Volume 10, Number 1 August 9, 2002

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Call for TEL course proposals issued as U of S gets $1.2m for 2002-03

Year 3 of Saskatchewan's five-year Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) initiative is under way, with $4.15 million up for grabs provincially and more than $1.2 million at the U of S for faculty-led projects to develop web-based course content, student support, and research.

Rick Bunt
Rick Bunt

Rick Bunt, Association Vice-President for Information & Communications Technology, says the TEL project has allocated $1.22 million to the U of S for 2002-03, up from the $940,000 it received last year.

He says the biggest share this year - $885,00 - is for content development, with $200,000 for faculty research projects and $133,000 for development of learner services and support.

Last year the University got $800,000 for content development, and "the response from the U of S community was overwhelming!" Bunt says. "We received proposals for 92 projects, and we anticipate a similar response this year."

July 19 he issued a call for letters of intent for possible projects. Bunt's deadline for receiving those letters is Sept. 16. The call for letters of intent, forms, and other information is all on the University's TEL website: www.usask.ca/vpacademic/tel or contact TEL Co-ordinator Sheena Rowan at 966-8408 or sheena.rowan@usask.ca.

As last year, based on the letters of intent, a number of projects will be selected to submit full applications, with a deadline of Nov. 15. From those, the final selection will be made.

In 2000-01, the first year of the provincial TEL initiative, nine web course content projects were funded at the U of S, including courses in agricultural economics, biotechnology, native studies, women's & gender studies (see sidebar story on this page), and computer science. Each project aims to develop course material in a form suitable for on-line delivery. Some will be ready for delivery later this year, and all should be ready within a couple of years.

In 2001-02, from the 92 proposals, "we were able to fund 27 content development projects from across campus," Bunt says - representing 12 colleges and including courses in soil science, art & art history, geography, math, music, education, and nursing. The projects are listed on the U of S TEL website.

Bunt notes the TEL Action Plan sets out basic priorities for the kinds of academic programs it wants to support - such as courses in the basic arts & sciences, and courses at the post-graduate level.

But beyond that, he says, the U of S has identified a number of areas for special attention for TEL web content development:

  • Courses in areas of specialization in which the institution has committed to developing or sustaining excellence at the national or international level. These include Aboriginal studies, agriculture, biotechnology, information technology, life sciences, rural and northern development, structural sciences, bio-molecular structures, culture and diversity, environmental sciences, indigenous peoples and justice, materials science, northern ecosystems and toxicology, synchrotron science, technology and change.

  • Courses in professional programs, including commerce, engineering, health sciences (dentistry, medicine, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy), law, veterinary medicine.

  • Interdisciplinary programming.

"We encourage projects in all disciplines, but we will look particularly for projects in these areas," Bunt says.

He says calls for projects in the other TEL areas - faculty research and learner support services - will be issued a later date.

"We also provided funding to various support units to work with the content experts in the development of their projects," Bunt adds.

For example, he says, Extension Division provides instructional design services, the Division of Media & Technology (DMT) and the Information Technology Services (ITS) Division provide web programming and other media services, and ITS and the Gwenna Moss Teaching & Learning Centre provide training for faculty and staff in the effective use of new technologies.

The 17-member U of S TEL Co-ordinating Committee (TELCC) "plays an important role in overseeing our TEL activities" on campus, Bunt says. It sets evaluation criteria for proposals, and develops policies and processes for TEL projects. It also makes recommendations on which projects should go forward and which directions to pursue. TELCC members are listed on the TEL website.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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