The University of Alabama’s College of Continuing Studies is offering five highly competitive Bama By Distance Faculty Research Fellowships to UA faculty members who discover effective ways to enhance online teaching and learning.
Cheryl Bosarge, program manager for faculty development in the College of Continuing Studies, said the $15,000 fellowships are available to full-time faculty at the University who are willing to develop proposals demonstrating systematic, rigorous investigation for the enhancement of online teaching and learning.
“Last year this was open only to Bama By Distance faculty, but this time we’ve decided to open it up to all full-time faculty,” she said. “It’s about knowledge sharing, and we want it to be able to benefit all of our students.”
Bosarge said they’re encouraging collaborative proposals that might include design and delivery of online course work, testing of alternative models and the examination of other elements that UA’s distance students may experience.
“Our students in Bama by Distance are all over the country, out of the country and local,” she said. “When trying to improve online teaching, improving instructor presence to make sure students are aware of them in the course is vital. A lot of times students feel disconnected because they never see their teachers.
“So, instructors perfecting their skills in presence and student feedback are important when teaching online. But, fundamentally, an online course is just as rigorous and meets the same teaching objectives as an in-person course. It’s just that the communication is different. That is one area UA faculty can look at with this program.”
The proposal deadline is Sept. 20. Funding is contingent on approval by the applicant’s department chair and dean. Award recipients will be announced Oct. 25 for research beginning in the 2020 calendar year.
Bosarge said additional funding is available to fellowship winners who agree to travel to online teaching and learning conferences and present their research. More information about the application process and instructions on how to apply can be found here.
Bama By Distance, in the Division of Academic Outreach in the College of Continuing Studies, supports more then 2,700 online courses per year for over 70 degree programs and with more than 5,000 currently enrolled students. It works with more than 2,000 faculty each year.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.