History & Expertise


The University of Guelph (U of G) has a long history of expansion dating back to the 1800s with the three founding colleges—Ontario Agricultural College, Ontario Veterinary College and Macdonald Institute.

In 1995 , the U of G adopted five strategic directions that built on the strengths of the institution while creating a vision for the future. Open Learning, one of the five strategic directions, was adopted as a way of extending the reach of the University.

In 1996, the design, development and delivery approach of extension courses moved away from a correspondence model and began to make use of technology. A centralized organizational model was implemented to advance the University's vision for increased intellectual reach, curricula efficiencies and richness. This model centralized the following resources:

  • Pedagogy
  • Technology
  • Project and financial management
  • Multimedia
  • Learner services
  • Materials production

In 2000, U of G partnered with Desire2Learn (D2L)—as their first client—to develop a learning management system (LMS) that incorporated the University's pedagogical approach, provided flexibility and scalability, and fostered an active and interactive learning environment. The partnership has continued for almost two decades, establishing U of G - OpenEd as a premier provider of online education. 

By 2002, 98% of DE courses adopted this learning environment and now all courses make use of this course delivery platform.


Distance education/online course design, development and delivery are supported by staff with expertise in the following areas:

  • Instructional design
  • Online learning
  • Project management and coordination
  • Educational technologies
  • Multimedia
  • Graphic design and illustration
  • Copyright negotiation and clearance
  • Academic advising
  • Final exam coordination
  • Registration and course selection
  • Technical support
  • Faculty training and support