E-learning gets more accessible for Ontario college students

Students try out the eCampus Ontario website.

Students try out the new eCampus Ontario website. Photo courtesy of Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities


Ontario’s colleges and universities – using a new web portal – have banded together to bring 13,000 online courses to students.

eCampus Ontario, a non-profit collaborative centre, created the website to give post-secondary students more opportunities to access education online.

Ontario plans to invest $72 million over five years to support the new website, which features more than 13,000 online courses, 277 new and redesigned courses, and transferable credits between participating institutions.

The Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities explains the goals on the ministry’s web site. 

“The web portal builds on the province’s strong foundation in e-learning and distance education and allows institutions to collaborate, share best practices and online resources, and offer state-of-the-art courses that are recognized for credit across multiple institutions,” writes Reza Moridi.

Faculty will also receive support and training on how to present the online courses.

The new development offers online courses at all 45 publicly-funded colleges and universities, including Sheridan College, but so far not at public high schools.

“The next logical step is to extend the support to secondary courses,” said Toronto District School Board member Jordan A. Glass on Twitter.

Access to more flexible education isn’t new to Ontario. Post-secondary institutions offer hundreds of online courses in collaboration with other administrations including Contact North and OntarioLearn.

Some educators have noted the new initiative could be confusing.

“Clearer distinction from studyonline.ca would be helpful,” commented E-learning specialist and instructional designer Ya-Yin Ko on Twitter.

Others believe there’s a clear need.

“Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen the demand for online programs and courses grow in leaps and bounds,” says Linda Rees, Executive Director for eCampus Ontario.

Student advocacy groups also applaud the initiative on the Ministry’s website.

“The College Student Alliance hopes that eCampus Ontario will allow more students to access a post-secondary education,” says Jeff Scherer, President of the College Student Alliance.

In the past decade, the number of students who enrolled in Ontario colleges and universities increased more than 43 per cent. 

Click here to see the new web portal at www.ecampusontario.ca