Advances in Internet technology have proved a boon to university students, who can increasingly take courses online, eliminating the need to travel to a campus and allowing them to study when and where they choose.
However, what has increased access to higher education for many has decreased opportunities for one segment of the Canadian population: federal inmates, who are not permitted to use the Internet.
In the winter 2013 issue of Canada Education, Vernon Wilson describes his experience as a young indigenous man who struggled to complete a university degree while in a federal prison. He was able to succeed through incredible perseverance and because of accommodations provided by Thompson Rivers University.
Canadian Virtual University Consortium (CVU-UVC) is a consortium of 11 Canadian universities that together offer over 2,500 courses through distance education. “The percentage of these that are completely online is not known, but it is a fact that distance courses are increasingly being designed for an online environment,” said Heidi Erisman, executive director of CVU-UVC. “Unfortunately, print versions of courses often cannot be maintained because of budget limitations.”
Athabasca University and Thompson Rivers University also provide toll-free contact with the university and print versions of some undergraduate courses. At the graduate level, Royal Roads University’s Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies is available in a print format.