By Andrew Stokes, Communications Officer
Ontario students will have greater access to a Queen’s education thanks to the new Ontario Online initiative.
“This opens up opportunities for non-traditional students, those at a distance, and provides our current on-campus students with enhanced flexibility and choices,” says Brenda Ravenscroft, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Faculty of Arts and Science.
Ontario Online was created to help universities and colleges design and host online courses. Queen’s, one of 19 post-secondary institutions to apply for funding, was awarded with 13 of the 67 courses.
“This is a clear indication that Queen’s offers the highest quality online courses in Ontario,” says Dr. Ravenscroft. “The evaluation process was rigorous and our success demonstrates that as an institution renowned for its traditions, we have shown that we are also leading into the future.”
Twelve of the courses are developed by Continuing and Distance Studies (CDS) with the Faculties of Arts and Science and Health Science; one course was developed by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. They run the gamut from Anatomy of the Human Body to Introduction to Literary Study to Engineering Economics. All of the courses Queen’s will offer are designated as foundational, meaning they cover introductory material.
“All the quality indicators can be checked off for these courses,” says Dr. Ravenscroft. “We have activities to promote interactivity, our course design reflects current best practices and approaches, we have clearly articulated student outcomes, and more.”
Along with the courses, a new research-based teaching assessment survey is being piloted. The survey will provide feedback on the courses offered and allow for fine-tuning and improvements.
Dr. Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), was equally excited about the program. “The positive results from this competition are vitally important to us at Queen’s because we have some ambitious goals. We’re trying to expand technology-enhanced learning opportunities for our students, and being part of Ontario Online provides us with strong credibility,” she says.
Dr. Scott attributed much of Queen’s success to the consistency and organization provided by CDS, the online learning office in the Faculty of Arts and Science.
Courses that have received funding will run during the 2014-15 academic year. Queen’s is already preparing its applications to design and host additional online courses for 2015-16.