Last updated: 25.02.12

Ontario universities 'should provide more online learning'

Universities in Ontario ought to offer a greater number of online learning courses, a provincial report has stated.

The Toronto Star obtained the government paper, which is titled: 3 Cubed: PSE institutions as centres of creativity, competency and citizenship equipped for the 21st century.

It is set to be released for wider discussion in March.

Pilot three-year courses involving e-learning should commence in September 2013 and a later rollout ought to occur by 2015, the proposed policy document stated.

It called on educational providers to offer year-round classes, allow students to earn over 50 per cent of their credits through virtual learning environments and to cut the length of time an undergraduate degree takes from four years to three.

At most, college diplomas should last for 24 months, the proposals stated.

This could make education faster to complete and would still maintain the high-quality of post-secondary learning, the paper argued.

Students would have a greater degree of choice and the educational sector would be refocused on a "forward-looking set of teaching and learning options".

E-learning would give professors more time to discuss issues with students, meet them and provide mentorship, the report argued.

Increasing levels of demand for further education has made it important for this sector to be relevant and flexible, it continued.

Furthermore, young people would be able to enter the jobs market at an earlier stage, while the online learning courses would also make education more affordable for both students and the state.

Glen Murray, the Canadian government's colleges and universities minister, told the news source that the proposals are "things that are happening in other parts of the world".

Speaking on behalf of the Undergraduate Student Alliance and Western University Students' Council, Patrick Searle told "Students certainly support an expansion of online learning, though not necessarily at the expense of current physical classes."