On October 8, 2015, the Government of Ontario announced the launch of eCampus Ontario. This is an initiative of the Ontario Online Learning Consortium (OOLC), a web portal where students can find online courses offered by colleges and universities across the province. The OOLC is funded by the government and jointly administered by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and Colleges Ontario (CO). OCUFA remains deeply concerned that both the OOLC and eCampus Ontario are proceeding with no official input from faculty representatives.
The Government of Ontario has committed to providing $72 million in funding to the OOLC. In addition to eCampus Ontario and other supports functions, this money is also going to support OOLC’s administrative structure, which includes two executive directors.
OCUFA has lobbied both the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities and the COU to include adequate faculty representation on the Board of Directors of OOLC. We are asking for a non-voting, ex officio member on the Board, to allow for more effective and meaningful exchange of information and perspectives. The OOLC has rejected these calls, opting for a structure dominated by administrators. Since faculty are the ones who ultimately design and deliver quality online courses, this position is both unjustified and untenable. Student groups in Ontario have also indicated their support for faculty representation the OOLC Board. Without real faculty representation, the ultimate success of the OOLC and eCampus Ontario is questionable.
OCUFA will continue to work with the Government of Ontario to ensure that the OOLC – and all efforts to expand online learning in the province – benefits from appropriate faculty representation.