Ontario Online Institute
With over 10,000 courses and a research portal online, Ontario universities are very committed to online education. In response to the Ontario government's 2010 Throne Speech announcement for development of an online institute, COU developed a policy position paper entitled The Ontario Online Institute: Achieving the Transformation, which proposed a consortium model to leverage the existing online courses and then build from there.
Ontario universities already offer students a robust online learning experience. In 2008-09, there were over 350,000 undergraduate students registered in e-learning courses -- 12.8% of total university registrants. Currently, over 4,700 online courses are available through Ontario universities and 505 graduate courses offer e-learning options at 13 institutions within the province.
The Scholars Portal is a digital library developed and sustained by Ontario’s universities and supervised by the Ontario Council on University Libraries (OCUL), an affiliate of COU. It is a cornerstone of teaching, learning and research for Ontario students and faculty. Established in 2002, there are now 12 million searches performed in Scholars Portal each year and the portal supports approximately 245,000 interlibrary loan requests annually. It is equipping students with the analytical skills necessary to contribute to the Premier’s goal of a “better educated workforce” and it is exposing them to international resources and advancing their understanding of competitive forces. The Portal is also an important digital resource for professors who want to embed more online content into their courses. Further, it has the capacity to accommodate the growing numbers of students that the government is expecting to enter university over the next five years.