July 17, 2018

Ontario funds research and innovation in online learning

eCampus Ontario (2017) Research and Innovation: Funded Projects Toronto ON: eCampus Ontario

A few days ago, eCampus Ontario officially announced nearly $2.5 million of grants for research and innovation in online learning for Ontario universities and colleges. This is a separate fund from their grants for developing online courses.

The 45 grants, from a total of 135 proposals, ranged from $17,000 to $100,000 in total. Ryerson University and Mohawk College each had five projects funded, but the University of Waterloo had the most in total grants at $396,000 with Ryerson close behind with $380,000. Mohawk received a total of $259,000, and Algonquin College received $186,000. Of the 45 grants, 14 involved two or more institutions working collaboratively.

The one common factor among all the proposals was their variety. No one area of online learning dominated, although six of the proposals were directly concerned with assessing quality in online courses. Four of the grants were to study ways to improve the course development process or to facilitate faculty better in online teaching.

Then there was a bunch of grants looking at the effectiveness of particular technologies, including four for games/gaming, three for the use of animations or simulations, and grants for exploring virtual labs or the application of virtual reality. There were about four grants focused on the use of online learning for skills development, including one on evaluating competency-based learning.

Lastly, there was a very significant grant of $80,000 to Ryerson University to support the national survey of online and distance education that I am leading.


Even setting aside my gratitude for my own grant, eCampus Ontario and the Ontario government deserve praise for investing in research and development at this level. There has been a desperate lack of funding for research or development in online learning in Canada, at least in recent years, and hopefully a great deal of learning, new developments and innovation in online learning will emerge from this process. 

The major challenge now will be to ensure that the projects disseminate their results across the system, so that major innovations do not just hide within tiny corners of the institutions. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what emerges from these grants.

Are you Canadian and looking for (small amounts of) research money?

AMTEC Trust Award

The AMTEC Trust Award is provided by the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education. The annual award is available to applicants who are training, working and creating research and products and services in the field of Educational Technology.

Successful applicants are reviewed by the Awards Committee. The successful applicant is announced on the CNIE website. Presentation of the award takes place at the annual CNIE conference held in a different major city in Canada in May of each year.

Criteria for AMTEC Trust Award application:

  • Must be either -an Instructor or Teacher, a Student , or an Independent developer and designer who is a graduate in instructional development and design from a Canadian Educational institution.
  • Must be a CNIE member in good standing [https://www.assocsrv.ca/cnie-rcie/login.asp]

The categories of support available are:

  • Research grant for university faculty working with educational media and technology
  • Research grant for graduate student studying educational media and technology
  • Research grant for post-secondary student to support educational media production
  • Professional development bursary for university faculty working with educational media/technology
  • Professional development bursary for college instructor involved with development, production or storage and retrieval of mediated learning materials
  • Professional development bursary for teacher of media literacy course or teacher who demonstrates exemplary application of educational media and technology in instruction.
  • Professional development grant for designer working in media or technology who demonstrates exemplary application of educational media and technology in instruction. The research or development resulting from this grant must be presented to the AMTEC Trust for sharing with CNIE members.

Research grants are for direct, supportable costs up to a maximum of $5,000.

Professional development bursaries are for course fees and travel and will not exceed $2,500.

Student bursaries are for no more than $2,500, one time only.

Application deadline –  5 March 2012,

Application for the AMTEC Trust Award: http://www.cnie-rcie.ca/?q=node/168

Grants for graduate students wishing to do research in e-learning

The CNIE-RCIÉ Graduate Student Stipend Awards Committee invites graduate students to submit proposals for consideration for a 2010-2011 Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE) Graduate Student Stipend Award. For purposes of this competition, research will be broadly defined.

The goal of this award is to promote graduate student research in distance, online and distributed education theory and practice. The research stipend competition is open to all graduate student members of CNIE who are actively engaged in research associated with a project, thesis, or dissertation at the Masters or Ph.D. level.  Submissions will be accepted in either French or English.

The amount of money available for the award is dependent upon the sponsors’ contributions and will vary on a yearly basis. Depending on the submissions received and the annual monies available, this may result in one award or several awards of lesser amounts. Examples of eligible costs are indicated in the submission guidelines.

The entry form and the requested information should be submitted electronically to the CNIE Secretariat at the e-mail address indicated on the entry form. Five copies of any supporting documentation that cannot be sent or accessed electronically should be appropriately copied (CD, DVD, etc.) and mailed to the Secretariat office (see address below). The emailed submission must indicate that other materials will follow by mail.

The submission deadline is 25 February 2011. See the attached submission guidelines and entry form for further information and evaluation criteria.

The Graduate Student Stipend Award will be presented at the CNIE-RCIÉ Conference to be held in Hamilton, Ontario, 15 – 18 May 2011. For more information about CNIE-RCIÉ, please visit their Web site (http://www.cnie-rcie.ca). Should you have any questions regarding the competition, please contact CNIE-RCIE (not me!).


Lorraine Carter and Bettina Brockerhoff-Macdonald
2011 Graduate Student Stipend Awards Committee