Volume 9, Number 6 November 2, 2001

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$800,000 for design of on-line U of S courses

– Nov. 14 deadline for TEL proposals –

With a major funding hike this year for the provincial government’s Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) initiative, the door has been thrown open for more U of S faculty to develop courses for on-line web delivery and interactive CD-ROM.

But those with an idea for a TEL course will have to hurry. The deadline for preliminary proposals is Nov. 14.

In an Oct. 5 memo to deans and department heads, U of S Associate Vice-President for Information & Communications Technology Rick Bunt said the province has nearly tripled total TEL funding for post-secondary institutions – boosting it to $4.15 million in 2001-02, up from $1.5 million last year.

And, Bunt said, funding for the U of S in the key category of content development has risen to $800,000 this year, up from $300,000 in 2000-01.

He said this means that in this second year of the five-year province-wide TEL program, "we are soliciting proposals (for course development) more broadly, on a campus-wide basis."

Bunt said the proposal and approval process will be in two-stages this academic year: first. a November processing of ‘letters of intent’ from U of S people proposing courses to be developed for web delivery, and a January processing of ‘full proposals’ for those course ideas that make it through the initial selection round.

Danielle Fortosky, Director of the U of S Division of Media & Technology and one of the founding members of the provincial TEL Working Committee, says the overall $4.15 million TEL funding for 2001-02 is going into four major areas:

  • $2.3 million in total for content development, with $800,000 to the U of S, $600,000 to the U of Regina, $600,000 to SIAST (Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science & Technology), and $300,000 for Aboriginal institutions.
  • $800,000 for faculty development and support, with $700,000 going in total to the universities, SIAST and Aboriginal institutions, and $100,000 for "inter-institutional faculty development".
  • $800,000 for student support services in a variety of locations including regional colleges, libraries, and computer training programs.
  • $256,000 for continuing development of "Campus Saskatchewan", a virtual campus that will be a central on-line link for TEL courses in the province. Campus Saskatchewan is not a degree-granting agency, but facilitates and co-ordinates access to TEL courses offered by post-secondary institutions in Saskatchewan.

Fortosky says the TEL initiative has actually been four years in the making, with the provincial Department of Post-Secondary Education & Skills Training working in a consortium with the educational institutions to get the project off the ground in 2000-01.

She says the TEL project aims to develop students, graduates and faculty for the knowledge-based economy, to promote education in rural and northern Saskatchewan, to enhance Aboriginal education, and to help develop the province’s "intellectual capital" in key fields like information technologies.

A number of U of S people sit on various provincial TEL project sub-committees, and last spring Bunt established a TEL Co-ordinating Committee to oversee U of S TEL activities. He also appointed Sheena Rowan, of DMT, to the position of campus TEL Co-ordinator.

Last year, the first year TEL operated, nine on-line course development projects were funded at the U of S, including courses in Agricultural Economics, Biotechnology, Native Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies, and Computer Science.

This year Bunt says "many more" courses can be developed.

By Nov. 14 proponents must first have their proposal, or "letter of intent" endorsed by the appropriate dean or department head, and it must be submitted in electronic form to Rowan, at sheena.rowan@usask.ca

The letter of intent must identify the principal developer, specify which course or program is to be developed, explain how the proposal fits with TEL priorities, indicate credit transfer arrangements, list any other participating institutions, and give a development timeline.

The U of S TEL Co-ordinating Committee will meet and review the proposals after the Nov. 14 deadline and will priorize and forward them to the provincial TEL Working Committee.

Proposals selected for development will then have to be prepared in detail and be submitted to the campus TEL Co-ordinating Committee by Jan. 15. The Committee will review the full proposals Jan. 17 and send them on to Post-Secondary Education & Skills Training by Jan. 25.

The TEL priorities for content development this year include basic arts and science courses, graduate courses, professional and technical education and training, Aboriginal education and skills training, and academic preparation courses.

Criteria the TEL groups look for include responsiveness to provincial economic and social needs, labor market needs, rural and northern needs, Aboriginal needs, and student needs.

For more information you can see Rick Bunt’s Oct. 5 memo about the TEL proposal process at: www.usask.ca/vpacademic/programs.shtml. You may also contact Sheena Rowan at 966-8408 or at sheena.rowan@usask.ca. The provincial TEL website is: www.siast.sk.ca/~tel/

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

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