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A paper presented at the annual Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) conference, Waterloo, Ontario, February 16, 2013.

Distance education and online learning at the K-12 level is growing at dramatic rates in Canada, the United States and worldwide. Barbour (2012) estimated that there are approximately 245,000 Canadian students who are enrolled in one or more distance education courses. This figure represents approximately 5% of the total K-12 student population in Canada; up from the estimated 2.5% to 3% reported just two years earlier (Barbour, 2010). This is dwarfed by the rate of growth in the United States, where the Ambient Insights (2011) estimated there are 4,000,000 students engaged in online learning; up from 2,000,000 the previous year (Wicks, 2010).