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Bridging the Divide Request for Proposals

Proposal Submission Deadline - 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, 2021

For RFP questions, or if you need alternative formats for persons with disabilities, email Dr. Claire Norris (claire.norris@ulsystem.edu) or Katie Dawson (katie.dawson@ulsystem.edu). 


The COVID-19 global pandemic drastically upended the higher education enterprise, particularly in the areas of teaching and learning. Stay at Home/Shelter in Place orders required higher education leaders to respond quickly by moving all courses to remote learning. In just week one of the Governor’s announcement, the Universities of Louisiana engaged in a wholesale, sudden shift to remote instruction, requiring all instructors to adapt how they provide instruction. Data showed that over 90% of all face-to-face (F2F) and hybrid courses, across the University of Louisiana System (UL System), were moved to either online or remote learning within week one. While this illustrated the tenacity and resiliency of the faculty, staff, and students, it also highlighted digital inequities across teaching and learning. 

Project Description

Both faculty and students have increasingly diverse ranges of experiences with navigating different sets of digital and technology environments. The Covid-19 pandemic is revealing the breadth of higher education’s digital and technological divide. From an equity perspective, all faculty, staff, and students regardless of discipline, background, or experiences should have access to equitable teaching and learning environments. The general objective of this Request for Proposals (RFP) aims to improvdigital and technological literacy and skills and expand online support through education, training, and professional development opportunities. Specifically, the RFP calls for applicants to design an online professional development (PD) course that addresses the technology and tools for online learning, quality matters, and innovative and engaging course content.  Tracks are described below.

Track 1: Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy is defined as the ability to navigate technology (hardware/software) and determine the appropriateness, reliability, and usefulness of information found through internet resources. This track will focus on three specific areas: Tools and resources to help students successfully navigate the Learning Management System; Tools and resources to help students in their academic research pursuits (assignments; essays; website-based projects; thesis; dissertation); Strategies and assignments that improve student level of mastery with internet etiquette (netiquette), computer-mediated communication, and information efficacy.  

Example courses may include (but aren’t limited to): What do I do next? Writing Clear  Objectives and Instructions; Researching Online: Fact vs. Fiction; Engaging Students  with Mobile Technology; A Beginners Guide to OER.  

 Track 2: Innovations in Online Teaching and Learning

This track will focus on lessons learned throughout the last year and a half on strategies for teaching online, finding and/or creating resources for online course delivery, and developing assessments for online course work.    

Example course topics may include (but aren’t limited to): Social Media in the  Classroom; Getting Group Work to Work; Written Coursework and Video Feedback;  Plagiarism? I’m Not Scared. 

 Track 3: Holistic Student Services: Creating Communities for Student Success

When students walk into the classroom (or log into the classroom) we hope that they are ready and willing to learn, however many students have competing interests for their time, resources, and energy. This track will focus on ways the faculty and staff from across the system have worked to serve their students holistically by focusing on: mental health and self-care practices/programming; connecting students with campus/community resources for fundamental needs (food/shelter/safety insecurities); and practices/programming that addresses cultural awareness and competencies. 

Example course topics may include (but aren’t limited to): Recognizing Students Who are Struggling and What to do to Help; Cultural Competency, it’s Not Just for Classrooms; Advising for Life’s Journey in Addition to the Academic Journey; Building a Sense of Community Inside/Outside the Classroom; How to Start a Food Pantry. 

 Track 4: Closing Learning and Achievement Gaps

We know that students entering our classes are at varying levels of knowledge about the subject matter. This can be especially challenging in general education courses designed to prepare students for upper-level undergraduate work. This track will focus on strategies used to level the playing field in general education and/or lower level course undergraduate course work.  

Example course topics may include (but aren’t limited to): Using Games to Build Basic  Skills; Need a refresher? There’s an App for that; How Skills Tests Can Shape  Pedagogical Approach; Peer Learning – Helping Others Meet Expectations. 

Applicant Expectations

Proposals should fit into one of the four tracks established above. Applicants are allowed to submit more than one proposal.  We reserve the right to award more than one grant to an individual.  Those selected will be given access to a Moodle LMS Course Shell. Grant awardees will be given at minimum ten (10) days to prepare and build her/his professional development course. Professional development courses will be offered weekly beginning on Monday, June 28, 2021. Professional development courses should require no less than 45 minutes of course participation and no more than five hours of course participation.  

Course creation should utilize the ‘Bridging the Divide Professional Development Planning Guide’ in the course creation. Each PD course should have at minimum two modules/topic blocks. Each course should layout participant expectations in a document similar to a course syllabus. Course participants should be given resources, low-stakes assignments, and discussion components during professional development. We are encouraging pass/fail or complete/incomplete assessments. Any technical requirements, time commitments, synchronous sessions, or technology should be stated at the start of the course so participants can be best prepared for the PD course. Participants will be encouraged to complete the PD course within the week that the course is offered live. Those that finish the professional development course will be awarded a badge for participation. Those that do not finish the professional development course on time will not be penalized. 

Those submitting a proposal should expect to create and facilitate the professional development course. This will require a minimum of two weeks (not necessarily consecutive) time commitment from the faculty/staff member; one week for course creation and one week for course facilitation.  

Faculty/staff members who have proposals that are accepted will be paid a $1,000 stipend at the end of her/his facilitation of the professional development content.   

Those who have proposals chosen will be required to: 

  • Create a PD course in a Moodle LMS; 
  • Facilitate the PD course in the Moodle LMS for a period of one week; 
  • Promote engagement with course material, assignments, and peers within the PD course; and 
  • Report participant completion to DEIT for badges and tracking 

Notification of Selections

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants will be notified on two dates. Friday, June 11, 2021, and Monday, June 14, 2021. 

Submit a Proposal


  • 250 word limit
  • (minimum 2 learning objectives participants should meet after participating in your course)
  • See Faculty Playbook for an example of how to ensure equity and inclusion in your course design.
  • (approximate length of time to review resources, participate in discussion, complete low stakes assignments)


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