Monday, May 17, 2021

The Virtual Learning Strategy Funds PSE Innovation

eCampusOntario is excited to be part of today's announcement about the Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS). The VLS is helping to chart a new path in postsecondary education at a time when online education has become so critically important.

Through our work together, our sector is preparing Ontario postsecondary institutions not just to succeed now, but also for the future. This investment is accelerating the transition from Emergency Remote Teaching that we saw at the beginning of the pandemic, to a future of high quality, purposeful digital learning that will ensure learners have access to education anytime, from anywhere. 

This important transition requires innovation and curriculum that is digital by design. This means designing for the 21st century learner and ensuring that content and community are accessible to all Ontarians, wherever they are, and whenever they want to learn. 

The future of learning is about supporting options for learners. Whether this be fully online or hybrid, and we want each semester to be the best one yet. 

The Virtual Learning Strategy enables lifelong learning so that learners can meet the needs of our rapidly evolving labour market at any stage of their careers. This means building digital fluency and the ability to navigate a digital learning and teaching environment. 

For the future of learning is the future of work. And that future is now.

We are collectively poised to help prepare Ontario for the next phase of virtual learning where what was born out of necessity now becomes an advantage.

eCampusOntario looks forward to working with Ontario’s Indigenous institutes, colleges, and universities and our partners over the coming months to create what will become an unprecedented wealth of virtual learning content. 

Check out and have a look at the almost 400 projects that have been funded to date under the Virtual Learning Strategy. You will find:

  • Innovative approaches to support our faculty and our learners and their success in digital learning;
  • Investments in the Digital Capacity of our Indigenous institutes, colleges and universities to create meaningful online learning;
  • Support for partnerships with Ontario educational technology companies to help them achieve the pedagogical proof points for their solutions to realize global markets; 
  • Digital Content that is using virtual reality and simulation for teaching complex skills in critical areas of the economy like healthcare and engineering; 
  • Wrap around supports for supporting Digital Fluency for diversity and inclusion, and student and faculty mental health; 
  • Content to teach Ontario students about Entrepreneurship, including Indigenous and Black Youth Entrepreneurship, and an Entrepreneurship for Creatives Micro-credential Program. These are great links to the provincial Intellectual Property Action Plan
  • Courses on Indigenous knowledge and language, and support for Francophone learners across Ontario; 
  • and Collaborative efforts to market Ontario postsecondary education as a destination, to the world. 

And there is more to come: Digital Delivery supports for system software licenses leveraging a collaborative common license; and ongoing Digital Capacity supports through the eCampusOntario Central Virtual Learning Platform to help our institutions continue to build best in class digital learning.

As we strengthen Ontario’s reputation as a global leader and testbed for innovation in teaching and learning, we also expand access for Ontario’s institutions to the global marketplace. In supporting our growing education technology sector here at home, we are sending the message: Buy Local. Think Global. 

When we support Ontario educational technology, whether this is emerging from our innovative faculty or our colleagues in industry, we are supporting excellence in teaching and learning. We are supporting the future of learning for Ontario. 

This generous funding from the Ministry could not come at a more opportune moment to provide new and innovative ways for Ontarians to access the education and training they need for jobs in the pandemic and post-pandemic economies.

The Virtual Learning Strategy has brought our sector together, to collaborate on the future of learning, for all learners.

We at eCampusOntario look forward to the considerable benefit that Ontario’s learners will gain from this important work.

Image of the Virtual Learning Strategy Project Results Lookbook

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