eLearning in Ontario

eLearning in Ontario’s Secondary Schools provides students access to courses that may not be offered in their school or may not be available due to timetabling conflicts. Sometimes, a course that is not available to a student in a face-to-face classroom may be important to their pathway and even a post-secondary program they intend to pursue. In addition, eLearning provides opportunities for students to reach ahead as well as accommodates students in circumstances that may limit their ability to be physically present on a consistent basis (e.g., students with medical conditions, elite athletes, and so on).

Since School Boards generally are not able to offer all of the eLearning course options required by all of their students, Ontario students are able to enroll in courses that are offered by Boards outside of their own. This greatly increases course options available to students, thereby allowing them and their Guidance Counsellors to create timetables that are customized to individual needs, interests, and goals.

The OeLC and PRISM

Accessing courses across School Boards requires a strong professional network, strategic collaborative planning, and well-defined processes and workflows. In addition, it also requires a powerful technological base that can facilitate registration, tracking, reporting, communication, and data analysis. This is where PRISM comes in…

PRISM enables member Boards of the Ontario eLearning Consortium (OeLC, www.oelc.ca) to seamlessly share students and courses across Board boundaries, communicate with all stakeholders, and provide instantaneous data and reports in a fast, efficient, and secure manner. Partnered with succinct processes and workflows, as well as a community of dedicated educational professionals, PRISM helps to enable thousands of students each semester to access the courses they need. In fact, from the 2015-16 school year to the 2018-19 school year, these assets easily accommodated a 57% increase in eLearning enrollment amongst OeLC Boards (16 488 students to 25 881 students).

Some of the highlights of PRISM include:

  • Enhanced data security measures that align with MFIPPA requirements and Ministry established Service Provider Privacy Security standards
  • System-, School-, and Class-level User types, each with set permissions to protect privacy of information
  • Wizard-based ‘Drop-down Menu’ Course Creation utility; Enables courses to be created for Home Board Students only OR for Home Board and Out-of-Board Students; Enables Boards to set the maximum number of Out-of-Board Students that will be accepted into a course; Contains a Module Tracking feature (used typically for Con Ed and Summer School courses that are based on module completion).
  • SIS integration that enables the automated creation of student records, thereby eliminating the need for manual entry
  • Easy-to-use filter based registration system that allows GCs to easily ‘drill down’ and locate the courses in which they wish to enroll their students; Wizard-based ‘Drop-down Menu’ registration system that allows for quick and efficient registration.
  • A robust Attendance module that offers flexibility to align with multiple semester types, varying start and end dates, Ministry policy on reporting attendance in eLearning, and Board-based attendance in eLearning reporting procedures
  • A robust Progress module that accommodates status updates in the course (as often as is chosen by the teacher and/or required by their Board), midterm and final mark reporting, the upload of physical documents (such as Provincial Reports), credit alerts, the addition of comments (all of which are date stamped and archived for easy retrieval)
  • Auto-messaging to specified stakeholders (e.g., DeLC, eRegistrar, VP, GC, Office Admin, Spec Ed, SST, parent, and student) triggered by events involving enrollment and progress updates / reporting
  • Enormous variety of reports (most of which are customizable using various filers and most of which can be ‘single-clicked’ exported as CSV and opened in Excel)

In fact, from the 2015-16 school year to the 2018-19 school year, these assets easily accommodated a 57% increase in eLearning enrollment amongst OeLC Boards

PRISM is an essential component of eLearning programming amongst Consortium Boards. Its absence would greatly impede the ability of member Boards to offer eLearning programming to their students in equivalent scale and efficiency. In the future, should the need for eLearning courses amongst students continue to rise, PRISM will, without compromise, persist in helping to enable OeLC Boards to thrive in accommodating the eLearning needs of their students.