Open Learning at UWindsor – Part 2

We’ve been busy in the Office of Open Learning! In early October, the Ministry for Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) announced a call for applications to the Ontario’s Shared Online Course Fund 2014-2015, which will provide institutions for up to $75,000 per course or module to:

      • design and develop new online courses;
      • redevelop existing online courses; or
      • develop learning modules that may or may not form a complete course, and that may be usable as elements of hybrid

The timeline for both submitting initial expressions of interest (Oct 20) and full applications (Nov 14) was rather tight. The intent of the initial expressions of interest was to promote collaboration within and among institutions (Ontario universities and colleges), and were made available at

Our team collaborated intensely with many faculty members within UWindsor and among partner institutions across Ontario to pull together a large set of final submissions in which UWindsor plays a leadership role in development, as well as those where we play a partnership role. Our diverse set of submissions included applications to develop complete online courses in all three categories:

  • Courses designed for high-enrollment courses, including introductory and foundational courses;
  • courses developed to improve sustainability of low-enrollment program across more than one institution (including low-enrollment upper-level or graduate-level courses); and
  • Courses to facilitate to development of fully online degree programs.

Additionally, we submitted applications for both kinds of module-based projects:

  • Modules that have the potential to be used as learning objects for multiple courses (hybrid or fully online); and
  • Modules that provide learning support for online students (e.g., modules focused on research or writing skills).

Towards February 2015, we should find out the results of our peer review. We’re keeping our fingers crossed to secure funding for online course and module development at UWindsor!

Reflection on my contributions

As the online learning specialist, my role was to contribute to the design of a high quality, well-developed pedagogy to ensure exceptional student learning experiences in online courses, programs, or modules. This particular round of funding placed a great deal of emphasis on “high quality” criterion (45% of overall score for courses and modules; 40% for programs). “Collaboration,” “scalability,” “online program development,” “applicability,” and “capacity of institution”  were some of the other criteria. It was exciting to be able to contribute to the submissions in this way. It forced me to read some recent articles and books (e.g. Bonk & Khoo, 2014Means, Bakia, & Murphy, 2014 ) and articulate online pedagogy to a more lay audience in higher education.

I also learned a lot about how the different disciplines teach to foster active student learning in large classes, small seminars, and in self-directed modules. I also edited and proofread all the applications, which I wish everyone, myself included, had had more time to do! In the end, we submitted some strong collaborative proposals. I really do hope that we secure some of this funding so that our team can design and develop really innovative and engaging online courses and modules here at the U.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *