Contact North

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Contact North (French: Contact Nord) is a distance education network in the Canadian province of Ontario, with 112 online learning centres throughout the province.[1] Based principally in Sudbury and Thunder Bay, the network partners with Ontario's 24 public colleges, 22 public universities and 250 public literacy and essential skills and training providers to help Ontarians in over 600 communities across the province participate in education and training opportunities without leaving their own community.[2]

The organization's student portal helps students and prospective students across the province find information on more than 18,000 online courses and more than 1,000 online programs offered by Ontario's public high schools, colleges and universities.[3]

Contact North also acts as an advocate, catalyst and facilitator of innovation in online and distance learning,[4] as well as assisting in the creation and development of distance education programs in other provinces and countries.[5]


In 1986, Contact North was established by the Ontario government to provide fully bilingual access to courses and programs offered by colleges, universities and high schools to residents of Ontario's northern communities.[6] Contact North remains primarily funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

In 1992, through funding from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, almost every secondary school in Northern Ontario was equipped with Contact North audiographic teleconferencing equipment. This equipment gave all schools electronic access to more than 100 other schools in communities across Northern Ontario and beyond. It also allowed high school students a chance to tour museums, galleries, and other organizations electronically, which the student would not otherwise get a chance to visit. Some of these places include Art Gallery of Ontario, located in Toronto, and the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa.

In 2007, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities announced the launch of a distance education network to provide access to post-secondary education opportunities for residents of small and rural communities across Southern Ontario. The new network was developed to operate under a model similar to Contact North, and Contact North was asked to help in facilitating the startup of the project. Originally called the Eastern and Southern Ontario Distance and Education Network, the new network became[7]

In the fall of 2009 Contact North unveiled as a video-sharing website for partnered colleges and universities to post media.

Education and training partners[edit]

Contact North works with 44 colleges and universities across Ontario. Through a combination of audioconference, videoconference and e-learning technologies, students access programs and courses offered by these partner institutions at its online learning centres. Contact North also supports the delivery of fully online courses by these institutions through a variety of support services to students of these institutions.

Online learning centres[edit]

Contact North's online learning centres serve over 600 small, rural, remote, indigenous and francophone communities across the province of Ontario. Each centre has staff who can assist students with the technology or with registering for courses. All centres are equipped with computer workstations, Internet, e-learning, audio conferencing, video conferencing (limited number of communities where this is not available) and web conferencing capabilities.

Online learning centres are located in the following communities:

  • denotes First Nation


  1. ^ Jennifer Lewington, "The Learning Beat Ontario's distance education group on its own". The Globe and Mail, June 30, 1997.
  2. ^ Trish Crawford, "Electronic blackboards and other high-tech wonders allow teachers to reach thousands of students across Ontario's North without leaving the office". Toronto Star, February 10, 1992.
  3. ^ Mark Nusca, "Combining distance learning with quality education". The Globe and Mail, June 22, 1998.
  4. ^ "Path to prosperity: Contact North provides infrastructure to help young people stay in North". Sudbury Star, August 20, 2000.
  5. ^ Rob O'Flanagan, "Sudbury develops distance education program for China". Sudbury Star, November 12, 1999.
  6. ^ Suzanne Bowness, "One-stop shopping for online courses". The Globe and Mail, November 19, 2015.
  7. ^ "Province provides boost to e-learning". Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, June 6, 2009.

External links[edit]