Research & Innovation Funding



As a centre for excellence in online learning, eCampusOntario has a mandate to support leading-edge research in this rapidly growing field.

Following a call for proposals, successful teams from Ontario’s colleges and universities received grants for research and innovation projects related to online and technology-enable learning.

Among the criteria, selected projects emphasized innovative pedagogical approaches, openness and opportunities for synthesis and dissemination of outstanding educational practices.


TITLE: Digital Textbooks in a Public College Context: A multi-stakeholder research study exploring the academic and organizational impact of eText at Algonquin College

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Algonquin College

GRANT: $88,230.00

PROJECT: Research

Evaluate stakeholder impact of digital textbook initiative at an Ontario College, as well as the impact on student learning outcomes.


TITLE: Quality Does Matter: Exploring the impact of adopting the Quality Matters™ (QM) framework on students and faculty members in technology-enabled courses

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Algonquin College

GRANT: $97,410.00

PROJECT: Research

Measure impact of adopting Quality Matters™ (QM) framework on student perceptions of quality, engagement and satisfaction in technology-enabled courses. Project will also measure faculty perceptions of the adoption of QM, review process and impact on their course designs.


TITLE: Interoperable Digital LMS‐based Transcription Tool

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Brock University

GRANT: $20,000.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Proposal will develop archival and historical-thinking exercises using an online, interoperable LMS-based digital Transcription Tool on a database of digitised hand-written manuscripts. Students will conduct original research by digitally transcribing and engaging in close (ocular) and distant (digital text mining) readings of hand-written 19th-century documents.


TITLE: Towards Designing Effective Diagnostic Mathematics Test for Identifying Weaknesses in Synthesis of Skills

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Carleton University

GRANT: $19,798.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Adapt results in combinatorial design theory from the context of software testing to the context of testing mathematics skills. The work will involve:

1. Laying out theoretical foundation for modelling mathematics skills testing

2. Designing language for specifying models

3. Developing software that takes a model and generates appropriate test question sets that provide coverage for all possible pairs of skill interaction.


TITLE: Technology‐enabled Learning in Virtual Gaming Simulation: Comparison of Debriefing Methods in Nursing Education

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Centennial College; George Brown College; Ryerson University

GRANT: $59,582.80

PROJECT: Research

Debriefing is a vital component built into nursing education that involves a facilitated process of reflection following a student learning experience, such as that associated with traditional, in-person simulation in lab settings.

Project will examine student learning outcomes while conducting mixed methods study using a quasi-experimental design and focus groups to compare an innovative technology-enabled (virtual) debriefing with the traditional, in-person debrief following a virtual gaming simulation.


TITLE: Digital Indigenous Storytelling

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Fanshawe College

GRANT: $17,372.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Indigenous students studying in a post-secondary preparatory program in their community will digitally gather and record stories from local Elders that the Elders believe are important for their community - these stories will be curated on a website for students.

Project supports the conservation and promotion of local Indigenous knowledge, epistemologies and worldviews - it also supports the development of cultural pride, digital literacy, and digital media skills.


TITLE: User Centered e-Learning Methods to Enhance and Assess Soft Skills for Online Learning in Design

PARTNERS: Lead Institution George Brown

GRANT: $98,500.00

PROJECT: Research

Explores the role of online learning, positive or negative, in supporting essential Employability Skills (EES) and Vocational Learning Outcomes (VLO) for education in design.

Outcome of project is an evaluation framework and subsequently, assessment criteria that can guide effective use of online materials (i.e. as well as measurement of these online materials' effectiveness in their support of EES and VLO.


TITLE: Building Institutional Capacity for Online Course Development

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Georgian College

GRANT: $75,582.00

PROJECT: Research

Innovative approaches to providing direct support to faculty in development, design, redesign of courses - workshops, boot camps, intensive courses, or micro credentialing of faculty.


TITLE: Evaluating the Effectiveness of an Online Mental Health Course for Faculty on their Knowledge, Willingness and Confidence to Act to Support Student Mental Health in the Post-Secondary Setting

PARTNERS: Lead Institution McMaster University

GRANT: $100,000.00

PROJECT: Research

Evaluate an online course for Faculty to increase their knowledge, confidence and willingness to act to support students in distress, with mental health concerns or mental illness.


TITLE: Development of the Instructional Designers of Ontario Network (IDON)

PARTNERS: Lead Institution McMaster University

GRANT: $19,813.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Development of the IDON (Instructional Designers of Ontario Network), a community of practice with a mission to work within the aims and structure of eCampusOntario to:

1. Facilitate the advancement and evolution of instructional design as a field of practice within Ontario through communications, networking, collaboration, professional development opportunities and advocacy strategies

2. Provide an open and collegial environment for instructional designers working in colleges and universities across the province to connect with each other and share best practices, ideas and meaningful information about instructional design.


TITLE: Effects of Online Career Preparatory Tools for Post-Graduate Dynamics

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Mohawk College

GRANT: $41,638.54

PROJECT: Research

Explore the connections between use of e-Portfolios and Co-Curricular records alongside resume writing, transition planning and post-graduate feelings of career preparedness.

Study will follow cohorts of three programs in the schools of Liberal Studies, Human Services, and Justice and Wellness Studies to determine the effectiveness of these technology-enabled tools on students' transitions to employment.


TITLE: Assessing the Impact and Viability of Competency-Based Education (CBE) at Mohawk College

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Mohawk College

GRANT: $97,726.00

PROJECT: Research

Mohawk College’s School of Continuing Education is committed to researching, developing and delivering one of the first fully-online, competency-based education programs in Ontario.

Project aims to define challenges and opportunities for program adoption, resulting in the development of implementation tools for administrators and faculty to support CBE at Mohawk College, and subsequently within the province.


TITLE: Creating Interactive Musical Instrumental Learning Environments through Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technology

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Mohawk College

GRANT: $20,000

PROJECT: Innovation

Virtual reality creates environments that are engaging and can help students develop their playing by performing alongside other students or pre-recorded professionals in an environment that is visually and aurally representative. This project will:

1. Create interactive group practice environments through pre-recorded and live streaming Virtual Reality

2. Enhance some of the musical scores that students now use in the Applied Music program with augmented reality.


TITLE: Universal Design for Learning Standard for Technology-Enabled Post-Secondary Courses at Mohawk College

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Mohawk College

GRANT: $100,000.00

PROJECT: Research

Mohawk College is committed to the full implementation of universal design for learning (UDL) to support learners with disabilities, broadly promote inclusion and provide compliance elements for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) within the college community.

Project will develop a comprehensive standard for UDL implementation, and assessment tool to measure UDL use, in a post-secondary, technology-enabled learning environment.


TITLE: Data Smog: Building Information Skills to See Through the Fog

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Mohawk College

GRANT: $18,973.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Collaborating to design and develop OERs that:

1. Provide interactive activities for students to build information management skills that meet an identified gap in their education

2. Fulfills post-secondary education’s commitment to graduate students who demonstrate Essential Employability Skills

Licensing under a Creative Commons 4.0 International ensures that Mohawk’s collaboration can be shared across the post-secondary landscape.


TITLE: Using Gaming as an Engaging Distributed Learning Tool in Post-Secondary Science Education

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Ottawa

GRANT: $75,267.00

PROJECT: Research

Regardless of their increasing popularity, very few studies exist on the effectiveness of serious games as learning tools.

Study will explore whether careful game design can improve learning by forcing distributed learning and repeat testing on students, using a constructivist approach to game design.


TITLE: Exploring Learning Outcomes when using Multimedia for Chemistry Reaction Mechanisms

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Ottawa

GRANT: $32,500.00

PROJECT: Research

Studying students' learning of chemistry visualizations with static and animated modes, informed by neuroscience and quantitative and qualitative studies of learning outcomes.


TITLE: Disruptive Innovation in Higher Education: Recruiting Future Adult and International Students to Ontario's Online Programs

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Queen’s University

GRANT: $19,990.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Gather, analyze, and disseminate exemplary practices in online recruitment of non-traditional learners to distance education programs.

Informed by student perspectives, the project identifies and shares best-practices for creating and recruiting websites tailored to the needs of adult and international online learners.


TITLE: An Integrated Approach to Embedded Scholarship in Online Degrees

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Queen’s University

GRANT: $15,284.00

PROJECT: Innovation

In 2012, Queen’s University launched a new online Master’s Degree in Healthcare Quality where scholarship on program processes and outcomes resulted in conference presentations, articles and an edited book with chapters co-authored by world leaders and students (see Sears and Stockley).

Reflecting on this experience, faculty leaders for the program recognized the importance of building scholarship into the course design process, to advance both scholarship of the subject and the student. Project will develop an integrated approach for embedded scholarship that can be adopted in all online programs.


TITLE: Crisis and Opportunities: Creating a Safe Environment to Learn by Breaking Psychological, Social, Linguistic, and Financial Barriers Facing Internationally Educated Nurses

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Queen’s University; Kingston Employment and Youth Services Inc.

GRANT: $86,949.00

PROJECT: Research

Examines ways in which post-secondary institutions can work with a variety of stakeholders to improve the utilization of online and technology-enabled learning mechanisms.

Goal is to more effectively support the transition of internationally educated nurses to successful participation in Canadian professional contexts.


TITLE: A Multidisciplinary Team-Based Model and Resources for Faculty Support

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Queen’s University

GRANT: $50,592.00

PROJECT: Research

Enhance, formalize, document, and evaluate the team-based model of faculty support and course development currently in place in Arts and Science Online at Queen’s University. The goal is to:

1. Assess and report on the outcomes of an embedded, contextualized approach to faculty support

2. Disseminate practical tools and recommendations to be shared with other departments and units at the university, as well as all post-secondary institutions (universities and colleges) throughout the province.


TITLE: A National Survey of Online and Distance Education in Canadian Post-Secondary Education

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Ryerson University

GRANT: $80,000.00

PROJECT: Research

An extensive survey of online learning in post-secondary educational institutions with a focus on online learning in Ontario.


TITLE: Practical Design Guide for Simulation Game-Based Learning

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Ryerson University; Centennial College; George Brown College

GRANT: $95,942.00

PROJECT: Research

Develop a design guide for simulation game-based learning that will help college and university instructional designers, faculty, and game developers collaborate with one another to identify desired learning outcomes - apply them to specific game mechanics when designing simulation games. Research assessments will be used to:

1. Document the process by which individuals design learning games

2. Examine the utility of the guideline for informing the design process

3. Evaluate the effectiveness of the guide for creating and improving upon games that meet learning incomes.


TITLE: Learning Analytics Dashboard for the Social Media Age's e-Learners and Educations

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Ryerson University; Syracuse University; University of Groningen Netherlands

GRANT: $99,959.00

PROJECT: Research

Study the use of social media by instructors who are teaching online courses as part of eCampusOntario.

Objective is to develop and evaluate a Learning Analytics approach and online dashboard to help instructors be more effective when teaching with social media, and specifically Twitter.


TITLE: Collaborative Open Textbook Publication Systems Pilot

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Ryerson University; OCAD University; Rebus Foundation

GRANT: $20,000

PROJECT: Innovation

Pilot the use of Collaborative Open Textbook publishing platforms within Ontario higher education.

Open Textbooks are a type of Open Educational Resources (OERs) which are teaching resources that are freely available to the public, and usually posted as digital files on the Internet. They can be used and reused because of the open licence given to them by their creator.

A collaborative Open Textbook publishing platform is a desirable platform for instructors as it allows better scalability for textbook projects - chapter-based contributions from instructors within Ontario, and eventually around the world.

Interested faculty do not have to commit to writing an entire Open Textbook on their own or to finding their own partners, but can use a collaborative, sharing approach to the creation of Open Textbooks.

This benefits the open educational community as it supports a much easier process for the creation of Open Textbooks, which presently can take significant resources to organize, project manage, create and publish.


TITLE: The Evaluation of an Online Experimental Simulation: Income Inequality and Food Insecurity

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Ryerson University

GRANT: $83,548.00

PROJECT: Research

Evaluation of an innovative online experiential simulation focused on food insecurity.


TITLE: Faculty Support for Technology-Enabled Learning at Ontario Colleges: Current Practices & Prospective Opportunities

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Seneca College; Durham College; George Brown College; Georgian College

GRANT: $97,740.00

PROJECT: Research

Development and support practitioners have a wide range of knowledge and experience in helping faculty design, develop and teach technology-enabled curricula.

Research study will synthesize this knowledge and experience, and determine opportunities for how to best support faculty teaching in the digital age within the context of the Ontario college system.


TITLE: Active Learning Opportunities Through Virtual Lab Curricular Integration

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Toronto; Labster

GRANT: $19,455.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Multi-disciplinary initiative will assess the potential impact of web-based, 3-D virtual lab technology when deployed in a range of online and technology-enhanced learning course contexts.

Team of collaborating instructors will focus on providing active learning opportunities through high quality virtual lab activities.

Assessment will take place across the dimensions of learning outcomes, student experience, faculty observations and operational implications in the biology disciplines.


TITLE: Data Driven Design - Innovation Network Project

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Toronto

GRANT: $19,151.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Develop models for use of data-informed design at the course and instructor level - encourage effective implementation through a peer-based, collaborative faculty development initiative. This will impact practice through:

1. Development of a collaborative community network

2. Series of example cases describing methods for collecting and analyzing data to support course design iteration

3. Faculty development program format that can be replicated or extended.


TITLE: Open eText - Start Up Project

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Toronto; Brock University; University of Windsor; OCUL

GRANT: $19,385.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Undertake an environmental scan and needs analysis related to instructor support and workflow integration for Open eText publishing processes.

Primary output will be an overview of key considerations in this domain presented as a resource guide for getting started in Open eText Publishing - can be integrated into the eCampusOntario portal and other existing provincial organizations.


TITLE: Cost Effectiveness of using Virtual Pre-Simulation Preparation in Nursing Education

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Trent University; Nipissing University; University of Ottawa; York University

GRANT: $100,000.00

PROJECT: Research

Examine the impact of virtual pre-simulation preparation on nursing students' ability to achieve learning outcomes - determine if a blended approach to technology-enhanced clinical simulation is more cost effective than the traditional approach.


TITLE: Novel Tools and Approaches for Improving Accessibility through Enhanced Online Communication

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Trent University; University of Toronto

GRANT: $100,000.00

PROJECT: Research

Students' interactions with instructors and classmates have long been a cornerstone of learning. However, for many disciplines that are characterized by complex non-text-based symbolic content, particularly those in the quantitative sciences and social sciences, the challenges of online interaction hamper the potential of online learning. Project will develop:

1. New technologies that can effectively replicate for online learners the access students in traditional courses have for office hours and academic help centres

2. Innovative pedagogical approaches to break down social barriers to make online interaction even more accessible than traditional face-to-face interaction.


TITLE: Simulated Experiential Learning for Interprofessional Healthcare Practice: A New Frontier

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Ontario Institute of Technology; Durham College; George Brown College; Nipissing University

GRANT: $17,183.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Development, implementation, and evaluation of simulated experiential learning with a focus on interprofessional healthcare practice.

Students from a range of health-related programs at two universities and two colleges will be brought together in the digital space – will develop essential skills related to communication, conflict management, problem-solving and prioritization in the context of virtual simulations.


TITLE: Assessing the Impact of Online Learning: A Model and Case Study

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Waterloo

GRANT: $99,930.00

PROJECT: Research

Develop an evaluation model for assessing the impact of credit online courses and programs, and apply that model within the University of Waterloo. Outcomes will include:

1. Case study featuring one of the largest online operations in Ontario

2. Model that can be used as the basis for similar studies at other institutions.


TITLE: Developing and Assessing Methods for Guiding Students to use Online Content Effectively

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Waterloo

GRANT: $99,726.00

PROJECT: Research

A world of learning materials exists online, and many Ontario educators curate online content for their students, steering them to what they perceive to be high quality resources - but do students use them?

Project will develop an accessible set of assessment methods instructors and educational developers across Ontario can use in their personal online courses to improve the effectiveness of online content in supporting student learning.


TITLE: An Investigation of User Experience Design for Learning (UXDL) Principles in Online Learning

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Waterloo

GRANT: $99,907.00

PROJECT: Research

Conduct a research study that qualitatively examines students' perspectives of online learning.


Title: Foundations of Academic Success: Innovative Mobile Learning to Enhance Academic Integrity

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Waterloo

GRANT: $96,815.00

PROJECT: Research

The Foundations for Academic Success project aspires to improve student engagement with academic material by exploring mobile learning to better resonate with the current student population.

Objectives are to develop strategies for enhancing student academic integrity (AI) knowledge and understanding by employing open access mobile technology with an innovative pedagogical approach.

Research will support the development, administration, and assessment of the Foundations for Academic Success academic integrity mobile learning (FAS) tool that explores best strategies, from a student user perspective, for accessing, delivering, assessing, and learning this information with mobile technology.

Academic integrity content in this mobile application extends beyond its utility to University of Waterloo students as the values it promotes apply provincially, nationally and internationally. Open-access mobile application has the potential to be adopted and used across many post-secondary colleges and universities.


TITLE: Evaluation of a Technology-Enabled, Gamified Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR) System for use in Simulated Clinical Education

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Western University; Texas Tech University Health Sciences

GRANT: $99,995.00

PROJECT: Research

Evaluate a gamified electronic medication administration record (eMAR) system simulator as a mechanism to improve students' learning of medication administration in simulated clinical education.

Gamified eMAR simulator will be evaluated using a randomized controlled trial design to determine the effectiveness of the game as a technology-enabled, online learning intervention.


TITLE: Global MINDS: Using Videos to Teach and Ignite Student Social Innovators Tackling Complex Global Mental Health Challenges

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Western University; University of Toronto; MaRS Solutions Lab; Africa Mental Health Foundation; Africa Population Health Research Centre

GRANT: $19,584.00

PROJECT: Innovation

The Global Mental Health INcubator for Disruptive Solutions (Global MINDS) is a collaboration between multiple faculties across Western University and African Partners.

Uses transdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approaches based upon social innovation and social entrepreneurism models to develop disruptive solutions for reducing the burden of mental disorders in low-resource settings and under-served communities.

Project will create multi-media content case study and case exemplar videos that will effectively integrate and layer the social innovation lab and social entrepreneurship models into the Global MINDS curriculum.


TITLE: LMS-Integrated Digital Badging Platform for Competency-Based Micro-Credentialing in STEMM Education

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Western University

GRANT: $19,992.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Establish an open badging platform compatible with the Sakai learning management system at Western University.

While students in all disciplines may benefit from this project, the proposed platform is particularly well-suited for recognizing skill-based competencies in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.


TITLE: Presenting ‘Foundations in Planetary Health’: Preparing Graduates to Navigate Decision-Making in a Complex Earth

PARTNERS: Lead Institution Western University; MMASc-GHSA; Global Health Systems in Africa; Centre of Environment & Sustainability, Africa Institute; Western International

GRANT: $20,000.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Turn an existing, face to face ‘Foundations in Global Health Systems’ course into an online delivery format, creating competency-based criteria for success, and emphasizing complex problem solving skills consistent with the needs of the next generations - with a proper and needed emphasis on ‘Planetary Health’.


TITLE: Investigating User Perceptions of Data Representations and Visualizations from Learning Analytics Reports in Online and Technology-Enhanced Courses to Develop a Best Practices Guide for Higher Education Institutes

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Windsor

GRANT: $18,717.00

PROJECT: Innovation

This project will:

1. Develop or improve appropriate metrics and definitions for learning analytics reports from learning management systems to help instructors make sense of LA reports

2. Create a learning analytics best practices guide for potential use in monitoring and enhancing student online learning experiences at institutional and provincial levels.

Mixed‐method research will investigate user perception of needs from a LA system and create a guide in two ways:

1. Collecting survey and focus group data to assess instructor and student views on metrics that are available and identifying numerical or graphical representations in a dashboard to be developed or improved to inform pedagogical innovation and enhance learning experience

2. Creating a best practices guide for stakeholders - instructors, students, and administrators - to help them harness the power of learning analytics and data‐driven pedagogical decision making by going beyond superficial measures of course activity or incorrect interpretations of data.


TITLE: Investigating student engagement in technology‐enhanced learning at the intersection of business and law

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Windsor

GRANT: $19,668.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Examine engagement in blended and online delivery of a required business law course for upper‐year BComm and MBA students.

Pedagogical innovations to enhance engagement to be studied include:

1. Pre‐recorded video lectures for students to view online out‐of‐class to allocate more in‐class time for discussion and learning activities

2. An integrated student response system (Echo 350 Active Learning Platform) to enhance student participation in in‐class discussions

3. Group collaborative learning activities to build communication, leadership, and teamwork skills in class and online out‐of‐class.


TITLE: Evaluation of the Impact of Lightboard Videos in Online Astronomy Classes

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Windsor

GRANT: $14,025.00

PROJECT: Innovation

Determine whether lightboard videos will increase student engagement and help learners to understand difficult concepts, as compared to traditional videos - document camera video showing a hand writing out solutions.


TITLE: A Multi‐Institutional Initiative to Establish, or to Establish Mechanisms for, the Development of Shared, Hybrid First‐Year and Large‐Enrolment Courses

PARTNERS: Lead Institution University of Windsor

GRANT: $92,873.00

PROJECT: Research

Draw on technology‐enabled course redesign, academic analytics, high‐impact practices, and student support to establish mechanisms for the improvement of student success and engagement in diverse critical, high‐enrolment first‐year courses with high failure rates.

Project will involve a case study led by course instructors in two related economics courses, supported by a cross‐functional team co‐ordinated at the level of the Provost’s office.

Goal of the research is to inform the establishment of a preliminary, sustainable, analytical framework and cross‐functional institutional infrastructure for instructor and departmental course renewal support.

Research will optimize improvement opportunities for large enrolment courses across the University, and establish an analytical and implementation model for institutions across the province.