Latest OPDF means more online learning opportunities for students

This post is from a joint news release from BCcampus and the Ministry of Advanced Education, please see the government version on their media site.

Post-secondary students and faculty in a diversity of programs from medicine to shipbuilding, Aboriginal languages to physics and engineering will have the opportunity to advance their learning online thanks to a new round of projects funded by the Online Program Development Fund.

The annual Online Program Development Fund (OPDF) is administered by BCcampus and provides grants for post-secondary institutions to develop for-credit online courses, textbooks, manuals, videos and other learning materials that give students access to more programs and resources leading to complete degrees, diplomas and certificates. Once developed OPDF resources are available across the public post-secondary system in British Columbia.

Programs are developed through partnerships between post-secondary institutions – 11 of B.C.’s 25 public-post secondary institutions will be working together on the nine approved OPDF projects. As in past years, school districts, Aboriginal organizations, professional associations, non-profit groups and other partners will also collaborate on the projects.

Government is providing $500,000 for the collaborative development of nine new programs, including:

  • An online mathematics course for ship construction and stability that can be accessed by students and post-secondary institutions across B.C and the rest of Canada. (Camosun College)
  • A graphic/audio e-book for use as a language teaching resource that captures fluent speakers telling traditional stories in the Hul’q’umi’num language. The e-book will be available for download to smartphones, MP3 players, tablets, e-readers, computers and other mobile devices. (Vancouver Island University)
  • The development of interactive, virtual patients to help students in healthcare programs better understand Indigenous contexts of health and wellness. (University of British Columbia)
  • Curriculum and remote web-based science labs for second-year mechanics/modern physics and experimental physics courses. (College of the Rockies)
  • A tool for use in the study of soil sciences that uses smartphone and tablet data downloading technology and GPS co-ordinates to connect virtual content (text, graphics, videos) to specific real geographic locations. (University of British Columbia)
  • Online, entry-level training course modules in a variety of trades programs supporting the shipbuilding industry. (Camosun College)
  • An online course for students in technology diploma programs that builds understanding of how language and culture affect communication and the international transfer of engineering and technology. (Camosun College)
  • Courses and practicums to develop a complete online early learning and care diploma (Camosun College)
  • Online versions of three existing university transfer courses in global studies as part of a multi-year plan to build an online diploma of arts and science global studies program. (Camosun College)

When completed, OPDF projects are licensed and uploaded to the Shareable Online Learning Resources repository (SOL*R) at BCcampus where public post-secondary educators can share, discover and reuse online teaching and learning resources for free.

Since 2003, there have been nine consecutive annual rounds of the Online Program Development Fund (OPDF) representing a total investment of $9.5 million. The main outcomes to date are:

  • 153 grants awarded (2003-11).
  • 100 per cent participation across the post-secondary system.
  • 84 per cent partnerships – mostly inter-institutional but also with K-12, health authorities, not-for-profits, professional associations, e-learning companies, Aboriginal organizations and communities, and foundations, amongst others.
  • 48 credentials developed in whole or part.
  • 362 courses, 12 workshops, 20 websites/tools and 425 course components (learning objects, labs, textbooks, manuals and videos) developed across almost all academic fields of study.
  • 100 per cent licensed for open free sharing and reuse by post-secondary institutions.