Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Provincial Policy: No Fee to Access Digital Tests

A new provincewide policy involving online course materials tripped up at least one university in Ontario, Canada, this fall. The University of Windsor is now refunding roughly $210,000 to 3,000 students who purchased access codes.

According to a report in The Windsor Star, the university inadvertently charged students for the codes, which enabled them to go online to complete assignments, quizzes, and/or exams required as part of their course grade. That’s a no-no, says the Ministry of Colleges, Training, and Universities.

As Assistant Deputy Minister Nancy Naylor explains in a July 2011 memo, the ministry’s new policy, which went into effect this fall, is that schools are responsible for picking up the cost of mandatory assignment and examination materials, including those in digital formats. The schools cannot charge students extra to access those materials if the students must fill them out for course credit. Most of the affected University of Windsor students, primarily in introductory courses, bought access codes bundled with a new textbook.

The university is trying to determine whether it can afford to cover the cost of those online assignments and tests from now on.

The ministry’s policy isn’t intended to prohibit universities from charging for other digital course materials.

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