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Brightspace Innovation Program announces grant opportunities for West Lafayette, Fort Wayne, Northwest, and Global Instructors and Staff


Purdue’s Brightspace team announces a call for proposals and grant opportunities for instructors and staff at West Lafayette, Fort Wayne, Northwest, and Global to explore Brightspace teaching and learning ideas. The program is seeking innovative research proposals that leverage Brightspace to promote high-quality instruction, improve outcomes for instructors/students, or foster other new and emerging approaches to teaching. Proposals can span a broad spectrum of innovative teaching and learning projects, but should include Brightspace as an integral feature of the project.  Proposals might include, but are not limited to projects that: 

  • focus on the exploration of truly new ideas and concepts;  
  • demonstrate the potential for using Brightspace features and functionality to enhance the learning experience of students;
  • test new Brightspace features to determine how or when they can be most effective;
  • use emerging pedagogies within Brightspace
  • involve active learning in new learning spaces on campus or in a digital environment;
  • promote online education including digital experiential learning (e.g. virtual labs);
  • lead to widespread adoption of existing Brightspace features and functionality;
  • use student data in Brightspace to enhance student success and retention


The Program will have a budget of $25,000 for FY 2022. Grant awards will range from $5,000 to the full $25,000 and be effective for up to two years. Selection criteria include the use of Brightspace, innovation in instruction, measures and analytics to determine and assess outcomes, feasibility and timeline, sustainability, transferability to other courses/units/campuses, and scope of the potential impact. Special consideration and higher value awards will be given to proposals that contain cross-campus collaboration. 


Project costs can include summer salary support for AY faculty and staff as well as overload support for faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate wages. Funding will not support other faculty and staff salary costs, equipment replacement, online course redesign or remodeling of space. 


Proposals are due November 12th, 2021. For more information about the program, including how to apply, visit  


Download the Call for Proposal

Download the Budget Template


The Program will have a budget of $25,000 for FY 2021 with grant awards ranging anywhere from $5,000 to the full $25,000. Grants will be effective for up to two years from the proposed start date. Priority will be given to proposals that contain cross-campus collaboration. Additionally, higher value proposals will be expected to contain cross-campus collaboration. Unexpended balances at the end of grant period will be returned.

The anticipated schedule for program announcement, proposal solicitation, proposal submission, and seminar presentations is as follows:  


  • Round 1 Proposal Due Date November 12, 2021    
  • Round 2 Selection Notification November 19, 2021    
  • Round 2 Presentations December 10, 2021    
  • Award Announcements December 17, 2021    
  • Start Dates (as proposed) January 1, 2022 – December, 2023
  1. Cover Sheet (1 page)  
    1. Project Title  
    2. Project Abstract (50 words or less)  
    3. Project Duration (proposed start and ending dates)  
    4. Amount of total request  
    5. PI/co-PI Information (up to 3 co-PIs)  
      1. Name
      2. Campus address
      3. Email
      4. Campus phone
      5. Signatures of PI and co-PI
      6. Signature of each PI’s Department Head or reporting manager endorsing the project
  2. Project Summary (not more than 1 page)  
    1. The Project Summary consists of a project overview, a statement on the research or innovation it seeks to bring to Purdue, and a statement on the broader potential effects of the proposed activity.    
      1. The project overview describes what would result if the proposal were funded, identifies project objectives, and summarizes the methods/approach to be employed.  
      2. The statement on innovation should describe the potential of the proposed activity to advance teaching and learning.  
      3. The statement on broader potential effects should describe the potential of the proposed activity to benefit units beyond the applicant (at Purdue or for education in general).  
  3. Project Description (no more than 3 pages)  
    1. The Project Description should provide a clear statement of the work to be undertaken and must include:  
      1. description of the project and the innovation it seeks to bring to a unit, campus, and/or the Purdue system 
      2. project period  
      3. stated outcomes  
      4. anticipated benefits to students, faculty, staff, campus, and/or Purdue system  
      5. anticipated transferability to other courses and/or units, campuses, or the Purdue system   
      6. proposed timeline for development, implementation and assessment  plans for assessment and evaluation  
      7. plans for sustainability, including ongoing support and institutionalization  
      8. The Project Description should outline the general plan of work, including the broad design of activities to be undertaken, and, where appropriate, provide a clear description of the methods and procedures. Applicants should address what they want to do, why they want to do it, how they plan to do it, how they will know if they succeed, and what benefits would accrue if the project is successful. The project activities may be based on previously established and/or innovative methods and approaches, but in either case must be well justified. These issues apply to both the technical aspects of the proposal and the way in which the project may make broader contributions.    
  4. Budget and Budget Justification (1 page) - (See Appendix A for Template) 
    1. These grants will fund related costs needed to advance the goals outlined in the grant proposal. Costs associated with needed training are an appropriate expense for the project. Project costs can include summer salary support for AY faculty and staff as well as overload support for faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate wages. Other faculty and staff salary costs will not be provided from the grants. 
    2. Proposed budgets cannot exceed $25,000 over the grant period.  
    3. Project budgets need to be prepared with the assistance of your business office or department.  

Round 1: The proposal review process will include an initial Round 1 evaluation based on the following criteria:  

  1. use of Brightspace
  2. innovation in instruction  
  3. measures and analytics to determine and assess outcomes 
  4. feasibility and timeline  
  5. sustainability  
  6. scope of potential impact (breadth and depth)


Round 2: Applicants whose proposals are selected to advance to Round 2 will be required to present the proposed project to a review team. Final selection of awards will follow the Round 2  presentations.

Oral presentations will be held December 18th. Teams will be asked to make a 10 minute oral presentation to an evaluation panel. The panel will then ask questions for up to 10 minutes. The presentation should address the following questions:  

  1. What are the innovative aspects of the idea for teaching and learning?
    1. What do you want to do?  
    2. Why do you want to do it?  
    3. How do you plan to do it?  
    4. How will you know if you were successful?  
    5. How will you use Brightspace to achieve the results of your proposal?
    6. What unit, campus, and/or institution-wide benefits could accrue if the project is successful.  
  2. What is the timeline for development and implementation? 
  3. What are the plans for ongoing support and institutionalization?

For programmatic questions, please contact your campus representative:

Fort Wayne: Rachel Ramsey (

Northwest: Katie Brown (  

West Lafayette: Margaret Wu (

Global: Lisa Wallace (

Proposals should be endorsed by your department head and submitted via email as a single PDF for the proposal and a single PDF for the budget to Madia Bickett ( Proposals are due November 12th.

2021 Grant Awardees:

Purdue West Lafayette: Honors College Brightspace Milestones

Project team: Kristina Bross, associate dean for research & creative endeavors, Elizabeth Brite, clinical associate professor & director of scholarly project grants, and Zahra Tehrani, clinical assistant professor & director of research workshops and symposia, all of the Honors College.

Description: The PWL Honors College Milestones project offers a coherent approach for engaging student learning and scholarship inside and outside of the classroom. It promises to serve as a one-stop platform for students to gain experience and skills. The project seeks to bridge educational experiences across semesters, even years, by fostering student-centered “communities of practice,” which will focus on topics, methodologies, or practices that are significant to their learning and to their scholarly identities. Milestones brings together elements of non-traditional pedagogies (digital badges, learning community cohort building) and asynchronous, independent learning in order to create community and to give students scaffolding to achieve competencies, meet learning goals, and/or fulfill requirements that are not fully incorporated into a unit’s formal curriculum.

The Milestones project will aid units and initiatives across the PWL campus to enrich student learning. It will provide an efficient mechanism for students to complete program requirements by organizing resources, allowing them to identify near and long-term goals, track their progress and document their curricular/co-curricular/extra-curricular achievements (skills, scholarship) across their four-year college experience. It will also allow for the culture of learning through its cohort-building emphasis.

Purdue Fort Wayne: Evaluating the Creation, Adoption, and Implementation of Brightspace Predictive Model to Enhance Students’ Persistence and Retention

Project team: Guieswende Rouamba, instructional consultant & designer, Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, and Marcia Dixson, associate vice chancellor for teaching and learning and professor of communication, Office of Academic Affairs.

Description: Learning analytics, an extremely underutilized tool, has the potential to increase student persistence and retention by helping faculty identify: 1) learning efficiencies, 2) struggling students, and 3) interventions to keep students engaged. This project aims at evaluating the creation, adoption, and implementation of the Brightspace predictive model within PFW courses. Field-testing at PFW will uncover its benefits and limitations for effective system-wide adoption. Results of this pilot will help instructional designers and Brightspace administrators build effective predictive models and provide faculty with practical recommendations for using the Brightspace dashboard.

Purdue Northwest: Student Engagement in the New Normal: The Role of Brightspace

Project team: Songtao Mo, associate professor of accounting, and director, master of accountancy program; Chen Ye, associate professor of management information systems; and Lin Zhao, chair, Department of Quantitative Business Studies and associate professor of management information systems

Description: Student engagement is a topic of great importance in the discussion of pedagogical development in higher education, especially in the post-COVID landscape of teaching and learning. The PNW project proposes a multi-dimensional and multi-method examination of the role of Brightspace in engaging students across different disciplines in the post-COVID era. The objective is to investigate the application of Brightspace in various teaching modalities, including face-to-face instruction, hybrid, virtual instruction, and distance learning, as a primary instructional instrument in the new normal, in promoting student engagement through innovations in instruction and assessment. Specifically, the team plans to examine the use of three innovative features in Brightspace: intelligent agents, the Brightspace Pulse mobile app, and analytical grading in discussions and assignments. It aims to understand the nuances in the applications of these tools in course design and implementation and how conditions and configurations would impact their effectiveness in engaging students. Considering the multiple facets of student engagement, the researchers plan to apply different methods including controlled experiments, analysis of activity log data, and student surveys in their investigation.