To support 4-VA’s goals of defining instructional models, expanding access, and improving STEM success, 4-VA at VT has chosen to fund course redesign grants. Course redesign grants support the redesign of courses, or specific course elements, in STEM, a foreign language, or a closely related field and require the support of the applicant’s department and college. In the 2017-2018 cycle, priority will be given to courses that provide opportunities for real-world simulations, instrumented learning, or learning analytics applications.
A considerable amount of research on using data to make measurable improvements to student learning outcomes has been facilitated by the Simon Initiative at Carnegie Mellon. The initiative aims to harness cross-disciplinary, learning-engineering efforts to make it possible for learning science to continually inform innovative instructional practice in an ongoing exchange. One of the Simon Initiative’s flagship projects is the Open-Learning Initiative (OLI). OLI offers open, online courses to anyone, where the content is coupled with feedback and hints that are powered by 15+ years of data collection, analysis and course refinement.
Both the product (OLI platform and courses) and the process (instrumentation and analysis of learning activities) align with the goals of 4-VA and Virginia Tech. The focus of this grant is on facilitating the exploration of this pedagogical approach. Implementation might take any of several forms but at a minimum will include a hypothesis-driven instrumentation of a learning activity. This must be done in such a way that analytical, empirical assessment of teaching and learning activities leads to an improvement of the learning experience or course. For example, a hypothesis on improving students’ comprehension of a difficult concept or reducing students’ common mistakes will be gathered and assessed through analog or digital means and used to improve the learning experience or the course.
Successful project proposals will include a 2-year commitment. Grantees will be deeply involved in a hands-on, team-based design process. We anticipate that the first year will primarily involve taking baseline measurements, the agile development of an “instrumented” module, and assessment planning. The second year will focus on the delivery and assessment of the “instrumented” module. Throughout the process, grantees may expect to have dedicated team members to assist with development and support.
Given the lack of common language and familiarity with these concepts, it is suggested that interested faculty reach out to the 4-VA team to discuss and refine ideas for proposals.
Once the proposal is submitted, the Campus Coordinators work with a small group of faculty reviewers to review submitted grant proposals (Rubric used by our reviewers).
The Campus Coordinators compile the suggestions and feedback from reviewers and use the information to guide recommendations for grant receipt
The Campus Coordinators then submit all received proposals—including recommended grantees—to the TLOS Stakeholders Committee to approve the recommended grants
Upon approval, recipients and Department Heads must sign a Memorandum of Understanding before funds are released.
Funds for approved grants are released to the grantee(s) and grant work is permitted to commence
The Deputy Campus Coordinator and 4-VA Assessment Coordinator work with the grantees throughout the year(s) to monitor progress and document outcomes.
Proposed work may be to develop reusable course modules, or full courses.
Recipients must attend Instructional Design and Accessibility trainings as well as work closely with Learning Experience Design and Assistive Technologies in order to pass quality assurance and accessibility reviews.
Upon completion, the (re)designed course must pass a quality assurance review and an accessibility review.
4-VA Awardees are not eligible to receive additional TLOS grant funds for the proposed work.
Active dissemination will be a major project outcome. At minimum, funded projects will have a defined, continuous dissemination plan for the 4-VA community. This includes participation in assessment activities as well as generating mid-term and annual reports.
Finished courses/modules shall have a Creative Commons license no more restrictive than BY-NC-SA. This means that, at minimum level, the courses/modules shall be made available for non-commercial use provided that proper attribution is made to the course developers, and that if new content is derived from these courses/modules, the derived content shall have a Creative Commons licence no more restrictive than the original courses/modules.
4-VA at Virginia Tech expects to offer anywhere between 2 to 4 course redesign grants during the 2017-2018 academic year. The expected amount of allocation for each grant is between $50,000 to $100,000.