OUSA releases policy paper "Technology Enabled Learning”

November 21, 2018

TORONTO, ON - A policy paper released by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) this morning, focuses on technology enabled learning, with the purpose of providing recommendations to develop a post-secondary technology strategy in Ontario.

“Releasing OUSA’s first policy paper on Technology Enabled Learning is incredibly exciting. As our world becomes increasingly more digital, it is important that we advocate for technological development on campuses,” said Julia Göllner, Vice President Administration and HR and student at Queen’s University. “A post-secondary education is intended to prepare graduates for the workforce and the world around them. This is why it’s essential that we improve digital literacy and classroom technology, and utilize technology to improve access to education, so that students are ready to succeed”.

Concerns presented in the paper include, inconsistent definitions and varying levels of digital literacy in post-secondary education, a lack of technology embedded in course curriculum, and no provincial PSE technological strategy. Concerns are also raised over the lack of faculty training and supports for using classroom technology and open educational resources, as well as outdated digital infrastructure, the availability and quality of online learning, including online courses, and limited Open Data.

“We’re seeing students spend an average of $800 on textbooks each year in Ontario. These high textbook costs create another financial burden for many students,” said Shannon Kelly, Vice President Finance and student at Wilfrid Laurier University. “An important focus of this paper is seeking government support for open educational resources, or OERs, which are online and publicly accessible resources that students can access at little to no cost. Investments in OERs can really help reduce one of the financial burdens placed on students.”

Overarching recommendations in the paper include, setting a standard definition of digital literacy, better equipping students with digital skills, and developing quality assurance guidelines for online courses. Additionally, the provincial government should conduct meaningful consultation with rural and marginalized communities, as well as provide targeted supports to address accessibility issues related to technology and online resources. Continued investments to support the work of groups like eCampus Ontario, including the development of Ontario’s Open Textbook Library, and expanding HEQCO’s Open University database, are among the recommendations made as well.

This paper was written by students from OUSA member associations and presented to the OUSA Fall General Assembly on November 4th for approval. To read the paper, please click here.

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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.

Deborah Lam
Operations & Communications Director
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
[email protected]