In 2011 a special project was undertaken to enhance UofT’s capacity for delivery of online learning. The Online Learning Project was an initiative spearheaded by the Office of the Vice Provost Academic Programs and was conceptualized as having several interrelated areas of activity:
- Development of new online pilot courses in five divisions
- Assessment of existing infrastructure/services related to online course support
- Addressing needs of pilot courses by leveraging of existing resources or developing new prototypes
- Identifying practices and programs to be developed to increase capacity for online courses instruction
- Evaluation of activities of the project and systemic gathering of data from stakeholder groups
Beginning in 2012 all of the a program for design of new online courses was developed using a team-based approach with recognized principles of effective design underpinning the process. Education Technology professionals, Librarians, TAs and Course Coordinators are all involved in the process and to ensure quality of the online experience we begin by re-visiting the learning goals for the course and use Dee Fink’s “backwards design” method to ensure we reach those goals.
In order to support our instructors in the process, we incorporated an “online course” cohort within the two day Course Design Institute facilitated by CTSI in late May. Selected program components on Day 2 of the institute were differentiated to address their specific needs and also Educational Technology professionals and librarians were also invited to attend and participate in the design/planning activities.
Currently the Online Undergraduate Course Initiative is supporting the redesign of courses for online delivery, distributed across a range of divisions and departments.