The following is an update from OCUFA President Kate Lawson regarding faculty representation on the Ontario Online Learning Consortium and related issues.
I am writing to provide an update regarding faculty representation on the Governing Board of the Ontario Online Learning Consortium (OOLC). OOLC is the online learning initiative directed by the Council of Ontario Universities/Colleges Ontario and funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
Those of you who were at the October 25 Board meeting will recall the lively discussion about the need for faculty representation on the governing body of OOLC. The Board requested that we provide a template letter for member associations to send to government asking for such representation. However, as I outline below, we seem to have been successful in our quest to have a faculty nominee on the Board of OOLC and thus the template letter does not seem to be required at this time.
I detail our current understanding of the structure of OOLC below, but I want to assure you that I will contact you again should we need to revive the letter-writing campaign. I also want to stress that we will advocate vigorously for faculty representation on other relevant committees that the OOLC may create in the future.
On November 6, I received a letter from Rhonda Lenton, the co-chair of the Ontario Online Steering Committee, that asked that “OCUFA provide a short list of individuals who would have expertise to help guide the new consortium as a director.” I have notified Dr. Lenton that we will be pleased to participate in the nomination process and will be submitting names of faculty with experience in online education as nominees.
The OOLC Steering Committee has been tasked with getting the new entity up and running, including soliciting membership from Ontario universities and colleges and overseeing a process for the appointment of the first Governing Board. My understanding is that college and university OOLC members will elect the majority of the Board, made up of senior administrators from both colleges and universities. These Board members will then be asked to develop a process for election of other Directors or be delegated the authority to appoint other Directors, including students, members of the general public, and academic experts in online learning.
In other online learning news, let me remind you of the upcoming OCUFA workshop on e-learning to be held on March 20. I hope that you or a representative will be able to attend.
In addition, we continue to work on both expanding of the membership of the OCUFA ad hoc Committee on Online Learning and on developing a website and a checklist for faculty considering online courses/programs. With regard to the former, please contact me if you would like to suggest the names of faculty members or academic librarians who have expertise in this area and who would be interested in joining the ad hoc committee.