Post navigation

Hybrid Challenge For Engaged Learning

With funding from President Sullivan, this initiative from the UVa Faculty Senate and Teaching Resource Center supports faculty members from across the University as they develop newly hybrid technology-enhanced courses for engaged student learning. Faculty participants in this program will teach these courses during the academic year 2013-14. Teachers are encouraged to transform an existing traditional course into a flipped, hybrid, technology-enhanced course; but they may also propose to develop a new flipped course (see “Types of Courses” below).

Hybrid courses promote significant student learning by combining in-person classroom experiences with useful technologies. In hybrid courses, students tend to learn more than through traditional lecture courses for several reasons:

  • Technological tools enable students to learn basic information outside of class.
  • Then, in class, students actively apply what they learned: they generate new ideas, solve problems, think creatively, and interact through hands-on activities.
  • The teacher can then coach them and teach in response to their questions and misunderstandings.

The face-to-face interactions in hybrid or flipped courses are usually highly varied and include, for instance, discussions, problem-solving, case study, group work, and mini-lectures. The web-based or digital technologies used often include online course materials and assignments, wikis, blogs, and screen-cast lectures. The degree to which hybrid courses use traditional classroom and online learning environments varies depending on the nature and subject matter of the course. “Flipped courses” are those in which the entire course structure encourages students to learn outside of class material that they then use in class to deepen their learning. These courses are built on concepts such as learning-centered course design, active learning, and technology-enhanced learning and generally deliver instruction in both an asynchronous and synchronous manner.

This program most encourages faculty to flip an existing course, or to design a new flipped course. Up to nine instructors or instructor teams will be funded.

We are not accepting applications at this time.

Any full-time faculty member (tenured, tenure-track, or non-tenure-track) from any U.Va. school or department and any academic rank may propose a course. Faculty may submit separate proposals to Hybrid Challenge for Engaged Learning and Nucleus but are eligible for only one award per academic year.

Types of Courses
Faculty are most encouraged to propose designing or redesigning a full-semester or year-long course to make it into a flipped course by appropriate use of technology. These courses should engage and motivate students to learn through technological means as well as in the classroom; moreover, the in-class activities should offer students significant intellectual engagement. Preference will be given to courses enrolling at least 100 students and to lower-division courses.

Some funding may be available to support flipped J-Term or Summer School courses. Proposed courses may be face-to-face credit-bearing courses for UVa students or online courses offering credit to distance learners and/or non-enrolled auditors. Faculty may propose either a single flipped course or an experimental approach in which one section of a multi-sectioned course is flipped and another section is the control. Courses designed around any promising instructional technology are welcome, including, for example, screen-cast lectures, telepresence, virtual reality, simulations and simulators, blogs, discussion boards.

Expectations of Participants
Participants in this year-long program will engage in ongoing ways with each other and with TRC colleagues, in these ways, among others:

  • Apply to and attend the Teaching Resource Center’s Course Design Institute (CDI), May 20-24, 2013, to design or redesign a flipped course based on research on teaching and learning. There they will learn to:
    1. develop more robust, epistemologically-based learning objectives
    2. implement learner-centered pedagogies such as peer instruction, problem-based learning, team-based learning, process-oriented group inquiry learning, peer-led team learning pedagogies
    3. identify common barriers that students have when learning disciplinary concepts and develop appropriate learning activities to overcome these
    4. create a variety of learning-centered assessments. Participants are required to pay for CDI (approximately $875) using their annual Education Benefit or program award.
  • Teach their courses during the academic year 2013-14 and at least one more time over the following five semesters.
  • Include on their flipped-course syllabus this statement or a similar one that encourages students to welcome new ways of learning: “Research in higher education shows that students who actively engage with new information, skills, and perspectives learn better for the long term. In this course, we will use technology to create an environment aimed to help you learn more deeply. The type of thinking that you will practice and learn here will help you not only in your life as a citizen and leader but also with professional exams oriented toward problem solving and critical thinking such as the MCAT ( and the LSAT (”
  • Provide their completed course syllabus to be linked to the TRC website.
  • Peer-observe other participants in the program.
  • Consult regularly with TRC faculty.
  • Participate regularly in a flipped-course faculty learning community.
  • Continually improve their course through systematic assessment of student learning.
  • Measure the effect that least one of their technology implementations has on some aspect of students’ learning: for example, students’ perceptions, motivation, retention, persistence, and so on. They may choose to work with staff of The Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (CASTL-HE) to define, implement, and/or analyze their study. Together with CASTL-HE staff, they may apply for funds to support such assessment (up to $5,000 per course).
  • Share at U.Va. and beyond their successes and lessons learned from developing and teaching their courses.
  • Submit a formal written report of accomplishments and grant expenditures to the Faculty Senate and the Teaching Resource Center by Thursday, May 15, 2014.
  • In the future, act as specialist consultants to other faculty who are flipping their courses.


  • An award in the amount of $10,000 will support each selected course and the faculty member teaching it—the program participants.
  • In addition, the departmental chair of the department in which the course will be offered will receive $2,000 in discretionary funding.
  • Grants of up to $5,000/course will be available to support learning-outcomes assessment done through CASTL-HE. Faculty who foresee requiring such support should detail their funding requirements in their proposal.

The $10,000 award funds become immediately available following successful completion of the Course Design Institute (e.g., submitting to the TRC a final or near-final syllabus for the redesigned course); they must be spent by the end of the award year. These funds may be used only during the fiscal year 2013-14 for any or all expenses related to the course or dissemination of lessons learned, including these among others:

  • Purchase of hardware or software for the course;
  • Graduate student course support, whether as researchers or teaching assistants;
  • Conference paper presentation expenses, including travel;
  • Travel, purchases, or consultations that help the recipient gain expertise in flipping a course and/or designing hybrid learning courses;
  • Expenses related to sharing knowledge and perspectives about engaged student learning and flipped, hybrid courses with colleagues, including, for example, learning communities, reading groups, teaching partnerships—inside or beyond departments and school;
  • A percentage of the total $10,000 may be as a research fund (non-taxable), as a 2013 summer wage payment (taxable), or as a combination of research fund and 2013 summer wage payment for the faculty member teaching the course. If multiple faculty members are teaching a course, the grant may be divided among them.

Proposal Requirements
Proposals to participate in the Hybrid Challenge for Engaged Learning must include a completed Course Design Institute application (online) and the following proposal materials, emailed as described.We are not accepting applications at this time.

Format for Submission
Limit sections 1-6 of the proposal materials (below) into five pages maximum (Times New Roman, 12-point), and combine them into a single PDF or Word file. Submit it electronically to the TRC at (we are not accepting applications at this time). Label it with your “last name, first name, department.” Send the syllabus separately, labeled with your “last name, first name, department, course number.”

Proposal Materials

  1. Your name, department, course number, title, and brief course description as it would be displayed in the Course Offering Directory;
  2. Course demographics, including typical gender and racial composition, and D/F/Withdraw rates;
  3. Your initial thoughts about the redesign. Please do not include detailed redesign plans in your proposal because a systematic redesign will occur during CDI. Do include your initial ideas in answer to these questions:
    • Why do you think your students would learn better if this course were taught as a hybrid technology-enhanced course?
    • How will your students’ classroom work increase their intellectual engagement and active participation in their learning by building on what they learn outside of class, especially from their technology-enhanced activities? For instance, how will in-class work engage students in critical thinking, problem solving, creative work, idea sharing, and so on?
    • What sorts of work do you foresee students doing outside of class with the help of technology?
    • How do you plan to assess the impact of your newly designed course on your students’ learning?
    • What type(s) of help and/or information do you expect to need with respect to the technology you plan to use?
  4. Budget summary detailing how the $10,000 award will be spent;
  5. Brief bio (one-half to one page);
  6. Signed confirmation from your departmental chair, associate dean, dean, or designated representative, as appropriate, that, if selected, you will be able to teach the proposed course during the academic year 2013-14 and at least once more over the following two academic years;
  7. Current course syllabus (if the proposed hybrid course is a redesign project), including the course description, learning objectives, and general means of assessment.

Key Resources to Help with Your Proposal
Question? Email or call Marva Barnett (, 434-982-2816)

Please feel free to consult with others about your proposal:
These TRC faculty are also available to consult about your proposal by phone, at the OpenGrounds Corner Studio or at the Teaching Resource Center at your convenience:

Dorothe Back,, 982-2800
Michael Palmer,, 982-2784
Judith Reagan,, 982-2867
Matthew Trevett-Smith,, 982-2807

SHANTI (Sciences, Humanities, & Arts Network of Technological Initiatives) tools are documented in the SHANTI Knowledge Base at To consult, write to set up a consultation.

For help with Collab-related issues, Yitna Firdyiwek, Faculty Consultant in Instructional Technology, offers his experience and knowledge,, 924-4055

Clemons Library’s Digital Media Lab has a team of knowledgeable media professionals available for course consultation and project planning. To learn more, contact Jama Coartney,, 243-6111.

The Scholars’ Lab in Alderman Library offers special assistance with courses that include digital mapping or geospatial information. Contact us at: or

Staff at the Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (CASTL-HE) offer help in designing an assessment of what students learn in the course.

The Arts & Sciences Center for Instructional Technologies (ASCIT) staff is available for consultation and assistance with instructional design, selection and integration of technology, and consultation about applications development for instructional purposes. Although the ASCIT mission is dedicated to A&S faculty and instructor, we happily work with faculty and GTAs throughout out the University to provide initial consultation and provide liaison with instructional resources.

Valerie Larsen,, 924-6847
Eric M. Stauffer,, 924-5872

Engineering faculty are invited to consult with their eLearning staff for design suggestions:

Stephanie Moore,, 243-5083
James Groves,, 924-6261