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COVID-19: What the College is Doing

Updated on: July 8, 2020 – An update on the college closure - new closing date

It's been over 100 days since OREA has held an exam due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario. The pandemic has caused significant disruption to all aspects of our personal and professional lives. OREA and the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) realize this has impacted students' ability to finish their programs. Since the shutdown, we have been working closely with RECO to find ways for students to complete their programs to begin their real estate careers.

In response to these extraordinary times, the OREA Real Estate College will continue to operate until March 31, 2021. The last scheduled exam date will be March 13, 2021 (extended from the previously announced date of November 28, 2020). This means that examinations for all courses must be completed by this date.

We are also extending the deadline for admission to The Broker Registration Education Program until November 15, 2020.

Summary of Key Dates:

July 2, 2020 Online-proctored exams launched
November 15, 2020 The final date for admission to The Broker Registration Education Program.
March 13, 2021 The final exam date for all courses
This includes any examination rewrites, if applicable

With the launch of online-proctored exams last week, available timeslots are being booked quickly. We are working with our online exam provider to add more exam spots, to keep up with demand.

To supplement the online exam delivery, we also intend to resume in-person exams when government and health authorities permit, and when we can be assured of a safe environment for our students and staff.

Our commitment has been unwavering to doing what we can to allow students to complete their educational requirements to pursue their dreams of success as a REALTOR® or Broker.
It has been an unpredictable and challenging time for students. We thank you for your ongoing patience as we navigate how to proceed amidst the challenges in our current environment.
For more information, please visit www.orea.com/Education

Older Posts

After weeks of diligent work, the OREA Real Estate College is pleased to announce the launch of our Online-Proctored Virtual Exams! In this endeavour, we have partnered with Proctortrack, a trusted provider of online remote proctoring services using live invigilators and AI assistance.

When you can start

If you are interested in taking your exam online, then on:

Thursday, July 2 You can start booking your online exams on this day.
(Exams must be booked through your My Portfolio account)
Saturday, July 4 Your can take your exams online from this day onward starting on this day.
(If you select this exam date, you must complete onboarding by end of day July 3) OR remember, the Onboarding process must be completed at least one day before your exam

Time slots will be available both day and night to give you as much flexibility as possible when scheduling your exam.

What you should know

As we have outlined in our previous communications, when you elect to take your exams online, you will be responsible for all aspects of exam preparations like:

To aid assist you in having a successful booking, onboarding and exam-taking experience, we have put together a comprehensive set of help pages on the OREA website.

Additionally, our Customer Services team members are available to assist you, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

We thank you so much for your patience and understanding during these extraordinary times and we hope that with this exam option, you will be able to proceed and progress through your program of study.

At OREA Real Estate College we want every student to have a fair chance at completing their courses, even in this time of COVID-related uncertainty.

We keep this in mind as our teams in the college and information technology work hand-in-hand on the online exams solution. We are in the final stages of this complex exercise of preparing the online exam platform with our third-party provider. I know the wait has been long and frustrating, and wish we could have launched in mid-June as we originally targeted. We share your sense of urgency to get things moving again. Making online exams available so you can continue your courses is our top priority, and we still aim to have them ready this month.

Our teams have been working nights and weekends on all aspects of our launch and as we draw closer, we would like to provide you with some important information to help you prepare.

What you should expect

The process to schedule an online exam will be very similar to what you currently do when booking an in-person exam. The process of taking an online exam, however, will be quite different. You can expect that you will have a few new responsibilities.

Since the exam is being delivered to your computer, after you book an online-proctored exam you will need to ensure that all preparations are in place. Things such as:

  • Providing the proper venue
  • Ensuring a quiet session with no interruptions
  • Setting up and testing all the hardware required to take the exam
  • Downloading, installing and using the required software tools
  • And ensuring all exam guidelines are followed

Online guidance will be provided along the way.

What you should have

If you will be taking an online-proctored exam, you will need:

  • A Windows or Mac computer with a keyboard and mouse
    • Windows 7 or newer
    • Mac - OSX 10.8 or newer
    • Google Chrome browser installed
  • A reliable high-speed internet connection
  • A webcam and microphone (built-in or plug-in)
  • A smartphone
    • Android or iOS (iPhone)
  • Your valid, government-issued photo ID

What you should know

Google Chrome is the only web browser compatible with OREA's online examinations. Please download Chrome to the computer you plan on using to take your online exam, if you don't have it already installed.

  • Booking your exam
  • When we launch, you will schedule your exam in your My Portfolio account, just as you would for a traditional in-person exam.

    Online exam sessions will be available during both daytime and nighttime, seven days a week. Exams will have specific posted start times and you will pick from the sessions available.

  • Before your exam date
    After you schedule your online examination, you will be required to complete a process called onboarding, at least one day before the exam.
    Onboarding is vital and accomplishes three things:
    • It ensures your computer, webcam and everything else are set up properly to work during your actual exam
    • You create an identity profile with the online proctoring service so they know who you are when you show up to take your exam
    • And finally, it gives you the chance to do a dry run of everything you will do on the day of your exam
  • The day of your exam
    You will log in to the exam site from your My Portfolio account. Before that:
    • Prepare your room and workspace for your exam
    • Ensure your computer is plugged into a power outlet (or has adequate battery life)
    • Have your smartphone (Android or iOS) charged and ready
    • Relax and take your exam by following all the same steps you took during onboarding

College closing date

Many students have asked if the College will extend its closing date beyond the end of this year. OREA is in discussions with RECO now about this matter. Officials from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities have also been consulted. Details have not yet been finalized, but we all are committed to supporting students in completing their educational requirements before the college closes. Further information will be provided when a decision has been finalized.

Online proctored exams

Development work on our online exam solution has been going full steam ahead. The pieces are falling into place and we are beginning the final testing phase. Making sure that the online delivery of exams flows smoothly, from scheduling a date to submitting the last question - and everything in between - has been a complex process. Securing the availability of online proctors has also been a critical piece of the solution. We want to make sure we get everything right.

In our previous communication we had indicated that we were aiming to launch mid-June. With the last round of testing planned for next week, the timeline for launch unfortunately has to be pushed out a little further in June. We still expect online exams to be ready this month. As soon as we have a firm date we will communicate that to you, along with more details about how to proceed.

I understand that this is disappointing news, and that many of you have been waiting a long time to move on with your courses. I appreciate your continued understanding and look forward to announcing further news on this exciting project soon.

In-person exams

With the provincial government’s recent announcement about Phase 2, the topic of in-person paper-based and iPad-based exams becomes more relevant. We’d like to share with you how these developments affect our college’s plans for re-opening.

OREA plans to restart in-person exams only when government and health authorities give the go-ahead and we can be assured of a safe exam environment at all our test centres province-wide. At that point, we will coordinate a launch with our venue partners in different parts of the province. To prepare, we have been augmenting our stocks of PPE and cleaning supplies and we have been updating our procedures for exam venues to include additional safety steps.

We will be cautious. The health and safety of our students and staff are paramount. We will be strictly following physical distancing guidelines. Ultimately, though, we will take advantage of every opportunity to get you going again.

It has been a long haul and sometimes the path has been bumpy.

Thank you for your patience.

Development on the college's online proctored exams is proceeding well. We have been working hard to modify our exam delivery software to enable a transition to a virtual proctoring environment. Providing a seamless and secure exam experience on your computer is essential to us. Preliminary testing of security protocols has been positive, and the remaining development work is on track. Our scheduling system is also being updated to accommodate more flexibility when you choose a date and time for your online exam. We are committed to ensuring a smooth transition to the new online format, and we thank you for your continued patience.

As we approach our forecasted go-live date in mid-June, many students have contacted us with questions about how these may differ from in-person exams and any possible changes that can be expected.
Here are the answers we can provide at his time:

The Exam Format

  • Exams will continue to be closed book, multiple choice questions
  • The duration of exams will be three hours
  • You will need to be in view of your web-cam at all times during your exam
  • All existing exam room guidelines will continue to apply

Scheduling an Online Exam

  • Once we launch online exams, you may reschedule your current exam at no charge
    • The standard $50 fee will apply for all subsequent changes

  • After you finalize your exam booking, you will be required to complete a system-check to ensure you are able to take the exam without issue (onboarding)
    • Onboarding will take between 10 and 30 minutes
    • Onboarding must be completed at least one day before your scheduled exam date
    • A step-by-step guide about onboarding will be provided in a future update

We will continue to provide details here as we conclude arrangements.

The past weeks have been challenging for all of us. As you know, doing our part to protect our community during this coronavirus epidemic required the College to significantly change our learning culture. As a result, we suspended all classroom courses and in-person examinations until it becomes safe to resume them. We understand that these changes have disrupted our students' educational plans, and have caused some frustration at not being able to move forward for the time being.

But we haven't been idle. We are committed to finding solutions that will enable students to continue their studies, and we wanted to share with you some updates on what we have been working on behind-the-scenes. Our goal is to ensure that each student has fair chance to successfully complete the educational requirements needed to pursue their dream of a career in real estate. We do not want the delay caused by COVID-19 to stand in the way of these dreams.

Online proctored exams

Our development team is focusing on implementing live-proctored online exams. The plan is to offer online exams that are accessible to as many learners as possible, ensure a student's privacy, and maintain the integrity of the examination process. You have put a lot of effort into your education and the final exam experience must respect that work. We have met with a number of vendors who specialize in delivering online exams, to find the solution that best meets our collective requirements. As you might imagine in these times, there is great demand for online exam services and not all vendors are able to provide what we need when we need it. Nevertheless, we continue to make good progress and expect to have the implementation and testing done in the coming weeks. We expect that the introduction of online exams will provide students greater flexibility around scheduling times than we had in the past, and will allow students to move through their programs more quickly. Additional details about how online exams will work and what you will need to do will be posted on our website as they become available.

While online exams are an option that works for some members of our student body, we appreciate that it is not a solution for everyone in our programs.

In-person exams

Paper-based exams and iPad exams delivered in our exam centres are still the most customary option for many of our students. During this time we have been following developments in the federal and provincial spheres as we develop our own back-to-school plans. We are in regular discussions with our partners at exam venues province-wide. As soon as it is safe to do so, the college will resume in-person examinations to the fullest extent possible. The most likely scenario is that of a gradual, phased approach that keeps your safety as its overriding element. With safety in mind, we will work to secure more seating capacity for in-person exams in additional facilities, to maximize the exam options available to students and off-set the delay that we have been experiencing.

The college closing and last exam date

The OREA Real Estate College is currently scheduled to close at the end of the year. We understand, though, that this timeline is an area of concern for some students. Together with RECO and officials within the Government of Ontario, we are exploring all possible options, including an extension of the College closing date, that would help to mitigate the delay caused by the COVID situation.

We understand your desire to continue your coursework and we will do everything we can to get you back to your studies. Thank you for your patience as we put the necessary solutions in place. We will continue to keep you updated as things progress.

We recognize that the recent extension of physical distancing guidelines by provincial authorities has brought the topic of online exams to the fore.

We are working diligently to implement live-proctored online exams, and the college is carefully putting the necessary infrastructure in place. Our goal is for OREA’s online exams to be accessible to as many students as possible, while ensuring your privacy and maintaining the integrity of the exams. Here are some details that we are able to share at this time:

  • Online exams will be a maximum of three hours long, like our standard in-person exams
  • Each exam will be overseen by an approved proctor for the duration of the examination
  • Students will require the following, at minimum, to participate:
    • A quiet room to take your exam
    • Uninterrupted time
    • An uncluttered work area
    • A desktop or laptop computer with a webcam and microphone (smartphones, tablets, and Chromebooks do not meet requirements)
      • PC/Mac requirements:
        • Keyboard
        • Mouse
        • Webcam
        • Microphone
        • Stable High-speed internet connection
        • Operating system:
          • PC – Windows 7 or higher
          • Mac - OSX 10.8 or newer

    We will be updating this page with more ‘what-you-need-to-knows’ as preparations are finalized.

As the events of the COVID-19 crisis have continued with almost daily changes, they have undeniably altered the delivery of our educational programs and impacted your studies and plans for completing your courses.

We understand your desire to continue your programs, and the frustration and anxiety at temporarily not being able to do so. Together with numerous partners, we are working on initiatives to counter the impact that the COVID-19 interruption has had on your ability to complete your programs. Our goal is to enable you to continue your courses and move on with your careers in real estate as quickly as possible.

Part of the solution will be to offer online exams, which will allow students to write their exams from home. We will also resume in-person exams as soon as it is safe to do so.

We are working toward implementing an online exam option as quickly as possible, in a manner that meets the needs of students and of the College. Ease of use, maintaining the integrity of the examination process and protecting the privacy of students are matters of paramount importance, and we want to ensure that the solution is done right.

As soon as we have completed the necessary preparations to implement an online exam service, we will provide further details here as to timelines and procedures. Please check our website regularly, and our Frequently Asked Questions for updates.

In the meantime, thank you for your continued patience.

In light of recent announcements by government and public health officials, OREA will not be resuming its normal in-person exam schedule as originally planned. In-person exams cannot begin again until it has been deemed safe to do so. The health and wellbeing of our students, our employees and our communities is our priority. Any new date will be dependent on recommendations from Public Health Ontario and Health Canada.

In the meantime, OREA, in collaboration with other organizations, is exploring all possible avenues that would allow you to continue and complete your programs of study as quickly as possible. As details are finalized, further information will be posted here.

We recognize the disruption and uncertainty that the COVID situation has caused you. Thank you for your patience as we work toward solutions that meet your needs.

(This post has been modified for clarity.)

OREA continues to monitor COVID-19 developments closely. The well-being of our students, instructors, and administrative staff is our top priority. To help minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19, we are implementing several precautionary measures.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Effective immediately until further notice:

  • The OREA Real Estate College is suspending all in-person classroom courses, and canceling all examinations scheduled from now until April 3, 2020.
  • Online courses will continue to be available.
  • The OREA office at 99 Duncan Mill Road is closed to all students and external visitors.
  • Classroom students whose sessions have been interrupted will be able to transfer to a future classroom session if they wish to do so.
  • New classroom sessions will be added later, as needed. Alternatively, students may transfer at any time to an e-Learning version of their course.
  • Students with examinations that have been canceled may reschedule at their convenience to an available date that best suits their schedule.
  • As a temporary measure, we have removed the rescheduling fee.
  • To reschedule your exam, go to “My Current Courses” and click the reschedule button.

For assistance, please contact the College at 1-866-411-6732, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Note: Due to the heavy volume of calls, wait times may be longer than usual. Thank you for your patience.

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