Nexus Online Learning Grant
Deadlines for Spring 2016 applications:
- Applications are due March 4, 2016
- Notifications sent on April 8, 2016.
- Grant funds initially available after July 1, 2016.
- The grant project can be undertaken at any time in the funding year.
- Grant funds must be used by May 31, 2017, with all requests for reimbursement processed by June 30, 2017.
- Final report due on Monday, August 31, 2017.
Open Houses to discuss topics, refine ideas and get feedback on proposed projects will be held in Spring 2016. The Director of the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning (CTinL) is also available to talk about proposals at any time.
Nexus Online Grants funded in 2016-17
"Developing Synchronous Online Writing Assistance for Distance Graduate Students."
Purpose: The Academic Success Center wants to upgrade technology and develop new training materials to pilot synchronous online writing support for distance graduate students and align our online writing services with industry best practice.
Rationale: The ASC has seen a stark increase in the number of distance online graduate students seeking writing support. The ASC currently assists these students asynchronously via the “online writing lab” (OWL) model: the students submit their drafts to a dropbox and receive substantive written feedback from a writing tutor in 24-48 hours. The OWL model assumes a threshold level of writing facility and understanding of genre conventions that not all new graduate students possess. A synchronous feedback system allows not just for real-time collaboration between writers and their tutors, but also for tutors to monitor student comprehension and ensure that students are able to interpret and apply feedback.
Goal: Synchronous writing support will offer distance graduate students a collaborative tutoring environment wherein they can set the agenda, ask questions, and take ownership of their own learning, all of which are essential indicators of student engagement and learning in the tutoring environment.
"Electronic Textbook: Basic Principles of International Marketing."
The primary focus of the project is the development and writing of electronic textbook. It will be open use – free to faculty and students, regardless of location. I am exploring the possibility of publishing as open source text as well – that is use technology to populate the text with current reading and topics for discussion as well as foundation material for exercises, cases, and other assignments. One of the complaints associated with electronic texts is the shortage of ancillary materials (slides to accompany the material, exercises, test questions, etc.) and a goal is to develop and make these materials available as well.
Nexus Online Grants funded in 2015-16
Robert Fleming and Robert Fryer
Collaboration in Online Studios
By its nature, online collaboration is different from collaboration in on-campus courses, because it often occurs asynchronously, at a distance, and requires the use of relatively complex digital communication technologies. To date, the targets for the amount and quality of collaboration in the online design studios at PhilaU have not been met. The purpose of this project is to: Assess more deeply previous online studio results. To evaluate models for online collaboration especially from the professional disciplines and design and develop new pedagogical approaches. We will test those new approaches in upcoming online studios.
This project will improve learning in online design studios, provide concrete examples of online collaboration options for the any hybrid or online course with high levels of collaboration, and lead to opportunities for publication.
Jeffrey Klemens and Jack Suss
Developing Interactive Simulation Models to Focus Faculty-Student Interactions on Learning Outcomes in an Online Non-Major Science Class
Maintaining an atmosphere of active and engaged learning in one of the most difficult challenges in adapting courses to the online environment. The DECSYS courses have benefited by relying on Vensim for modeling systems thinking. While Vensim is a strong modeling tool, the installation and user interface presents a hurdle to students that is usually mitigated through instructor interaction in an active learning environment: a solution that has proved untenable in the online format.
This grant will fund the repurposing of systems models that have already been developed in Vensim into a Forio simulation that explores systems behavior without student model development precedent for this has been successfully achieved at MIT Sloan School. Secondly, we intend to test the effectiveness this implementation across thirty DECSYS classes from online and classroom settings.
Nexus Online Grants funded in 2014-15
Lisa Phillips & Alex Messinger
Online Teaching and Learning Experiences: Capstone Research and Programming
Contrasting Faculty and Student Expectations in Online Learning and Applying Student Expertise to Bridge the Gap
Nexus Online Grants funded in 2013-14
Meriel Tulante, Concetta Caporale, Farida Ferradji
Bringing World Languages and Nexus Learning Online
The purpose of this grant is to research best practices in online learning for languages and to assess how Nexus Learning can be transferred to an online environment for language instruction. Through the grant, we will explore both innovative ways of teaching languages online and the potential for the success of courses teaching global communications strategies and cultural awareness. Online language classes at Philadelphia University could fit immediately into the summer course offerings as many students study languages at other institutions over the summer, as well as having future relevance to the redesign of the curriculum for an online audience. A course on global communication strategies could be part of a College Studies online core and is of crucial importance for all students entering an increasingly global workforce. This project emphasizes collaboration between full-time and part-time faculty and is centered on faculty development. We aim to produce guidelines and a final report on best practices in online language learning, Nexus Learning in an online context, and the potential for teaching global communications strategies. Through this work, we will support the university’s plan to develop a distinctive online curriculum.
Researching Best Practices for On-Line Studio Courses
The goals of this project are to research and develop guidelines for best practices of teaching strategies for online and hybrid studios. The curricula in undergraduate and graduate programs such as Architecture, Interior Design and Landscape Architecture, require design studios to be taken every semester and in sequential order. Researching online studios for effective teaching practices can enhance existing courses, as well as future courses. On-line studio courses could expand our audience by appealing to advanced placement and/or transfer students with extensive incoming credits, career changers, full time workers, and stay at home parents, as well as other non-traditional students. Standard studio scheduling greatly limits the flexibility of these students to fit an academic schedule into their busy life. These examples and possibly others demonstrate a need for investigating the potential of online-based studios. The goal of this grant is to develop guidelines for best practices of teaching strategies for online and hybrid studios.
The Following was Partially Funded by a Nexus Online Grant:
To Develop Faculty Expertise, and Create Pedagogical Guidelines, to promote Nexus Learning Online in College Studies
Tom Schrand and Katharine Jones
This grant will be used to develop faculty expertise and pedagogical guidelines to promote Nexus Learning in new College Studies Online courses. During the upcoming academic year, College Studies faculty members will be asked to develop the first generation of online general education core courses. We currently have little experience or capacity in this area, and we aim to promote Nexus Learning in our online courses just as we do in our on-campus courses. This project will identify and disseminate best practices for engaged, collaborative, real world learning in the liberal arts and sciences. It will involve College Studies faculty in reviewing the goals for Nexus Learning online goals and to customize them into guidelines and best practices for the online general education core curriculum, document and disseminate those guidelines and best practices for future College Studies Online courses, and apply the guidelines and best practices to new courses developed for College Studies Online during Spring and Summer 2014.