Provost seeks proposals for socially constructed learning experiences

Call for Proposals – Educational Experiences and Materials for the “Google World”

From Aaron Brower, Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning:

With partners across campus, I am happy to announce a new program to grant one-time funds to help develop pilot projects on educational materials and experiences for an “education of the future.”

The Internet changes everything, including education. When students have access to the same information we have as instructors, it calls into question the nature of our classes and educational experiences, and the instructional materials we provide. Moreover, Web 2.0 technologies like blogs, wikis, Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube allow us to contribute easily to the world’s information.

The Internet and search engines like Google provide us with instantaneous access to a world of information that is wide and deep, constantly changing, and sometimes contradictory. With the “Google world,” we can move more easily from a traditional information‐exchange model of education to one based on socially constructed learning— where we work with students to construct the knowledge that’s at the heart of the educational experience. We are living in an information revolution as significant as Gutenberg’s printing press. We need educational experiences and materials that fit the Google world, that are equally as revolutionary and that will help drive our education into the future.

Partnering with the Libraries, the Division of Information Technology (DoIT), the Division of Student Life, the Office of the CIO, the Vice Chancellor of Administration, and the Provost, I am offering seed funding for campus to develop educational experiences and materials that are forward looking, student learning outcome‐based, and part of the socially constructed education possible in the “Google world.” Of course, we also hope to see materials and experiences that could only happen here – that is, that enhance or are unique to the “Wisconsin Experience” offered to our students.

We are looking for projects that develop the following:

  • Sophisticated websites that might become the “textbooks” of the future (and that could subsequently be developed into e‐texts viewable on iPads or the like) and that drive forward the materials needed for socially constructed learning.
  • New modes of instruction that place socially constructed learning at the center of standard course formats (in a lecture/discussion course, for example).
  • New kinds of experiences that use and apply socially constructed learning to solve complex problems (in the community, for example).

$50,000 in resources and staff time is available to be shared among three to five projects. At the moment, this is one‐time funding, and the expectation is to develop materials and experiences that can become part of the education we are providing to our undergraduates. Participants are expected to collaborate with DoIT and the Library teams on projects that must include:

  • Specific project goals and timelines,
  • A plan for project evaluation and assessment of learning outcomes,
  • A plan to disseminate relevant findings and outcomes to the broader teaching and learning community via the Teaching and Learning Excellence site, the virtual teaching and learning center at UW‐Madison ( and presentation at the 2012 Teaching and Learning Symposium.

Funds will be awarded in time for project development to take place as soon as summer and fall, 2011, with the intent to pilot what’s developed by spring 2012.

Proposals that address the following goals will be given the strongest consideration:

  • Fostering a positive impact on student learning inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Enhancing the Wisconsin Experience by capitalizing on UW‐Madison’s position as a unique, world‐class, research university.
  • Generating more engaging teaching and learning by emphasizing students’ role in knowledge construction within the “Google World.”

Proposals (no more than 2 pages) should be sent to Aaron Brower, Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning.

Submission Deadline: March 15th 2011; Award decision: May 1st, 2011. Please contact with questions.

Download a copy of this call for proposals.