Blended Learning Award

About the Blended Learning Initiative

At the University of Alberta, the Provost established the Provost’s Digital Learning Committee to support the implementation of digital learning activities more broadly across campus. To support this initiative, the Blending Learning Awards were established in 2013, an opportunity for faculty members at the University of Alberta to redevelop a current undergraduate course into a blended learning format. Accordingly, the Blended Learning Initiative was launched by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) to collaborate with and assist faculty members at the University of Alberta who received the Blended Learning Award. As part of CTL’s vision to transform learning experiences at the University of Alberta, the Blended Learning Initiative continues to assist award recipients in implementing blended learning as a means to increase quality of learning and student engagement in undergraduate courses.


University of Alberta Blended Learning Award

A Call for Expressions of Interest for Blended Learning Proposals 2018

The Provost’s Digital Learning Committee (PDLC) was established by the Provost to support the implementation of digital learning activities broadly across the University of Alberta. To support this initiative, the PDLC created the University of Alberta Blended Learning Awards. This award was developed to provide a teaching and learning opportunity for faculty members at the University of Alberta who are interested in receiving extensive support from the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) for the purpose of redeveloping a current undergraduate course into a blended learning format. The award was first offered in Winter 2014 and PDLC is pleased to announce the call for proposals for the 2018 offering of the award. The call involves a two-step process (expression of interest and full application). Click here for more information about blended learning and various models of blended learning, and here for examples of blended learning courses developed at the University of Alberta.

The Provost’s Digital Learning Committee invites the campus community to submit expressions of interest. The application form can be downloaded from the CTL website:

Selected expressions of interest will then be invited to submit a full proposal with a comprehensive budget (that will be developed in consultation between the instructional team and an Educational Developer from CTL).

Important Dates:
  • Blended Learning Award Information Session
    • November 17, 2017 from noon-1:00 in CTL (5-02D Cameron Library) or
    • December 7, 2017 from noon-1:00 in CTL (5-02D Cameron Library)
  • January 19, 2018 (5:00 p.m.) – Expressions of Interest Submission Deadline
  • February 9, 2018 – Notification of Results
    • Selected proposals will be invited to submit a full proposal that outlines the scope and budget for the project. This proposal will be developed in collaboration with CTL.
  • March 29, 2018 (5:00 p.m.) – Full Proposal Submission Deadline
  • April 30, 2018 – Notification of Results
Additional questions and requests for consultation should be sent to


Blended Learning Award Q&A

What model of blended learning will be funded?
There are a number of definitions of blended learning (View the following short video for a description of the various definitions). The format of blended learning that Provost Digital Learning Committee is most interested in funding is one in which there is a reduction in face-to-face contact time with students with a complementary increase in online delivery of content and instruction. However, other formats have been funded because the approach taken proposed significant changes to the in-class activities and were likely to increase student engagement. The format proposed must have potential for the transformation of learning experiences.
If I put some of my lectures online, does this mean I continue to lecture during face-to-face classes?
This is not the intention of blended learning. Increasing online delivery of content and instruction create the conditions for more flexibility and creativity in the use of face-to-face time. As such, face-to-face time should be used differently to enhance student learning of content and the class experience (e.g. problem solving and application of content); this difference should be reflected in the proposal.
What does “receive support” from CTL mean?
During the development of your proposal you should consult with CTL ( The academic lead for this initiative is Associate Director (Educational Technology), Norma Nocente. There are also experienced Educational Developers on staff who can provide guidance and advice. CTL will help you think about your course and how it might be redeveloped into a blended learning format. CTL will also provide guidance in developing a budget to support the redevelopment you are proposing (e.g., media production costs).

If you are successful in the competition and are funded by PDLC, the funding is mediated by CTL. That is, funds will be channelled to CTL to provide the supports you need. For example, if you need to develop sophisticated visual objects and have budgeted for this, CTL will either provide the staff to make the objects (if expertise is local) or will find and contract out the task so that the job gets done. Of course, you have a say in these decisions and it will be a collaborative process. The goal is for instructors to come up with the ideas and for CTL to help operationalize those ideas. 

Are only large enrolment courses (200+) considered for this award?
In the first Blended Learning Award call, PDLC had chosen to target high throughput courses to maximize the potential to widely impact the undergraduate student learning experience. This requirement has now been relaxed and PDLC is more interested in any courses that have potential to transform the undergraduate student experience. Perhaps the course only has 40-60 students per term, but there is potential the course may encourage other faculty in a department to consider this approach. That is, it has potential for a domino effect. PDLC will look at the rationale and justification for proposals for all courses; the merit of the proposal will be more important than the actual number of students enrolled.
What is meant by a team of instructors?
For a high throughput, multi-sectioned, foundational course it is unlikely that one instructor alone could unilaterally redevelop and instruct a blended learning course.  All instructors who have a future stake in the course must work cooperatively during the redevelopment phase and agree to work as a team in the delivery of the course after redevelopment. PDLC will favour teams with a unified voice in both the design and delivery of the course.
What is the maximum budget for each course redevelopment?
There are two levels of funding. Level 1 funding is for partial redevelopment of a course. In some cases, instructors may be interested in blending only about 25%-30% of their course. This level of course redevelopment typically falls between $5,000 – $15,000. The maximum amount awarded for Level 1 will be $15,000. Level 2 funding is for the full redevelopment of a course. This requires at least two-thirds of the course will run in a blended format (e.g. 8 of 13 weeks are blended). This level of course redevelopment typically falls between $25,000 – $50,000. Courses reaching the high end of this continuum require more high-level multimedia production (e.g. video production and editing, complex or layered graphics). The maximum amount awarded for Level 2 will be $50,000. If the total anticipated cost is more than the maximum, there must be agreement from the Chair and/or Dean of the Faculty for top up funding in order for the proposal to be considered by PDLC.
What is a service course?
A service course is a course offered by a particular faculty that is included as a requirement in the programs of one or more other faculties. For example, 100 level Statistics is offered by the Faculty of Science. 100 level Statistics is required by a number of programs outside of the Faculty of Science.
Is teaching release an acceptable budget item?
Course redevelopment is an expected activity of instructors and should not normally garner course release (teaching relief). However, the time commitment for redevelopment into a blended learning format can be considerable and as such, one teaching relief per team is an acceptable budget item. Instead of a course release, some instructor teams have opted for funding for a graduate assistant to assist with course development.
Can a CAST employee apply for the award?
PDLC wants to see a long-term commitment made to the blended format. The committee is concerned that a course might be redeveloped into a blended format and then abandoned the following year if a new instructor takes it over.  In many faculties, there is a high turn over of CAST employees, so PDLC is primarily interested in proposals coming from faculty who have a future stake in the course and have some authority in making decisions about the course. PDLC recognizes some departments have long-term commitments with CAST employees and that these employees assume course coordination responsibilities. The adjudication committee will consider an application by a CAST employee working in this capacity, provided a faculty member is included in the application.
On average, how many projects are funded each year?
Approximately 7-8 projects have been funded each year. There may be more or fewer projects funded in the upcoming award year, depending on the number and merit of proposals received, and the funding available.
Is there a limit on the number of projects that are funded per faculty in any given year?
No. More than one project within the same faculty has been funded in past years of the award.
Where can I go to do more reading on blended learning and on implementing a blended approach?
Useful resources
Allen, I.E., Seaman, J., & Garrett, R. (2007). Blending in: The extent and promise of blended education in the United States. Retrieved from

Bonk, C. J., & Graham, C. R. (2012). The handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs.

John Wiley & Sons. Dzuiban, C., Hartman., J. & Moskal, P. (2004). Blended learning. EDUCAUSE Centre for Applied Research (ECAR) Research Bulletin. 2004(7), 1-12.  Retrieved from

Garrison, R. & Vaughan, N. (2008). Blended learning in higher education: Framework, principles and guidelines. San Francisco: Josey-Bass.

Owston, R., York, D., & Murtha, S. (2013, July). Student perceptions and achievement in a university blended learning strategic initiative. The Internet and Higher Education, 18, 38-46. Retrieved from