Projects at UofT

2017 – 2018: Online Learning Modules, Open Texts and Projects

We are happy to release 7 new projects funded through eCampusOntario! for 2017-2018. Take a moment to explore these new projects in addition to the 15 projects already available below.

Modules

Building Science Fundamentals Open Course Modules
This set of seven modules will focus on sustainability and will cover the basic science of controlling the movement of heat, moisture, and air in buildings.  Topics include: heat transfer mechanisms, moisture movement, properties of moist air and psychrometrics, wind on buildings, solar radiation, and energy required for conditioning buildings.

Introduction to Heavy Civil Engineering Operations and Equipment Management
There are six learning modules in this project with topics that include an introduction to heavy civil projects, principles of soil mechanics and aggregate production, equipment performance and planning, earth moving operations, tunneling operations, and a review of new technological advanced in heavy civil operations.

Planet Earth Online
Ten online modules that explore the fundamental concepts of how our planet works, including plate tectonics, the deep internal structure and composition of the planet, the evolution of the biosphere and atmosphere, the relationship between geology and human history, and modern natural and anthropogenic environmental challenges.

Scientific Data Analysis with R
This project involves the development of a full set of open course modules to build students’ skills using the popular open-source statistical software, R, to analyze and interpret scientific data. Coming June 2018.

Open Textbooks – Creation 

Introduction to History and Philosophy of Science
The open text will cover the central philosophical questions concerning science: Can there be absolute knowledge? Is there a universal and unchangeable method of science? What is the mechanism of scientific change? What is the difference between science and pseudoscience? Also, the eText will provide a snapshot of some of the major worldviews that have been accepted throughout the different periods of the history of science: Aristotelian-medieval, Cartesian, Newtonian, and contemporary. The textbook will consist of an introduction and 10 chapters, together equivalent to the content for a one-term course.

Understanding American Politics
The main body of the open text will consist of approximately ten chapters which approaches the study of American politics with the interests and needs of Ontario university students in mind. Understanding American Politics will be distinctive, not merely by virtue of being open-access, but because it will approach American politics from a Canadian perspective, taking into account the background knowledge and distinct needs of Canadian university students.

Learning and Teaching Qualitative Research in Ontario: A Resource Guide
The purpose of this open text is to systematize educational information for Ontario graduate students (master’s and PhD), postdoctoral fellows, and health care professionals who would like to expand their training in qualitative health research. The book is interdisciplinary, including opportunities for training for students and practitioners of all health disciplines, such as public health, physical education, nursing and social work, to mention a few. The content is divided into three sections: (a) current opportunities to study qualitative health research (QHR) in Ontario; (b) foundations for successful QHR; (c) future developments for a shared certificate program for Ontario.

Open Textbooks – Adaptation

Neuroscience – Canadian 1st Edition
This book is the first modifiable open textbook within the discipline that provides the flexibility to address instructional content needs related to the rapidly changing technologies, theories and concepts in neurosciences.

Introduction to Animal Physiology
This text integrates several resources in a single comprehensive presentation in order to enhance the quality of learning within the UTM Introductory Animal Physiology course and serve as a model for other instructors in biology and other related discipline areas.

Projects

Data Driven Design – Innovation Network Project
This project aims to develop models for use of data-informed design at the course/instructor level and encourage effective implementation through a peer-based, collaborative faculty development initiative. It will impact practice through development of a collaborative community network; a series of example cases describing methods for collecting and analyzing data to support course design iteration; and a faculty development program format that can be replicated or extended.

Active Learning Opportunities Through Virtual Lab Curricular Integration
The goal of this multi-disciplinary initiative is to 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.

Accessible Learning Object Design
These materials have been created to support those involved in the development of online interactive learning objects using Articulate Storyline (Adobe Captivate to come). These self-directed learning resources provide guidance for designing for compliance of interactive learning objects with WCAG 2.0 AA Web Accessibility standards.

Previous Modules Projects

These sets of self-contained learning modules may be used in online, blended or flipped classes, or may be used as part of the curriculum for a fully online course.

2016

Our funded projects for 2016 include:

Data Visualization Literacy 
These modules support learners’ conceptual understanding and integration of fundamental statistical principles and procedures. The interactive web-based software tools foster the connections between the conceptual and the numerical dimensions of basic statistical procedures, modelled upon data-based scenarios that are scaffolded to assist students in building data visualization literacy.

Physics – Newtonian Mechanics
Ten new online modules support the development of basic skills in Physics, in the areas of Newtonian Mechanics. The content follows the core topics typically presented in most first-year calculus-based introductory physics courses at the university level, including kinematics, dynamics and Newton’s Laws, and conservation laws.

Principles of Engineering Drawings
This project offers a set of learning modules to introduce students from all engineering disciplines to the basic concepts and the use of engineering drawings in the design, construction, manufacturing, and maintenance fields. In these modules students will learn the basic knowledge and skills in engineering drawings concepts, develop the capability to read and interpret blue prints, and gain an understanding of 2D, 3D, and Building Information Modelling (BIM) formats of engineering drawings.

Project Management Essentials
This set of learning modules support the teaching of introductory project management courses across all engineering programs. The modules progress with the students’ development, culminating in material that is appropriate for students getting ready for their first role in a project coordinator or an assistant project manager position.

Understanding Indigenous Perspectives
This set of learning modules has been created to support and inspire educators and future teachers to gain a deeper understanding of Indigenous perspectives and an appreciation of how Indigenous knowledge and worldviews can assist all learners in their educational journey.

Virtual patient case-based learning modules
This new series of nine online virtual patient learning modules include interactive multimedia presentations that use virtual patients to demonstrate real-life clinical problems to teach basic medical knowledge to first year MD students of diverse educational backgrounds to Medicine.  These modules represent the first unit or a semester course worth of material in the MD program.  However, they are designed for use across the curriculum in other health professional programs (e.g., MD, Pharmacy, Nursing).

Tibetan Language Online Learning
Materials and exercises in “Units” linked from the rights side of the course web site include targeted vocabulary lists and quizzes; short video tutorials on grammar; and contextual information (e.g., how Tibetan is classified by historical linguists, genres of Tibetan literature); and problem sets or assignments focused on key topics for each unit.  Source texts for these modules are provided by the Tibetan in Digital Communication project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK (2012-2015). This project built a part-of-speech tagged corpus of Tibetan texts spanning the language’s entire history. The use of digital texts that have already been tagged with grammatical parts of speech allows us to mark word divisions, quotations, case markers, and so on, such that students can initially focus on reading the text rather than deciphering it.

2015

Our funded projects for 2015 include:

Statistics for Research
A new set of online learning modules support teaching statistical thinking and methods and develop the facility in quantitative reasoning that is necessary for students embarking on research. The modules are designed for integration with discipline-specific courses focused on the quantitative research skills required for the particular discipline, integrating the statistical content with case studies and current research.

Electromagnetic Physics and Electric Circuits
A set of new learning modules supports the teaching of foundational level electromagnetic physics and electric circuits in engineering programs. This comprehensive set of topics represents the full range of foundational material in the electromagnetic and circuits field for many engineering disciplines, and particularly what is commonly found in first year mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering programs.

An Introduction to Programming Language Structures in C
This project has created new modules to support students as they obtain a working familiarity with the C programming language. The modules are intended to support two levels of courses in two disciplines – one in the first year where engineering students start from a novice level and one in the second year where computer science students with prior experience need to quickly move to more advanced topics.

Re-usable Learning Modules and Objects for Instruction in Neuroscience
This module project provides instruction and active learning objects to support core concepts learned within most neuroscience courses. The modules will lead students through explanations and enhance their understanding of core, foundational concepts.

Ethics in Engineering
This project offers a new set of learning modules on engineering ethics that will guide a student from ethical conduct at university through to ethical conduct in the profession.

Mathematics Skill Development
Twelve new online modules may be used as self-directed learning support for mathematics skill development with focus on learning support. Modules 1-7 cover foundational concepts; modules 8-12 cover advanced concepts.

Digital Labcoat: Virtual Lab Learning Modules
Virtual lab learning modules provide social science students in online, hybrid or flipped classrooms with the opportunity to experience the scientific method through hands- on active learning. The project is built on an existing prototype tool already in development, the Digital Labcoat. This is an interoperable web application, currently used in Introduction to Psychology, allows students to create and test hypotheses, replicate findings submitted by peers, and ultimately provide theoretical descriptions of the most interesting replicable findings.

Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience for Designers and Engineers
Ten new online learning modules support the teaching of an introductory course on cognitive neuroscience in engineering and design programs. The modules are suitable for courses in both cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology and they are informed by rapid advances in the understanding of brain structures and functions in recent decades.

These projects have been developed with funding from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU).

Ongoing Projects

The links below lead to Open projects and software at the University of Toronto. These cover the complete range of Open initiatives, from Open Publishing to Open Information and Data. Projects differ from collections in that rather than providing materials, they more often provide access to tools and communities of practice.

Experiential Learning (EL) Modules Project
This project aims to create a set of re-usable online learning assets to support curricular and co-curricular experiential learning (EL). Designed with customization in mind, these modules will touch on a range of topics to foster effective partnerships, incorporate EL into instructional practice and support the student learning process. These modules will be used to support students, faculty and community partners and employers through all stages of the EL process.

Experiential Learning with Riipen Pilot
This pilot project looks to support experiential learning across a range of discipline and course contexts, targeting opportunities for undergraduate students. Within a course context, students work on mini-projects, or “micro-experiential learning” assignments that are aligned with course goals, as well as an external partner need. The project leverages a third party platform, Riipen, to facilitate partnerships with community organizations and businesses by helping with the matching process, project set up, and ongoing coordination.

Open eText – Start Up Project
This project will undertake an environmental scan and needs analysis related to instructor support and workflow integration for open eText publishing processes. The primary output of the project will be an overview of key considerations in this domain presented as a resource guide to getting started in Open eText Publishing that can be integrated into the eCampus Ontario portal and other existing provincial organizations.

Motivation and Retention in Large Online Classes
These resources have been developed to provide those who are teaching (large) undergraduate online courses with strategies to motivate and retain their students. The material includes UofT examples and a literature review of practices related to motivating and retaining students in online courses; use of simple learning management system (LMS)-based analytics to predict students at risk; and a “readiness self-assessment” for learners.