OUSA Releases Broader Learning Environment Policy Paper

Alex Hobbs, Antonio Sergi, Chris Fernlund, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), Dec 25, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) has it exactly right with this policy paper (3 page PDF, 29 page PDF) addressing learning environments. "There is much more to higher education than simply attending class," they write in a paper "to discuss the learning environment in all its forms, as we have come to understand its fuller meaning." In particular, they address four areas of concern (quoted):

  • professional development opportunities for students are lacking [and] tools and programs used for tracking co-curricular opportunities are underutilized;
  • monitoring student performance throughout their university experience, is a service currently not being adequately provided on campuses;
  • funding priorities have for the most part ignored study spaces, student services, and other related student space;
  • distinct lack of initiative on the part of university administrations in developing community engagement programs.

Good stuff. But let me take these initiatives a step further. Wouldn't it be great if they were available to everyone in society, whether or not they are engaged in university studies? Instead of providing these services to a special group of people that qualify by paying tuition, let's figure out how to network them and make them available to everybody.

More from the OUSA: papers on financial assistance and teaching & assessment.

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