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Province announces $1.25M to fund 3 Laurentian research projects

Grants going to a health-care simulation project, a film project about decolonization and virtual learning study
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The government of Ontario is aiding the work of researchers from Laurentian University by awarding grants to three novel projects. 

The grants, totalling $1,246,775, are awarded through the auspices of eCampus Ontario, the province's multilateral online learning portal. This work will lead to a positive outcome for students and researchers alike, said a press release from the university.

The projects coming to light thanks to these grants cover a diverse range of topics and goals:

  • Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health’s (CROSH) Collaborative Health-care Simulation - Advanced Post-Secondary Virtual Reality Modules - $1,078,000
  • The Stories of Decolonization Film Project - $25,000
  • Virtual Learning Strategy Funding - Targeted Supports for Digital Capacity - $143,775

Collaborative Healthcare Simulation: Led by the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH), this project includes the development of twelve immersive and interactive virtual reality training modules for use in Nursing (RN), Respiratory Therapy (RT) and other allied health programs across Ontario. The bundle of modules targets both undergraduate and graduate programs and utilizes the latest advancements in immersive technologies. The resultant modules are flexible enough to be used across institutions at no extra cost, while also being suited to use in remote or northern areas where access to simulation training is limited. During the current COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, this technology will allow students and workers to engage in live, synchronous immersive scenario training at home or abroad. CROSH is partnering with Lumeto, Inc., as well as Georgian College and the Michener Institute of Education at University Health Network. Nicole Lafrenière, RN, BScN, CHSE, from the School of Nursing and Allied Health, is the principal investigator on this project.

The Stories of Decolonization Film Project: this two-part, multilingual documentary series sheds light on the ongoing negative impacts of colonialism. It includes curriculum guides which will be available in English and French, and two films with optional subtitles in French, Anishinaabemowin, Cree, and English. Thanks to distribution through eCampusOntario, the material will be widely accessible and allow institutions greater ability to to share important ideas about decolonization. The project is a collaborative effort involving Social Work researcher Elizabeth Carlson-Manathara, as well as her collaborators Gladys Rowe and Teddy Zegeye-Gebrehiwot.

Virtual Learning Strategy Funding - Targeted Supports for Digital Capacity: Laurentian University will be able to expand its digital learning footprint thanks to this grant. It will allow for the creation of two full-time bilingual teaching positions - one in Instructional Design, and one in Media Design and Development. This will subsequently lead to the creation of somewhere between 15 – 30 new online non-credit micro-credential courses over the next few years. Bettina Brockerhoff-Macdonald, Director of Laurentian's Centre for Continuing Learning, will oversee this expansion.

“We thank eCampusOntario for their investment in virtual learning, which will enable Laurentian and our partner institutions to advance opportunities for students studying in French, English, Anishinaabemowin and Cree, particularly in rural and remote communities,” said Dr. Tammy Eger, Vice-President of Research for Laurentian University, in a press release.

“I’m proud to see the efforts of our staff rewarded with these grants,” said Joël Dickinson, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Laurentian University, in the press release.

“The funding will allow the development of non-credit courses that will greatly benefit northern communities."