New Call for eCampus Ontario Projects – 2017

The University of Toronto internal deadline for Expressions of Interest is Monday, June 5, 2017 (Note: Previous deadline of June 2 has been extended). Please email a short general description of your project idea (maximum 200 words) to Vice Provost Innovations in Undergraduate Education  at with copy to

Proposal consultation and development support is available for both the Open Textbooks call and the Digital Inclusion Research RFPs. If you are interested in pursuing this funding, please contact Laurie Harrison, Director of Online Learning Strategies at or 416-978-1703. As this is the fifth round of provincial funding in this domain, we have a well-developed, strategic approach to provision of institutional supports and processes for curriculum initiatives and special projects which has proved successful in past years.

Full proposals are will be submitted by the Provost’s office on June 19, 2017. Award announcements will occur in August, with projects to be completed by March 2018 for this round.

Detailed Funding Program Information

Open Textbooks Initiative:

The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development has provided funding to increase the use of open textbooks through both creation and adoption in several priority areas. eCampus Ontario is accepting two types of proposals:

  1. Funding up to $15,000 per project is available to incentivize adoption/adaptation of existing eTexts and open educational resources in the following categories:
  • Textbooks for high-enrolment first and second-year courses
  • Original French-language content
  • Indigenous studies content
  • Trades and technical skills content
  • Content supporting the settlement of immigrants and refugees

2. Funding up to $40,000 per project is available for creation of new eTexts in the following categories:

  • Original French-language content
  • Indigenous studies content

See RFP site for more information on the Open Textbook Initiative Call

Digital Inclusion Research

As a centre for excellence in online learning, eCampusOntario has a mandate to support leading edge Ontario research in the field. In this Call for Proposals, the Ontario Digital Service has provided funding to support researchers who wish to explore digital inclusion and related areas of focus, such as inequities in access to the Internet and digital skills, practices of design which exclude groups or individuals, and explorations of the concrete ways in which people can benefit from the application of digital skills and access across sectors (e.g., healthcare, education, civic participation) as well as ways in which people may be put at risk as a result of lack of knowledge, or skills in digital technologies.

See RFP site for more information on the Digital Inclusion Research Call

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Kudos to Online/Hybrid Program Coordinator – OISE

Coleen Scully-Stewart Recognized for “Contribution to Teaching”

Congratulations to Coleen Scully-Stewart, the Program Coordinator for OISE’S new Online/Hybrid Master of Education on receiving OISE’s 2017 award for Distinguished Contribution to Teaching.  As part of the Educational Leadership & Policy Program expansion, Coleen spearheaded planning for this new cohort-based initiative which has now launched a second cohort, reflecting the demand from students throughout the province of Ontario and beyond.

The program is exceptional in the overall design of the learner experience, specifically developed to meet the unique needs of an online learning community of working professionals.  These graduate students are provided with an opportunity to engage in exploring questions of leadership, policy, change and social diversity in schools, while linking theory to practice in their own work environments. Coleen led the process of establishing a well-integrated cohort, collaborating with the instructor team and with OISE’s Education Commons to create a virtual community space that extends beyond required coursework. The team attended the CTSI Course Design Institute as a group to join efforts on the course planning process. Also, Coleen and her team worked with the OISE Registrar to develop an UTORid access process that would not require students to physically come to campus to the T-Card office – a first at UofT.

According to Coleen, the most challenging aspect of establishing the program was “designing an online space that would foster a strong sense of community for cohort members.”  However, this hard work has had its rewards. Our award-winning faculty member notes, “it is gratifying to know that we are able to provide an OISE  MEd program in Educational Leadership and Policy for students who, until now, would not have had access.  The learning for all is enriched by having perspectives from widely varying contexts across the province and the globe.”

Congratulations to Coleen on her leadership in the development of an Online/Hybrid Master of Education Program that exemplifies a comprehensive and fully integrated approach to ensuring a positive graduate student experience.

Photo of Coleen Scully-Stewart and Dean Glen Jones


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Online Learning: Flexible Pace and Place

Have you seen Re:THINK? Check out this new online publication edited and produced by the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation at the University of Toronto and a great place to read the latest teaching and learning stories from our instructors and students. The most recent article features the experiences of three undergraduates who recently completed online courses. Find out more about the student perspective, and how they describe the benefits of the flexible approach to online learning.

For questions, comments and story suggestions for Re:THINK please contact

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Catching the Open eText Wave

The latest round of projects funded by the Ontario government has been announced and we are excited to have six new projects approved in total. This latest call included a funding stream not available in previous years – a call for the development of open eTextbooks (eTexts) – and the University of Toronto has two projects that will focus on this new resource format.

2010 mavericks competition

An open eText is a textbook that is licensed under an open copyright license, and made available online to be accessed for free by students (as well as other instructors and the public). These books can be viewed online or downloaded for no cost and they can also be printed on demand for a much lower cost than a typical physical textbook. As the price of textbooks continues to rise, an increasing number of educators are looking at open textbooks to cut costs for students. We are very excited to begin offering our own eTexts to meet goals of openness and provide savings.

The two funded eText projects are:

Instructor Division eText/Project Title
Hakob Barseghyan FAS Intro History and Philosophy of Science
Ryan Hurl FAS Understanding American Politics

Both projects are due to be published by March 2018. Stay tuned for more information about the University of Toronto’s plans for hosting and sharing open eTexts.For more information about open textbooks see 7 Things You Should Know About Open Textbook Publishing.

We are also happy to announce the funding of four new Modules projects, another format for Open Educational Resources. These include:

Instructor Division Project Title
Brenda McCabe and

Arash Shahi

FASE Introduction to Heavy Civil Engineering Operations and
Equipment Management
Nick Eyles UTSC Planet Earth Online
Bethany White FAS Scientific Data Analysis with R
Marianne Touchie and Kim Pressnail FASE Building Science Fundamentals Open Course Modules

UofT’s success in securing funding for 6 new projects – including open eTexts – will allow us to continue to play a leading role in shaping the open education landscape in Ontario.

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Learning to Learn Online

As this term comes to an end we look forward to a new year, a new semester and new offerings of online courses.

Online Learning Strategies has developed a new resource page that is open to use and share with students to help prepare them for learning online.

Is Taking an Online Course Right for Me?

Keyboard and Desk

This resource, developed with the input of various instructors of fully online courses, offers potential students an opportunity to consider if they have the technical capacity as well as the motivation and self-management skills to benefit fully from the online classroom experience.

It also offers students who pursue online learning some tips and strategies to start off right in a new course and continue the momentum as the course progresses.

A slidedeck summary is also available to share as a link or embed in a course Blackboard site.

Any instructor leading a fully online course, or an online component in a course, is welcome to use and share the resource. Having a reference available to help clarify common misconceptions will help students transition into this new mode of teaching and learning. As enrollment in online courses grows our goal is to ensure every student new to it will have a better understanding of what online learning is and how to be successful in these offerings.

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eCampus Ontario Open Learning Modules

We have added 6 new sets of shareable learning modules on our Open UToronto website. These projects were funded through the MTCU Shared Online Course fund. Each consists of a set of shared curriculum resources that can be re-used in multiple course contexts or across different institutions.

These modules include:

Data Visualization Literacy Douglas Bors – UTSC
Physics – Newtonian Mechanics Johann Bayer – UTSC
Principles of Engineering Drawings Arash Shahi &
Brenda McCabe – FASE
Project Management Essentials Arash Shahi &
Brenda McCabe – FASE
Understanding Indigenous Perspectives Jean-Paul Restoule – OISE
Virtual Patient Case-Based Learning Modules Marcus Law – Medical Science

These projects will also be showcased in Putting Students at the Centre: An Innovation Showcase and Idea Exchange on November 21, 1:00 – 3:30 pm at CTSI.

Each faculty member will be involved at this event in which we will demystify the idea of “personalization” and explore several approaches that introduce elements of flexible, authentic and active learning. This event will serve as both a showcase and a forum for exchange of ideas on leveraging technology to enhance curriculum design.

Come and join us on November 21!

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New Call for eCampus Research and Innovation Grants – 2016

eCampusOntario has announced a new 2016-18 Research and Innovation Grants Call for Proposals.

The invitation to submit proposals states:

“As a centre for excellence in online learning, eCampusOntario has a mandate to support leading-edge Ontario research in the field. This mandate also extends to providing support for experimentation with innovative pedagogical approaches and technologies in a safe environment where failure is an acceptable opportunity to learn. Supports and opportunities within eCampusOntario to synthesize and disseminate exemplary practices and share lessons learned are important components for the success and evolution of excellence in teaching with technology. This call for proposals focuses on supporting research and innovation along with opportunities for synthesis and dissemination.”

The call outlines two categories, Research Projects (up to 100K) and Innovation Projects (up to 20K). Proposals can be related to online and technology-enabled learning within six theme areas:

  1. Pedagogical Approaches
  2. Quality and Evaluation
  3. Business Models, Resources, Costs, Faculty Support
  4. Openness
  5. Connecting Sector Priorities
  6. Accessibility and Digital Literacy

Download the Call for Research and Innovation Proposals


University of Toronto – Internal Process

The University of Toronto requests submissions of Expressions of Interest by Sept 30, 2016. Please email a short description of your project idea (maximum 250 words) to the Vice Provost Innovations in Undergraduate Education at with copy to

Proposal consultation and development support is available. If you are interested in discussing your ideas or contributing to a centrally coordinated project proposal, please contact Laurie Harrison, Director of Online Learning Strategies at or 416-978-1703.


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eCampus Ontario 2016-18 Call for Proposals

The University of Toronto internal deadline for Expressions of Interest is August 5, 2016. Please email a short description of your project idea (maximum 250 words) to Vice Provost Innovations in Undergraduate Education  at with copy to

Proposal consultation and development support is available. If you are interested in pursuing this funding, please contact Laurie Harrison, Director of Online Learning Strategies at or 416-978-1703. As this is the fourth round of provincial funding in this domain, we have a well-developed, strategic approach to provision of institutional supports and processes for course and curriculum design in place which have proved successful in past years.

eCampus Ontario Information on Categories for 2016-2018:

Open Content Initiative: Under this project area, institutions can submit project proposals to fund the creation of high-quality digital course content that can be freely reused, revised, adapted, remixed, redistributed, and retained by institutions to support online and technology-enabled teaching and learning. Applicants can propose to develop a complete set of course modules or an etextbook. eCampusOntario is also funding projects which propose to adopt or adapt existing open content for the creation of a fully online course. The Open Content Initiative is the first step towards eCampusOntario’s vision for high quality, free and accessible digital course content to support an excellent online student learning experience. Funded Open Content projects are intended to incent uptake of these resources across the province, encourage buy-in from faculty members across Ontario institutions, and support the early adopters at a grass-roots level. Click here for Open Content Call

Online Course Development: The Online Course Development project will fund the development of a small number of individual courses that offer flexible delivery options for students. Successful proposals will focus on curricular bottleneck courses with high repeat rates and low retention. By providing high impact, high demand courses in an online format, students can experience greater flexibility and prevent delays in completing their program of study. Click here for Course Development Call

New Program Development: eCampusOntario is also providing targeting funding to facilitate growth in innovative online programs in Ontario. It is the goal of the New Program project to encourage new packaging or delivery options for credentials and to support the development of new collaborative and interdisciplinary online programs that address areas of current and future labour market demand. Click here for New Program Call

Full proposals are due Sept. 30. Notably, the deadline for completion of projects has been extended to March 2018 for this round. As in past years, the initiatives that duplicate the work of previous projects will not be funded (See list of courses and modules funded in previous years [UPDATED]).

eCampus Ontario will be posting and updating an FAQ document which will be updated every Friday.

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Course Re/Design 2016 – Online Cohort

Over two full days on May 25th and 26th we held another successful Course Re/Design Institute. The annual event, hosted by the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, includes participation from faculty and staff from across the university community. Our cohort of instructors who are launching new fully online courses joined with the larger group of approximately 30 faculty members looking to improve their design skills for the first day of the institute.

On the second day of the institute the online group explored planning and design considerations that are unique to online course design in a separate breakout stream. Joining our online instructors on day two were educational technology experts from their respective faculties as well as a liaison librarian, all there to collaborate as part of a team design process. Together the group was able to share tips, strategies and insights into good course design and online pedagogy.

CDI Instructors

We approached faculty members to share with us an “Aha” moment they experienced from the event – something that really clicked for them in thinking about their course design and development for online delivery.

Avi Cohen, developing a course titled Introduction to Economics for Non-specialists noted the importance of working with a team.

“As someone who never designed a fully online course, I was worried about acquiring the numerous required disparate skills and knowledge. Not only did the institute give me a strong background for planning and making decisions, the pairing with technical experts reduced my anxiety to zero. I realized it takes a team to produce an online course, and as instructors, we have a fantastically strong and helpful team. We are not alone!”

This year was also unique in that we welcomed instructors designing courses as part of a potentially fully online professional masters degree and worked with them on program level planning to support their new cohort of students. The full list of UofT instructors who attended and are either planning or designing fully online courses for the coming year include:

Arts and Science
Economics Avi Cohen
Computer Science Jacqueline Smith
Medical Microbiology Jessica Hill
Applied Science and Engineering
Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Daniel Frances
University of Toronto Scarborough
Linguistics Juvenal Ndayiragije
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Educational Leadership and Policy (Program) Coleen Stewart-Scully
Carol Campbell
Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Epidemiology Margie Parthimos
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency (Program) Charmaine Williams

If you are interested in participating in upcoming discussions or considering applying for OUCI funding, please contact Laurie Harrison.

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eLearning Strategies and Resources at UofT

This Spring Laurie Harrison delivered an InnovatingEdu Seminar to over 45 Faculty and Staff at the University of Toronto and affiliated hospitals.

If you are interested in learning about new online tools and technology to improve your teaching, take a moment to watch the presentation below. In it Laurie discusses principles and strategies for developing good pedagogy using online tools to support teaching. Emphasis is placed on having learning be the driver of your decisions to select a technology to integrate in your course.
Laurie also explores some of the emerging technologies being adopted at the University and provides information on the resources/resourcing available to you to get you started successfully.

This is another example of how OLS provides outreach and awareness to the University community on technology supported teaching and learning.

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