Data-Driven Design: Quercus Analytics

Cohort Program – 2019


The Data-Driven Design: Quercus Analytics (D3:QA) initiative extends online course design programming to examine opportunities provided by the new Quercus Beta Analytics module. A cohort of instructors will be supported in use of student data to make design decisions in hybrid and online courses, meeting quarterly over the course of a year for facilitated workshops related to extracting and making meaning of Quercus data. Instructors will participate in evaluation of tools, and practices, with an expectation of sharing and dissemination of outcomes of their experience within the broader university community.

Learning Analytics graphic

© via Flickr

Program Goals:

  • Explore online learning strategies that transform instruction and enhance learner experience
  • Through a peer network cohort model, build instructor capacity to access and apply learning analytics methods to course design
  • Collect and share exemplary  design processes that leverage access to learning analytics data

Successful applicants receive $12,000 funding to support professional development and course redesign activities. Funding is provided through the Office of the Vice-Provost Innovations in Undergraduate Education.

It is anticipated that proposals will demonstrate consideration of potential affordances of online learning for improving flexibility, enhancing learner experience and supporting student success across dimensions such as:

Flexible access online or hybrid courses that provide flexibility of location or timing
Content design interactive learning, open educational resources, virtual reality
Course format synchronous or asynchronous; self-directed modules
Digital enablers peer feedback, work integrated learning supports, online proctoring

Criteria and Requirements: 

  • Instructors teaching either undergraduate and graduate level courses are eligible
  • Instructor must have a University of Toronto continuing appointment (Tenure Stream or Teaching Stream)
  • Redesigned courses intended for offer in revised format for a minimum of three years
  • Priority will be given to applicants who have not received previously OUCI funding
  • Either fully online or hybrid courses are eligible for redesign
Fully Online Hybrid
• All course activities must be online, allowing a student to complete course from a remote location

• May be a one online/hybrid section of course with other sections of same course still offered in class.

• Assessments to be available online, with the exception of a final exam that may be invigilated at a remote test centre or via online proctoring

• Course reduces in class time on campus by at least 1/3

• Course format both online and on-campus is redesigned

• Tests and midterms may be held during the term during in class sessions.


  • Instructors will participate in four quarterly workshops to support the re-design process
  • Instructors will be supported in methods for access and use of analytics data, with consultations as needed
  • Instructors identify areas of redesign in their courses and plan to use analytics data to inform their design decisions
  • Courses will meet UofT standards with respect to quality, security, accessibility and branding


  • Participation in quarterly workshops and program evaluation activities
  • Redesigned online or hybrid course
  • Shared examples of use of Quercus Analytics Beta module by instructor
  • Instructor interim and final project reports on process of redesign using analytic data
  • Poster or presentation at annual Teaching and Learning Symposium

Use of Funds

Use of funding will be determined by the applicant in consultation with their department chair and/or dean’s office. Example course development expenses include:

  • course buyout by instructor or hiring a co-instructor in accordance with unit-level Workload Policy provisions (requires approval of chair and/or dean well in advance).
  • media/technology design support by educational technology staff or contract
  • software or hardware
  • professional development activities, conferences
  • Teaching Assistant support in course preparation

The funding is to be used in support of activities related to online and hybrid course redesign process. Additional resourcing for the redesigned course will not be provided on an ongoing basis.

Evaluation Process

The review committee will consider proposals based on Data-Driven Design: Quercus Analytics Funding Rubric. Recommended proposals will be forwarded to the Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education for final review and approval.

Other Application Details:

Prior to approval, successful applicants will be asked to provide further documentation indicating endorsement of the department chair and also divisional support through the endorsement of the appropriate academic leader(s) within the local Office of the Dean. Please also consider necessary arrangements for any governance processes related to curriculum modifications that are normally approved within divisional curriculum review committees prior to application.

Confirmation of acceptance of successful proposals will be received via email/letter from the Office of the Provost.