POV: Looking Ahead into 2023: Priorities and Programs

Residential education is constantly evolving to meet the needs and goals of students, as well as the demands of a rapidly changing world. During the past twelve months, we conducted a large number of interviews with BU faculty and students. Both faculty and students agreed that the quality of education at BU is very high. However, a number of areas where we can do even better kept coming up in our conversations. These include:

  • Closing the opportunity gap in large lecture classes, especially in relation to equity-deserving students
  • Increasing student engagement and the sense of community in the classroom
  • Addressing academic integrity issues
  • Improving accessibility of course materials to support students with diverse learning needs
  • Connecting learning and student well-being
  • Connecting classroom learning to real-life skills and competencies

Over the next few months and years, DL&I aspires to support the pursuit of these goals through a variety of programs and initiatives offered by our units.

The Shipley Center for Digital Learning & Innovation helps faculty and departments define, fund, and implement educational experiments, pilots and course transformation projects. It also offers learning design and digital media production services for residential courses. The Shipley Center issues bi-annual Calls for Pilot Proposals and a monthly call for ACT Grants (see below). We are eager to listen to and support promising ideas at any point during the year, especially if they relate to any of the above topics. If you have a bold new idea or want to explore ways to enhance your teaching through learning design and media production please do not hesitate to sign up for a consultation.

The Center for Teaching and Learning provides pedagogical expertise and support to faculty and manages several Faculty Learning Communities associated with one or more of the above directions. These include:

  •  the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) community (starting in February)
  •  the Inclusive Pedagogy Learning Communities (ongoing since last summer’s Inclusive Pedagogy Institute; call for participation for next summer’s Institute coming out soon)
  •  the Designing Antiracist Curricula Learning Community (call is coming out soon)
  • the Bridgebuilder Experiential Education Learning Community (ongoing)

The Educational Technology team provides technology expertise and support to faculty and leads the campus deployment of Blackboard Ally, a tool that helps faculty improve the accessibility of course documents.

The ACT Grant Initiative invites Boston University faculty and graduate teaching fellows to experiment with learning technologies to improve the BU student experience. Managed by the Shipley Center in partnership with the Center for Teaching & Learning and Educational Technology, ACT Grants are intended to offer a low-barrier, no-red-tape avenue to experimentation with technologies to achieve meaningful learning outcomes.

During the next few months, we plan to announce additional targeted programs and initiatives aimed at helping BU faculty serve our students even better. In the meantime, please contact us to find out more about our existing programs and definitely let us know if you would like to see us develop initiatives in additional areas. 

Chris DellarocasChris Dellarocas is Boston University’s Associate Provost for Digital Learning & Innovation and Richard C. Shipley Professor of Information Systems at the Questrom School of Business. As Associate Provost, Dellarocas leads the advancement of activities that enhance education at BU through the strategic use of digital technologies.