Volume 12, Number 5 October 22, 2004

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TEL renewed for 6th year, as GMTLC sees changes

Saskatchewan’s five-year, multi-million-dollar push to create web-based and multi-mode university and college courses is getting a boost – both provincially and at the U of S.

Now in the fifth and last year of its original 2000-05 mandate, the provincial Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) program has been extended for a sixth year while the TEL Action Plan is under review.

Sheena Rowan
Sheena Rowan

As a result, calls have just gone out at the U of S and Saskatchewan’s other TEL partner institutions for new program-development proposals for 2005-06, all under the umbrella of the new provincewide web-based Campus Saskatchewan initiative. TEL also continues to provide funding for faculty development and learner support services.

At the same time, U of S TEL Project Manager Sheena Rowan says there are exciting new developments on campus that will raise the profile not only of online, televised and “multi-mode” course development, but also of the whole area of improving teaching and learning at the University.

Since the departure this summer of its first director, English Prof. Ron Marken, the Gwenna Moss Teaching and Learning Centre (GMTLC) is being headed by Acting Director Walter Archer, who is also the Dean of Extension. And Rowan, who has helped to co-ordinate TEL on campus since its planning stages in 1998, moved along with the TEL program into the GMTLC on June 30.

Rowan and Archer say this paves the way for the next phase of teaching and learning initiatives at the U of S. They say the University is set to build on the groundwork done by the GMTLC since its creation in 2000.

This 2004-05 year is being seen as a transition period during which a key foundational document will be developed on teaching and learning at the U of S, and new directions for the whole area – laid out in the University’s Integrated Plan for 2003-07, approved last May – will start to take shape.

Rowan notes the University Plan calls for creation of a new, more overarching Teaching and Learning Centre which may incorporate not only the GMTLC, but also elements from Extension Division’s Instructional Design Group and Centre for Distributed Learning, from the Division of Media & Technology, from Information Technology Services, and from the Library.

The new Centre will not only be a service unit helping with activities like TEL program development – it may also promote research into innovative teaching and help colleges and departments to identify and apply best practices in teaching and learning.

Rowan says Archer issued a call late last month through deans and department heads for letters of intent from faculty for proposals to develop new TEL courses in 2005-06.

She notes that Nov. 15 is the deadline for submission of the letters of intent, which must be made online. The forms are available by logging into the Resources for Partner Institutions area of the Campus Saskatchewan website (www.campussaskatchewan.ca). She invites people to call her at 966-1487 if they have questions about the process.

As in past years, a provincial committee will review the TEL letters of intent, and likely in December will invite proponents of a selection of them to submit a full application, with a Feb. 7, 2005 deadline.

“The final decisions on successful proposals will be made by next spring,” Rowan says.

The TEL and Campus Saskatchewan initiatives have made their mark over the past five years.

“Campus Saskatchewan now has close to 400 online, televised or multi-mode courses available, from all its partners,” Rowan says. She adds that the partner organizations include the U of S, University of Regina, SIAST (Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science & Technology), the First Nations University of Canada, the Gabriel Dumont Institute, the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology, the province’s regional colleges, SCN, and Saskatchewan Learning.

“Right now the U of S has close to 40 TEL courses being delivered, and a number of others are in various stages of development.” Since 2000, 94 courses have been approved for TEL development at the University in a range of disciplines including agricultural economics, soil science, biotechnology, Native studies, women’s and gender studies, computer science, art and art history, geography, math, music, education and nursing.

Rowan says the University hopes to see a more programmatic approach to course development. TEL has also provided funding for graduate-level courses including the Master of International Trade, Master of Continuing Education, and a Post-Secondary Certificate in Special Education.

In each of the past two years, the U of S has been given about $980,000 for TEL development, from a provincial total of just over $4 million. They money goes to content development, faculty development and learner services.

Campus Saskatchewan and TEL recently hosted a Learner Services Forum, in Saskatoon, and an Instructional Design Conference will be hosted by Campus Saskatchewan and the U of S Centre for Distributed Learning on Nov. 18-19, at Innovation Place. Information is available on the Campus Saskatchewan website.

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

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