Centennial College:

Digital Transformation of Learning

For more than 50 years, Centennial College has transformed itself from a local community college to a worldly institution, with a presence in countries like China, India, South Korea and Brazil.

The Challenge

Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology is a diploma- and degree-granting college located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Centennial offers more than 260 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates, post-graduate certificates, and apprenticeship programs, across many diverse fields of study. The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, accelerated Centennial’s digital transformation. The College wanted to transform their traditional instructor-led, face-to-face courses and offer them asynchronously in an online environment.

The main objectives for this transition were:


Students should be able to recognize and navigate multiple courses with ease.


Instructors should be able to modify their courses without being tied to the external development teams for help.


Centennial wants to reach different learner groups and international students more easily.

The Solution

Through our lessons learned, we have been fortunate to gain a great deal of experience transitioning traditional learning to an online environment while providing an engaging learning experience. We utilized a rapid development process, designing courses in weekly sprints through Centennial’s existing Brightspace (D2L) platform. In a highly collaborative weekly development process, we worked closely with Centennial instructors using tailored communication styles and unique design templates to support instructors at a level they needed. We ensured that the final course reflected the instructor’s personality and vision, bridging the gap between a face-to-face class and online delivery.

Instructors were coached on developing introductory videos, integrating different educational technologies and online tools into their classes, and encouraging participation through group forums, student videos, podcasts, and conference calls.

The Outcome

Our operations reflect a truly integrated partnership with Centennial by educating faculty members and instructors and developing courses consistently and sustainably. We identified different levels of support for different instructors, based on their familiarity and comfort with technologies and online delivery of instruction.

A major benefit for the College was the time savings that we generated by creating grading rubrics, quizzes, and exams. During development, this allowed instructors to focus on the course’s more engaging elements and content through case studies, lectures, and videos. During delivery, instructors will spend more time engaging with their students, rather than spending time on administration.

The final deliverables were courses that faculty members feel are their own and that they feel comfortable maintaining and updating in future semesters. The digital transformation of multiple programs over several phases sets Centennial College up for success in the present and the future.

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