Faculty Grant for Academic Technology and Online Learning

The St. Thomas eLearning and Research (STELAR) Center is pleased to announce a funding opportunity for faculty. To promote and encourage the development of high-quality online learning, new research, and the innovative use of emerging technologies at St. Thomas, STELAR is offering faculty grants for the 2018-2019 academic year. We invite proposals from both individual faculty and faculty teams. The STELAR leadership team and representatives from Faculty Development will work together to select proposals for funding based on the criteria listed in this document. Proposals for course development will likely involve the redesign of long-standing, existing courses for online delivery; a brand new course is not a requirement of this grant. Note that schools and colleges within the university working with with faculty to develop online programs and courses are doing so using other funding and contracts; these STELAR grants are intended to develop a small number of model projects that will amplify new directions in technology and online course delivery that support teaching and learning.

2018-2019 Priorities


Development of an online or blended course (or a series of course modules) in a competency-based format. This priority is open to any course with Dean approval, but may be most appropriate for non-credit courses or modules.

Selection Criteria

Competency-based learning moves the focus of a course away from seat time toward the mastery of specific measurable outcomes. External, existing course material can be incorporated and student prior learning can be recognized, since the final measure of success is the mastery of course competencies rather than assignment grades per se.

Read more here:

Deliverable is the finished course or series of modules that includes the following:

  • Clearly articulated and measurable competencies
  • Clear articulation of what constitutes mastery of those competencies and associated rubrics
  • Clear expectations for participation, including an explicit understanding of time limits for completion or other requirements
  • A plan for addressing accreditation requirements as necessary
  • A plan for mapping rubric milestones back to final grades as necessary.

The funding level will depend on the scope of the project. A full course award is $5,000, while a series of modules are awarded $2,500. Please feel free to contact STELAR instructional designers for more information about this priority.


Development of a co-located or hyflex course that allows students to participate on-campus or remotely within the same course section on a session-to-session basis.

Selection Criteria

This course delivery model allows students to choose from two or more ways to ‘attend’ class on a session-to session basis within the same course section. Each mode of delivery is fully planned and built to support the concepts of learner choice, reusability, equivalency, and accessibility. The course may be created in one of two formats: 1) the Co-Location model, which allows students to choose from two participation methods: regularly scheduled in-person sessions or interaction via Zoom webconferencing, or 2) the HyFlex model, which provides students the choice of three participation methods: in-person, through Zoom webconferencing, or asynchronously through Canvas.

Read more here:

Deliverable is the finished course that includes the following:

  • All modules fully built out in Canvas.
  • Faculty developer has attended select training sessions for synchronous delivery or demonstrates competence in this delivery method
  • The course meets accessibility standards in all modes of delivery
  • All modes of participation deliver robust, interactive environments.



Development of an online or blended course that uses Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality in a pedagogically significant way.

Selection Criteria

Institutions are still figuring out the best way to make virtual and augmented reality useful for teaching & learning, and we want St. Thomas to be a part of that conversation. This priority is open to any course, but we are particularly interested in courses where VR might be used to help students understand, experience and develop empathy for different people and situations in the context of the course material. We are also interested in proposals that would involve student creation of 360 camera video that could be shared online. Note that we are unable to pursue projects that focus around the creation of brand new full VR content.

Read more here:

Deliverable is the finished course or series of modules, and:

  • A clear articulation of the ways in which VR or AR will facilitate student achievement of stated learning outcomes or prepare students for stated assessments
  • A clear technology requirement for future instructors and projects
  • List of existing VR or AR resources required

The funding level will depend on the scope of the project. Funding for a full course with VR integrated throughout will be awarded $5,000, while a series of modules with VR integrated will be awarded $2,500.



Research related to Academic Technology, and/or emerging technologies separately or in conjunction with a grant-supported course

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be accepted for stand-alone academic technology research projects or for projects related to a grant-supported course. Priority will be given to projects grounded in pedagogy that show potential to improve student learning outcomes.

Find ideas here: 2017 NMC Horizon Report

Deliverable is:

  • The completed IRB application describing your proposed research
  • An End-of Semester report – what you’ve done, what is planned, what data has been collected.
  • Where you plan to submit for publication or presentation, and the approximate dates of those submissions


To apply, fill out the online application form and submit by the due date listed below. You are encouraged to contact STELAR with questions about your application before you submit at Our instructional designers and technologists are happy to discuss the specific requirements and time commitment for each priority and help you decide whether these formats are a good fit for your course.

The online application is here: Application form (

  • Online applications for 2018-2019 projects must be submitted by Friday, November 30, 2018.
  • Funding awards will be announced by Friday, December 21, 2018.
  • Additional funding for Summer development projects may be available after this date, based on submissions received.
  • Spring development projects:
    • Commence by February 11, 2019 at the latest
    • Milestone deliverable due by March 1, 2019
    • Deliver completed course by May 18, 2019
  • Summer development projects
    • Commence by June 3, 2019 at the latest
    • Milestone deliverable due by June 20, 2018
    • Deliver completed course by August 16, 2019

These awards are available to all full-time and adjunct St. Thomas faculty. This grant may not duplicate release time or a stipend provided for the same project by other St. Thomas internal funds.

All applications must be signed off on by the appropriate Dean or Associate Dean to:

  • acknowledge the time commitment required for this work, and
  • to verify that any courses or course material developed through this process will be offered regularly and is or will be an important component of the division curriculum.