Online Undergraduate Course Initiative (OUCI)

The Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education (VPIUE) provides funding for the development of online and hybrid courses. Instructors with continuing appointment status can access up to $12,000 in funding for developing a fully online course and up to $6,000 for a hybrid course. Applications for the OUCI grant can be submitted at any time. The following application process is based on information provided by Online Learning and is adapted for applicants from the Faculty of Arts & Science.

Fully Online Courses


Maximum funding - $12,000 Maximum funding - $6,000
Student participation - Fully online, course can be completed remotely Student participation - A minimum 1/3 reduction in ‘on campus’ time for students
Mid-term assessment - Assessment is exclusively online Mid-term assessment - Testing and midterms can take place in-class
Final examination can be in-person at a remote test centre or online using online proctoring Final Exam is held during the exam period on campus


Funding highlights

  • Priority is given to courses that are part of a first-entry undergraduate program (undergraduate courses in Arts & Science are part of this group).
  • Your proposal will be supported by the Online Learning Strategies and Teaching & Learning teams from development to testing and implementation – you will have access to both technical and pedagogical resources.
  • If your proposal is successful, you are expected to develop your course in the academic year immediately following your application.
  • Courses funded by the OUCI are intended to run for a minimum of 3 years after they are developed.
  • You will be recognized as an “online learning innovator” – a valuable addition to your teaching dossier.

Funding can be used for:

  • Hiring on contract or buying out the time of support staff to develop the online component of the course
  • Course buyout for the applicant to allow time for course development
  • Software, hardware and content development needs
  • Teaching Assistant support in developing the course
  • Professional development activities and conference attendance associated with course development

Application Process

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The process for applying from A&S is as follows:

  1. Prior to applying, consider reviewing the online learning resources in the section below.
  2. Plan on 4 to 12 months of development time of a new online or hybrid course or the transformation of an existing course.
  3. Discuss the feasibility of your proposal with the Online Learning Strategies Team and obtain the application form. Contact Laurie Harrison (, Director of Online Learning Strategies to set up a meeting to discuss your ideas and define goals.
  4. Informally confirm departmental support for your initiative – submission of the grant requires your Chair’s endorsement.
  5. Developing a new course or converting an existing one to online or hybrid format will require the approval of the A&S curriculum committee. Note that while applications for the OUCI grant are accepted on a rolling basis, the curriculum committee meets 3 times during the academic year – current dates are posted here.
  6. Complete your application in consultation with the Online Learning team and obtain the formal approval of your Chair. Your Chair’s approval can be submitted via email.
  7. Forward your application for review by the Teaching & Learning team to prepare for Decanal and Provostial review. Send your application to Philip Rudz (, Teaching Support Liaison, Teaching & Learning Support. If requested, provide clarification or modify your proposal.
  8. Following a successful review by the Teaching & Learning team your application will be endorsed by the A&S Dean’s office. The Teaching and Learning team will forward your application for final approval by the Vice Provost Innovations in Undergraduate Education (VP-IUE).
  9. Begin working on realizing your proposal with support from a team of experts at your disposal:
  • Online Learning Strategies Team: provide assistance with technical support and instructional design beginning with a kickoff workshop for successful applicants.
  • The A&S Teaching & Learning Team: is available in an advisory role related to the pedagogical implications of moving to an online or hybrid course model.
  • Staff from the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI): serve as a technical resource and knowledge base for online and hybrid course development.

Resources to help you plan your OUCI application

Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI): Online Learning Portal

CTSI will offer ongoing support for your OUCI grant. Prior to applying, you may find their resources helpful in gaining familiarity with online course development practices. Topics include engaging students online. Explore the planning online learning section if you are considering applying for OUCI.

Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI): Universal Design for Learning Resources

Improving accessibility and engaging with all students is particularly important in online or hybrid courses. Becoming familiar with the principles of universal design and incorporating this approach in your online or hybrid course from the initial planning stages will result in an enhanced learning experience for your students.

State University of New York (SUNY): Open SUNY Course Quality Review Rubric (OSCQR)

The Open SUNY Course Quality Review Rubric or OSCQR is a research-based, open framework for evaluating online learning courses. A valuable resource for planning your course and gaining familiarity with effective online course design.