Distance Learning Pilot Grant, Academic Year 2006-2007
The Office of the President has established a one-year distance learning initiative primarily intended to encourage programmatic innovation to reach new professional, mid-career, and executive education audiences and undergraduate and graduate students studying at a distance.
One component of this initiative will make funds available to Schools to create or extend existing educational programs to geographically dispersed audiences. This initiative hopes to encourage innovations to mitigate barriers for study at Harvard to distant audiences and encourage Schools to experiment with online pedagogy to reach new students in new modalities. Creative proposals of all kinds that lead to meaningful insights for the local School are welcome. Examples of projects that could be financed through this grant include:
- Migrate and redesign an existing course(s) to reach a new audience
- Distance learning evaluation-only grants
- Planning grants to analyze opportunities to deliver existing digital course content to new audiences
- Pre-matriculation modules for incoming students
Through evaluation, the initiative seeks to gain insight into the ability of online programs to successfully achieve objective learning outcomes and to create a positive student experience for professional students. Evaluation-only grants that aim to evaluate systematically a teaching and learning component of distance learning course are encouraged.
Requests up to $80,000 will be accepted. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year.
Grant Proposal Application and Guiding Principles
Project Management and Existing University Resources
Help Preparing the Proposal
Mailing Address and Submission Deadlines
Notification of Decision
The purpose of the initiative is to:
- Encourage applicants to experiment with fully online teaching to reach significant audiences while furthering the mission of the applicants’ units.
- Enhance the learning experience of Harvard’s adult learners.
- Encourage applications of instructional technologies or new pedagogical approaches that increase the effectiveness of online learning experiences.
- Extend proven pedagogical successes of residential programs.
- Facilitate dialog with other Schools around distance learning for adult learners.
- Gain insight into how to design online educational processesfor the adult learner.
- Launch new programs that are consistent with overall School priorities.
- Promote experiments that leverage existing academic computing software tools in support of online professional education.
- Build on existing software, resources, and staff within the funded organization and iCommons.
Harvard University has a long-standing residency requirement for degree programs. Included in the Eighth Statute on Degrees is the residency requirement which stipulates, “A residence at the University of at least one year spent in full-time study at the full tuition rate is required for each degree.” Applications from existing degree programs will need to be in compliance with the University’s residency policy.
When planning a project, course directors should work these guiding principles into the course and project plan:
- Initiatives should contribute to strengthen applicants’ internal capacity and expertise.
- New courses/content development should be small and modest, learn by doing.
- Grant monies are intended to be seed funding for projects. Awarded projects should have a plan in place to be self- sustainable at the end of their project.
The distance learning initiative hopes to encourage innovative pilot projects that accelerate insights into sustainable opportunities in online learning. The grant application forms are intended to serve as a guide to applicants.
The Grant Application [MS Word] includes Sections A-D:
Section A: Project Summary (a suggested framework for drafting proposals)
Section B: Budget
Section C: Grant Work Plan
Section D: Letter of Commitment from Local IT and/or iCommons
Evaluation applications should describe the study question, methodology and research design, sample, data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The aim of the evaluation should be to seek information that will improve education.
Submission of the application should be in one file that contains all of the templates that make up the application and the file name should be according to a naming protocol as follows: contact person's last name.school.presdistancelearning.#month.#year (for example: smith.hms.distancelearing.10.06). Electronic submissions are required.
Applications will be reviewed and approved by the Offices of the President and University CIO.
Requests up to $80,000 will be considered. The monies from these awards should primarily be used to develop or repurpose existing educational content for online learners. Examples might include video production, scanning of images, and creating simulations and animations. Local project management will be an important component in this process. Applicants are encouraged to seek funding for course assistant contributions and other activities that are closely associated with teaching and learning. Compensation for faculty or staff teaching responsibilities, tool development, most external consultants or ongoing support of previously funded projects should be funded by the local unit. Services from the University CIO’s office need not be included in the amount requested. Rather these services should be noted as matching resources in the budget application.
When appropriate, the Office of the University CIO can match course directors with an experienced team that offers project management and technical expertise. Grant recipients will be encouraged to leverage existing infrastructure and academic computing software developed at the University. The iCommons project has created a software platform, called iSites, and other software tools which can be used to support distance learning. Resources and project management from the University CIO’s office will be viewed as a matching resource for the grant.
Grant applicants are encouraged to meet with the fund representative, Mary Spidle, at any point in the project planning and application-writing process.
The Distance Learning Fund is no longer accepting applications. For information about the grants that received funding during the one-year initiative or to be included in an ongoing series of information sharing sessions around distance learning, please contact Mary Spidle (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The applications will be reviewed by the Office of President and the University CIO. Applicants will be notified of the decision on their application within 6 to 8 weeks of the submission date.