Eight Ryerson professors have been given a total of $375,000 by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ Shared Online Course Fund to develop seven online learning modules that will enhance in-class learning.
The modules have names such as “Fundamental Techniques of Modern Imaging” and “The Naked Entrepreneur, Season Four: Canadian Entrepreneur Icons.”
Ryerson faculty prepared 32 proposals and seven were funded.
The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education already offers online education. But these classes differ from the new modules because they won’t make up a full course.
These modules will be accessible on a portal that any university or college in Ontario can use. Each of the modules will include videos and interactive testing that will give students immediate feedback.
The funds will be used to supplement content that professors teach in lectures.
The professors were funded a maximum of $75,000 each. This is part of the province’s efforts to support online university courses and learning modules to raise Ontario reputation as a leader in online education.
Psychology professor Kelly McShane received a grant for $38,800 to create a module titled “Interdisciplinary Program Evaluation Curriculum Modules.” She said they are designed to be multidisciplinary.
“Ryerson is getting the money to make them, but they can be used anywhere,” she said.
McShane said because it’s an open source, she doesn’t hold any copyrights.
“I don’t care about my intellectual property,” she said. “I care more about spreading quality education.”
She is producing four 15-minute modules based around program evaluation.
McShane said the modules cater to the generation of technology. Students will be able access to content and learn at their own pace.
Business professor Chris MacDonald was funded over $70,000 to develop a module titled “Critical Thinking for Business and Beyond.”
He said the modules are a way to enrich knowledge in class but it’s not going to replace in-class learning.
The online content will help students learn the basics so professors can expand and relate it specifically to their respective courses.
The content will be created with support staff at Ryerson. They will assist with instructional design, technical and multimedia work. But there are no new hires related to these projects.
“People learn in different ways. This approach might be much friendlier to some students’ learning needs,” MacDonald said.
The modules will be ready for use this September.
This story also appeared in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on Feb. 25, 2015.