Introduction: The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is located on the east coast of Canada. The province, which has both an island and mainland portions with a total area of 505 066 square kilometres, has a population of approximately 550 000 people. With about 60% of the population living within a 150-kilometre radius of the capital region, the remainder of the province is sparsely populated. The majority of the roughly 300 schools are located in these rural communities. Approximately one-third of which have been determined as necessarily existent (ie, when a school is located so far from another school that it makes bussing the students impossible because of the distance).
As with most rural areas, many of the schools in Newfoundland and Labrador do not have many teachers and are unable to offer many aspects of the provincially mandated curriculum. In this environment, the rural schools could not compete with their larger, urban counterparts. It is for this reason that the rural secondary schools have had to rely upon distance education, first through a telematics and later through web-based delivery, to provide their students with the same opportunities as the urban students.