Funding for online programs, courses, and open content development is now available through a call for proposals issued by eCampus Ontario.
The announcement is part of a $21 million funding initiative over the next two years aimed at supporting the development of fully online programs and open content, including a minimum of $1 million for French-language projects. Limited funding is also available for a small number of individual courses that have a history of high repeat rates, low retention, and which typically act as a bottleneck to completion of programs.
Universities can apply for funding to develop new programs, or to convert existing programs intended to be offered completely online. Up to $100,000 is available per project to support the design phase of new programs, with an additional $50,000 per course available for course development.
“There is a strong focus on collaboration within and across institutions in the current round of funding,” says Nick Baker, director of the Office of Open Learning, who is coordinating the University of Windsor’s submissions. “This could mean development of new pathways and programs between colleges and universities, shared programs across universities in Ontario, or innovative interdisciplinary programs that span a number of departments and faculties within an institution.”
eCampus Ontario will consider applications across the full range of possible credentials, from certificate to full degree, and from undergraduate to graduate.
An additional focus of this round is the Open Content Initiative; up to $100,000 is available per project to develop high quality open text books, a complete set of open course modules, or to adapt existing open access content for use in courses.
Another new feature of the current round of funding is the option to apply for multi-year projects, which is important to facilitate development of full programs, and to navigate all the approvals needed, especially with multiple institutions involved.
“Windsor has done extraordinarily well in previous rounds, with 18 successful projects funded over the last two years, putting us second in the province,” Baker says.
These projects were developed with faculty from across the University and the team of online learning and multimedia specialists in the Office of Open Learning.
Baker says the access to significant external funds has helped to raise the profile and quality of online learning at UWindsor, with the recent projects developing highly interactive, engaging courses.
“Our capacity to help faculty design and deliver innovative, high quality online courses has grown rapidly,” he says. “We are constantly exploring new technologies and tools to make learning more engaging and effective, while keeping the focus on quality of the learning.”
The Office of Open Learning supports faculty who are interested in, or who successfully gain funding, from start to finish of these projects, including developing the proposal. Projects are developed through a highly collaborative process where faculty can explore all the possibilities for creating effective learning environments.
All proposals require the approval of the provost at each partner institution. At the University of Windsor, submissions will be coordinated through the Office of Open Learning and the Office of the Provost. Expressions of interest should be discussed with the Office of Open Learning, with full proposals due by Friday, September 16.
Interested faculty, department heads, program chairs, and deans should contact the Office of Open Learning as soon as possible with their ideas for programs, courses or open content to support or expand their programs. For more information please, contact Baker in the Office of Open Learning at 519-253-3000, ext. 4925, or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.