Online Continuing Learning at Algonquin College

Algonquin College’s AC Online is a new full-scale digital campus that will answer demand in the modern workplace and serve the needs of a range of learners.

“Anyone who wants to stand out in the market or their industry, or simply wants to explore an interest or possible new direction, can find something at AC Online. And they can do so while juggling their existing work, family or personal responsibilities,” said Sara Munroe, Acting Dean of AC Online.

The digital campus offers more than 20 full-time and 60 part-time programs in business, community studies, trades, media, and information technology. Students can choose individual courses, certificates, full college diplomas and post-graduate certificates.

“One of the College’s key initiatives is its multi-year Learner-driven Plan, which focuses on providing an educational experience that is as tailored and customized and individualized as possible,” says Munroe.

That is in direct response to a shifting workplace, in which employees are expected to regularly upgrade their technological and technical skills. Algonquin is offering the flexibility to answer that need, she says.

The College has established one of the largest online course inventories nationally, says Munroe, and at any one time, has more than 4,000 full-time online students, backed by a strong team of support staff, administrators and faculty.

“We have offered many courses and programs online through our Centre for Continuing and Online Learning for many years, but AC Online takes a more formalized approach to offering a campus experience for online learners.”

Those enrolled in AC Online will get the same direction and guidance in their learning journeys as full-time on-campus students, including access to pathway advisors who help with course selection, academic pathways, student success support, and financial aid.

Courses are facilitated by people with experience in the field and the same rigour and quality assurance goes into developing online programs as traditional ones, says Munroe.

“As an established leader in online learning, we have moved to next level support for those accessing continuing education.”

Online education benefits all kinds of learners, and is particularly sought after by mid-career professionals looking to upgrade their skills but who have work and family obligations that make it difficult to commit to classroom schedules.

“I think many people would say continuing education is something they would like to do, and they see the benefit of it, but they can’t commute to our physical campus. Online is the answer.”

It is also the answer for many who are embarking on a second career or reentering the workplace or looking to shift a side job into a full-time career.

And online learning is a surprisingly social experience, says Munroe.

“There are many means of engagement and students are encouraged to expand and deepen their thinking, work as teams, and develop a community of supportive learning.”