What is the President's Technology Initiative?

President Haeger's plan for Northern Arizona University includes an emphasis on more effective academic use of technology with an eye toward increasing student achievement and graduation rates while reducing the cost of instruction. Instructional innovation—and in particular, blended learning—is seen as a means to that end.

As part of this initiative, President Haeger invites proposals from faculty to redesign 100- and 200-level courses that have large enrollments across multiple sections taught by multiple instructors.

Stipends of up to $6000 per faculty course designer/coordinator and up to $30,000 for departments are available.

Review the Round 4 Request for Proposals for more details.

What are the goals of this initiative?

Because of changes in higher education, the university must find ways to improve student success, engage students in active learning, and educate students more efficiently. Thus, the goals of this initiative include redesigning courses in ways that increase capacity, make better use of campus resources—including facilities and faculty time—and improve student learning at a lower cost per student. Specifically, the university seeks to

  • increase student learning and course completion
  • reduce the number of in-person class sessions for a course while increasing structured out-of-class and online learning activities for students
  • focus on innovative course designs that emphasize higher-order learning, such as problem solving, application, evaluation, and creation
  • make efficient and effective use of university resources, such as faculty time, classrooms, equipment, and technology
  • cement the university's reputation as a leader in student success and use of technology for learning

What is blended learning?

NAU defines blended learning as an approach that combines the best elements of face-to-face teaching with a variety of technologies, resulting in increased learning effectiveness and improved efficiency. In general, a blended course at NAU is one in which 25% or more of the conventional seat time is replaced by online or out-of-class activities.

While there are many kinds of blended learning, this initiative focuses in particular on the "flipped classroom" approach, which restructures how students and instructors use in-class and out-of-class time and replaces a portion of traditional in-person lectures with online activities.

Why should departments consider course redesign?

Course redesign is one way departments can allocate scarce resources more efficiently. Multisection introductory courses can benefit especially from sharing resources and consolidating faculty time spent on course design while simultaneously increasing student engagement and success. Another benefit is that the course redesign process often helps departments clarify goals and improve communication and collaboration.

Faculty time or positions freed by the course redesigns will remain with the departments to be applied toward supporting the following kinds of activities:

  • increased faculty-student interaction
  • expanded departmental programming
  • enrollment growth
  • undergraduate research or internships
  • graduate instruction and mentoring
  • research

Departments that successfully implement one or more redesigned courses that align well with the goals of the initiative, produce measurable savings, and increase faculty efficiencies are eligible to apply for a recurring supplement to their operations funding. The supplement will be scaled according to the department's initial operations budget and could be as much as $30,000, depending on the savings and efficiencies generated by the redesigned courses. Departments can apply for the supplement after the redesigned courses are fully implemented across multiple sections of each course and are taught by multiple instructors. Contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs for more information.