Flexible Learning Initiative

The program application deadline for teams of three instructors is June 28, 2023


The Flexible Learning Initiative (FLI) provides funding to support instructors in the development of fully online or hybrid undergraduate courses. The program aims to increase the range of online learning opportunities at the University of Toronto while building capacity for innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Funding will be made available to teams of three instructors who will address a focus area of strategic importance to their discipline, department and/or division as they redesign a course for fully online or hybrid delivery. 

Eligible Course Formats

Participating instructors will design or redesign a course in a format that reduces time scheduled in the classroom to improve scheduling flexibility. These may include: 

  • Fully online courses delivered using synchronous and/or asynchronous modes and designed such that all of the instructional interaction occurs without the student and instructor being in the same physical location. A final exam may require attendance on campus.  
  • Hybrid courses replacing between one-third to two-thirds of scheduled class time with online activities. The sequential mix of both online and in person student activity is planned by the instructor and does not anticipate or require web-casting live from the classroom.  

For more information see  descriptions of online and hybrid modalities on the CTSI web site.

Faculty Development Support

The FLI program includes faculty development activities to engage instructor teams in collaborative exploration of effective approaches to digital learning while in the process of re/designing their individual courses within common or cognate discipline areas. The aim is to build on lessons learned, and enhance course development work done, during our shift to remote/online teaching and learning in response to COVID-19. Successful applicants will improve on those courses that shifted to remote delivery and create an intentional, high quality, ‘digital by design’ fully online or hybrid course. Divisional educational technology professional staff and other team members will be invited to join in faculty development and design support activities, as appropriate and available. The program will be facilitated by Digital Learning Innovation, Information Technology Services


University of Toronto instructors who meet the following criteria can be part of a team applying for the Flexible Learning Initiative 2023-24 cohort:  

  • hold a continuing appointment  
  • plan to re/design course to be offered in new format in 2024-25 academic year
  • anticipate availability of redesigned course a minimum of 2 times following completion of program with governance approval 
  • priority will be given to courses from the same department that are part of a first entry undergraduate degree program at the University of Toronto.

Departmental support is required as follows:

  • letters of support for application required from your chair and dean’s office with statement describing how a suite of online or hybrid courses will support the unit’s overall planning for flexible learning alternatives and confirmation of provisions for necessary governance approval

In order to support the design and development process, each term instructors will be expected to:

  1. participate in one workshop, led by the Digital Learning Innovation portfolio, with the full FLI cohort
  2. participate in one meeting, with the departmental team of three applicants


Each participating instructor on the team will receive $6,000 in funding to support design and development of a course. The maximum combined total per team for three courses is $18,000. The funds may be used by the instructor at their discretion for professional development activities, support or resource needs related to the course redesign process. The instructor incentive funding is on a one-time only basis. The FLI program does not anticipate course release given the level of funding. Any arrangements related to change of work assignment must be approved in advance by the chair or dean.

The program application deadline for teams of three instructors is June 28, 2023. Proposals will be reviewed and considered for approval by July 21, 2023. 


A. Proposal Template: Team Application

B. Form: Flexible Learning Initiative Application

The call for proposals requires a joint application for the cohort as a package (e.g. three instructors applying from same department). The “Flexible Learning Initiative Application” form will request upload of three documents:

  1. Team application using the “Proposal Template: Team Application” (also linked above). The template is above and will require details for each of the three individual instructors/courses.
  2. Letter of support from your Department Chair
  3. Letter of support from Office of the Dean

Please submit all three documents to the “Form: Flexible Learning Initiative Application” (also linked above).

Please contact Laurie Harrison, Director, Digital Learning Innovation (laurie.harrison@utoronto.ca), if you have questions regarding the application process, team formation or program requirements.