W. Muirhead1, B. Hamilton2, A. Wright2, S. Vail3, J. Mighty4, E. Scharfe5

1University of Ontario Institute of Technology (CANADA)
2University of Windsor (CANADA)
3York University (CANADA)
4Carleton University (CANADA)
5Trent University (CANADA)
In 2013, the Council of Ontario Universities invited representatives of Ontario universities to take part in a discussion about how Ontario universities might collaborate on the development of technology-enhanced courses. Preliminary discussions suggested that in theory, a collaborative approach to hybrid course development which could be a good fit for these challenges. Five universities (Carleton, Trent, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Windsor, and York) committed to an exploratory study.

Partner institutions believed that SCD could take advantage of the transformative possibilities of blended learning to expand course variety, maintain breadth of course offerings and delivery autonomy, and reduce costs. It could foster more ambitious discipline-specific collaborations for shared program development. It could leverage expertise at partner institutions to create a multi-institutional curricular learning community. It could allow for broad-based participation while limiting risk, have significant impact on student learning, produce momentum for instructional improvement and course re-design across a range of institutions and disciplines, and enhance pedagogical information exchange.

The study completed in June 2014 investigated the necessary baseline mechanisms, principles, policies and procedures for joint collaboration among institutions. The study also examined the whether there is a compelling case for shared course design in the Ontario context, and what the necessary conditions for the success of such an initiative would be.

The study sought in part to answer the following questions:
• What compelling reasons did institutions have for engaging in SCD?
• What problems have institutions solved through the use of shared course design internationally?
• What contextual conditions contributed to the success of these models in different jurisdictions?
• To what degree are typical outcomes of SCD consistent with institutional needs in Ontario?
• To what degree did Ontario’s provincial context provide the necessary conditions for success in shared course design initiatives?
• Is there a compelling case for a shared course design initiative in Ontario, and for what purposes? What infrastructure, expertise, and capacities are needed to optimize the possibility of success?

This presentation will report on the results of the feasibility study including the viability of shared hybrid course development in Ontario. Recommendations will be discussed including the funding environment for SCD in Ontario, the necessity for developing an inter-institutional social and technical Consortia for collaboration as well as establishing ongoing research projects into business modeling for SCD bd common technical standards to facilitate collaboration.