person working virtually on laptop computerNew funding is available under the Ontario Virtual Learning Strategy.

Second round of funding available in support of virtual learning

The provincial government and eCampus Ontario have again teamed up to provide funding in support of the Ontario Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS).

Built on three principles of collaboration, learner-driven, and digital by design, the new funding aims to extend this work with an additional $8 million to support creation of open content and explore possibilities for extended reality (XR) in teaching, as well as supporting new sandbox technologies and capacity-building across the sector.

eCampus Ontario is particularly interested in projects that build on those funded in the first round of VLS grants. UWindsor faculty members received funding worth almost $1.5 million for 19 projects as lead institution in the first round, and are collaborating on several other large cross-institutional VLS projects.

As in previous rounds, all content produced in funded projects must be openly licenced as Open Educational Resources and at a minimum shared with Ontario educators and students under an Ontario Commons licence, although other more open licences such as Creative Commons are encouraged.

Submissions for VLS 2.0 funding are due to eCampus Ontario by Jan. 14, 2022, with successful applicants notified in March 2022 and projects completed by February 2023. The UWindsor Office of Open Learning is once again supporting faculty interested in applying for these grants and co-ordinating the submission process for the University. It will ensure that all the submission requirements are met, including institutional sign off, as well as providing feedback and ensuring that proposals do not duplicate previous grants — a new requirement for 2022.

There are budget incentives for projects that address any of six core areas, including: microcredentials, sector-wide impact, learner engagement, employer partnerships, remote access, and translations.

An information session at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 26, will introduce the themes and requirements for this year’s funding, and answer any questions faculty might have about next steps.

The Office of Open Learning is also facilitating an online workshop on writing VLS grants on Tuesday, Nov. 30, from 12 to 1 p.m. Registration and more details are available on the registration portal.

For more information, contact Nick Baker, director of the Office of Open Learning, by email or on MS Teams.