Call for development of online and blended courses

30 July 2019 | DVC A/Prof Lis Lange

Dear colleagues

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Formal Online Education Project is a five-year initiative (2018–2022) funded by the Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Fund. The two focus areas which the project seeks to support are the development of online and blended courses at undergraduate level and fully online programmes at postgraduate level. The initiative commits substantial funding for online education expansion at UCT and includes:

  • incentivisation funding for UCT academics and departments through competitive bids for course and programme development from a common funding pool
  • centrally managed infrastructure investment, including platform development and enhancements, capacity building and evaluation.

This project is an opportunity to innovate in online and blended learning and to strengthen online education capacity. UCT is committed to improving access and reach, and using online methods to address key teaching and learning challenges. The first call in 2018 attracted 34 expressions of interest, of which seven proposals were funded.

How to participate

UCT academics and departments are invited to submit an expression of interest for support and seed funding to develop formal credit-bearing online courses or programmes at UCT. Submissions are due by 26 August 2019.

Viable expressions of interest will be offered support in the following ways:

  • assistance to develop the full proposal and documentation for accreditation as an online qualification (if needed)
  • assistance to scope and develop a budget
  • funding to investigate feasibility through market research
  • funding for staff time and/or academic buyout
  • online course and curriculum design support
  • video and visual materials production
  • planning student engagement and support
  • support for building a course/programme on a suitable online learning environment
  • training to run online courses and support students
  • support and advice for appointing the appropriate support staff (eg job descriptions for online coaches/facilitators, instructional designers).

The following criteria will be applied when evaluating the expressions of interest:

  • motivation: why this programme/course is suitable for a blended/online mode
  • an estimation of the likely demand
  • motivation of anticipated impacts of offering programmes/courses in an online mode (revenue, improved student outcomes, etc)
  • evidence of capacity: availability of a team willing to work on the development of the programme/course (for the sustainability of the enterprise, there should be more than one academic involved)
  • the support of the head of department.

Please note:

  • For undergraduate courses, the committee will be particularly looking at improving learning and student success, especially in large classes. Both blended and online modes will be considered.
  • For postgraduate programmes, the committee will consider whether there will be sufficient demand for the proposed programme to scale, achieve maximum sustainability and whether new markets will be reached. It is envisaged that postgraduate diplomas will be most appropriate for this format, although professional masterʼs applications may be considered. Programmes currently running in block release modes may also be considered for offering in a fully online mode.

Please note that stand-alone postgraduate courses will not be considered.

If the expression of interest is supported, you will be invited to collaborate with the Institutional Planning Department and the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) to develop a proposal (including a budget) before a final decision will be made to proceed with formal steps (such as programme accreditation).

To submit an expression of interest, please complete the online form by 26 August 2019.

For any enquiries, please contact Sukaina Walji, Online Education Project Manager at CILT via email on


Associate Professor Lis Lange
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

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