Frequently asked questions may be added to this section over time, based on any frequently asked questions that have been received via email.

The focus for this call is on courses that align with national strategic priorities in teaching and learning, incorporate the latest developments in their respective areas, and reach a wide national audience, including the training of future facilitators.

Yes, for proposals under the ‘Updating Existing Open Courses’ and ‘Large Scale Course Delivery’ categories, it is expected that you will have already participated in the course and been awarded the facilitator digital badge. While it is not necessary for those in the development team or acting in a supporting role, it is expected that the lead developer and facilitators involved in the delivery will have previously earned the facilitator badge.

For proposals under the ‘New Open Course Development’ and ‘Updating Existing Open Courses’ categories, the minimum rollout is 30 enrolments. For proposals under the ‘Large Scale Course Delivery’ category, the minimum rollout is 150 enrolments.

Under the ‘Updating Existing Open Courses’ category, the original four digital badge criteria and the alignment of content and activities to these criteria should remain consistent to maintain the integrity of the course, preserving the integrity of the original course. These criteria are central to the learning objectives of the course and are key to earning the digital badge. Therefore, any updates or changes to the course should not alter or compromise these criteria. The course updates should essentially enhance learning while maintaining the original course’s objectives and standards.

Updates can be made to reflect the latest developments in the area of teaching and learning. This could include:

  • Content Updates: You may revise, expand, or replace course content to ensure it reflects the most current knowledge, research, and best practices in the field.
  • Pedagogical Enhancements: You could introduce new teaching methods or learning activities that have been shown to improve student engagement and learning outcomes.
  • Technology Integration: You might consider implementing new digital tools that can enhance the online learning experience.
  • Assessment Modifications: Changes might be made to the ways in which student learning is assessed to align with current best practices.
  • Accessibility Improvements: Updates could include making the course more accessible to learners with different abilities, such as by providing transcripts for videos, using accessible text formats, etc.

Yes, proposals under the ‘Large Scale Course Delivery’ category may consider updates to the existing course content. However, the integrity of the original course must be preserved, which means the original four digital badge criteria and the alignment of content and activities to these criteria should remain consistent.

Each proposal should ensure the final development output includes deliverables in three delivery modes (online, face-to-face/blended, and self-study), ensuring accessibility and flexibility for future participants. However, the delivery component of this call is expected to be facilitator-led and conducted entirely online via the National Forum VLE.

Those considering submission are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the development guide provided in this call to inform their application.

Yes, you can still apply. The key requirement is that you nominate a lead developer from an institution that does receive core public funding, which will receive funding for course development from the HEA. This lead developer must be fully agreed upon and must provide a letter of support for your application. This agreement signifies the collaboratively shared responsibility for the course development and delivery between your organisation and the core public funding institution. To see a list of eligible institutions that receive core public funding, please visit HEA Higher Education Institutions.

There is a funding allocation of up to a maximum of €20,000 per successful proposal.

Open Courses should appeal to a broad audience and encourage enrolment across the sector. The inclusion of participants from the private higher education and further education sectors is also welcomed.

Yes, the facilitators for the delivery component can be different from the team who develop the course. However, it’s important to note that the lead developer bears the responsibility of ensuring that the Open Course is fully developed and delivered in accordance with the conditions of funding.

For proposals under the ‘New Open Course Development’ and ‘Updating Existing Open Courses’ categories, it is expected that there will be a minimum of two facilitators for the delivery component given a minimum of 30 enrolments. For proposals under the ‘Large Scale Course Delivery’ category, in addition to a national course coordination team, it is anticipated that they will support a network of regional/institutional facilitators, each with their own cohort of participants. The allocation of facilitators should be appropriate to the size of the cohort.

The funding for this initiative can be used to cover a range of costs directly associated with the development and delivery of the Open Course. Permissible expenditures include, but are not limited to costs related to the creation and development of course content.

However, it is important to note that there are some costs that are not covered by this funding. These include:

  • Software licensing and equipment costs: This funding is not intended to cover the costs of software licenses or equipment required for the course.
  • Time buyouts of staff already employed and under contract with institutions: The funding does not cover costs associated with relieving staff from their existing duties at their institution.

Please ensure that all expenditures align with these guidelines, as well as the general conditions of funding provided by the National Forum. If you have specific questions about what costs can be covered by the funding, please contact the National Forum directly for clarification.

On completion of the expenditure no later than 31 December 2024, a project report, which includes a summary of the expenditure, must be provided to the National Forum. Any unused funding must be returned to the National Forum.

All materials developed for the Open Course must be open access and carry a Creative Commons Attribution (cc-by) license. This license allows others to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon your work, as long as they credit you for the original creation. For any other materials used in the course, it is important to ensure they also carry an appropriate license that allows for reuse and future reuse. This includes, but is not limited to, images, videos, text from publications, and other multimedia. Any use of such materials should respect the terms of the license under which they are shared, and proper credits must be given where required. Please note that you must not use copyrighted materials unless you have obtained explicit permission from the copyright holder. It is your responsibility to check the licensing of any third-party materials you wish to include in your course and to obtain any necessary permissions.

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