Features and benefits of online courses

Benefits to the department and Waterloo

  • online courses provide access to non-traditional learners (adult part-time learners, international students, underserviced groups and many with special needs) and increases enrolment opportunities
  • they contribute to Waterloo's reputation as a leader in online learning and technology
  • they support Waterloo's Digital Learning Strategy
  • fully developed online courses provide opportunities for graduate students to gain teaching experience
  • online courses reduce demand on finite campus physical resources (every 15-17 online courses offered saves approximately one classroom)
  • provides scalable enrolment options
  • online learning creates the opportunity to partner with, and share courses with, other institutions
  • meets growing demand and expectation for online learning

Benefits to faculty

Most online courses at Waterloo are developed through a collaborative process with the Centre for Extended Learning (CEL), and we are also able to help with any digital teaching project, large or small. You will benefit from the design, development, and technical expertise of our creative staff.

What do Waterloo faculty say about online teaching?

  • I can teach my online course from anywhere in the world so long as I have a reliable, high speed internet connection.
  • designing an online course helped me to reassess and improve my approach to teaching on-campus.
  • I am able to interact with my students in a way I was not able to with a large, on-campus course.
  • my students benefited from the multimedia elements I created for my online course in my corresponding on-campus course.
  • my Online Learning Consultant (OLC) gave me some of the best feedback about pedagogy and course development in my career.

Benefits to students

Students enrol in online courses and programs primarily for convenience. An online course may:

  • fit better into their academic schedule
  • better suit their preferred learning style
  • be the best, or only, alternative for remote students
  • attract under-served student groups
  • allow students to get a course credit during a co-op work term
  • allow students to accommodate other commitments (e.g., part-time or full-time work, extracurricular activities, or personal commitments)

Some students, especially those with work and family commitments, choose to take their entire degree online.