Earlier last month, OUSA made their annual presentation to the McMaster Students Union’s legislative body: the Student Representative Assembly (SRA). During this presentation it was mentioned that Waterloo recently dealt with an issue regarding students having to pay for additional online learning tools in order to complete their courses. This is a violation of the Ancillary Fee Protocol. According to this agreement an ancillary fee is one in which “a student is required to pay in order to enroll in, or successfully complete, any course credit.”

One of the assembly members contacted me regarding a similar issue students were facing at McMaster. Many students, particularly in the School of Business, are required to purchase an online learning tool in order to complete a course. This tool is used to complete tests and submit assignments, and each student must pay upwards of $65 for it. In addition, the learning tool expires and is not transferable to any other course.

In response, I put out a call to students to speak about using this online learning tool, and all of the answers have been the same. They were required to purchase is, it was not useful beyond the course and it expired after the class was completed. According to my interpretation of the Ancillary Fee Protocol, this programs stands in clear violation of the agreement. I have been working with our Associate Vice President Academic to resolve the issue, and have provided him with as much information as possible. Since this has become an issue, students have approached me with other online learning tools that act in much the same manner, and I will be looking into those as will. I will be sure to keep you all updated.

-Joe Finkle
MSU VP Education
OUSA VP Administration