2015-16 EI Small Grant Program

The EI Small Grant Program supports faculty and instructional staff in their efforts to experiment with new technologies and new ways of learning.

In 2015-16, the program offered grants of up to $10,000 each and focused on enhancing active learning strategies and developing Open Educational Resources (OERs). With the support of the International Division, the program also sought proposals that would enhance global learning and students’ global competencies.

From international, blended course collaborations with organizations in France and Uganda, to Open Educational Resources (OERs) and active learning techniques, the program received an overwhelming number of compelling proposals from faculty and staff from across campus. The program funded 21 proposals from six schools and colleges at a total of more than $180,000. Read more about the grant recipients and their innovative efforts.

Overall, 66 proposals were submitted from 12 schools, colleges and programs. The total amount of funding requested reached nearly $600,000. Proposals were evaluated and recommended for approval by a review committee consisting of faculty and staff from various campus units.

Proposals were selected based on their exemplification of at least one of the program’s three main themes (listed below), alignment with departmental priorities, demonstration of long-term sustainability and, most importantly, impact on student learning.

2015-16 Proposal Themes

Proposals needed to address at least one of the following:

  1. Active learning through blended course implementation
  2. Internationalization at Home
  3. Open Educational Resources (OERs)

General Proposal Requirements

All proposals needed to:

  • Address how the project will transform student learning
  • Align with departmental priorities and include a signature of endorsement from the department chair
  • Clearly articulate how the project will be sustained once the funds have been expended

The deadline to submit all proposals was Monday, October 26, 2015. Funding decisions were made by late-November, followed by notifications to all applicants thereafter. All awardees were required to submit a project activities report.

1. Active Learning Through Blended Courses – Proposal Requirements & Form

Grants in this category supported faculty and instructional staff in their efforts to further develop, implement and/or assess blended courses. This category may have beed of special interest to those who have already participated in Blend@UW.

According to UW-Madison’s Blended Learning Toolkit, blended learning courses are instructor-designed and supervised environments that use face-to-face and technology-mediated channels to enhance interactive, engaging learning experiences and to improve student learning.

Proposals in this category needed to specifically address at least one of the following:

  • Further developing and implementing a blended course
  • Designing and implementing assessment practices to evaluate blended learning and student outcomes

2. Internationalization at Home – Proposal Requirements & Form

In partnership with the International Division, grants in this category supported faculty and instructional staff in their efforts to internationalize formal and informal curricula in ways that enhance global learning and students’ global competencies. In particular, ‘internationalization at home’ efforts are designed to benefit students who are unable to engage in international, experiential-based learning opportunities via study abroad or overseas courses, internships and/or research projects.

Proposals in this category needed to specifically address at least one of the following:

  • Developing ‘global projects’ embedded in existing or new courses (e.g., a mock consultancy, or a joint research project with colleagues in other countries)
  • Developing experiential-based learning programs in Madison or the surrounding region to enhance the development of students’ global competencies. Programs should offer students the opportunity to engage, face-to-face, with relevant organizations such as immigrant services, NGOs, globally active firms, government agencies, consulates, etc., via internships, service learning, lab placements and so on.
  • Designing and implementing internationally collaborative shared courses that are blended or 100% online (e.g., UW-Madison/McGill or UW-Madison/Sciences Po)

3. OER – Proposal Requirements & Form

Grants in this category supported faculty and instructional staff in their efforts to experiment, develop and/or incorporate Open Educational Resources (OERs) into their courses and degree programs.

OERs are “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.” (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation). These resources can include anything from images, videos and infographics to video and audio lectures, interactive games and simulations and open texts (e-books).

OERs are developed and/or utilized to enhance student learning outcomes, and reduce the cost of course-related materials for students (e.g., via ‘open texts’). At UW-Madison, OERs also have significant potential to help campus further embody and enact the Wisconsin Idea through the sharing of our teaching resources across the state, the nation and the world.

Proposals in this category needed to specifically address at least one of the following:

  • Developing OERs for courses and programs
  • Designing ‘renewable assignments’ (e.g., an online atlas; an integrated research project and related website; an open text on a key topic; a linked series of podcasts on a relevant theme) for and with students, such that the assignments generate OERs that can then be enhanced year after year by future students
  • Identifying, vetting and storing pre-existing OERs for courses and programs
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