With the school year set to resume in just over a week, the 61 reforms series turns to the education concerns associated with Bill C-61. Statistics Canada confirmed last fall that the Internet is changing the face of Canadian education by altering the ways students conduct their research or participate in distance learning. This is particularly true for students from rural or small-town communities, who increasingly depend on the Internet for electronic distance learning. Many in the education community have reacted with alarm at C-61 including the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Canadian Federation of Students. Moreover, University executives are beginning to speak out as well – Athabasca University Vice-President of Research Rory McGreal recently published an op-ed that warned that "the proposed new Bill C-61 will have profound negative effects on researchers and educators as well as the general public."
A particular sore point is the bill's treatment of "lessons." While the provisions purport to provide the education community with new rights to faciliate distance learning, these provisions are stunningly arcane and practically worthless.