Call for Proposals Fall 2014

DLI EdTech Grants: Fall 2014 Call for Proposals

To facilitate the development of creative uses of educational technology, the Digital Learning Initiative (DLI) announces a grant program to fund Boston University faculty to develop and implement creative uses of educational technology in focused strategic areas. This program is the continuation of the CETLI seed grant program that was launched in Spring 2013. Information about previous CFPs (Spring 2013, Fall 2013) and funded projects is available here.

Please find below: Grant Focus Areas, Submission GuidelinesProposal Development and Selection Process,  Important Upcoming Dates

Fall 2014 EdTech Grant Focus Areas

Cluster I: Expanding BU’s Digital Learning Content Ecosystem

  • Focus Area 1: Developing new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). See this document for information and special submission guidelines for this focus area below.
  • Focus Area 2: Using MOOC technologies to generate revenue (e.g. proposals for “professional education” massive courses that people can take for a fee – see, for example, MIT’s recent data science “professional” MOOC and their edX-powered Professional Education Site). See this information and special submission guidelines for this focus area below.
  • Focus Area 3: Contributing online and/or digital “best of class” materials toward a repository of modules and/or learning objects for future use in building interdisciplinary courses (e.g. around themes such as data science, analytics, etc. – This would be a good target area for proposals from entire departments or Schools)

Cluster II: Enhancing Campus-based Learning using Digital Technology and Assets

  • Focus Area 4: Developing and/or using digital technologies to improve student experiences in large lecture hall courses.
  • Focus Area 5: Using MOOC technologies in residential courses (e.g., innovative repurposing of BU MOOC modules for on-campus classes; “flipping” or revising courses using existing MOOCs — whether these were produced by BU or by other institutions.)

Cluster III: Fostering Connections with Community and Industry

  • Focus Area 6: Using technology to connect students (and make their academic/creative work available) to world-wide communities online (e.g., innovative ideas for connecting students to real-life projects during their studies; using ‘crowdsourcing’ websites, such as Wikipedia and StackOverflow, as a training ground for students; developing online archives, exhibitions, performances curated and created by students)
  • Focus Area 7: Using technology to improve BU international student experience and retention (e.g. COM’s “welcome to BU” pre-matriculation course for international graduate students; increasing accessibility of courses for an international, non-native English-speaking student population)

Cluster IV: Learning Analytics Research and Experiments

  • Focus Area 8: Researching some aspect of learning using MOOCs or other on-line means, and the detailed data that these make available about learner behavior and outcomes; if you are curious but have never encountered this type of research before, please click here, here and here.

In addition to the above focus areas, we welcome any ideas you may have about how technology can be used to enhance our residential value proposition or reach new groups of learners.  We will make ourselves available to discuss your ideas (see schedule below).

Submission Guidelines

  • Concept Proposals should be no more than 2 pages.
  • Each proposal can be co-authored by several BU faculty or staff members but should designate a single corresponding author.
  • Proposals in Focus Areas 1 and 2 (MOOCs) should provide the following information (see this document for more information on how we produce MOOCs at BU):

1. A one paragraph description of the proposed course

2. The set of people that constitute the “course team” (including any assistants)

3. A draft week-by-week outline for the MOOC

4. Dates of faculty availability for production and initial offering (including a list of any other teaching commitments during those dates) – please expect that producing a MOOC is going to consume a substantial amount of faculty time during a period of 4-6 months

5. A statement that argues why this is a good MOOC candidate and discusses the expected demand for this course, other MOOCs that this course may be competing with, why your course offers a unique perspective on its subject, and the qualifications of the teaching team.

  • Proposals in other areas should provide a brief description of the idea, why you believe your idea can be of strategic value to BU, and (very important) how are you going to evaluate how successful you’ve been in implementing your idea, if funded.

Proposal Development and Selection Process

The proposal selection process is designed to stimulate thinking across the university and thus help the DLI chart a distinctive direction for BU, to foster the development of forward-looking experiments, and to allow us to “stage” experiments (one project building on another, smaller projects leading to larger projects) as BU’s capacity to develop projects grows.

The proposal development and selection process will proceed in three phases: the “Concept Phase,” the “Resource Phase,” and the “Execution Phase”, detailed below.

Concept Phase: Generation of Concepts and Submission of Proposals (Fall 2014)

  1. DLI will sponsor brainstorming sessions for all interested faculty to discuss project ideas and entertain questions in October and November (see schedule below).
  2. Faculty members submit a 1-2 page “Concept Proposal” through the DLI web siteSubmission Deadline is Friday, December 5, 2014 (details below).
  3. Faculty members who submit Concepts will be invited to make short presentations (elevator pitches) as part of the DLI “EdTech Idea Fest” on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 (details below).

A subset of the Concepts presented in the EdTech Idea Fest will be selected for the Resource Phase. General criteria for selection include:

  • Scope: Proposed project must be responsive to at least one of the focus areas of the DLI seed program.
  • Sustainability: Proposed project should have the potential to scale up and be used repeatedly and preferably by more than a single faculty member.
  • Collaboration: Preference will be given to group projects that involve more than a single faculty member or those that aim to impact more than a single course.
  • Student Participation: Preference will be given to projects that engage students not only to develop/assess technology, but also to gain professional experience, from PhD students headed for academic careers to undergraduates headed for teaching careers.
  • Impact: Preference will be given to projects that have the potential of creating a strategic advantage for BU and enhance the distinctive value of a BU education.

Resource Phase: Development and Selection of Full Proposals (Early Spring 2015)

  • Appropriate staff/support personnel will be assigned to collaborate with the faculty member or faculty-led team to assess feasibility and to identify the resources needed for implementation, including choice of software platforms, infrastructure, support staff requirements, and faculty time.
  • Based on this assessment, a full proposal detailing implementation, rollout, and evaluation plans (including any necessary approvals by cognizant units) will be prepared and submitted.

Full proposals are reviewed for funding and implementation. General selection criteria include:

  • Significance: Project should have significant pedagogical value for our students and should include input from students.
  • Support: Project must be strongly endorsed by participating academic unit(s), and all requisite technical and administrative support must be identified and deemed feasible.
  • Diversity: The three projects as a group should encompass a range of experiments.

Implementation Phase: Project Implementation (Late Spring/Summer 2015)

  • A subset of projects will be funded and implemented starting in late Spring/Summer 2015.
  • Additional projects might be staged for implementation starting in later semesters.

Important Upcoming Dates

Discussion of Project Ideas (RSVP to

Cluster I: Expanding BU’s Digital Learning content ecosystem; PLEASE COME IF YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN PROPOSING A MOOC

Monday, October 20, 2014 / 12-1pm, Hariri Institute Seminar Room, 111 Cummington Mall, MCS-180

Clusters II and III: Leveraging Digital Learning to Enhance Campus-based Learning; Fostering Connections and Community

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 /12-1pm, Hariri Institute Seminar Room, 111 Cummington Mall, MCS-180

Cluster IV: Research

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 / 5-6pm, Hariri Institute Seminar Room, 111 Cummington Mall, MCS-180

All focus areas

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 / 12-1pm, Hariri Institute Seminar Room, 111 Cummington Mall, MCS-180

For faculty wanting to explore their ideas for concept papers, Chris Dellarocas and Romy Ruukel will be available as follows:

  • Thursday, November 6, 5-6 PM, Hariri Institute Seminar Room, 111 Cummington Mall, MCS-180
  • Wednesday, November 12, 5-6 PM Hariri Institute Seminar Room, 111 Cummington Mall, MCS-180
  • Tuesday, December 2, 5-6 PM Hariri Institute Seminar Room, 111 Cummington Mall, MCS-180

Proposal Submission Deadline

  • Friday, December 5, 2014
  • Proposals can be submitted directly via our site.

EdTech Ideas Fest

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015 / 4:30pm-6:00pm
  • The Hariri Institute Seminar Room, MCS-180, 111 Cummington Mall