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Center for Teaching Excellence

  • Marcy Monument University of South Carolina Horseshoe

Carolina Core Online: Teaching Innovation Grants in Distributed Learning Course Development

Application Deadline: November 7, 2016


The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) with support from the Office of the Provost, invites full-time faculty to submit proposals for the development of exemplary Carolina Core courses for distributed learning (DL) delivery. Currently, fewer than 30% of Carolina Core courses are offered online or in a blended format. The goal of these grants is to provide students with a greater variety of high-quality DL options for fulfilling their Core requirements. This goal will be accomplished by providing funding, expert instructional design assistance, pedagogical resources and technological support to faculty to create new DL Carolina Core courses or convert existing Core courses for DL delivery.

Distributed Learning

DL courses include fully online and blended courses (courses that meet in a traditional classroom, studio, or lab for up to 50% of the instruction and deliver the remaining instruction online.) DL combines technology tools with innovative teaching methods in order to facilitate students’ access to instructional content and help them learn. Specifically, DL courses:

  • Provide students with guided pathways to interact with course material, faculty, and fellow students;
  • Increase access to the university for nontraditional and geographically disadvantaged students; and
  • Enable academic units to serve traditional on-campus students better by easing limitations on classroom space and scheduling.

A DL version of any course should incorporate learning outcomes, instructional content, and opportunities for faculty and student interaction equivalent to those provided by the traditional version of the same course.

Eligible Principal Instructors

Any full-time faculty member at USC Columbia or the Palmetto College campuses (Extended University, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter, and Union) is eligible to apply. A faculty member who submits a proposal is expected to serve as the Principal Instructor (PI) of the course the first time it is offered. PIs may receive funding for only one course per grant cycle, except for cases in which a connected two-course sequence (e.g., CHEM 111, 112) might be effectively covered by a single proposal. Prior recipients of Provost’s Distributed Learning Course Development Grants or CTE Teaching Innovation Grants must have completed the prior project(s) and submitted final report(s) to be eligible to apply this year.

Eligible Courses

Proposals in response to this year’s solicitation must be for the development or creation of fully online asynchronous courses (in which 100% of the instruction is offered online, with no required synchronous class meetings) or blended courses (in which 50% or more of the instruction is offered online, with one or more traditional class meetings). Proposals to simply add a few online components to a traditional course, or to make minor changes to an existing DL course, will not be competitive. Proposals may be either for the creation of new courses that fulfill a Carolina Core outcome, or for the conversion of an existing Carolina Core course for DL delivery. 

Funds Available and Project Timeframe

Projects are available for funding of up to $6,000. Funded projects will be provided with individualized instructional design support and other pedagogical and technological resources via the CTE. Funded projects must be completed and final reports submitted to CTE at by June 15, 2018.

Expectations during the Grant Period

Grant recipients will:

  • Attend a kickoff luncheon and workshop with fellow grantees during Spring 2017 and up to two additional cohort meetings during the grant period to discuss course development and DL best practices.
  • Collaborate regularly with an instructional designer from the CTE to design, develop, and prepare the proposed course for DL delivery. (Note: funded courses will be expected to meet the university’s Distributed Learning Quality Assurance standards (see link in Carolina Core Online Grant Guidelines pdf below), which include accessibility standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Expenses associated with accessibility-related elements of the course (for example, captioning) should be incorporated into the proposal budget.
  • Participate meaningfully in a CTE-facilitated grantee cohort via Blackboard, which will include three-to-four benchmark deadlines for posting updates and sharing course materials in progress.
  • Attend at least one CTE workshop or webinar on a topic related to DL during the funding period.
  • Obtain the necessary university approvals outlined in ACAF 2.03 by submitting the relevant forms and documentation (new course approval, Carolina Core designation, and/or DL delivery approval) via the Academic Programs Proposal System (APPS).
  • Fully develop the proposed course in Blackboard by June 15, 2018.
  • Submit a final report to CTE consisting of the course syllabus, documentation of university approval for Carolina Core designation and DL delivery, and a brief statement indicating when the course will be offered for the first time and plans for future offerings. This report is due no later than June 15, 2018.
  • Share with colleagues the results, experiences, and/or best practices gained through the project in a CTE panel presentation or similar venue, by December 15, 2018.

Application Process

To apply, submit the application below including cover sheet, budget, a two-to-three page proposal, and a current CV. The proposal should include the following information: (1) a description of the targeted course(s); (2) the goals of the planned project and their relationship to the course learning outcomes; (3) how delivering the course with DL methods is beneficial to the university, academic unit, and/or curricular objectives; (4) a timeline and description of the activities to be accomplished during the grant period; and (5) the applicant’s teaching philosophy and qualifications as instructor of record for the proposed course; and (6) a detailed budget (see Budget Primer for guidance). Proposals will be evaluated by the following criteria:

  • Completeness of application and conformity to guidelines.
  • Clear and pedagogically coherent rationale for the project.
  • Likelihood that the course will enhance the quality or extend the reach of USC’s Distributed Learning program.
  • Feasibility of completing the project in the time proposed and with the funds available.
  • Likely impact and sustainability of the proposed course.

Carolina Core Online Grant Application [doc]
Carolina Core Online Grant Guidelines [pdf]

Completed applications should be received by November 7, 2016. Applications should be delivered to the Center for Teaching Excellence, Thomas Cooper Library, Room L511, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, or emailed to

Awards will be announced on or before December 12, 2016.

This grant opportunity is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Center for Teaching Excellence. For more information, contact the CTE at 803-777-8322 or

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