6.4 – Funding Development & Support

The funding approach and how development is supported in an institution will also play a role in determining what kind of core project team can be brought together. For example, in many universities it is often common for project teams to be composed of people who are hired specifically for the project (typically on part-time or limited term contracts).  Because the money that supports the project is soft, i.e., it is short-term as opposed to long-term funding, it is not typically possible to create long-term positions. This has a negative impact on continuity, as it is difficult to retain those people who have gained experience working on a project year to year. However, the flexibility of this soft-funding makes it easier to hire and support students. Another common approach to supporting the development of fully online e-learning projects is to have them resourced using a combination of professors, whose time is acquired to work on a project through buy-out or course release, with the support of a professional development group from a centre that has long-term, permanent staff. By positioning such staff in a centre or unit to support e-learning development, an institution is able to maintain a consistent level of quality resources to support on-going development year-to-year. Such a resource, however, depends upon predictable, on-going funding from the institution.