125 Online Learning Innovations

125 Online Learning Innovations Booklet Icon

Contact North (Ontario’s Distance Education and Training Network) has published a booklet outlining 125 Online Learning Innovations covering these topics:

  • Educational Resources
  • Blended Learning
  • Student Engagement
  • Online Assessment
  • Planning
  • Faculty Development and Support
  • Online Support Services for Students

Each of these topics has information on what they call “Pockets of Innovation.”  These are largely case studies of innovation at various schools in North America.  Here is there description of the topics and the “pockets of innovation”:


Ontario’s 24 public colleges and 22 public universities are a hotbed of innovation in emerging technologies and online tools focused expanding and improving learning opportunities for students through online and blended learning innovations.

From 2011 through 2014, Contact North | Contact Nord visited innovators at public colleges and universities across Ontario to learn about their initiatives in online, blended, and technology-enabled learning.

The Pockets of Innovation Series showcases 125 ground-breaking projects focusing on transforming the learning experience for students, increasing excellence and productivity in the delivery of learning, enhancing engagement for students, and fostering innovation and creativity amongst students and faculty and instructors.

These ground-breaking projects are profiled on teachonline.ca and meet 3 specific criteria:

  1. They represent a new approach;
  2. They directly support students; and
  3. The developers are prepared to share what they’ve learned with other public colleges and universities in Ontario and the challenges they encountered.

In reviewing all 125 Pockets of Innovation, a series of 7 themes emerged showing where the colleges and universities are focusing their efforts at innovating in online learning.

The seven themes include:

Creating and Adapting Educational Resources

Under this theme, we uncover the innovative ways Ontario’s public colleges and universities developed and adapted a plethora of educational resources in a multitude of format to respond to student needs for access, alternative approaches to learning, information resources, applied learning opportunities, interaction, and new approaches to assessment.

Making the Most of Blended Learning

Under this theme, we uncover a striking diversity of models of blended learning at Ontario’s public colleges and universities with each approach suiting particular student groups and content.

Online Learning Focused on Student Engagement and Flexibility

Under this theme, we uncover examples of models and approaches to online learning in Ontario’s public colleges and universities built around new pedagogies that focus on student-centred learning and new roles for faculty.

• Enhancing Learning through Online Assessment

Under this theme, we uncover the creative approaches used by public colleges and universities to online assessment and evaluation for enhanced learning and higher grades.

• Planning for Online Learning

Under this theme, we uncover five-year plans, institutional strategic documents, and plans for technology-enhanced learning at Ontario’s public colleges and universities that feature online and/or blended learning as central to their mission and future.

• Faculty Development and Support

Under this theme, we uncover the myriad of opportunities Ontario’s public colleges and universities offer to faculty and instructors for training, support, and access to resources to facilitate their transition to online and blended learning and teaching.

• Innovative Online Support Services for Students

In the sections that follow, we uncover each of these seven themes in greater detail with specific examples of the innovative work taking place on our public college and university campuses.

The book is available for free from here.

University of Phoenix Plans to Shrink Itself

Chronicle of higher education logo

The Chronicle of Higher  Education reported that the University of Phoenix plans to reduce its enrollment levels through eliminating most of its associates degrees and closing more of its physical campuses.  It will also establish academic admissions requirements for the first time.  The college has been suffering for some time from falling enrollments and high dropout rates.

For the period ending on May 31, 2015, the university had 206,900 students, down from 241,900 a year earlier. In 2010, the university had an enrollment of 460,000 students.

The full Chronicle story is here.