University of Alberta Blended Learning Award

A Provost’s Digital Learning Committee (PDLC) has been established by the Provost to support the implementation of digital learning activities more broadly across the University of Alberta. To support this initiative, the PDLC has created the University of Alberta Blended Learning Awards.

2014 University of Alberta Blended Learning Award Recipients

Funding Call Fall 2013:

The University of Alberta Blended Learning Award is a new teaching and learning opportunity for faculty members at the University of Alberta who are interested in receiving support from the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) for the purpose of redeveloping a current undergraduate course into a blended learning format.

This call is targeted toward high enrolment undergraduate courses (courses that are typically multi-sectioned and 500+ student enrolments in an academic year).  There may be a single lead instructor but it is expected that there will be a team of instructors as appropriate for the course.  Courses should be foundational in a program of study and thus have the potential to widely impact the undergraduate student learning experience.

This is year one of an anticipated three-year initiative. In this first year a minimum of four (4) courses will be selected for redevelopment. The maximum cost of CTL mediated support for each course redevelopment will be $75,000. The award is adjudicated by the PDLC.

Download the University of Alberta Blended Learning Award application form here.

Important Dates:

  • November 28, 2013 - Call for Proposals (Application Form available for download here)
  • December 5, 2013 - Blended Learning Symposium (Potential applicants are highly encouraged to attend)
  • February 13, 2014 - Submission Deadline (Email to ctl.blended@ualberta.ca)
  • March 13, 2014 - Notification of Results
  • April 1, 2014 - Funding cycle begins

Additional questions and requests for consultation should be sent to ctl.blended@ualberta.ca

Questions & Answers

What model of blended learning will be funded?  
There are a number of definitions of blended learning. The format of blended learning that PDLC will fund is one in which there is a reduction in face-to-face contact time with students with a complementary increase in online delivery of content and instruction. PDLC has adopted this definition because this format has the potential for institution wide transformation of learning experiences.  

If I put some of my lectures online, does this mean I continue to lecture during face-to-face classes?
This is not the intention of blended learning. Increasing online delivery of content and instruction create the conditions for more flexibility and creativity in the use of face-to-face time to enhance the in-class experience. Face-to-face time should be used differently to enhance student learning of content (e.g. problem solving and application of content) and the difference should be reflected in the proposal. 

What does “receive support” from CTL mean?  
During the development of your proposal you should consult with CTL (ctl.blended@ualberta.ca). The academic lead for this initiative is Associate Director (Educational Technology), Norma Nocente. There are also experienced Educational Developers on staff who can provide guidance and advice.  CTL will help you think about your course and prompt you to think about how the course might be redeveloped into a blended learning format. CTL will also provide guidance in developing a budget to support the redevelopment you are proposing (e.g., the kinds of personnel you will need to develop online learning objects, how much time and potential cost of time).  

If you are successful in the competition and are funded by PDLC, the funding is mediated by CTL. That is, funds will be channeled to CTL to provide the supports you need. For example, if you need to develop sophisticated visual objects and have budgeted for this, CTL will either provide the staff to make the objects if expertise is local or will find and contract out the task so that the job gets done. Of course you have a say in these decisions and it will be a collaborative process. The important thing is that the job gets done and instructors receive the supports to get the job done. The goal is for instructors to come up with the ideas and for CTL to help operationalize those ideas. 

To qualify under this call, must a course be 500+ student enrolments a year?  
PDLC has chosen to target high throughput courses to maximize the potential to widely impact the undergraduate student learning experience. 500+ student enrolments is not set in stone and is intended to provide a benchmark for “high throughput”.  PDLC will look at the rationale and justification for proposals for courses with less than 500+ and merit of the proposal will be more important than the actual number of student enrolments. It is unlikely for this call, however, that courses with less than 100 enrolments will fit the spirit of “high throughput”.  

What is meant by a team of instructors?  
For a high throughput, multi-sectioned, foundational course it is unlikely that one instructor alone could unilaterally be the instructor of a redeveloped blended learning course.  All instructors who have a future stake in the course must cooperatively work together in the redevelopment and agree to work as a team in the delivery of the course after redevelopment. The letter of support from the Chair and/or Dean should support the configuration and future teaching plans of the team. 

Is this seed funding award a one-time initiative?  
It is anticipated that this is year one of a three-year initiative.  

The maximum budget for each course redevelopment must be $75,000. What if the course redevelopment costs more?    
Based on the costs of the DLP:R&D blended learning course pilots, a course redevelopment should be possible within this amount. If the cost is more, there must be agreement from the Chair and/or Dean of the Faculty for top up funding in order for the proposal to be considered by PDLC.  

What is a service course?  
A service course is a course offered by a particular faculty that is included as a requirement in the programs of one or more other faculties. For example, 100 level Statistics is offered by the Faculty of Science. 100 level Statistics is required by a number of programs outside of the Faculty of Science. 

The evaluation criteria says the course must fit into the University of Alberta’s timetable and only formats that do not create course conflicts will be considered. What does this mean?  
Example formats that do not cause conflict are these:   

The course runs 9:30-10:50 am, Tuesdays and Thursdays. In the redevelopment the instructor(s) have decided to make ½ of the delivery online. Face-to-face contact time happens then 9:30-10:50 either on Tuesdays or Thursdays during the term.  

The course runs 10:00-10:50 Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays. In the redevelopment the instructors(s) have decided to make 1/3 of the delivery online and not to have Friday classes. Face-to-face contact continues to happen Mondays and Wednesdays 10:00-10:50. 

Is teaching release an acceptable budget item?  
Course redevelopment is an expected activity of instructors and should not normally garner course release (teaching relief). Because of the time commitment of a redevelopment into a blended learning format for a high throughput course, however, one teaching relief per team is an acceptable budget item.  

A final course launch can be no later than September 2015. What do you mean by a small-scale pilot?  
A team may choose to launch a section of the blended course during intersession as a pilot, for example. Refinements and lessons learned from a pilot with a single section are valuable before roll out of a multi-sectioned blended course.  

What is the submission deadline?  
The deadline for submission is 4:30 pm, February 13, 2014. Submit your application by email to ctl.blended@ualberta.ca