Niagara College-led project prepares students for on-the-job education

Dr. Natasha Hannon, manager of educational development (right) and Dr. Jennifer Martin, educational developer, both with Niagara College’s Centre for Academic Excellence, demonstrate one of 31 interactive online modules developed through a collaborative project led by Niagara College. The modules will will help students navigate work-integrated learning opportunities. Niagara College photo

A project spearheaded by Niagara College is better preparing post-secondary students across the country for work-integrated learning opportunities (WIL) like co-op placements and apprenticeships.

The Work Integrated Learning Open Module Initiative is a toolkit for post-secondary educators, consisting of 31 online modules that help students make the most of work-integrated learning opportunities offered by their school. The modules equip students with the knowledge they need to navigate co-op placements, apprenticeships and other on-the-job learning opportunities, including job-search and interview skills, research and business communication skills, and long-term career planning.

These interactive modules are Open Educational Resources (CC BY NC 4.0) designed to be downloaded and used by colleges and universities across Canada to develop customized work-integrated learning toolkits. The modules and all associated source files can be accessed at

Work integrated learning is a crucial way Ontario colleges prepare students for their careers through hands-on job experience working directly with professionals in their chosen field of study. It also strengthens Niagara’s local economy by producing students and graduates who enter the workforce with job-ready experiences already under their belt.

“After consulting with faculty and staff across the College, we saw an opportunity to develop a toolkit that educators, not only at Niagara, but across the country, could use with their students to help prepare them for on-the-job learning opportunities,” said Dr. Natasha Hannon, Manager of Educational Development with Niagara College’s Centre for Academic Excellence.

The Centre led a multi-disciplinary team of 24 staff from Niagara College, Georgian College, Algonquin College, and Lambton College in creating content for the modules. The project received $100,000 in funding from eCampus Ontario, a nonprofit organization that aims to strengthen Ontario’s post-secondary education system by increasing access to online learning.

The modules are already generating interest from across Canada, as far east as PEI and as far west as British Columbia. “The response so far has been phenomenal,” said Hannon. “Work-integrated learning often kick-starts a student’s career. To know that these modules will help students make that next leap in their career and education is incredibly rewarding.”

Source – Niagara College press release