The Course Innovation Grant is an eight week professional development program to support technology-based enhancements for existing undergraduate and graduate courses. The program was piloted in summer 2015. Thirteen faculty whose proposals were accepted from over 35 applications received a stipend to work weekly with Steinhardt's academic technology team to develop high-fidelity solutions related to content delivery, collaborative learning environments, and evaluation and assessment.

The CIG model is premised on the view that to create a fully immersive and seamless learning experience with technology requires two parallel forms of support.  The first form of support provides multiple resources - technical infrastructure, technical support, design specialists, platforms options - for course production and project management. The second form of support provides the faculty member and academic technologist with a framework to undertake an explicit analysis of pedagogical goals and strategies, with careful attention to curriculum design and an understanding of how various technologies change the learning experience, including the places of learning and the roles and responsibilities of instructors and students.  

The goal of the Course Innovation Grant program is to create a School-wide support system enabling faculty to develop high-quality, technology-enhanced undergraduate and graduate courses. To meet this goal, the program included the following objectives:

  • Create a professional development program that aligns technological enhancements with pedagogical strategies and techniques;
  • Create a ‘community of innovators’ to include faculty, academic technologists, and students;
  • Complete projects by the end of the 8 week period;
  • Identity and establish appropriate school-wide resources to support program needs.

The CIG was a response to university call for adopting Technology Enhanced Education. Steinhardt, celebrating its 125 anniversary as the first University-based school of pedagogy in the US, hoped to create an environment where course design was enhanced by technology. In addition, given the emphasis on education the program needed to provide a learning experience and not solely focus on course production. Therefore, the program included two parallel aspects: production and project management support on how to create a technology-enhanced course, and a professional development curriculum on why to create a technology enhanced course. Building this environment in conjunction with holding the program during the summer created a culture that has become a catalyst for innovation. To learn about sample projects, please see this article

Description of Outputs and Outcomes

As a result of the CIG program, Steinhardt has begun to fully embrace a culture of experimentation and education within its academic community. The cohort successfully engaged in a professional development opportunity which not only enforced the concept of ‘lifelong learning’ with technology but also demonstrated that with the right guidance, the faculty members themselves could make significant changes to their course structure, pedagogy and overall student experience. This new sense of empowerment will only fuel further innovations within the faculty population and continue to drive change within the school.

  1. The CIG program was the first of its kind to be offered at Steinhardt. Based on the programs ability to successfully support the creation of technology enhanced courses, we believe this support methodology is the most appropriate for the school’s culture. 
  2. The greatest strengths of the CIG is the professional development component. Based on some preliminary and informal interviews with other academic technologist we discovered other comparable groups offer the project management and instructional design expertise service, but none offered a professional development component. 
  3. As a result of this program, leadership within Steinhardt has decided to sponsor this program again to support the larger initiative of the school to incorporate technology into education. 

Applications for the Summer 2016 cohort are open until February 29, 2016.