DLI EdTech Grants: Fall 2015 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 our previously funded projects is available here.

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 and will make ourselves available to discuss your ideas (see schedule below). However, this year we are especially interested in receiving proposals in the following focus areas:

Fall 2015 EdTech Grant Focus Areas

Focus Area 1: Innovative uses of the edX platform to support or complement BU’s residential programs. Examples include, but are not limited to: Develop online versions of gateway courses to increase student flexibility, develop online versions of courses for students who study abroad, develop MOOCs whose successful completion will allow transfer students to get credit upon admission and enrollment in BU, develop MOOCs that act as gateways and “samplers” of (residential or distance) credit-bearing programs at BU.

Focus Area 2: Transformation of large lecture courses to blended formats that emphasize active teaching and learning methods.

Focus Area 3: Technology-mediated projects that facilitate connections between faculty/student teams and outside organizations (corporations, public agencies, etc.) for the purpose of project-based learning and internships that are embedded in courses and programs of study.

Focus Area 4: Technology-mediated projects that aim to improve the quality of academic, career and life mentoring we offer to our students.

Focus Area 5: Innovative approaches to developing capabilities for serving professional (“lifelong”) learners. This includes (but is not limited to) ideas for innovative online professional courses, lifelong learning portals, as well as developing new/better technology-mediated ways to keep our alumni connected to BU.

Focus Area 6: Technology-mediated projects that aim to improve the quality of our students’ global experience.

Focus Area 7: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with a preference to courses that showcase unique aspects of Boston University and can contribute to the University’s global reputation.

Submission Guidelines

  • Concept Proposals should be no more than 2 pages.
  • Proposals from individuals as well as entire departments/schools are welcome.
  • Each proposal can be co-authored by several BU faculty or staff members but should designate a single corresponding author.
  • Proposals for MOOCs should provide the following information:
    1. A one paragraph description of the proposed course
    2. The set of people that constitute the “teaching team” (including any assistants)
    3. A draft week‐by‐week outline for the MOOC
    4. Dates of faculty availability for production and initial delivery (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) a plan for assessing 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, to identify ideas that have “legs” 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 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 (late Fall 2015)

  • DLI will sponsor brainstorming sessions for all interested faculty to discuss project ideas and entertain questions in early December (see schedule below).
  • Faculty members submit a 1-2 page “Concept Proposal” through the DLI web site. Submission Deadline is Friday, January 15, 2016 (details below).
  • Faculty members who submit Concepts will be invited to make short presentations (elevator pitches) as part of the DLI “EdTech Idea Fest” on Thursday, February 11 (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 2016)

  • 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 and 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.

Implementation Phase: Project Implementation (late Spring/Summer 2016)

  • A subset of projects will be funded and implemented starting in late Spring/Summer 2016.
  • Additional projects might be staged for implementation starting in later semesters.

Important Dates

Information-Idea Discussion Sessions (RSVP by November 23 to budli@bu.edu)

Monday, November 30, 2015 / 12-1pm, Hariri Institute Seminar Room, 111 Cummington Mall, MCS-180

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 /12-1pm, Room 148, 111 Cummington Mall

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 / 5-6pm, Hariri Institute Seminar Room, 111 Cummington Mall, MCS-180

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 / 12-1pm, Hariri Institute Seminar Room, 111 Cummington Mall, MCS-180

Proposal Submission Deadline

  • Friday, January 15, 2016
  • Proposals can be submitted directly via our site.

EdTech Ideas Fest

  • Thursday, February 11, 2016 / 4:30pm-6:00pm
  • The Hariri Institute Seminar Room, MCS-180, 111 Cummington Mall