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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Newly Funded Initiatives

eCampus Ontario News!

University of Toronto has nine collaborative project proposals that have been approved for the 2016 round of the MTCU-funded provincial Shared Online Course fund. Each of the following will receive between $40,000 ~ 60,000 with a deadline of Sept 2016 for completion of development.

Online Courses  
Introduction to History and Philosophy of Science Hakob Barseghyan – FAS
Introduction to Medical Microbiology William Navarre – FAS
Introduction to Economics for Non-Specialists Avi Cohen
Gillian Hamilton – FAS
Introduction to Classical Tibetan Frances Garrett – FAS
Learning Modules  
Virtual patient case-based learning modules Marcus Law – Med. Sci.
Basic Physics Skills – Newtonian Mechanics Johann Bayer – UTSC
Indigenous Education Resources Jean-Paul Restoule – OISE
Project Management Essentials Arash Shahi
Brenda McCabe – FASE
Principles of Engineering Drawings Arash Shahi
Brenda McCabe – FASE
Understanding Statistics – From concepts through visuals to data and back again Douglas Bors – UTSC

Each module will consist of a set of shared curriculum resources that can be re-used in multiple courses or across different institutions. Our previously funded modules can be found on the Open UToronto website.

Programming in C Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 4.58.48 PM

In order to support successful design and development we held a Module Design Workshop Day for each of the lead instructors and their teams on Tuesday. Feb 16. The goals of the day include:

  • Introduce pedagogical underpinnings that inform design of active learning
  • Provide guided process for instructional design that incorporates online components and active learning strategies
  • Introduce media design strategies including video and learning object (e.g. Storyline-type) development
  • Orient participants to resources and supports available to implement online learning/module components in courses.

We are following up with additional webinars on key topics such as accessibility and content packaging strategies.

UofT’s success in securing funding for 9 new projects will allow us to continue to participate in the shaping of the broader provincial Online Learning landscape.

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MOOCapalooza Videos!

As part of our ongoing exploration of the potential of Massive Open Online Courses, Online Learning Strategies in conjunction with the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation recently held a community event,  MOOCapalooza: Purposes and Potential of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

In recent years, MOOCs have emerged as a new and potentially game-changing catalyst in the field of online learning. They also present institutions of higher education with unique forums in which to explore innovative new teaching techniques and technologies.

The MOOCapolooza offered the community an opportunity to catch up on the latest in UofTs MOOC engagement. Participants found out how MOOCs can act as ‘sandboxes’ for pedagogical innovation, provide new research insights on teaching and learning, and serve as effective outreach tools.

As an acknowledgement to the interest we received from the event we interviewed each of our presenters to follow up on some of the main themes and take-aways from their work in the MOOC sphere. We are pleased to share these resources on our Open UToronto page.

Visit the video resources directly and when you’re done, take some time to read about our continuing MOOC initiatives.

Moocalapooza banner

[ Watch Interview Video Clips ]

“Our goal within the MOOC context has been to support faculty on their paths of exploration and to create opportunities whereby assumptions regarding teaching and learning could be challenged.”

Carol Rolheiser, Director – Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation

“The MOOCapalooza provided the space for our instructors and research community to share what they have learned, and also what new questions have emerged regarding the potential of online learning strategies.”

Susan McCahan, Vice Provost – Innovations in Undergraduate Education


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Peers, Process and Pedagogy: Sharing Online Modules

Collection of Screen Shots from Module Presentations
Are you interested in (re)developing content for an online audience, but uncertain where to start? This past year a number of instructors headed up project teams to create “modules” projects as part of a new provincial funding program. For many, this toe in the water is just the right place to start.

Online module creation is an effective entry point for content design and development for those interested in providing hybrid or flipped class options but not necessarily fully online course delivery. Unlike a fully online course where all material and interaction is provided online, a module project typically consists of a group of assets (e.g. video lectures, readings, quizzes) or an interactive learning object (e.g. e-authored in Articulate Storyline) on a topic/subject placed online.

Recently, the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation and Online Learning Strategies Portfolio offered a workshop that explored these newly developed online modules from around the University of Toronto. The workshop provided participants with insight into the processes and challenges of creating an online module, as well as the opportunities for sharing, collaboration and innovation that arise when working in teams.

This “sold out” event explored three major themes:

  1. Working Collaboratively – how does collaboration improve teaching and support your professional development as an instructor?
  2. Pedagogical Innovation – how can designing open educational resources create different kinds of engagement of instructors and students?
  3. Designing, Planning and Sharing – how does articulating design intention and planning for sharing change the teaching/learning process?

If you are interested in learning more about how to create online modules and the insights shared throughout the day you can watch the full presentation.

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New Provincial Portal Launched

This month the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) launched the Province’s new online education portal.  You can visit the site at

eCampus Ontario Portal screen shot

To date the University of Toronto has a total of 9 fully online undergraduate courses on offer through the  new portal. Development of curriculum content for these courses was supported through the provincial Shared Online Course Funding program, which has been available over the past two years.  Recently we have also had the opportunity to create a selection of sharable online module resources from the same funding initiative.

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MOOC Design Day 2015

On June 24th, Online Learning Strategies hosted our third annual MOOC Design Day, which was attended by several teams that have been awarded project funding or are considering proposal development in the coming year. New initiatives are taking shape across several divisions and departments, including Materials Science; Geography and Planning, Medical Science; Social Work; Computer Science and more. In addition to a process overview and practical design activities, we also had presentations from Bobby Glushko, from UTL’s Scholarly Communications Office, and Hedieh Najafi, institutional researcher for MOOCs under the Open UToronto umbrella.

A highlight of the day was a participation of Megan Kollar and Frances Kleven, two colleagues from Coursera who joined the workshop and contributed a segment exploring marketing strategies.

Photos of MOOC Design Day


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New iOS Application Development MOOC Specialization Series

Prof. Parham Aarabi of Computer Science Engineering will be the lead instructor on a new MOOC series aimed at teaching learners iOS application development skills. Congratulations are in order, as the project was successful in an RFP competition for a funding advance from Coursera to support the design and development of a sequence of these four new MOOCs. The development of applications for mobile devices has been identified as a priority area by Coursera.

iOS App Development

Working with a team that will leverage expertise from the field, from the MADLab here at UofT and from the instructional technology team at FASE, this project will be working on a fast track to launch in fall of 2015. Curriculum plans are already well under way! To pull it all together, five members of the development team will be working with Coursera on fine tuning the alignment of the instructional approach to ensure coherence across the four MOOC sessions, culminating in a capstone project.

This specialization series will focus on creating mobile apps on the iOS platform, including Swift language syntax, tools, as well as platform details including building Apple Watch applications. The target audience includes students and professionals who wish to create apps for iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch devices.

Stay tuned! Coming soon!


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