Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS)

Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS)

The Government of Ontario's Virtual Learning Strategy (VLS) initiative, which is supported by eCampus Ontario, has provided more than $2 million in funding for 32 projects to improve online education at Queen’s in its first round of funding awards. The VLS subsidy enables Queen’s to produce a variety of new online educational resources within several faculties and schools, including the development of online courses, open education resources, training modules, and virtual learning experiences used to benefit students across the university. The projects support several university priorities, including accessibility, EDII, and enhancing the student learning environment. The projects are currently in development and will be available through eCampus Ontario in March 2022.

Queen's is also collaborating on an additional 21 projects (+$1.6 million) ranging from the development of online courses, simulations, virtual reality experiences, to the creation of digital content, short-duration learning opportunities, and open-educational resources.

Read more about this exciting initiative at Queen's University:

To learn more about funded projects awarded in the first round of funding for Virtual Learning Strategies, please visit eCampus Ontario.

NEW! eCampusOntario has released a second round of Virtual Learning Strategy funding*. Click here for more information. 

*Applications will be coordinated by the Office of the Provost

Projects In Process

Read more about the projects that are currently underway:

This project is a collaborative development of a series of three e-courses: Cultivating Wellbeing in Workplaces and Communities, Fostering Inclusivity in Workplaces and Communities, and Conducting Program Evaluations in Workplaces and Communities.

These three courses are part of a seven-course series of short non-credit interactive e-courses focused on core professional skills necessary for Ontario graduate student success in the work force. Developed through a partnership across five Ontario Universities, course topics were strategically selected to capitalize on institutional strengths and purposefully designed to respond to labour market trends. 

This set of e-courses will offer Ontario graduate students 'just-in-time' self-paced professional development to ensure they are prepared to enter a rapidly evolving labour market, locally and globally. Each course will be based on explicit learning outcomes and pedagogically structured through four interactive infographics, self-assessments, scenario-based learning activities and authentic experiential tasks. Students will leave these courses with new skills that set them apart and prepare them to cultivate wellbeing in their communities and workplaces.

"We have assembled a dynamic multi-institutional project team involving Queen's Western, Windsor, Ontario Tech U, and OCADU to develop three e-courses aimed at helping graduate students transition into a rapidly evolving, globally competitive workforce. To support our course writers, we have gathered input from project team members as well as Career Services representatives, and current graduate students across our participating universities. Course writers will work collaboratively with and Advisory Group that will provide feedback on course design and content throughout the project and our team of instructional designers and multimedia developers who will help bring these courses to life!" - Chris Deluca, Project Director

Canadian art history has long been shaped by colonial legacies, regional divisions, and canonization. Open platforms present an opportunity for disrupting these narratives. CanadARThistories, a new online course and open learning objects, including a contributor-based text, provides a customizable and remixable set of resources for understanding the diverse history of art in Canada. The online course supports educators across disciplines through thematic lesson plans, activities, and assignments, and by drawing upon content in the corresponding open text. Written by an interdisciplinary team of subject experts, the online course will focus on Canadian and Indigenous art, showcasing for both educators and learners the objects, makers, and narratives previously overlooked. The aims are twofold: 1) to broaden the definition of Canadian art in relation to emerging conversations on decolonization, equity and inclusion, and internationalization; and, 2) to develop a novel and flexible online course, ensuring this content is broadly accessible and sustainable.

"CanadARThistories is a new online course with an accompanying Open Educational Resource (OER). The project was developed as a response to some of the most pressing concerns in the field of Canadian art studies, the desire to find alternatives beyond course packs and textbooks, and to break apart and challenge the canonical nature of the discipline. The project is led by Open Art Histories, a research collective of six post-secondary educators: Jen Kennedy, Johanna Amos, and Elizabeth Anne Cavaliere at Queen's University; Alena Buis at Langara College; Devon Smither at University of Lethbridge; and, Sarah E.K. Smith at Carleton University.

As the group set to work outlining course modules, we had (and continue to have!) many lengthy and lively discussions about the pedagogical challenges of teaching within the discipline and about the field itself - one that is informed by inclusion and exclusion, regionalism, and calls for Indigenization and internationalization. We hope that the customizable and remixable qualities of CanadARThistories means that content can be shaped and reshaped in ways that challenge and redistribute traditional and rigid narratives of Canadian art histories.

Approaching the midway point of our work on the project, these discussions have extended outwards to our research networks and colleagues across Ontario and Canada. Reimagining the ways that we introduce students to the histories of art in Canada needed to be a fundamentally collaborative undertaking. The OER is comprised of short texts from the many voices - scholars, artists, archivist, librarians, curators - that make up the discipline, asking them to consider the proposition: What is a work in your specialized area of research that you want everyone to know about? So far, we have received an enthusiastic response with over 30 contributions. The iterative nature of the OER means that the text will only continue to grow.

It has been wonderful so far to have the opportunity to think deeply and critically about the field of Canadian art histories and how it is taught. It has also been extraordinary to see such a positive and generous response to the project as it begins to take shape with the support of the eCampusOntario VLS grant. We look forward to seeing CanadARThistories through to fruition in the coming months and are excited to see the impact that it will have for educators and students." - Elizabeth Cavaliere, Post-doctoral Fellow

This project entails the creation of a full-scale Ampicillin Chemical Processing Plant where engineering students can work together in real time to diagnose problems in chemical processes in a high-fidelity and safe manner using Virtual Reality. The project aims to sharpen real-life problem solving and design skills in engineering students, so they are workplace-ready for employment in the industrial sectors relating to Chemical Engineering in Ontario.

"We are currently in development but have started the layout of the new space. We have partnered with St. Lawrence College and the Royal Military College of Canada for this project and are meeting regularly with all stakeholders." - Michael Chabot, Extended Realities Developer

This project will create a new online undergraduate course that will support the new Indigenous Studies major that launched at Queen's University in the fall term. This Indigenous-led online course will attend to the role of decolonial thought and practice in building more just, equitable, and socially responsible communities in settler colonial states such as Canada.

Importantly, this project responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) 2015 'Calls to Action' report, which calls on post-secondary institutions to provide educational opportunities related to topics and issues significant to Indigenous Peoples and their communities.

Following best practices for Indigenous pedagogy for online learning, this timely, innovative, and culturally relevant course will be accessible to learners across Ontario and Canada. Students will gain valuable knowledge and skills that prepare and empower them to make personal and systemic changes for a more equitable and sustainable future.

"This project is challenging the project team with the work of finding innovative ways to honour and advance Indigenous ways of knowing and pedagogies in online environments. It is bringing together Queen's experts in curriculum development and design for online learning with Indigenous professors, allies, Indigenous graduate students and community members to do this in a respectful way where they are always discussing ideas, challenges and strategies, learning from each other.

To date, they have mapped out different instructional and assessment tools that are focused on guiding students to do the deep, critical, self-reflective work that is required in helping advance decolonization. As the lead content expert, I am using some short vlog-style films situated in my home community of Nezaadiikaang (Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation) to teach about settler-colonialism and decolonization from lads significant to me and my family. This is a strategy that will help learners connect the dots between theory and lived experience. Michelle Kennedy (Oneida Nation of the Thames) and Nicole Wemigwans (Wikwemikong Unceded Territory) are two Indigenous PhD graduate students (Cultural Studies) new to Queen's who are involved in the project and learning key skills in curriculum planning that will both complement their coursework and research and help prepare them for their future roles in academia." - Celete Pedri-Spade, Associate Professor

Racism, discrimination and microaggressions experienced by underrepresented nursing students contribute to loss of confidence, and feelings of sadness and anger. These experiences affect the students' ability to learn, academic performance, and personal wellness. There is a need for innovative and accessible resources that provide instruction and critical thinking regarding racism and microaggressions.

This includes providing resources for underrepresented nursing students regarding how to navigate situations where racism and microaggressions occur, as well as resources for faculty and peers to recognize and support students who are experiencing racism and microaggressions. The use of eLearning and simulation games have successfully been used to provide education and problem solving in healthcare when interacting with many different groups of individuals, including the LGBTQI2S community.

This project aims to develop, implement, and evaluate an eLearning module with virtual simulation games regarding how to respond effectively to microaggressions in healthcare clinical and classroom settings.

"The CHARM Nursing project is a co-creative eLearning module including four virtual simulation games by faculty and students from Queen's University and the University of Ottawa. The overarching goal of the project is to prepare nursing students to respond effectively to racism and microaggressions in clinical and classroom settings. To date the team has written learning outcomes, decision point maps and scripts for the four virtual simulation games. One of the four virtual simulation games was filmed in August and involves a patient making inappropriate statements to a nursing student who is Black. Other games involve bystanders witnessing microaggressions in order to help them to support the recipients." - Dr. Marian Luctkar-Flude, Associate Professor

The Regional Assessment and Resource Centre (RARC) at Queen's University has been successfully running transition programs for students with disabilities across Ontario for 19 years. In 2020, in partnership with Queen's Student Accessibility Services, RARC developed Setting Yourself Up for Success (SYUS), a self-directed online course to help students with disabilities and other under-represented populations transition successfully to Queen's University, generally, and virtual learning, specifically. Building off the success of this course, RARC endeavours to design a comprehensive bilingual transition course for all students entering any post-secondary program in Ontario. In partnership with the Northern Assessment and Resource Centre (NOARC) at Cambrian College, RAR will create an online course that leaves all Ontario students feeling significantly more prepared, informed, and confident as they begin their first semester of post-secondary studies.

"EYES ON PSE will cover content relevant to all students transitioning to the post-secondary environment but will also link to institution-specific and community-based resources. The EYES team has been hard at work meeting with subject matter experts and developing engaging content. We are currently designing the learning experience via OnQ (available to other institutions via their own learning management system). This design phase includes not only presenting information but also sourcing and adding in images, creating engaging activities, and ensuring the overall visual appeal creates a course that students are drawn to.

Our hope for this program in the next month is to begin a pilot with five other Ontario institutions (colleges and universities) and receive feedback from students. From that feedback, we will make appropriate edits and scale this to be distributed to all Ontario institutions for the following year. We are very excited to see how far-reaching this program can be!" - Marie McCarron, Clinical Services Manager, RARC