Status: Open

Key Dates

DateEvent
March 17, 2021Call for proposals opens
April 30, 2021Call closes
May 3-14, 2021Adjudication
May 17-21, 2021Successful submission notification
March 30, 2022Grant deliverables met

Introduction

Since 2012, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training has funded B.C. open-education initiatives and tasked BCcampus with managing them. The goal of the BCcampus open-education project is to provide flexible, affordable access to post-secondary learning resources in B.C. by making available openly licensed textbooks that align with the most highly enrolled first- and second-year undergraduate subject areas as well as with select skills-training and trades.

A key component of the next phase of open-education work for BCcampus is advocating and supporting the use of open-homework systems to reduce costs of learning resources for students. 

What are homework systems?

Homework systems are a class of education technology that supports student practice, self-reflection, and self-assessment to reinforce concepts learned in class. Homework systems are also known as adaptive learning platforms, personalized learning platforms, and digital tutoring systems, and they contain interactive elements, self-quizzes, prompts for student reflection, simulations, and hints and suggestions.

What are open-homework systems?

An open-homework system is a homework system that is released with an open-source licence that allows anyone to host their own instance of the system and to modify and/or reuse the application with no software licensing fees. 

Open-homework systems are designed to provide low- or no-cost access for students and technical capabilities that support open-educational practices through the use of open-educational resources and open licenses. They often include collaborative features that provide instructors the ability to collaboratively create and share problem sets.

WeBWorK is an example of one such system and is the focus of this call for proposals.

Synopsis

WeBWorK is an open-source homework system designed to support the development and delivery of complex math and statistics practice questions. The intent of this grant is to provide financial support to institutions who wish to install and deploy WebWorK.

The maximum value of each grant is $30 000.

This grant is available to public post-secondary institutions in B.C. that do not currently have an active installation of WebWorK on campus.

Funding Deliverables

Successful institutions will commit to using the grant for the following purposes:

  • To install, configure, and otherwise provision WeBWorK and the associated Open Problem Library at their institution for their institutional faculty’s and instructors’ use. This may be done on local server infrastructure, BCNET Educloud service, or a commercial cloud-based infrastructure, provided institutional FIPPA requirements are met.
  • To commit to maintain a working WebWorK service at the institution for a minimum of one calendar year from the time the service goes operational.

In addition, institutional grantees must: 

  • Complete all deliverables on time.
  • Allow BCcampus to publish and promote institutional involvement through blog posts, newsletters, and social media. 
  • Acknowledge BCcampus as the funding source for the service. 
  • Provide project summaries to BCcampus as requested.
  • Provide BCcampus with a final report that describes the impact of the project at their institution. 

Criteria

Successful proposals will meet the following mandatory criteria:

  • Clearly articulate a need and/or demand for the service at the institution. This could be in the form of letters of support from department heads and other internal units who would benefit from the service.
  • Provide a detailed outline of how the service will be used at the institution, including details about the number of courses, types of courses, departments, instructors, and students who may utilize the service. 
  • Outline the potential financial impact on students at your institution (e.g., displaced costs of similar commercial services).
  • Outline a plan to support instructors and students to use the technology at the institution.
  • Articulate a clear commitment to develop institutional processes that support the creation of required course shells, class lists, instructor accounts, and other needed processes to operate WeBWorK, including maintenance plans.
  • A demonstrated commitment to working and collaborating across institutional units as required. Applicants should at the very least have internal support from a department head and/or chair who actively hopes to use the system and a senior-level person in an IT capacity who has the authority to install and configure software for institutional use. Support from a teaching and learning centre and an academic or educational technology service unit is also strongly advised. 
  • Provide a detailed plan for how the institution will satisfy institutional FIPPA requirements with regards to the installation and use of education technology.
  • Include a detailed budget that documents how the funding will be used.
  • Include a time line for major deliverables and project milestones.

BCcampus Support for Grantees

Recognizing the technical work required for this project, BCcampus is committed to support grantee institutions by providing up to 100 hours of WebWorK consulting services. This consulting service is over and above the allocated grant funding and can be used to help institutions architect, plan, deploy, and operationalize WebWorK. 

Application Process

Complete the application form and email it to clalonde@bccampus.ca along with the following required appendices:

  1. A detailed project budget that includes total amount requested (maximum $30 000) and describes how grant funding will be allocated. Please indicate in-kind institutional support, if any. All expenses should relate directly to achieving the deliverables of the project and can include wages, training (including development of training and support materials), applicable hardware and software costs, etc. Note that conference fees and travel expenses are not covered by this grant.
  2. A detailed project time line.
  3. A signed letter of support from a senior member (director or equivalent) of an institutional information- or academic-technology unit who will be responsible for installing and maintaining the software.
  4. A signed letter of support from senior academic leader (department head or dean) of an instructional unit who will utilize the software in their department or unit.

Although the application form provides the basic information required, you may attach additional appendices to submit more detail as required. The evaluation committee looks for proposals that are well written and specifically address the guidelines. 

Designate a lead representative for the project, and submit the proposal through the lead. 

Review and Selection Process

Evaluation, selection, and awards are determined by an internal review committee and will be evaluated against the criteria listed above.

If you have questions, please email clalonde@bccampus.ca.