The Alan Blizzard Award was established to encourage, identify, and publicly recognize those whose exemplary collaboration in university teaching enhances student learning. The Award honours Dr. Alan Blizzard, STLHE President from 1987 to 1995, and his convictions about the effectiveness of collaboration in team teaching for student learning. Until 2012, the Award was sponsored by Pearson Canada. The Award seeks to make visible and disseminate scholarship of teaching and learning, based on values and practices of collaborative teaching.
University teaching is typically assumed to be a solitary, private, and individual activity. Collaboration can also be an effective strategy for accomplishing student learning. The Alan Blizzard Award highlights excellence in collaborative university teaching and learning.
There are many instances—ranging from sports, politics, and industry to the arts, professions, and civic life—in which collaboration offers effective, innovative, and satisfying ways of fostering engagement, solidarity, and meaning. We are encouraged to cultivate collaborative approaches to student learning, but we must also encourage and support collaborative teaching.
Collaboration in teaching can take place within disciplines or across departmental, administrative, and institutional boundaries. Teaching collaboration can occur at different levels—from introductory courses and capstone courses to degree programs and interdisciplinary courses. Collaboration in teaching can also range in size and scope from two persons team-teaching 50 students in a writing-intensive course to large interdisciplinary teams—faculty, administrators, and community members teaching 1,000 students through service learning and problem-solving needs proposed by the community. As the burgeoning literature on “communities of practice” indicates, collaborative team approaches to learning are common, but often unrecognized and unappreciated. The Alan Blizzard Award seeks to foster recognition, visibility, and appreciation for effective collaboration in university teaching and learning.
- Recipients of the Alan Blizzard Award will present their project as an interactive, concurrent session during the upcoming STLHE Annual Conference .
- Each member of the team will be recognized at the Conference Awards Ceremony and receive a certificate in recognition of the significant collaborative contributions to university teaching and learning.
- $2,000 in funding will be awarded to assist the team with travel and other expenses associated with attending the annual STLHE Conference.
- The winning paper describing the collaborative project will appear as a featured paper in an upcoming issue of CELT (Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching ).
- The paper will also be posted to the STLHE website.
The principal and overriding consideration in adjudicating submissions is that the projects reflect significant teaching collaboration in values, design, implementation, practices, and assessment in fostering student learning. Submissions should demonstrate noteworthy student engagement resulting from the collaborative approach to teaching, based on systematic assessment of learning outcomes. The project should have potential for application and influence beyond the originating department(s) or institution(s).
In adjudicating applications, the Selection Committee draws on the following criteria to assess the relative contributions, effectiveness, and significance of the collaborative teaching projects.
Extent to which the project is designed to increase the effectiveness of students’ learning.
Specification of types of student learning that the project is intended to foster.
Clear statement of the intended learning outcomes and their significance.
Description of how collaboration contributes to overall project objectives and effectiveness.
Clear description of how students have been engaged in learning through the project.
Extent to which design of project is appropriate to and how well it was carried out in practice, given the project goals.
If applicable, explanation of how the technology employed is appropriate and supports student learning.
Extent to which the project involves active student engagement in learning.
Description of various strategies employed to develop student learning, including forms of group collaborative learning.
Indication of how formative and summative assessment is employed to foster student learning.
Evidence of Impact on Student Learning
Tangible assessment evidence showing that the project objectives were met, that students learned what was intended, and that student learning effectiveness was increased.
Extent to which evidence cited is systematic and integral to providing feedback for project improvement, and demonstrates that the project is sustainable.
Description of how the design, implementation, and assessment of the project are informed by the scholarly work of others. Include a cogent bibliography.
Overall scholarly merit of the application and reporting of the project, and the contribution of the project to the understanding and practice of teaching and learning.
Extent to which the approach is likely to be attractive to others.
Extent to which the paper provides sufficiently detailed information to allow other toreplicate and adapt the approach.
Extent to which the collaborative approach might apply to a wide range of contexts.
Potential influence of the collaborative project beyond the originating unit.
The purpose of the Alan Blizzard Award is to recognize Canadian university collaborative teaching and learning as designed, implemented, and assessed by a faculty group—a course team, a department, an instructional development centre, a committee of colleagues from different departments, faculties, or universities, working together on a common teaching project.
The Award is open to groups of two or more individuals, at least one of whom must be currently teaching at a Canadian university, regardless of discipline or level of appointment. Nominations of individuals from more than one institution who are working together on a collaborative teaching project are eligible and welcome.
The collaborative project must have sufficient duration to allow systematic assessment of its effectiveness and to give assurance of its sustainability. Three years would seem to be a minimum length of time from inception necessary to provide sufficient evidence and for informed judgment.
The Selection Committee requires the submission of one (1) application document using the following format guidelines:
8½ x 11 inch letter-sized paper
1 inch margins on all sides
12-point text font
Numbering of each page.
The application document is to be submitted in Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format).
PDF permits those submitting applications to reduce the amount of paper, time, and costs involved in preparing and submitting documents. PDF also allows submission as a single, stably formatted file as well as more efficient distribution of application documents to members of the Selection Committee. If you are not familiar with converting text and graphics documents to PDF, we suggest you consult your campus instructional technology unit. It would be useful to inquire about conversion to PDF before you begin compiling your application documents into a single pdf document to avoid any problems later on.
Applications, in French or English, should include the following five (5) sections:
The names, affiliations, and academic status of all members of the collaborating team, full contact details for one team member and a high resolution (minimum 300 dpi) colour picture of the collaborating team, with names of each of the members.
A brief statement describing the precise nature and features of the collaboration among team members (maximum 300 words).
An abstract of the project suitable for publicity purposes (maximum 500 words).
A project description paper, suitable for printing and distribution, describing and documenting the project (maximum 5,000 words [about 25 pages], inclusive of a bibliography) and organized, where possible and appropriate, under the following headings:
Institutional Context: the need for the project; the constraints or particular advantages of the context; uses of resources; funding; time involved.
Goals of the Project: the intended learning outcomes; challenges met; obstacles overcome.
Project Description: a clear description of what was done and what students were asked to do; the experiences of students; in the case of a course, the number, level and kind of students involved; if technology was used, an explanation of how technology supported student learning, how and over what period the project was assessed.
Impact on Student Learning: evidence that students learned what was intended; evidence of how collaboration contributed to student learning, evidence of lasting effects on students; evidence might include pre- and post-tests, students ratings, letters from colleagues and students.
Future Developments: new directions; adoption by other groups; ways the innovation might be diffused to other programs and faculties.
Bibliography: since the award is designed to encourage the scholarship of teaching and learning, the paper should show how the project (design, implementation, practices, and assessment) was informed by the scholarship of others.
Up to a maximum of ten (10) pages of supporting documentation in PDF may be included. Such documentation can take the form of letters from students and colleagues outside the collaborative team assessing the importance and the impact of the project, documenting the collaboration, commenting on the extent to which the project meets the published criteria. Please note that the Selection Committee finds tangible evidence that documents practices more helpful than general statements of opinion or praise without detailed specifics. Applicants are cautioned that members of the Selection Committee will not read any supporting documentation exceeding the ten-page limit or any materials photo-reduced to stay within the page limit.
Deadline and Submission Procedure
The next Call for Nominations for the Alan Blizzard Award will be December 2015. The deadline is 26 February 2016.
The completed application and supporting documentation should be submitted in a single PDF file, on or before the deadline, through the STLHE DropBox .
All applications received in the Dropbox will be acknowledged upon receipt by an automated return email reply so applicants will know their submissions have been received.
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