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

The National Research Council (NRC) invites Indigenous language communities in Canada (including First Nations, Inuit, and Michif-speaking communities) to apply for a new initiative: the initiative for Creating Online Indigenous Language Courses (COILC initiative).

Apply using the web-based application form

Download the PDF application form

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. Although there is no commitment for ongoing funding of COILC, our intent is to support as many communities as possible in creating online language courses. The current call for applications is Round 1 of COILC.

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 are launching this initiative with a pilot round, which will test the viability of a larger, second round of funding. For the pilot round of funding, 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: During this round of funding, 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). 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”.

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

To simplify the application process, we have split it into two parts: Part A and Part B. Part A is the short application that you can complete by clicking on the web-based or PDF application forms above. Finalists from Part A will be invited to fill out a longer application, Part B.

We will keep all applications from the pilot round! If your language is not chosen for the pilot, we will automatically consider it for the larger, second round of funding.

The 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.

To apply, please fill in the Part A application. If you are completing the web-based form, you will be able to submit it online. If you are completing the PDF application form, please send it to:

By email:


By mail:
Roland Kuhn
1200 Montreal Road
Building M-50, Room 384
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R6

IMPORTANT: If you mail your application, please call 613 993-0821 so we know to expect it.

If you have questions or comments about the application process, before or after you apply, please contact:

Roland Kuhn
Principal Research Officer
Project Lead, Canadian Indigenous Languages Technology Project
Telephone: 613-993-0821

Anna Kazantseva
Research Officer, Text Analytics
Telephone: 250-363-3436

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