Mohawk Receives eCampus Ontario funding to Support Virtual Learning
Four Mohawk College projects, and numerous collaborations with other post-secondary sector partners, have received funding through eCampus Ontario’s Virtual Learning Strategy as part of a $50 million investment by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) to advance virtual learning at postsecondary institutions across the province.
The eCampus Ontario Virtual Learning Strategy funding was established to help Ontario’s postsecondary institutions respond to the unprecedented impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the sector.
As a leader in virtual learning, Mohawk College was able to adapt quickly to sudden shift to online learning in 2020. Since then, the college’s faculty and staff have worked to build engaging virtual and remote learning environments and activities that ensure students learn and have opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills.
The $423,402 received from eCampus Ontario will support the following four projects at Mohawk:
Indigenous Wellness Video Series - In partnership with Six Nations Polytechnic and McMaster University, Mohawk is the lead institution in creating a series of wellness videos to address the needs of Indigenous learners. Guided by the wisdom and leadership of Elders, Métis Senators and Knowledge Keepers, the videos will promote stronger connections between Indigenous students and their land and culture, while helping them to decolonize harmful behaviours and practices and offer hope for the future. The project will be led by Leah Hogan, Manager, Indigenous Education-Indigenous Initiatives Office.
Virtual Simulated Paralegal Work Placement Experience - Working in partnership with St. Clair College, the Mohawk College Paralegal diploma program will create a virtual legal office and scenarios to provide students with the 120-hours of experiential learning that is required for their practicum placements. The Virtual Simulated Paralegal Work Placement Program will development and pilot simulation base learning to enhance the student experience. Rosemarie Ortiz, Professor and Coordinator of the Paralegal Program, is the project lead.
Cold Start Boiler Simulator for Power Engineering - Power Engineering programs graduate students into roles that operate the compressors, boilers and systems that power commercial buildings. The eight colleges with Power Engineering programs in Ontario are facing constraints in acquiring the physical equipment (which can cost upwards of $1 million) with the need to test that students can demonstrate skills in the event of crisis. Mohawk is leading the initiative to bring together subject matter experts from all eight Colleges (Cambrian, Conestoga, Durham, Georgian, Fanshawe, Lambton, St. Clair) to create a Virtual Reality Simulator for both learning and assessment on a boiler system. The project also includes working with the TSSA (Technical Standards and Safety Authority) to have VR certified as a recognized mode of education delivery for Power Engineers.
This project exemplifies Mohawk’s leadership in creating VR and simulation-based experiences that better prepare students for the future. This project is being led by Dr. Marilyn Powers, Director, Academic Technology Integration & Innovation in collaboration with Cambrian, Conestoga, Durham, Georgian, Fanshawe, Lambton, and St. Clair Colleges and UP360. Up360 – The Future of VR
Building Virtual Content with Affinity Learning - Through a partnership with Hamilton-based Affinity Learning, Mohawk College is working to enable educators to build virtual content. The content will include scenarios that demonstrate user-centered design and continuous evaluation and improvement for students to learn virtually. The project is being led by Theresa Merwin, Director, Simulation, Business Development & Interprofessional Learning and Interim Associate Dean, Personal Support Worker. These simulations will be used to augment clinical/field experiences, across a range of health and community services programs, to ensure students are future ready.
In addition to the four primary funded projects above, Mohawk is also collaborating with post-secondary institutions across Ontario on other VLS projects. These collaborations draw on the college’s strengths in the areas of: Universal Design for Learning (UDL); digital fluency; Artificial/Virtual Reality (AR/VR); and simulation-based learning to name a few.
Additional information on the Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS) Initiative, including funded projects, can be found on the e-Campus website at eCampusOntario VLS | Virtual Learning Strategy.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded the need for accessible and high-quality virtual learning,” said Alison Horton, Vice President Academic at Mohawk College. “We have heard from students and employees that the mix of virtual and remote learning, in-person delivery and online service the college has been providing since the pandemic began has allowed a degree of flexibility that did not previously exist. This funding will help to support the ongoing development of virtual learning at the college, so we can continue to meet the current and future needs of our students and the communities we serve.”
For more information about virtual and remote learning at Mohawk College visit: https://www.mohawkcollege.ca/future-ready-toolkit/virtual-and-remote-learning