff Seaman and Russell Poulin, the team includes Dr. Ross Paul (universities), Brian Desbiens (colleges) and Denis Mayer (francophone institutions).

Dr. Tricia Donovan is serving on the research team and she indicated that she believes that “It is critical that we try to capture this data across Canada, as it can provide an important snapshot of the growing participation in online learning and distance education country-wide.”

The results will be made available to and owned by Canadian colleges and universities. Only aggregated data will be made publicly available. The results of the survey will also be publicly available for the ICDE World Congress on Online Learning in Toronto, from October 17 -19, 2017.


For more information, contact:

Dr. Tricia Donovan
Executive Director, eCampusAlberta

Notable quote

“BCcampus made a small contribution to the project to support the development of the survey.  As an organization we feel strongly that having data on Canadian trends in online and distance learning is paramount to making informed decisions.  The previous tactic of using non-Canadian data to project trends at home has been less than perfect.  We look forward to the results of this national survey.” – Denise Goudy, Director, BCcampus


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