Vice-Provost (Academic Programs) Award for Excellence in Online Teaching and Learning

The Vice-Provost (Academic Programs) Award for Excellence in Online and Blended Teaching is designed to recognize and reward the efforts of Western University instructors who have demonstrated outstanding teaching in online or blended contexts. The aim of this award is to recognize and celebrate instructors’ contributions to student learning through online engagement within blended or fully online courses.

ELIGIBILITY

  • All full-time and part time members of the faculty at Western or the Affiliated University Colleges are eligible for nomination.
  • A part-time faculty member is defined as one who has held at least one Limited-Duties appointment (0.5 or equivalent) at Western or an Affiliated University College during the fiscal year (May 1 through April 30) preceding nomination.
  • If the application is collaborative, the collaboration needs to be led by a current faculty member but team members could include members of university staff, librarians and archivists, students, and community partners.
  • Previous recipients of the award, visiting, and externally-funded faculty are not eligible to receive the award.

AWARD

The award winner will be celebrated in the following ways:

  1. The winner will be invited to a reception hosted by the Vice-Provost (Academic Programs) that celebrates all of Western's teaching award winners for that year.
  2. The winner will receive $1000 towards professional development activities in teaching.
  3. The winner's work will be profiled on the Centre for Teaching and Learning website.

SCOPE

The Vice-Provost (Academic Programs) Award for Excellence in Online and Blended Teaching recognizes outstanding contributions to student learning through online engagement in blended or fully online courses Nominations will be assessed based on the nominee’s ability to design, create, and facilitate learning experiences that effectively leverage online learning environments to:

  • Create new ways for students engage in deep learning
  • Enable collaborations with and between students
  • Expand opportunities for learning and participation by reducing barriers and enhancing accessibility

Recognizing that online and blended course design is often a collaborative effort, applications may be either individual or collaborative in nature. Collaborative awardees will each receive an individualized letter of achievement, while the profiling/sharing of exemplary work and grant aspects of award will be shared among awardees.

Evaluation Criteria

The award will be given to the nominee who demonstrates excellence in teaching and engaging students online within a blended or fully online course. The following award criteria are further detailed in the rubric found at the end of this document:

  • Originality: nominees are the original creators and developers of the course and/or have meaningfully adapted the material from open educational resources. Where third-party tools have been integrated, nominees have exercised strong academic autonomy to make the learning environment their own. It is clear what distinguishes the nominee’s own use of technologies or open educational resources from generic adoption and application.
  • Impact on Student Learning: the design and facilitation of online learning tasks have a strong, positive effect on students’ learning by: enhancing engagement in targeted cognitive task(s), contributing to students’ enduring understandings of course concepts, and/or facilitating students to exercise higher order thinking skills.
  • Transformative Use of Technology: online technologies used for teaching regularly engage learners in novel and innovative ways. Learning tasks are significantly redefined or reimagined from previous means of learner engagement.
  • Collaboration: the online environment provides enhanced opportunities for diversified interaction, communication, and feedback between the instructor and students, as well as among students.
  • Accessibility: online components have been designed and facilitated with the diverse needs of students in mind. The online learning environment is accessible through use of multiple modalities, accessible technologies, and/or approaches that recognize various literacies.

NOMINATION PROCEDURE

Nominations may be initiated by an individual or group, including students, alumni, fellow faculty members, Deans, and department Chairs or by the instructor him/herself. Preparing the application dossier is the responsibility of the candidate(s).

Nomination Letters: Two nomination letters (maximum 2 pages each) shall be included in the dossier. At least one nomination letter must come from a student or group of students (undergraduate, graduate, or alumni) who have engaged in the course being put forth for consideration within the past 12 months. Nomination letters should identify the course and should highlight the innovative qualities of the online learning environment as experienced or observed by the nominators.

APPLICATION DOSSIERS

Dossiers must follow 12-point font, single spaced, and 2.5 cm (1 inch) formatting in Times New Roman or Calibri, are limited to 15 pages, and need to be submitted by email as a single electronic file - ideally a pdf package.

1. Cover Page

Include a cover page with the following information:

  • Name of Applicant(s)
  • Position Title(s)
  • Department/School/Faculty
  • Contact information for the primary applicant:
    • Telephone Number
    • Email Address
  • The cover page also requires the signature of the applicant’s Faculty Dean: 
    • Dean’s signature and date

2. Nomination Letters (maximum 4 pages total)

  • Nomination letter from student(s) who have engaged in the course being put forth for consideration within the past 12 months.
  • Nomination letter from another individual or group, such as alumni, fellow faculty members, staff, Deans, and Department Chairs, articulating the impact of the innovation.

3. Overview of the Online/Blended Course (maximum 5 pages)

  • Synopsis: In 100 words or less, summarize the course and how its online learning environment supports meaningful student engagement.
  • Description of Course Context: Describe the course and its online learning environment, including (as applicable): how the course is structured and facilitated, what technologies are utilized, rationale for the online/blended approach taken, how the course was developed, and who was involved in its development. Artifacts that demonstrate various elements of the course are recommended (e.g., screenshots, links, or screen-captured demo videos of learning activities).
  • Student Learning & Engagement: Evidence how the online learning environment supports student learning. Explain how online activities serve to: enhance students’ engagement in targeted cognitive task(s), contribute to students’ enduring understandings of course concepts, facilitate students to exercise higher order thinking skills, and/or enable students to interact with both instructors and peers.
  • Transformative Use of Technologies & Tools: Describe in further detail the rationale for selecting and utilizing the technologies/tools that comprise the online learning environment and describe how instructors leverage these technologies to facilitate learning.
  • Accessibility Features: Evidence how the online learning environment serves to meet the diverse needs of its learners.

4. Letters from Peers, Colleagues, and Students (optional, no more than 5 pages total)

  • Letters from peers or colleagues can provide evidence of exemplary online teaching and student engagement through online teaching contexts.
  • Letters from former students who can look back on their experiences in the course and assess the applicant’s work in a broad context are especially valuable.

5. Teaching Philosophy or Course Philosophy Statement (1 page)

  • This statement should outline the instructors’ teaching philosophy.
  • In the case of multiple applicants, a broader course philosophy statement is acceptable and should outline the goals or beliefs informing the course design and learning outcomes.

6. Curriculum Vitae of the applicant or Applicant Biographies (maximum 4 pages)

  • CVs should focus on teaching experience and achievements (e.g., awards).
  • In the case of multiple applicants, provide a biography for each applicant summarizing teaching experience and achievements.

SUBMISSION AND DEADLINE

The Award for Excellence Online and Blended Teaching is awarded annually. The completed application dossier should be submitted electronically as a single PDF file on or before January 15 to the Office of the Vice-Provost (Academic Programs). Please address the email to the Administrative Coordinator, Mary Deminion (mdeminio@uwo.ca) and reference the award title in the email’s subject heading.

AWARD COMMITTEE

The Award for Excellence Online and Blended Teaching will be adjudicated by a review committee comprised of the Vice-Provost (Academic Programs) or designate, two previous award recipients and/or designated faculty members, and one representative of the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Rubric for Submission Evaluation

 

Exemplary

Developing

Below Award Standards

Originality

 

Nominees are the original creators and developers of the course and/or have meaningfully adapted materials from open educational resources. Where third-party tools have been integrated, nominees have exercised strong academic autonomy over it to make it their own. It is clear what distinguishes the nominee’s own use of the tool from generic adoption and application.

Nominees are the original creators and developers of the course, and/or open educational resources have been moderately adapted. Where third-party tools have been integrated, nominees have exercised some academic autonomy through it to make it their own.

Nominees are not the original creators and developers of the course, and/or open educational resources have been adopted without adaption. Where third-party tools have been integrated, nominees have exercised little to no academic autonomy. It is difficult to tell what distinguishes the nominees use of the tool from generic adoption and application.

Impact on Student Learning

Nominees effectively demonstrate how the online components of the course have a strong, positive effect on students’ learning by: enhancing engagement in targeted cognitive task(s), contributing to students’ enduring understandings of course concepts, and/or facilitating students to exercise higher order thinking skills.

Nominees provide some evidence that the online components of the course have affected students’ learning, with some demonstrated effect on engagement with targeted cognitive task(s), contributions to students’ understandings of course concepts, and/or the exercise of higher order thinking skills.

Nominees do not demonstrate how the online components of the course have affected

students’ learning, or the evidence provided does not demonstrate enhanced engagement in targeted cognitive task(s), contributions to students’ enduring understandings of course concepts, and/or the exercise of higher order thinking skills.

Transformative Use of Technology

Nominees demonstrate how the online technologies used for teaching regularly engage learners in novel and innovative ways. Learning tasks are significantly redefined or reimagined from previous means of learner engagement.

Nominees demonstrate how the online technologies used for teaching engage learners. Learning tasks are augmented or modified from previous means of learner engagement.

Nominees do not demonstrate how the online technologies used for teaching engage learners or learning tasks are merely a substitution from previous means of learner engagement.

Collaboration

Nominees demonstrate how the online environment of the course provides enhanced opportunities for diversified interaction, communication, and feedback between the instructor and students, as well as among students.

Nominees demonstrate how the online environment of the course provides opportunities for collaboration but interaction, communication, and feedback between the instructor and students or among students is limited.

Nominees do not demonstrate how the online environment of the course provides opportunities for diversified interaction, communication, and feedback between the instructor and students, as well as among students.

Accessibility

Explicit steps have been taken to design and facilitate the online components of the course with the diverse needs of students in mind. The online learning environment is accessible through use of multiple modalities, accessible technologies, and/or approaches that recognize various literacies.

It is not clear how online components are designed and facilitated with the diverse needs of students in mind. There is occasional use of multiple modalities, accessible technologies, and/or approaches that recognize various literacies.

Reviewers flag concerns that the design/facilitation of online components do not meet the diverse needs of students due to limited use of modalities, use of technologies with known accessibility concerns, and/or disregard to students’ various literacies.