Call for applications: Initiative for Creating Online Indigenous Language Courses (COILC initiative)


The Call for applications for the Creating Online Indigenous Languages Courses (COILC) initiative is now closed. Thank you to all Indigenous language communities who submitted an application.

Next steps:

  • Finalists from Part A of the application process: In the coming weeks, the NRC project team will be in contact with finalists from Part A of the application process, in order to complete Part B. Following evaluation of Part B applications, up to five communities will be selected to participate in the COILC initiative.
  • If your application was not selected as a finalist, the NRC project team will notify you in the coming weeks.

About the COILC initiative

COILC is part of the federal government's commitment to support Indigenous languages, as announced in Budget 2017 budget. Through this initiative, the NRC will fund selected community teams who wish to create online courses for their languages. The NRC is also undertaking several other initiatives as part of its Canadian Indigenous Languages Technology Project. Our intent is to support as many communities as possible in creating online language courses.

The NRC has partnered with the experts at 7000 Languages, a non-profit, non-Indigenous organization based in the United States that creates such courses for endangered languages around the world (see Participation in 7000 Languages' programs is always free, but it is a time-consuming and collaborative process. 7000 Languages depends on speakers of the language to create content — such as vocabulary lists and audio recordings — in order to develop a course. NRC will support community teams in this process by paying team members at an hourly rate for their contributions.

We will choose up to five languages. The communities that are chosen will primarily be interacting with 7000 Languages personnel, though employees from the NRC will also be involved.

NOTE: We will choose no more than two languages from a single region, to ensure diversity and coverage of Indigenous languages across the country. (Your "region" is the location of the community member that is applying). The regions are:

  • Region 1: British Columbia
  • Region 2: West-Central (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba)
  • Region 3: East-Central (Ontario, Quebec)
  • Region 4: Atlantic (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Labrador)
  • Region 5: Northern (Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon)

About 7000 Languages

7000 Languages began as a charitable initiative within a commercial company, Transparent Language. It is now an independent non-profit organization that connects language communities with the technology to teach, learn, and revive their languages. Their most popular program is the Course Creation Program, which uses software donated by Transparent Language to create free language-learning courses.

Course Creation

Creating a course takes 50-100 hours of work, or 6-12 months if worked on by volunteers.

We usually start with a curriculum template, which communities can edit to fit their language and culture.

Content Rights

Communities will retain ownership of all the content they create (including text and recordings). The legal details are described in the next two paragraphs. Each community can create unlimited free user accounts for the finished course. 7000 Languages also publishes courses, where anyone can access them for free. Finally, courses are included in the education and library subscriptions distributed by Transparent Language. This means that students and library patrons will see these languages included under Transparent Language's list of "languages of the world".

Specifically, ownership of all data created, recorded, and entered remains with the team that created it in the community. In Canadian law, this means the right to make copies ("copyright"), which is the right to allow others to make copies, and related rights. However, in order to allow online and offline distribution of the content to teachers and students, the creators will need to grant a license to 7000 Languages and Transparent Language (the company that makes the software and online portal that 7000 Languages uses). This license allows 7000 Languages and Transparent Language to make copies of the content and distribute it. This does not transfer ownership of the content to 7000 Languages or Transparent Language, and does not prevent the creators from using the content in other ways (for example, it does not prevent them from also using the course content in their own materials, or with another online course provider). The content will always be available online for students to access at no charge.

However, it should be noted that the license does not prohibit 7000 Languages and Transparent Language from also having versions available for purchase. In particular, Transparent Language compiles a "Languages of the World" bundle containing courses for more than 100 languages; the license allows your created course content to be included in this product. It should also be noted that the license to Transparent Language is irrevocable, meaning that creators cannot back out of the agreement later and remove their language from the multilingual course bundle. If this irrevocability is problematic for your community, applications for courses developed by content providers other than 7000 Languages will be considered.

If you have questions about the course creation process or the rights and licenses, please contact:

Alexa Little
Executive Director, 7000 Languages

How to Apply

The application process includes Part A and Part B. Part A is a short application designed to establish a list of finalists. Finalists from Part A will be invited to fill out a longer application, Part B.

The Part A application deadline is September 30, 2018. Applications received after this date will not be accepted.

We will be most likely to pick Indigenous languages for which an effective online language course does not already exist. Not all team members will need to have computer skills, but at least one member should be comfortable with Skype and Google spreadsheets. Internet access is also required.