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Laptop displaying lectureFunding is available to support development of online, open, and hybrid courses.

Funding available to support online and open projects

The Office of Open Learning has released its annual call for proposals for funding to support development of online, open, and hybrid courses and Open Educational Resources.

The Digital, Open, and Online Learning Grants provide faculty with support to explore educational technology projects in their courses or non-credit and continuing education environments. Projects may include a range of activities from piloting and implementing pedagogical innovations and technology in classes, to developing fully online courses.

The OER ACE (Adopt, Create, Extend) Grants support faculty in the adoption, creation, and adaptation of open educational resources (OERs) — free, openly licenced resources that can replace commercial texts with no-cost alternatives. Last year’s grants supported four projects developing and adapting open textbooks and one involving students creating Open Educational Resources for teachers.

“The cost of commercial publisher texts has increased far above inflation for decades now and we know it is a barrier to success for many students who cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars each year for their texts,” said Nick Baker, director of the Office of Open Learning. “By supporting faculty to adapt or create their own open textbooks, we can both improve outcomes for our students and help faculty reclaim their pedagogy from publishers.”

Faculty choosing open textbooks to replace their commercial ones have saved UWindsor students over $350,000 since 2017, and Baker says he hopes to see that figure grow significantly as more instructors move away from costly resources.

For the 2020 call, organizers particularly encourage projects that:

  • support indigenization of the curriculum;
  • address issues of reconciliation, diversity, equity, internationalization; or
  • are targeted to support and improve outcomes for underserved or diverse groups;

as well as interdisciplinary or collaborative proposals.

Instructions for how to apply are available on the Open Learning website. Proposals are due Monday, Feb. 16, and can be emailed to higgison@uwindsor.ca with the subject line “Open Learning Grant 2020 proposal.” Successful proposals will be announced during Open Education Week (March 2 to 6).

The Office of Open Learning strongly encourages anyone thinking of applying to contact the office to discuss their ideas before submitting a proposal.

For more information about the Office of Open Learning’s support possibilities, or questions about the grants, contact Baker at 519-253-3000, ext. 4925, by email at nbaker@uwindsor.ca, or drop in to its new offices at 700 California Ave. in the former WEEDC space of the Centre for Engineering Innovation.