posted on Feb. 8: National online learning advisory committee urges faster action on initiatives


The Advisory Committee for Online Learning today
presented Brian Tobin, Minister of Industry, and Glenn Hagel, Chair of the
Postsecondary Expectations Consortium of the Council of Ministers of
Education, Canada (CMEC), with a report urging governments, universities,
colleges and businesses to accelerate and coordinate efforts to offer
Canadians online post-secondary education.

The report also encourages the
further advancement of the learnware industry based on Canadian educational

“This report serves as a strong foundation for future discussions on how
online learning can better meet the needs of learners in Canada by providing
access anywhere and at any time,” said Hagel, also Saskatchewan's
minister of post-secondary education and skills training. “Its
recommendations will be analyzed by my colleagues from the provinces and
territories and should figure prominently on the agenda when CMEC meets in

“Knowledge and skills are among Canada's most important national resources,”
said Tobin. “There are huge economic and social benefits to
Canadians from a concerted approach to developing online courses and
learnware products. Canada is well-positioned to be a world leader in
online learning, and this report will serve as a valuable guide.”

“The action plan arising from a mandate given to us by the two orders of
government conveys a sense of urgency,” said David Johnston, chair of the
advisory committee and president of the University of Waterloo. “Our
students must have Canadian online content, and we must capitalize on the
opportunity to build a learnware industry. Otherwise, we risk students
taking courses from non-Canadian sources less responsive to our local,
regional and national interests.”

The report advocates the use of online learning through Internet or Intranet
to meet individual needs, incomes, languages and learning styles.
Recommendations include: making the Internet more accessible and affordable,
especially broadband service; training faculty to make better use of
educational technology in teaching; creating a comprehensive source of
information on all Canadian online learning resources; developing more
quality online Canadian learning content and; increasing research in
learning, both traditional and online.

The Advisory Committee for Online Learning was established by the CMEC
Postsecondary Expectations Consortium and Industry Canada in July 2000 to
advise governments, universities and colleges on a coordinated approach to
online post-secondary learning in Canada. The 19-member committee included
presidents of colleges and universities, as well as senior business
executives. The Postsecondary Expectations Consortium has representatives of
nine provinces and two territories, with Quebec and Yukon opting for
observer status.

Copies of the committee's report, The E-learning E-volution in Colleges and
Universities: A Pan-Canadian Challenge, are available online at and, or
by calling 1-800-575-9200.