The straight truth about online learning in the Straits: An investigation into the nature of education in a rural and remote region of Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Dennis Mulcahy Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Michael K. Barbour Isabelle Farrington College of Education
  • Minakshi Lahiri Wayne State University


This paper reports on a naturalistic research project that was conducted in response to the educational concerns of the coastal rural communities of Labrador Straits. The research project investigated the current provision of education available to the children and the youth of these communities and found that due to declining population, changing demographics, lack of qualified teaching staff in the region and several other interrelated factors, there was an increased reliance on online learning in the small rural schools of the Straits as well as other rural regions of the province.

Author Biographies

Dennis Mulcahy, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Dennis Mulcahy is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland. His research interests focus on a wide range of rural education issues that include: small schools, school closure and consolidation, multi-grade and multi-age classrooms, community resistance to school closure, importance of a school to a rural community, and distance education and virtual schooling.
Michael K. Barbour, Isabelle Farrington College of Education
Michael K. Barbour is the Director of Doctoral Studies for the Isabelle Farrington College of Education at Sacred Heart University. His research focuses on the effective design, delivery and support of K-12 online learning, particularly for students located in rural jurisdictions.
Minakshi Lahiri, Wayne State University
Minakshi Lahiri is a Doctoral Candidate in Instructional Technology (IT) at Wayne State University. At this time of this research, she was also a Graduate Research Assistant in the IT program, working with Dr. Barbour.