Portal to provide access to online courses cross-province

The Ministry for Training, Colleges and Universities has announced the launch of the eCampus Ontario portal, which provides access to more than 13,000 online courses offered by Ontario universities and colleges in a single user-friendly location.

The portal, which officially launched October 8, is designed to provide students with a one-stop shop for online learning options in the province, and allows them to quickly find online courses and programs they are interested in, and where credit for those courses has been recognized.

Nick Baker, director of UWindsor’s Office of Open Learning, was involved in the development of eCampus Ontario as a member of the small committee who worked closely with a local Windsor firm, Wired Solutions, to design and develop the site.

“It has been a lot of hard work over the last year to pull this together, and it’s really exciting to see it finally available for students and faculty to start using,” Baker said.

“We had a fantastic development team with representation from both colleges and universities, and we learned a lot about how to make a huge and complex project like this work across the Province, and across the post-secondary sector.”

Windsor has nearly 100 online courses listed in eCampus Ontario, and the University can promote its online courses and programs in a number of ways through the portal, including providing video and images, and extended descriptions that help students decide whether they want to enroll in our courses.

The University also has the option of highlighting courses for inclusion on the home page of the portal, making them more visible and accessible to potential new students.

“Thanks to the hard work of the Open Learning team and their many collaborators on campus, UWindsor has been at the forefront of this effort. Our involvement in online and technology-enabled learning initiatives across the province continues to grow in uniquely imaginative ways,” said provost Douglas Kneale.

The portal will give students access to all online courses in Ontario through a single source, helping them find flexible learning options that allow them to study whenever and wherever they are. It will also give students access to a wide range of high quality resources to support their learning.

Darko Milenkovic, a fourth-year student of digital journalism and communication, media and film, said he thinks many students will find the portal useful, especially in later years when they are trying to fill elective requirements for their programs and finding conflicts with on-campus courses.

“I had a lot of difficulty managing my schedule this year to ensure that my degree audit was completed and that I would be able to graduate on time, yet the classes I still had to take often conflicted with other classes that I still needed,” he said. “Having the option to take some of these classes online to avoid the scheduling conflicts I was faced with would have definitely made things easier.”

Milenkovic also believes the portal is easy to use and a step in the right direction for universities in Ontario.

“It's very intuitive, and a major leap in the right direction for post-secondary universities in Ontario. They are realizing that online learning and online education is moving forward, and they have to keep up with this development,” he said.

Faculty will also have access to resources through the site to help them build high quality online courses, and open access resources that can be incorporated into their own courses.

The project is part of a larger investment from the Ontario government in online learning, with a commitment of $30 million over the next two years to support eCampus Ontario and the development of more high quality online courses. The portal will also continue to develop with additional advanced features coming online in additional development phases.

All publicly-assisted universities and colleges in Ontario are members of eCampus Ontario, which is governed by a board of directors made up of senior administrators, experts in online learning, faculty, and students from the college and university sectors.

See what the eCampuOntario portal can do for you and your students at www.ecampusontario.ca.

For more information, contact Baker in the Office of Open Learning at 519-253-3000, ext. 4925, or e-mail nbaker@uwindsor.ca.