Scheduled Projects

Scheduled Projects is one of two approaches faculty you choose when working with CEL in preparation to teach online. Once a year, CEL will formally invite all faculties and affiliated and federated institutions of Waterloo (AFIW) to submit project proposals for the upcoming academic year. Proposed projects may include

  • development of a new fully online course, complete redevelopment of an existing online course, or significant revisions to an existing online course; 
  • conversion of a remote teaching course into an ongoing, fully online course; or 
  • development of stand-alone online learning components (e.g., for a blended course). 

Proposing a Project

CEL’s intake process for the 2023/2024 academic year is now complete. Details for the 2024/2025 intake will be sent to faculties and AFIW early in the Winter 2024 term.

Working on a Scheduled Project

Authors working on scheduled projects will have the full support of a dedicated course development team and a guaranteed project completion date. As such, it's important that authors are able to keep pace with project deliverables, meet associated milestones, and respond to CEL queries in a timely manner.

  • For a new course or the redevelopment of an existing online course, a standardized timeline for scheduled projects and associated milestones applies. These are briefly described on our Creating an Online Course page.
  • For scheduled projects that are not full courses, timelines and milestones will be outlined at the beginning of those projects.

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I start this process?

Once your dean’s office approves your project for an allocation slot, you (as the author) or your department’s delegate can submit the Scheduled Projects Request Form via the link sent to the dean’s office. Once this is complete, CEL will contact you with further directions.

What do I submit for my proposal? 

Project proposals must be in a good state of readiness before the start of their development period. This means that all the information in the applicable Proposal Phase criteria has been provided to CEL. If you're considering submitting a project proposal, please review the criteria for your project type first particularly the required sample learning materials, as these typically take the most time to prepare.

Where do I submit my proposal?

Once the Scheduled Projects Request Form has been submitted, our Program Intake Manager will set up a collaborative OneDrive space where the proposal criteria will be collected. Deans, dean’s delegates, authors, and any contributors/collaborators identified in the Scheduled Projects Request Form will have access to this space.

Who can help me prepare my proposal?

During the Proposal Phase you can email our Program Intake Manager (PIM), who can address your questions.

If you're new to online learning (or you haven't created a course in a while) and don't know where or how to start creating online materials, the PIM can connect you with CEL resources and support throughout the Proposal Phase, including

  • consultations with an Online Learning Consultant (OLC) who can provide preliminary instructional design advice;
  • ready-made templates to help frame your materials and provide structure to your content;
  • access to course examples within our learning platforms where you can see how the pieces come together; and
  • workshops for new authors (or those seeking new strategies) for creating online course materials.

Can I see examples of courses that have been developed?

Yes. Access to our author demo site is available, which showcases course examples in our learning platforms. These examples have been chosen to demonstrate good practices. Email our Program Intake Manager to request access to the site.

Are there templates I can follow for my sample learning materials?

CEL provides instructions and templates to help you prepare your learning materials for submission:

There is no template for the representative week of course content. If you have questions about the templates or how to get started preparing sample learning materials, please email our Program Intake Manager (PIM) who can address your questions and connect you with CEL resources and staff.

How much time should I expect to spend preparing my proposal?

The time required will vary depending on the type of proposal and how much material you already have to leverage. Review the Proposal Phase Criteria for your proposal type. If you are creating a new course or redeveloping an existing online course, you will need to provide a course schedule, a draft assessment plan, and a representative week of learning materials. These items will take the most time. You will be supported by an OLC who can provide instructional design advice to help you prepare these. You should expect to meet with the OLC at least once during the Proposal Phase.

Which project proposals will be accepted? 

CEL will review all proposals and contact the dean’s office and/or course author if further clarification is required or if any details are missing in the submission. In light of the high demand for CEL support, only project proposals that are in a good state of readiness by the end of May (for Batch A) or the end of September (for Batch B) will be accepted. 

If efforts to complete a submission fall short of the deadline, CEL may recommend that a project be resubmitted in the future. Further support can be provided for preparing the proposal for the next intake cycle.

Why do I need to complete a Course Development Agreement?

For a new course, the redevelopment of an existing online course, or a remote teaching to fully online course conversion, the completion of the Course Development Agreement (sample - PDF 840 kb) is required before work can begin. This agreement between the course author and the department ensures that intellectual property rights and responsibilities and future teaching arrangements are understood by both parties, and the course is available for offer as needed, protecting program viability and the considerable investment that has been made by both the author(s) and the university.

What are stand-alone online learning components?

Stand-alone online learning components are discrete digital materials designed for online, on-campus, or blended-learning courses (e.g., interactions used in courses to supplement existing content, such as a series of videos, lectures, or animations to help explain key concepts or processes).

Why has CEL introduced a new intake model?

In the Fall 2021 academic year, CEL launched a new annual resource allocation and intake model for scheduled projects.

This model is based on feedback we received from faculty surveys and independent reviews which noted that increased time for authors to curate and prepare course materials was needed. We have also found through years of experience that providing authors with the tools and information they need to build course materials and supporting them with this process before we begin development is imperative for the success of these projects.

To that end, CEL introduced a Proposal Phase to both prepare and support you for the work ahead and ensure you’re ready to commit to the timelines and related milestones over the development cycle.

Why do proposals need the dean's approval?

Each year the university provides the faculties and AFIWs time allocations (what we call "slots") toward work that CEL can support. Deans then makes decisions on what proposals move forward based on the strategic priorities of their faculty or college.  

Can I submit a proposal for a future project?

With the shift to one annual intake cycle, CEL does not maintain a "wait list" for future projects. Please contact your dean's office to discuss your proposal and when it would be appropriate to submit.

Are there opportunities to combine smaller projects into one project slot?

We can likely combine two smaller projects into one project slot, but it will depend on the proposed scope and complexity. Proposals for smaller projects will also be assessed during the Proposal Phase, which will help define the scope and clarify whether the work needed (by both the author and CEL staff) will fit into a smaller slot.

While we'll endeavour to complete smaller projects earlier as resources allow, we can't complete multiple projects within one allocation slot at the same time. For example, if a department wants to use an allocation slot for two smaller projects of about the same scope, we could complete the first one over September to February, and the second one over March to August.

Working on a Scheduled Project

What is the required time commitment for scheduled projects?

CEL uses a project management approach with scheduled projects; this requires a structured, significant, and sustained time commitment from you, which will span three terms for a fully online course. It’s important that you carve out 7-10 hours per week to work on your course during the peak development times. We have prepared a timelines for scheduled projects so you can see both the timeline progression (a steady authoring pace with a 2-3 week window for each module), the milestone deliverables, and the guaranteed completion date. In addition to meeting the formal milestones, you should be prepared to quickly respond to CEL queries about the project (e.g., reviewing developed materials, suggestions from designers, or questions from copyright reviewers.)

Timelines for scheduled projects that are not full courses will be outlined at the beginning of those projects and will follow a similar structured and sustained time commitment from you.

What expertise does CEL provide during the development process?

CEL provides authors with expertise across the planning, design, development, and management of their projects. Our course development team consists of experts in instructional design, media development, learning management systems, copy editing, copyright, and project management.

What are the consequences of not meeting the project milestones?

If an approved project is not meeting the major milestones for success during the year, it might be that postponement or a different development model is a better fit.

This is okay; we have options to support you and understand that sometimes "life happens." Projects could potentially be postponed to another year or perhaps a more independent, agile development support model would be a better route.