Open Course Initiative Fund

The Open Course Initiative Fund (OCIF) supports instructors seeking to develop new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for the University of Toronto.

About MOOCs

The Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education (OVPIUE) oversees institutional agreements and policies related to design, development and delivery of MOOCs at the University. Over the past 10+ years of MOOC offerings, our institutional strategy remains focused on addressing the following goals:  

  • Contribute to the education community and the broader public through sharing of institutional expertise and open curriculum content. 
  • Explore and evaluate a range of pedagogical approaches and open course platforms. 
  • Leverage the use of open educational resources through integration into U of T degree program courses. 
  • Showcase U of T’s capacity as a leading institution for teaching, learning and research. 

U of T has partnerships with both Coursera and EdX for MOOC delivery.

Support for MOOCs 

Digital Learning Innovation provides oversight for MOOC development at U of T, including: 

  • Faculty development support. 
  • Consulting on resourcing, team-based planning and design. 
  • Coordinating institutional research and evaluation activities. 
  • Acting as a liaison with the OVPIUE as required. 

Please contact for more information about MOOCs or to schedule a consultation.

About MOOC Funding

The OVPIUE offers the Open Course Initiative Fund (OCIF) to support instructors in the development of MOOCs.

Funding Details

  • The OCIF provides up to $5,000 for a single MOOC and up to $15,000 for a suite of MOOCs (3-4 courses developed as part of a learning series, such as as a specialization). 
  • Funding may be used to subsidize instructional design, media production, course building, research assistant support, technical staff and related support or course buyout of instructor or hiring a co-instructor (in accordance with unit-level Workload Policy provisions).

This funding is not expected to cover the full cost of development and delivery of the open course or module(s). It is anticipated that divisional resourcing will cover the remaining costs, which may vary depending on the scope of the project and experience or expertise of the instructor. 

Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for funding, the following criteria must be met: 

  • Funds will be used for development of a new open online course that will be available on a self-directed basis for a minimum of two years or offered as a session-based MOOC for a minimum of four offerings. 
  • Material can be reused in a course for registered U of T students. For example, content and activities could be reused in a credit online course or in an inverted classroom course model. 
  • Courses will meet U of T standards with respect to branding. 

Submit a MOOC Proposal

All instructors looking to create a MOOC must complete a MOOC Proposal Form. On this form, you can indicate if you are also seeking funding through the OCIF program. You must have approval from the OVPIUE for your MOOC before you will be able to post it to Coursera or EdX. 

Proposals will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Submit a MOOC Proposal.

Expectations for MOOC Development 

Instructors who are approved for MOOC development are expected to meet the following, regardless of having received project funding through OCIF: 

  • Course instructors will participate in an initial consultation with Digital Learning Innovation
  • The division will form a design team including instructional design support, media technicians, research assistants, liaison librarians, course builder, technical support and/or others as appropriate. 
  • Course instructors will participate in regular online course redesign team planning meetings as needed to ensure quality of course materials and instructional design. 
  • Course instructors will support institutional evaluation processes and support scholarly activity related to research on effective teaching and learning processes within the Open Course sphere. 

MOOC Proposal Process 

Step Details 
1. Confirm the eligibility of your MOOC and OCIF funding. Review About MOOCs and About MOOC Funding (above).  
2. Attend a consultation with DLI. Contact to schedule a consultation. 
3. Submit a MOOC Proposal. MOOC Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis.  In the proposal, you will indicate if you are applying for funding or not.  Within the submitted application, you will be required to upload 1) a letter of endorsement from a Dean or Dean’s designate, and 2) a letter of endorsement from your academic program head / chair (in departmentalized faculties). 
4. Receive confirmation. After MOOC Proposals are reviewed, applicants will receive a letter with the results of the application, including approval of the MOOC and funding requested (if applicable). If your MOOC is approved for development, you will receive a revenue sharing template and instructor agreement (for Coursera only) for your completion. 
5. Share supplementary information with the OVPIUE (if approved) If your MOOC is approved for development, you will be asked to provide the OVPIUE with a copy of the revenue sharing template you’ve completed with your division, and a signed instructor agreement (for Coursera only). 

Contact Us

For more details about MOOC development or funding through the OCIF, please contact