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Brightspace Innovation Program Grant Opportunities

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; or
  • use student data in Brightspace to enhance student success and retention.

These grants will fund 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. Funding will not support equipment replacement, online course redesign or remodeling of space without the addition of a significant innovation component.

The project may lead to new processes or radical enhancements to current products or processes. If so, then the unit will be expected to continue to support the product or other successful program outcomes after the project is complete. This may be accomplished through product licensing or by absorbing any ongoing operating costs into the unit budget. A statement outlining the anticipated approach should be included in the proposal. Priority will be given to projects with potential impact spanning many courses system-wide.

Project duration may be up to two years to allow sufficient time to develop and implement the proposal idea and assess the project outcomes. Each grant recipient will be asked to provide a status update on their project in six-month increments as well as provide a final report upon completion. These will include a description of the instructional innovation, project outcomes, an assessment of student learning, and the applicability of the strategy to other disciplines. The goal of the projects is to find and extend successful strategies to other units.

The Program will have a budget of $25,000 for FY 2024 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 October 23, 2023
  • Round 2 Selection Notification November 20, 2023
  • Round 2 Presentations December 8, 2023
  • Award Announcements December 15, 2023
  • Start Dates (as proposed) January 1, 2024 – December 2025
  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 Budget 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 9th. 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: Heidi Jung (

Northwest: Katie Brown (

West Lafayette: Sarah Stearns (

Global: Jackie Ranisate (

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 at the following site: Proposals are due October 23rd.

2023 Grant Awardees:

Purdue West Lafayette: Brightspace for Rater Self-Training and Group Discussions for Fair Assessment of Student Performances

Project team: Lixia Cheng, Associate Director of Evaluation, Purdue Language and Cultural Exchange (PLaCE)
Summary: This project aims to design a Brightspace course for teacher-raters of in-house English proficiency and evaluate its efficacy for rater calibration to ensure reliable and fair grading of student performances.

Purdue Northwest: Incorporating Innovative Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Components in Brightspace

Project team: David Pratt, Associate Professor, Education
Summary: This project aims to make use of Brightspace’s innovative tools to incorporate specific components of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in students’ classroom experiences to positively impact student success.

2022 Grant Awardees:

Purdue Fort Wayne: Cohort Program: Gamifying Courses through Brightspace Tools Adoptions

Project team: Xiaokai Jia, Associate Director, CELT
Summary:This project aims to design and implement a cohort program for four faculty at the Fort Wayne campus to gamify one of their existing courses to engage and motivate students by using the Brightspace Awards tool, Intelligent Agents, and Release Conditions. Each faculty will be supported through a series of five workshops and at least eight one-on-one consultations. The cohort will be offered in Summer 2022 or Fall 2022 based on faculty’s work and course offering schedules.

Purdue Northwest: Brightspace LMS for Mastery-Oriented Approach

Project team:Magesh Chandramouli, Ph.D., Professor, Computer Graphics Technology
Summary:Brightspace has immense potential in enhancing student learning experience in Computer Graphics courses. This project proposes the use of Brightspace functionalities to facilitate “Mastery-Oriented Approach” whilst investigating the features of Brightspace LMS that have been underutilized, overlooked, and/or used improperly. Mastery orientation has been associated with enhanced student performance, higher retention, and also better transfer of skills to the workplace eventually. To this end, this effort endeavors to capitalize on an inventory of more than 100 high-resolution video demos created for this instructor’s courses. The project will use Brightspace features such as Kaltura Interactive Quizzes, Intelligent Agents, and Strings to enhance and enrich the videos to present them to students in an engaging manner.

Purdue Northwest: Using Brightspace to Digitize the Course Syllabus

Project team:Hubert Izienicki, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology
Summary:The syllabus contains a great deal of important information, but getting students to actually read it is a challenge for most instructors. As a text-heavy document, it poses a number of challenges to the students. It privileges experienced readers who are able to effortlessly read pages of information, and its typical length tends to prevent many students from reading the entire document. To address these drawbacks of a traditional syllabus, I propose to transform it into a more engaging and equitable pedagogical tool using Brightspace’s module function. My goal is to test if this new digitally redesigned format increases students’ retention of information and engagement with the syllabus.

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.