New online initiative needs input from university teachers, say Ontario profs

TORONTO – Professors and academic librarians across Ontario are calling for the Government of Ontario to make university teachers a meaningful part of its new “Ontario Online” initiative. The $42 million program was announced today by Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities Brad Duguid.

“Ontario’s professors are the ones who design and teach online courses, and yet have been excluded from real input into Ontario Online,” said Kate Lawson, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). “This is a worrisome oversight that will undermine the success of the new initiative and prevent the best learning outcomes for students.”

Ontario Online will be directed by a Board of Directors that includes administrators, students, and “experts in online learning.” No faculty representatives will be appointed to the Board, which means the program will launch without the advantage of their real-world experience in the content and structuring of courses.

“Ontario’s professors and academic librarians believe that online education can be an important supplement to a quality university education, and can make a real difference for students who live far from a campus or who have responsibilities that make on-campus learning difficult,” said Lawson. “But in order to be successful, Ontario Online needs to be truly collaborative, and take advantage of the teaching and learning expertise of our province’s professors.”

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 27 faculty associations across Ontario. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at http://www.ocufa.on.ca.

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Mark Rosenfeld, Executive Director, 416 306 6030,