Ontario Supports Innovation in Virtual Learning

Published on May 18, 2021

Ontario Supports Innovation in Virtual Learning

The Ontario government is transforming virtual learning by supporting nearly 400 innovative projects at colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes. These projects are part of the province’s Virtual Learning Strategy and will provide students with more flexibility and access to high-quality postsecondary education and retraining opportunities.

“Ensuring that Ontario’s postsecondary institutions offer responsive and flexible digital courses and programs will help students build the skills and competencies they need to be competitive in today’s economy,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Our Virtual Learning Strategy is aimed at creating a platform that will allow all postsecondary institutions to compete in the new and necessary environment of learning from home. These projects will help ensure institutions and their faculty have the tools they need to create great curriculum online and that students can access education where and when they need it.”

Projects will support partnerships between colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes in key priority areas that include creating or adapting digital content, equipping faculty and students with skills and resources to teach and learn online, identifying educational technologies to support online courses and programs, and targeting supports to address virtual programming at Indigenous Institutes.

Projects include:

  • A partnership between OCAD University and the University of Windsor’s Law Faculty to create a new online course in intellectual property (IP) literacy. The certificate will help students learn about IP strategy, copyright law, trademarks, industrial and graphic design law.
  • University of Waterloo, in partnership with the University of Ottawa and Western University, will create simulated reality experiments in their organic chemistry labs to introduce students to standard equipment, procedures and experiments.
  • Durham College, in collaboration with Georgian College, Humber College and Sault College, will create a four-course, competency-based micro-credential to help small business entrepreneurs and their employees learn how to manage sales activities, position products, support customer needs-based solutions, develop virtual relationships and network across the business community.

The province is investing more than $70 million to implement Ontario’s Virtual Learning Strategy, including $21.4 million announced in the 2021 Ontario Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.

“These investments build on our Government’s plan to make Ontario’s postsecondary education system not only sustainable but competitive,” said Minister Romano. “These projects will help small and rural schools who previously had limited virtual learning infrastructure, compete on the world stage. In addition, the projects build on other investments made by our government to support the competitiveness of our postsecondary sector, such as the creation of virtual micro-credentials programs that will give students access to these programs when and where they want. The advantages of building ‘digital-by-design’ programming extends far beyond resolving the challenges of training that have been dictated by these current unprecedented times, but even more importantly, these projects will transform the future of learning at our institutions and further cement Ontario’s position as a global leader in postsecondary education.”

In December of last year, the province launched a Virtual Learning Strategy through Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government to improve access to high-quality postsecondary education and retraining opportunities that are market-responsive and globally competitive.

"As part of our Ontario Onwards Action Plan to deliver simpler and easier services for the people of Ontario, our government is building the postsecondary education system of the future,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, Minister of Finance, and Minister Responsible for Digital and Data Transformation. “Through the innovative projects in our Virtual Learning Strategy, we are expanding access and choice to high-quality, responsive and dynamic education at colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes in Ontario. We will continue to invest in our students as we prepare them for the competitive global economy of today, and the jobs of tomorrow.”