The Senate Source

August 2013

UC Seeks Online Course Proposals from Faculty

A Request for Proposals for the Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI) has been released to UC Senate faculty.

The ILTI is UC’s plan for funding online and hybrid course development with the $10 million the governor has asked UC to set aside for online learning technologies. It will provide funding to UC Senate faculty both to develop new online/hybrid undergraduate courses or course components and to enhance existing online/hybrid courses to meet ILTI criteria.

Senate faculty may submit course proposals within two windows — the first running from July 24 to September 1, 2013, and the second from October 1 to November 10. More information, along with the application and instructions for submitting a proposal through the proposalCENTRAL application system can be found on the ILTI website.  

The Academic Senate leadership played a central role in the development of the RFP and the larger Initiative, which is administered by the Office of the Provost. The systemwide Senate will also play a key role in evaluating the proposals, and all ILTI courses will be reviewed by local Senate committees on courses and must be approved before they can be offered. Department chairs and deans will also be asked to approve the proposed courses.

The RFP does not require submission of fully developed plans or budgets for taking a course online. Instead, faculty whose proposals are selected by a review committee will be asked to meet with course designers to determine the extent and cost of developing online elements. They will also be asked to document their department’s commitment to the course before funds are allocated.

Academic Senate Chair Robert Powell says that ILTI offers a quality program to encourage faculty to use technology in their courses. This is not an alternative to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered by for-profit private providers. This is a UC faculty-run program for UC students. He said that San Jose State’s recent decision to suspend a partnership with Udacity to offer remedial math courses as MOOCs due to low student success rates highlights the limitations of the MOOC model and the need for a quality-focused, faculty centric approach to online education.

“The ILTI places faculty at the center of online course and curriculum development,” says Chair Powell. “It recognizes that courses are campus-based faculty creations and also respects the terms for which the $10 million was allocated.”

A Review Committee comprising UC faculty, students, and administrators will evaluate RFP submissions and recommend finalists to the ILTI Steering Committee (the UC Provost, Academic Senate leaders, and UCOE Interim Director). Submissions will be judged on their overall quality, the extent to which they are high-need courses that serve large numbers of students and have systemwide appeal, and other criteria.

In addition, for a proposal to receive ILTI resources, the department/campus hosting the course will be expected to offer it multiple times over three academic years and to make it available to students at other UC campuses. UC campuses will be encouraged to identify ILTI-funded courses from other campuses that can be used to meet general education or major requirements, but it will be up to faculty and units on individual campuses to decide how or whether to use the course. Intellectual property agreements will be based at the campus or department levels, and control of courses will remain in the departments.