AU Celebrates the Completion of CAF and KIP Projects
Projects Transforming AU’s E-Learning Capacities
Staff, friends and partners of AU came together on March 11 to celebrate the completion of Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) and Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) projects that are transforming the university.
AU’s CAF projects are finishing March 31, and several of AU’s KIP projects will wrap up by the end of the month as well. More than 150 people, including CAF and KIP staff from work sites in Athabasca, Grande Prairie, St. Paul and Edmonton, gathered in Athabasca to commemorate the enormous amount of work that’s been done in bolstering AU’s online teaching and learning infrastructure.
“Transforming a university in transition from the print to the e-world is extraordinarily challenging,” said AU president Dr. Frits Pannekoek. “The university, as a result of this work, will truly be the envy of the rest of the world.”
“The CAF and KIP projects are transformational because they’re helping us become a predominantly online institution,” added Brian Stewart, vice-president of information technology and chief information officer of AU.
Together, the CAF and KIP programs have funded more than 40 projects. The projects have accomplished feats such as converting the bulk of AU’s courses into a consistent online format that will help to streamline course development and delivery (CAF Course Materials Digitization project). A suite of KIP projects involving the Alfresco content management system is upgrading the management of course materials and other documents. Another project is enabling AU to monitor how students interact with online courses, providing valuable data for helping the university to improve online course design (KIP Moodle Analytics project).
Some KIP projects are continuing past March 31 in alignment with the Government of Canada’s decision to move the deadline for KIP projects to October 31, 2011. The projects still underway after March will bring about further information and communication technology improvements that will support teaching, learning, research, student services and administration.
In addition to transforming the university, the CAF and KIP programs have stimulated Alberta’s economy by creating more than 120 jobs (over 90 for CAF and over 30 for KIP), many in rural areas, for people with a wide range of skills.
Many regular AU staff members have also played a vital role in the CAF and KIP projects. Dr. Dietmar Kennepohl, AU’s associate vice-president, academic, thanked these staff for taking on the extra work the projects required. “Some folks at AU had to do their regular job and then some, and they did that for over a year,” Kennepohl said.
The Government of Canada’s Community Adjustment Fund was launched in 2009 as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan for counteracting the recession. All projects were required to wrap up by March 31, 2011. A total of $6.4 million was made available for CAF projects at AU through the Community Adjustment Fund, the Government of Alberta’s Access to the Future Fund and other sources.
The Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) was also launched in 2009 as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. AU received $7.65 million through KIP to fund improvements to the university’s Open Knowledge Environment (OKE). AU’s OKE KIP projects have been funded both through KIP dollars and other sources.
“We’re very grateful for the funding we received from both of these programs, because this work is critical and crucial to the ongoing success of Athabasca University,” said Stewart.
Watch for more information about the completion of KIP projects on this website.
AU’s CAF Projects: The Results
- Course Materials Digitization: Over 500 of AU’s 730 courses were converted to a consistent XML format that will help to streamline course development and delivery. This significantly surpasses the original project goal of converting 450 courses.
- Copyright Materials Digitization: Over 430,000 pages of copyright documents related to course materials were digitized so they can be accessed through a database. This is well beyond the original project goal of digitizing 200,000 pages.
- Showcase Courses: A total of 25 subprojects developed interactive, multimedia learning resources—for example, learning trees and multiple choice exercises incorporating audio and animations—for 17 of AU's highest-registration online courses. (For the full story on Showcase Courses, see Going Beyond Text: CAF Project Produces a Variety of Learning Enhancements.)
- Academic Centre Web Content Conversion: The web content for nine academic centres was revamped and relaunched in AU’s new web template. This work involved over 2,700 webpages and about 40 websites counting the sites within the sites.
- Calendar Web Content Conversion: The undergraduate and graduate calendars—about 500 webpages in total—were converted to AU’s new web template.
- Syllabi Web Content Conversion: About 700 online syllabi were converted to XML files that plug into AU’s new web template.
- Over 90 CAF jobs: More than 90 positions (the equivalent of almost 80 full-time positions) were created by CAF, and over the course of the program, 123 people filled CAF positions in Athabasca, Grande Prairie, St. Paul and Edmonton.