Departmental Impact Grants Accepting Applications

Departmental Impact Grants from the Office of the Chief Information Officer's Learning Technology area are making a difference in the recipients' classroom experiences. By capturing and providing lectures electronically, polling students, and incorporating interactive elements to her math course, Elizabeth Miller and the Math project committee improved student test scores, retention, and overall opinion of the Math department among Math 151, 152 students.

Moreover, the students in the pilot sections continued greater success in subsequent Math courses. Those enrolled in Rosemary Bartoszek-Loza’s and Ted Clark’s redesigned Chemistry 161 course also benefitted from more effective student participation and reduced chemistry misconceptions. They also experienced significantly higher test scores and an overwhelming student preference of the redesigned experience to a traditionally taught Chemistry course.

The focus of the Departmental Impact Grant is to increase student engagement, facilitate greater instructor efficiency, and enable anyplace/anytime learning through purposeful technology use in a large or key course. Grant recipients receive funding (up to $15,000), and LT personnel support (up to 200 hours) as partners to help support departmental improvement efforts.

Grant recipients design a technologically enhanced course meeting the instructional goals of the department, which then serves as an exemplar for other courses, both within and outside of the department. Furthermore, recipients build individual and departmental knowledge and self-efficacy around teaching and learning with technology.

"Rob Griffiths, my co-investigator and project lead from Learning Technology in the Office of the Chief Information Officer, is invaluable…" said Jackie Miller, associate professor in Statistics and 2011 grant recipient. "Rob has the ability to think of things for our team to consider that may seem outside the box for me... His support from the beginning of this project to where it is now has been fantastic."

Miller is developing a Hybrid-Flexible (HyFlex) model for her Stat 145 course, where students select daily whether to attend face-to-face or concurrently online, and her course experience also includes polling and backchannel interactivity via texting.

As part of the Impact Grant, she was connected to campus partners such as accessibility, copyright, and Quality Matters experts; librarians; and UCAT, where she participated in the Course Design Institute (CDI) last spring.

"I have been teaching for 17 years… and I have never scratched my head as much as I did during the five weeks of the CDI," she said.

As she reimagined her course, Miller used a 'backward design' approach and adhered to Quality Matters, the nationally recognized standard for blended and online teaching. To explore and implement existing or new learning technology in pedagogically sound ways is one of many opportunities of the Impact Grant experience.

As another success story, Assistant Professor Lisa Lee's new Virtual Histology Lab ( has already changed how students learn, identify, and implement histological concepts. The multidisciplinary tool provides students from many departments with an opportunity for unlimited, high-quality learning, which is traditionally limited by lab space and resource demands. Lee is also using her 2011 grant to redesign her Anatomy 601 course by recording lectures and producing online learning modules. Lee is piloting two online learning modules for her students this quarter in anticipation of moving the course completely online.

The grant team is looking for projects that reach many students or are critical for student success. The most competitive applications focus on key courses or large courses. In other words, a course that is mandatory, a General Education, required for a major, or averaging approximately 250 or more students per term.

The principle applicant for the grant may be a faculty member with 50% or greater appointment, a course coordinator, a chair, or dean. Applications demonstrating support from multiple faculty members or are multidisciplinary in nature are desired, but not required.

The grant project will require an investment from the recipient, as well. Funding requires a 1:2 (recipient:LT) ratio of in-kind support toward the project, such as faculty/staff release time, other fund source(s), equipment use, and so on. Recipients should be prepared to co-create a project plan, co-submit an IRB application, and co-share experiences and findings from the project.

Details regarding the Departmental Impact Grant such as information sessions offered, the responsibilities of LT and grant recipients throughout the process, and more are available at To brainstorm about possible projects, please complete the intake form.

Deans, chairs, and instructors can show their support for this program by submitting an application. The 2012 Impact Grant application deadline is December 5 at 11:59 p.m.

For more information, contact Rob Griffiths at