Contact North Partners with Leading Dutch Innovator in Information and Communications Technology

International IT and education innovators team up to improve online learning

[THUNDER BAY/UTRECHT] – Contact North | Contact Nord, Ontario’s distance education and training network and SURF, the Netherlands’ collaborative information and technology organization for higher education and research have signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

Under the agreement, the two IT and education innovators will share resources and knowledge to improve online learning, with a focus on trends, major developments and new directions in online learning such as learning analytics and open educational resources.

“At Contact North we’re committed to supporting new ideas, innovative solutions, and emerging technologies that will help students across Ontario gain greater access to learning opportunities from Ontario’s public colleges, universities, literacy and basic skills, and other training providers,” said Contact North | Contact Nord President – Chief Executive Officer, Maxim Jean-Louis. “Contact North and SURF share similar ambitions when it comes to serving students’ needs and enhancing education using technology to its full potential.”

The agreement is the result of ongoing discussions between Contact North | Contact Nord and SURF about how the two organizations might go about sharing resources, knowledge and best practices. Under the new Memorandum of Understanding the organizations have agreed to:

  1. Explore potential opportunities for collaboration in understanding how existing and emerging technologies can be adapted and used to design, develop, deploy and deliver high quality and effective online learning.
  2. Foster open and effective exchange of ideas, materials, information and people to support collaboration aimed at improving the quality and success of online and distance learning in both Ontario and the Netherlands.
  3. Actively pursue new models for course and program delivery, faculty training, support for adult literacy and more.

“For SURF, working together with Contact North | Contact Nord offers an opportunity to engage with a partner that aims to transform new technology and innovative approaches into advanced online learning practice,” said Wim Liebrand, Director of SURF. “Through this partnership we will leverage the strengths of our organizations to embrace new opportunities and promote the practical benefits for students of emerging trends in online learning.”

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For more information:

Louise Gaudrault
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Tel: 1-855-345-5035 (toll-free)

Maryse Laseroms
Corporate Communications Advisor
Tel: +31 (0)30 234 66 00

About Contact North | Contact Nord – Ontario’s Distance Education & Training Network

Contact North | Contact Nord is Ontario’s distance education and training network with 112 online learning centres that span the more than one million square kilometres that make up Ontario. The network partners with 44 publicly-assisted Ontario colleges and universities and over 250 literacy and training organizations to help Ontarians in small, rural, and remote areas, including Aboriginal and Francophone communities participate in education and training opportunities without leaving their own community.

The organization’s student portal,, helps students across the province connect to the more than 18,000 online courses and more than 1,000 online programs offered by Ontario’s colleges and universities with just one click.

Since it was established in 1986, Contact North | Contact Nord has helped an estimated 81,000 students continue their education and achieve their goals.

Contact North | Contact Nord is a not-for-profit corporation headquartered in Sudbury and Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, and is funded by the Government of Ontario.

About SURF

SURF is a strong partnership within which the Dutch higher education institutions and research organisations invest jointly in ICT-driven innovation. SURF brings together ICT professionals within networks and collaboration projects for knowledge sharing regarding ICT-driven innovation. By making innovations available on attractive conditions and facilitating connections between technology and people, SURF ensures the continued optimal utilisation of the opportunities offered by ICT. SURF consists of a number of operating divisions, each with its own focus: SURFnet, SURFmarket, and SURFshare. SURF is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2012.