Ontario Launches New Preview Sites for Online CoursesPublished on February 02, 2022
Internet Connectivity Now Completed at All Publicly Funded Schools
TORONTO — The Ontario government is expanding access to high-quality online learning courses for secondary school students through partnerships with school boards, TVO and TFO. Starting today, secondary school students will be able to preview online course content at www.ontariocoursepreview.ca. The move is a significant step forward in providing greater quality, choice and flexibility to students. As part of the Broadband Modernization Program, the government has taken action to ensure network connectivity to all schools in Ontario. The government has now confirmed that internet connectivity is complete at nearly 100 per cent of schools — 4,841 elementary and secondary schools are now connected, with three active connectivity projects underway in remote schools.
Students will be able to preview the online courses, which will help students and families make informed decisions for online course selections for the 2022-23 school year. New online courses will be added to the preview sites over time, providing Ontario secondary students with more options to reach their academic goals and meet the new online graduation requirements (opt-out provision remains available for all students). School boards make a selection of online courses available to students who can register through their local school as part of the course selection process. The move positions Ontario as a leader in providing modern, online learning options that will ensure students have the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.
Expanding online course options will provide students with greater choice and flexibility in meeting their education needs while augmenting their learning experience and building digital literacy and other transferrable skills. School boards will continue to deliver Ontario-certified teacher-led online courses in a manner that respects the unique needs of the French-language and Catholic systems. The online course previews give students and families an idea about what teacher-led online learning looks like. Additional courses may be offered by school boards. Students should connect with their school to see what courses are offered and how to register.
“We have created the gold standard of online learning courses that are dynamic, led by an educator, and offer course variety for students,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “We are placing a major emphasis on real-world learning by embedding life and job skills into the curriculum — while ensuring they learn in digitally connected classrooms, regardless of where they live.”
The Ontario government’s new requirement for online learning is outlined in Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) No. 167, including eligibility and implementation requirements and parent opt-out provisions. The PPM also clarifies that, for students currently in Grade 10, up to one credit earned remotely during the April 2021 to June 2021 school closures will count towards the online learning graduation requirement.
As part of a strategy to reduce barriers to online learning, the provincial government is improving access to the internet at all publicly funded schools in Ontario. Under the Broadband Modernization Program, schools across Ontario have completed improvements to their broadband networks, so that students can access online learning resources. The program also provides more efficient technology to support affordable network scale-up and enhanced cyber protection in the future and addresses long-standing internet access challenges faced by students and educators in northern and rural communities.
- Online courses, also known as e-learning courses, will continue to be delivered by school boards and their consortia through the ministry-funded Virtual Learning Environment. This differs from remote learning, which refers to classes taught at a distance with daily minimum synchronous learning time where there is extended interruption to in-person learning.
- The Consortium d'apprentissage virtuel de langue française, a collaboration of the 12 French-language boards and Centre Jules-Léger Consortium, will continue to play a central role in the delivery of online learning for students attending French-language schools in the province.
- A majority of students taking an online learning course are academically successful, with 81 per cent meeting or exceeding provincial expectations (Level 3/B Average).
- Since 2011, enrolment in online learning has grown by an average of 19 per cent each year.
- In the 2019-20 school year, more than 100,000 online learning credits were earned by Ontario students.
- In Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, the ministry conducted English and French engagement sessions on online learning with educator, parent and student stakeholder groups, labour and school board partners.
- The ministry provided school boards with $14.9 million during the 2021-22 school year for the procurement of additional devices, such as laptops and tablets, and to help cover replacement costs for some devices that may be out of date. This is in addition to investments of almost $100 million for school boards to purchase devices in the 2020-21 school year.
- The Connectivity at Schools Program will provide school boards with up to $20 million for the 2021-22 school year and an additional $20 million for the 2022-23 school year for connectivity infrastructure-related projects that support online learning.
- Of the nearly 5,000 elementary and secondary schools across Ontario, only three schools in rural, northern communities continue to experience access challenges and work is progressing on connectivity solutions.
- Building on the common network platform implemented in the Broadband Modernization Program, the Ministry of Education is supporting a pilot project to further help reduce the cyber security, cyber safety and privacy risks facing school boards, students and educators.
"Today’s announcement is another step in providing more options for students to access modern online learning in our increasingly ever connected digital world. We know that students will benefit from more options to have digital learning available at their fingertips."
- Kaleed Rasheed
Associate Minister of Digital Government
"TVO is pleased to put our expertise to work to assist the Ministry of Education with the Ontario Online Course Preview. As an organization purpose-driven to inspire learning that changes lives and enriches communities, we are proud that we are able to offer such high-quality courses to students across Ontario."
- Jennifer Hinshelwood
COO of TVO
"We are proud to support the Ministry of Education and contribute, along with TVO and our French language partners, to its enhanced online learning offering with the development of an accessible, inclusive and equitable Course Preview Ontario. It provides an expanded online course offering to meet the needs of all high school students enrolled in Ontario's French-language secondary schools and will support their academic success."
- Michelle Séguin, Acting CEO
Groupe Média TFO