Departmental Impact Grant


The focus of the Departmental Impact Grant was to increase student engagement, facilitate greater instructor efficiency, and enable anyplace/anytime learning through purposeful technology use in a course impacting students. 

Between 2010 and 2015, Ohio State's faculty and staff transformed students' learning by building adaptive online systems, introducing mobile technology, and exploring all kinds of emergent 21st-century ways of teaching. ODEE grants supported these developments by providing funding, time, expertise, and project structure. These collaborations impacted more than 40,000 students for less than $70 per impact.

graph of the total number of students affected by impact grants from 2010 (361) through 2016 (41,382)

Project Summaries

Projects were diverse, as the Impact Grant was designed to support early adopters and visionary instructors to pave new paths.

Online Learning

Several projects explored ways to put material online, so that in-class time could be used for more productive collaborations and problem-solving:

  • Chemistry (2010) utilized technology-enhanced learning spaces to incorporate active-learning and recitation-style activities into traditionally lecture-only sessions.
  • Math (2010) department introduced the use of SMART podiums and lectures so that students could follow the lectures better while they were happening and come back to review them online (or come back to clarify challenging problems and concepts).
  • Math (2013) extended this work by putting all lecture material online, in what they called the "flipped and flexible" format, so that students could complete the work when they wanted and at their own pace.
  • Statistics (2011) pioneered the use of hybrid-flexible (or HyFlex) method of lecture delivery. Live lecture was streamed online, so that student could attend either in the classroom or someplace else (a place of their choosing), and recorded lectures so that students could come back and review the material.
  • Animal Sciences (2011) extended the HyFlex method by introducing it in a writing course. ORR demonstrated that the HyFlex method could function in a large writing course.
  • Economics (2014) extended the use of HyFlex by introducing it in a 650+-student Microeconomics course.
  • Spanish and Portuguese (2012) developed individualized online instruction, so that students could meet with their instructors once a week online one-on-one to practice their Spanish conversation skills without needing to travel to campus.
  • Educational Studies (2013) developed an online "bootcamp" for online instructors. Over the course of a week, faculty and graduate students who (had been assigned to online courses/would themselves be online instructors), (got to experiment and explore the best practices for delivering online education/could get a jumpstart on providing the best possible experience for their own online students). 
  • English as a Second Language Programs (2014) developed an entirely online, pre-arrival introductory English for students still living in their home countries. Developed an entirely online course that students could take before arriving at OSU, so they would have a head start on becoming successful Buckeyes while still living in their home countries.

Mobile Technology

Several project pioneered the use of mobile technology to provide students with ways of learning not possible before this century.... to enable students to learn anywhere, any time, in ways that were never possible before... so that students could take their learning outside the classroom and to bring the world into the classroom.

  • The OneHealth (2015) initiative combined online courses and tablets to enable students on two continents to learn/study together and do research about the intersections of human and other animal health.
  • The College of Medicine's BioMedical Infomatics (2013-14) program provided all lecture and reading materials online for an entire cohort of students so that they could integrate their learning with practical experiences.
  • Sociology (2012) gave their students iPads to deepen their community research... that they took into the community to conduct research and develop stronger relationships with community partners.
  • Journalism (2013) gave their students iPads and taught them to be 21st-century multimedia journalists by using those devices to document, edit, and report news wherever it happens.

Online Learning Systems

Several projects funded the development of adaptive online systems, so that students can practice basic skills until they master them or (explore simulations of) simulate experiences that would not otherwise be available (could not be provided in person).

  • Physics (2015) refined their Essential Skills system that allows students to practice basic skills like vectors to make sure they are ready to tackle more advanced concepts that depend on those skills (without struggling over the simple stuff)
  • Spanish and Portuguese (2015) developed an online pronunciation refinement system that uses spectrograms so that students can see how their speech differs from native speakers (to show students the subtle differences between their own and native speakers' pronunciation, so that they can) and make subtle refinements that they might not otherwise know how to make.
  • Veterinary Medicine (2012) developed an online case simulation tool so that students could practice diagnosing and treating animals before doing so (with real pets) in actual clinics.
  • Histology (2011) developed an online microscopy system so that students could practice interpreting cell stains and cell bodies without the need to create expensive and difficult wet slide preparations for each student.
  • English (2013) developed an online peer review management system to guide students through the practice of providing effective/useful feedback to their peers and enabling them to do so any time, any place.
  • Environment and Natural Resources (2014) developed an online poster peer review tool that enhanced an in-person event where students learn science by presenting their research to each other like real scientists do.

Digital Projects

Several projects used new technologies to create new kinds of assignments, including multimedia presentations, collaborative assignments, and student-authored textbook materials.

  • The College of Public Health (2012) developed a student-authored textbook.
  • Engineering Education Innovation Center (2012) replaced a presentation assignment with a group-produced video assignment, providing students with skills in increasing demand in today's global engineering world.
  • Educational Technology and The Dennis Learning Center (2013) used online collaboration to make it easier for students to engage and interact in a course designed to help students gain skills necessary to succeed at the college level.