Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning

Date effective: 2012-10-24

Authorized by: Administration Committee



1. This procedure completes Policy 101, titled Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning (CMTL), and explains the steps for distance education space-design projects, as well as to acquire, install, use and maintain equipment and to select, implement and support distance education and collaboration applications and platforms, including the Virtual Campus

2. The scope and principles on which the responsibilities of the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning are based, as well as the priorities to apply in providing services, appear in Policy 101, which must therefore be read in conjunction with this procedure.

3. This procedure also deals with the conditions for submitting and evaluating requests for University distance education courses and programs, as well as the conditions governing calendars, registration, materials required, uOttawa library resources and other details on distance education, online or via the Internet, such as access to rooms.


4. Under Policy 101, the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning (CMTL) has the mandate to make distance education devices, software and equipment available to the University community. CMTL is therefore responsible for: a) Distance education space, technical support and equipment - Registrar’s rooms (for rooms belonging to faculties or services, see the “Services offered” section for information on which elements can be covered by a service agreement):

  • establishing physical and technological standards for distance education space design and proposed equipment (for audio-conference, video-conference, telepresence, etc.)
  • designing distance education rooms as well as acquiring and installing equipment (mobile and permanent)
  • managing the Cornwall, Hawkesbury and Pembroke off-campus centres
  • selecting and checking distance education facilities and equipment
  • maintaining and updating distance education equipment and providing technical support
  • managing and updating distance education software on the computers installed in the rooms used for distance education
  • support and training for professors who provide distance education.

b) Learning management system – Internet-based teaching devices and Virtual Campus:

  • establishing standards and best practices as well as selecting, rolling out, hosting and supporting Internet-based educational technology tools (learning management system, Virtual Campus, etc.) and distance collaboration tools (streaming, Webcasting, PC videoconferencing, telepresence, etc.)
  • providing support and training for professors who use these tools
  • supporting students who use these tools.

c) Other services:

  • acquiring fixed or mobile distance education equipment valued at more than $1,000 required by faculties or services
  • designing and reviewing projects that incorporate one or more distance education equipment components
  • consulting faculties, departments and program staff about distance education activities.

5. The Office of the Registrar’s distance education facilities and equipment are the property of the University of Ottawa and, as a result, priority must be given to members of the University community. This responsibility lies with the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning.


The definition of terms used in both the policy and the procedure are listed in the Definitions section of Policy 101. Schedule A provides a glossary of additional terms found only in this procedure.



6. Under Policy 101, CMTL is responsible for the support and operation of distance education equipment in Cornwall, Hawkesbury and Pembroke teaching centres, which make up part of the University’s distance education network.

7. The faculty has primary responsibility for the academic content of distance, online or Internet-based courses. It is also responsible for providing its students with the necessary orientation services.

8. Courses offered at off-campus centres, online or via Internet must be equivalent from an academic perspective to the same courses offered on campus.

9. The infrastructure and coordination of distance education courses and programs, whether offered online or via the Internet, are the responsibility of CMTL.

10. Once a year, the faculties present to CMTL the off-campus courses they plan to offer during the summer and in the fall and winter sessions. CMTL sets the date for this presentation ensuring deadlines set by the Office of the Registrar are taken into account.

11. Faculties are responsible for suggesting their courses based on the tentative calendars and the educational requirements of the centres.

12. To help faculties develop their tentative calendars and course lists, CMTL will provide faculties with information in advance, such as (if available):

  • results of surveys conducted at off-campus centres
  • reports of meetings with secondary schools and municipalities
  • student requests
  • comments and recommendations from liaison officers
  • any other useful documents or information.

13. The Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning evaluates in consultation with the professors involved any requests received, schedules, procedures and instructional means best suited to the courses.

14. CMTL is responsible for:

  • selecting the technologies needed course delivery
  • providing technical support (preparing classrooms and installing equipment; connecting classroom devices; monitoring courses; maintaining, updating and repairing equipment; providing reservation services)
  • training users
  • providing logistical support (communicating with coordinators of external sites, transmitting course material, scheduling courses, providing maintenance services).

15. Courses cancelled due to bad weather must be done in accordance with Policy 87.

16. Salaries, honorariums and any other financial compensation paid to professors for distance education, online or Internet courses are governed by collective agreements and by University of Ottawa’s Policy 5. As is the case for all courses, the faculties are responsible for these salaries, honorariums, etc.

Preparing calendars, directories and advertising courses

17. CMTL prepares and reviews the calendar of courses offered each year.

18. CMTL is responsible for communicating information on distance education, online and Internet-based course offerings. However, the Office of the Registrar, together with CMTL, includes off-campus courses and programs with publication of all other course offerings before each main academic session.

Course registration

19. After consulting with CMTL, the Office of the Registrar establishes registration procedures for distance education, online and Internet courses. Faculties with large numbers of students at an off-campus centre should ensure representatives and academic assistants are on site at the centre during the registration period.

20. CMTL can receive a list of the students registered for distance education courses by submitting a request to the Office of the Registrar.

Course-code naming convention

21. CMTL, along with the Office of the Registrar, is responsible for the course-code naming convention for distance education courses and for entering the codes into the appropriate system(s).

22. CMTL is solely responsible for determining the codes used for off-campus centres (“HJ” for Hawkesbury, “PJ” for Pembroke, “CJ” for Cornwall, etc.).

Library Network

23. The University Library Network has sole responsibility for collections located at off-campus centres, and for any special procedures related to these collections.

24. The Library will try, as much as possible, to provide the necessary library resources on site and to make professors aware of the importance of advising the library network of their documentation needs early so the Library can plan accordingly.  

Responsibility of students – Courses and examinations

25. Students are responsible for buying or sourcing the equipment and services (such as computer, headset, high-speed Internet connection, etc.) needed for a distance education course.

26. Students are also responsible for buying any books, teaching material or other items needed for a course.

27. Students could be refused registration in a distance education course or access to an exam if they do not have the equipment, referred to above, that is required for a distance education course.


28. Policy 101 stipulates that the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning is responsible for setting the technology standards for distance education equipment for the entire University. CMTL is also responsible for designing distance education classrooms and installing permanent devices in amphitheatres, laboratories and classrooms belonging to the Office of the Registrar (or for authorizing the installation in other rooms belonging to faculties or services according to University standards).

29. The Office of the Registrar’s facilities are used by various faculties and services. As a result, the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning is responsible for maintenance, repairs and security, as well as any necessary technical support.

Space design and equipment installation

Procedure for rooms not under the responsibility of the Office of the Registrar:

30. When equipment installation is required for distance education courses, the individual or individuals requesting the equipment must contact the Director of the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning with specific requirements:

  • room number
  • building name
  • functionality required
  • any service contract requirements for equipment maintenance and management (if needed)
  • dates and deadlines
  • contact information of the person(s) responsible for the project

31. The director of CMTL together with the CMTL team will review the request to ensure both the equipment and installation meet the University’s standards. They will determine project-development fees, as well as costs for the equipment, installation and set-up. CMTL will either approve the request or provide specifications to the party responsible for the room to ensure standards are complied with. The faculty or service can then decide whether to go ahead with the project as proposed by CMTL.

32. CMTL can negotiate a service agreement with the party responsible for the room to either install the equipment or supervise installation (if done by an external firm).

33. A separate service agreement can cover a maintenance and replacement plan. The costs laid out in the agreement are based on services required.  

Management, maintenance and access to distance education classrooms

34. The Office of the Registrar and CMTL are given priority up to April 1 of each year for reserving distance education classrooms. After this date, rooms are reserved based on the Office of the Registrar procedures in place for course scheduling.


  • To obtain an access card for the multimedia podiums in Office of the Registrar rooms with distance education equipment contact the Multimedia Distribution Service (MDS) at extension 5900 (613-562-5900). MDS will program card access levels and privileges. MDS policies apply (see Policy 82b and Procedure 12-2).

35. The Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning supplies MDS with the software required for distance education equipment in Office of the Registrar’s rooms. MDS installs the software and any software updates.

Specialized facilities

36. Permanent facilities equipped for distance education, are the direct responsibility of the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning. Only CMTL staff are authorized to operate these facilities. A list of these facilities is available on the CMTL website.


37. Under Policy 101, CMTL is responsible for establishing standards and best practices; selecting, rolling out, hosting and supporting Internet-based educational technology tools and teaching devices (learning management systems, Virtual Campus, etc.); distance collaboration tools (multimedia streaming, webcasting, PC videoconferencing, telepresence, etc.).

Learning Management System (LMS)

38. CMTL is responsible for selecting, implementing, maintaining and updating the Learning Management System (LMS).

39. CMTL performs maintenance and updates when necessary and makes every effort to minimize the impact these activities have on users.

40. Maintenance schedules are established at the beginning of the year and take into account busy periods and exam schedules.

41. CMTL provides tutorials and learning tools for professors and students for all LMS functions. Requests for information or training should be directed to CMTL at extension 5777 or [email protected].

Virtual Campus

42. Virtual Campus is uOttawa’s academic portal that provides the University community with access to course websites and techno-pedagogical tools for creating course websites. The portal also offers a wide range of resources for online teaching and learning.

43. CMTL is responsible for managing the Virtual Campus infrastructure, platform, tools and applications.

44. CMTL is solely responsible for providing user IDs and passwords.

45. CMTL manages requests for course websites in the Learning Management System (LMS) and trains professors on how to upload all or some of their course elements (synchronous and asynchronous) to the LMS.

46. CMTL develops tutorials (for both professors and students) and can design templates to help professors organize their online content.

47. CMTL uses every appropriate communications channel to alert users about any problems that may affect them.

Specific responsibilities of professors (or units responsible for courses)

  • By requesting a course through Virtual Campus, a professor acknowledges having read and understood the conditions of use and storage outlined below.

Conditions of use:
a. The online course space must be used for educational purposes only.
b. A written warning will be issued for any online course space used for personal purposes; the courses space will be deleted five (5) days after the written warning is issued.
c. A written warning will be issued for any online course space used for storage or archiving; the course space will be deleted five (5) days after the written warning is issued.
d. Online course space must remain active.
e. Any inactive online course space will be deleted after it has been inactive for 18 months.
f. An email will be sent to the address on file with the Human Resources 30 days before an inactive course space is deleted.
g. Any online course space that remains void of content for three months following the creation date is automatically deleted.
h. Posting pornographic images, hate propaganda or illegal content on any online course space is prohibited.
i. Posting video or audio files, whether for personal use or for distribution, that were not created by the host of the online course site or that are copyrighted and for which permission has not been obtained is also not prohibited.
j. File types include, among others, MP3, M4a, DVDRip, AVI and MPEG.
k. Some exceptions apply for specific courses.
l. Users are responsible for ensuring their computer meets the minimum configuration standards required for the distance teaching platform.
m. Users must also configure their operating system and its components in order to access to the distance education platform.
n. On the Virtual Campus Web page, a link called “Browser Check” allows users to verify whether their browser is configured to allow for complete functionality.
o. Users must do regular backups of their online course space.

-Any requests for exceptions to the conditions listed above must be made to the Director of the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning. Prior authorization must be obtained. The requestor is responsible for making any arrangements required.

- The Canadian Copyright Act applies to distance education platforms. Users agree to comply with the Act and with any other legislation, regulation, policy or procedure required by the University for this purpose. If need be, CMTL may refer professors to the copyright specialists at the University for assistance on copyright issues.  

General responsibilities of professors, instructors and lecturers:

  • Become familiar with the Learning Management System (LMS). Training through CMTL and tutorials are available, in addition to personal assistance at the CMTL laboratory (with or without an appointment). The CMTL laboratory is located in VNR1020 of Vanier Hall. Be sure to check hours of operation.
  • Use the Learning Management System (LMS) solely for the purposes it was intended.
  • Create, or have created, only the accounts needed for the purposes of the course and delete any unused temporary accounts.
  • Back up online course material regularly.
  • Submit course requests by the deadlines indicated on the CMTL website in order to be guaranteed online course space (the beginning of the academic session is always an extremely busy period).
  • As owners of online course content, professors are responsible for removing, archiving and updating courses or specific course elements (CMTL reserves the right to remove any online course not used for two years).
  • Determine which students or users will have access to course content (current students, former students, etc.).
  • Migrate course material to any new platform or archive the material, as requested by CMTL.

General responsibilities of professors and students:

  • Professors and students must have basic computer knowledge and skills.
  • They must ensure their computer meets the basic technical requirements (if necessary, they can contact a CMTL team member at extension 5777 or [email protected] for assistance.
  • Users must ensure their computers do not contain viruses, spyware or malware or P2P program (person-to-person software), such as LimeWire, Kazaa, uTorrent or Bit Torrent.
  • They must contact computing help services for assistance with technical questions or problems online at www.ccs.uOttawa.ca/cybersos/ or by phone the Help Line at 613 562 5800, extension 6555.
  • Professors and students agree not to disclose or share their sign-on ID or password.
  • Users agree to comply with these conditions of use.

Help line

48. Assistance in both official languages is available through the Virtual Campus help line.

49. Technicians respond to requests promptly and aim to have solutions in place within 24 hours.

50. CMTL support is limited to the functions of the distance education platform on a computer that meets the system configuration requirements.

How to access Virtual Campus and technical support:

  • Go to www.maestro.uOttawa.ca/newuserEN.asp, call extension 5777 or send an email to [email protected].
  • Call the help line at 613-562-5800, extension 6555. An online help desk, better known as “CyberSOS” is also available from CCS. Go to www.ccs.uottawa.ca/cybersos/ for the online computing assistance form and select “Virtual Campus/Blackboard”
  • From Monday to Friday, technicians respond to requests within 24 hours (i.e., one business day). The help line is closed Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Emails received after 5 p.m. (or after 4 p.m. during summer hours) are handled as though they were received the next business day.


51. Faculties, services, professors or researchers can rent distance education equipment provided the use will not affect courses offered by the University or research activities (i.e., conferences, symposiums, etc.). Rooms and equipment are intended primarily for credited teaching activities and then, in this order, for research activities and use by members of the University community (teaching staff, students, and support staff). Individuals or groups can also request a technician on site for their event, at the rates in effect at the time of the event. To request these services, clients can contact CMTL directly at extension 5787 or [email protected], or they can include the service as part of the request they submit to the University’s Conventions and Reservations service.

52. If CMTL is unable to fulfill the request for a technician, it will provide the client with an external source and will ensure that equipment standards are met. Clients cannot, under any circumstance, use their personal distance education equipment or equipment from an external supplier on campus (personal laptop computer is permitted, but clients are responsible for ensuring it is compatible with the University’s equipment).

One-time reservation of videoconference rooms

53. Individual reservation requests must be made with the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning by email, online or by phone at least 24 hours (one business day) in advance for a basic room reservation, and at least 120 hours (five business days) in advance when any installations are involved.

54. Users are responsible for the condition of the distance education equipment and facilities leased or borrowed. They are responsible for the replacement cost if any loss or damage occurs.

55. Individuals and organizations leasing or borrowing the University’s distance education equipment or facilities cannot lend or sublet them to another person or organization without the authorization of the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning.

56. Equipment must be returned and facilities vacated at the time stipulated in the reservation contract. Cancellations, late return of equipment or vacating the premises after the agreed-upon time will result in charges. Fees are listed on the CMTL site (see links below).

Technician services

57. Faculties and services can request onsite technicians for assistance with distance education facilities or equipment. Rates vary according to dates and length of time the technician is required. Requests for technicians must be received at least 120 hours (five business days) in advance. CMTL technicians may not be available for all requests. Charges for technician services are based on the current fee schedule, available online:


58. Self-funded services, organizations or associations within the University community not funded by the general operating budget and external organizations can request the services of a technician at the rates set by the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning, available online:



59. The Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning provides clients with assistance in selecting rooms and equipment, and with installing equipment for their distance education activities.

60. The Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning provides clients with assistance on how to use campus distance education equipment and facilities. This includes training faculty members, researchers and students how to use distance education resources.

Procedure: To arrange for consultations or training services, contact CMTL at extension 5787 or at [email protected].


61. CMTL's hours of operation are usually the same as those of the University:

  • September 1 to May 31: 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • June 1 to August 31: 8:45 a.m. to 4 pm.


62. All requests to purchase distance education equipment valued at $1,000 or more must be submitted in writing to CMTL for approval. Purchases of portable distance education equipment valued at less than $1,000 may be made directly by faculties and services. However, equipment must comply with CMTL standards and must not breach any contracts negotiated by the University of Ottawa. A list of University-approved equipment and suppliers is available from Procurement Services.

63. CMTL participates in the negotiation and administration of contracts for distance education equipment and provides its expertise during the procurement process to ensure technical and technological standards are met.

How to make a purchase request:

  • Requests must be sent to the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning by internal mail (intra) or email.
  • The CMTL team reviews the request and ensures the equipment and installation meet University’s standards. CMTL either approves the request or makes recommendations to ensure standards are met. Depending on the nature of the request, at least five business days are required for the request to be reviewed and approved.
  • Clients send approved requests to Procurements Services.
  • Procurement Services will not process the purchase without the approval of CMTL.


64. The Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning supports researchers by helping them determine their material, space and cost requirements related to distance education. Requests for distance education or video conferencing equipment purchased with research grants administered by the University of Ottawa must be sent to CMTL.

65. Whenever possible, distance education equipment purchased with a grant must meet University standards. If the standards differ for reasons related to the research needs, the researcher or the faculty must discuss this in advance with the director of the Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning to ensure the required equipment does not interfere with existing equipment on campus (e.g., frequencies).

66. CMTL offers the same technical support to researchers as it provides to faculties and services and at the set rates. Researchers can contact CMTL at extension 5787 or [email protected] to discuss their distance equipment needs.


67. CMTL periodically publishes the rates approved by the University’s Administration Committee (AC). These rates are subject to change in keeping with changes in labour and material costs. The rates are posted on the TLSS website:


Updated on October 24, 2012

(Centre for Mediated Teaching and Learning)

Schedule A

Glossary of Terms Used in this Procedure

Asynchronous course: A course given using the Internet that students can access from home, work or an access centre. This course delivery method allows learners to access the course at the time and place of their choice. The course may involve individual meetings or supervised exams, but the online component normally represents more than 80% of the total content.

Blended course: A course that involves reduced classroom teaching time, providing students with more time for online learning activities. This course delivery method can take a variety of forms, but the online component usually represents between 50% and 80% of the total course content.

Immersive telepresence: A high-definition virtual learning environment involving videoconferencing in a room with a modular design and panoramic panel, capable of delivering outstanding audio-visual and multimedia quality.

Internet course: A course offered entirely online. Students can take this course from anywhere provided they have access to a computer and have an Internet connection.

Multimedia streaming: A technology that sends audio and audiovisual content in real time (or with a slight delay) in a continuous stream over the Internet. It allows users to listen to or watch audio or video content (e.g. video-on-demand) as it is streamed.

Online course: A course (or components of a course in the case of blended courses) offered using a website, a learning management system or online learning software.

Synchronous course: A course delivered by audio- or video-conferencing to students in different locations that allows simultaneous communication between the professor and students. A course is considered synchronous if more than 80% of the course content is delivered in this way.

PC Video-conferencing: Allows online interaction between two or more PCs in real time through the use of video and either Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or conventional telephone. This technology allows professors to have a live discussion with their students as though they were together in a classroom.

Webcasting: Audio, video and data files streamed on the Internet in order for the same content to be available to multiple participants simultaneously. A webcast can be live or on-demand.

Web conferencing (or webinar) software: Software used for delivering online courses, seminars or presentations in real time. With this method, all participants are at their computers and connected by the Internet as if they were at a meeting together. Web conferencing works through a Web-based application or an application installed on each person’s computer. Participants click on a link sent to them by email to accept an invitation to join the group online.