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2016-17 Stony Brook Online Learning Development (S-BOLD) Initiative 

Program Description

The President and Provost of Stony Brook University, in support of the continuing evolution of educational excellence for our students and beyond, have established the Stony Brook Online Learning Development Initiative (S-BOLD), funded initially for four years at a level of $250,000 per year. The goals of the initiative are to:

  • leverage online channels and technology to enhance and support SBU’s educational mission;
  • improve the quality, flexibility and accessibility of SBU education to better serve the needs of residential, commuter and non-traditional students;
  • emerge as a leader in pedagogical innovation to enhance teaching and learning outcomes and
  • enhance SBU’s brand and global reach.

The initiative seeks new and innovative proposals to develop both online and blended-learning courses and tools that offer special opportunities for learners at Stony Brook University and beyond. A successful proposal must have significant curricular impact and advance understanding of effective practices for online learning. In 2016-2017, the initiative will target bottleneck courses that hinder degree completion and time to graduation. A list of such High Demand/Controlled Access Courses (HD/CA) is provided in Appendix 1 as a reference. In addition, we will consider courses that contribute to innovative online education with enrollment of 200 or more students. A list of high enrollment courses is provided in Appendix 2 as a reference. Please see Categories for more details.


Review Criteria

Impact: How will the proposed project affect Stony Brook students? How will they benefit? How many students will benefit? How will it affect graduation rates?

Institutional Context: How do the goals for the proposal support the goals of S-BOLD and of Stony Brook University? Is there institutional support beyond S-BOLD for the proposal? How will this proposal, if successful, be sustained in terms of policy, curriculum, and finances? How would it be scalable with enrollment over time?

Feasibility: What is the timeline for fulfilling this proposal? What are the resources, including technical requirements, that are necessary to fulfill this proposal? Are these resources currently available or, if not, plausibly able to be acquired within the proposed timeline?

Assessment / Quality: Are the outcomes of this proposal measurable? For a course, are there clear and measurable outcomes designed into the course? What assessments will be used to measure and improve the quality of the course in achieving those outcomes? For a tool or resource, is there a clear way to measure its contribution to the student-oriented goals of S-BOLD? In what learning contexts (for example, in which specific courses) can this tool or resource be used to meet S-BOLD’s goals?

 Categories: Proposals are accepted in the following categories of courses:

  • High Demand/Controlled Access Courses (HD/CA)

In Appendix 1, we have identified a list of High Demand/Controlled Access Courses (HD/CA) based on enrollments since Fall 2014, space consideration, major requirements for high enrollment majors, wait lists, and student success rates. Transformation of these HD/CA courses to online or hybrid offerings will help to address the goals of S-BOLDs. Faculty are encouraged to be innovative in using the S-BOLD fund to create online resources such as lectures, videos, assignment or other support platform to enable their courses to be offered in a hybrid or completely online format.

  • Innovations in large enrollment courses of at least 200 students.

As there is little faculty-student interaction in large lecture hall courses, online lectures can be used to replace lectures for courses with at least 200 students. Funding from S-BOLD can be used for the creation of these online lectures. Faculty is encouraged to propose creative alternatives of using the free-up lecture time – such as meeting with students in small recitations with help from graduate or undergraduate teaching assistance. A list of high enrollment courses, excluding those already listed in Appendix 1, is provided in Appendix 2 as a reference. Both appendices can be found in the list of candidate courses.

Exceptionally innovative projects that are not in the above categories will be considered, provided the proponents demonstrate the innovation is scalable to large courses thus achieving the impact that the initiative is intended to.



Award Information

Awards will be made at three levels in order to encourage small (up to $10,000), medium ($10,00- 25,000), and large ($25,000-50,000) projects. There is no fixed ratio of the different levels and categories of awards


Letters of Intent: Due: Monday, November 21, 2016
Letters of Evaluations from Deans and Chairs:   Due: Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Announcement of Letters of Intent Review: Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Full Proposal Due: Monday, February 24, 2017
Award Announcement: Mid April, 2017


Proposal Preparation and Review Process

LETTER OF INTENT (Due Monday, November 21, 2016)

The online LOI will require (1) the name and title of the proposer and (2) a brief description of the project including (a) the course number and/or, for a tool, courses it will improve, (b) the likely impact on student success such as graduation rate and time to graduation and a plan for measuring those effects, (c) a preliminary accounting of the resources needed, and (d) a draft timeline including completion date (250 word maximum). The timeline should specify delivery in fall 2017, spring 2018, or summer 2018.
In order to prepare an LOI, proposers are advised to consult with TLT and administrators who can help develop the proposal and/or specify and price resources that may be needed or available to fulfill the proposal. TLT will hold workshops to help faculty explore the possibilities of online education. For the dates/time/location of the workshop, please visit section on TLT Workshops.

Proponents must also request a Letter of Endorsement (LOE) from the proponent’s Chair or Program Director and an LOE from the proponent’s Dean. Each of these letters must explain the utility and desirability of the proposed project for the evaluator’s unit and support the proposer’s pursuing the project in the proposed timeline. The LOI and LOEs should be submitted electronically to To give more time for Chairs and Deans to evaluate various submissions, the LOEs are due on Wednesday, November 30, 2016.


LOIs will be reviewed by a panel of faculty, staff, and students on the categories of Impact, Institutional Contexts and Assessment/Quality. The feasibility criteria will be evaluated by staff members at TLT.

Proponents will receive questions and comments from the review panels to assist them in the preparation of full proposals at the completion of the LOI reviews. TLT will also conduct workshops to help proponents in the development of Letters of Intent. Please visit section on TLT Workshops for dates and time.

FULL PROPOSAL (Due Monday, February 24, 2017)

The proposals should include: (1) A brief narrative (250 words maximum) of the project; this description may vary from that in the LOI to take account of any suggestions made by the review panel in response to the LOI. (2) A brief description (100 words maximum) of the impact of the project on student success such as graduation rate and time to graduation. (3) A detailed project timeline. (4) A detailed, annotated budget. It is highly recommended that proponents consult with TLT staff in setting up the budget. (5) An assessment plan. It is highly recommended that proposers consult with Assessment staff in setting up an assessment plan. The template for full proposal can be downloaded here


All full proposals submitted in response to this initiative will be reviewed by a panel of administrators and faculty with inputs from TLT on the feasibility criteria. The panel will forward its recommendations to the President and Provost who make the final selection.

Awards will be announced in April 2017

Faculty is invited to contact the Associate Provost for Online Education, Wendy Tang, to discuss their ideas. Wendy Tang can be reached at and (631) 632-7012.

TLT Workshops

  1. Thursday, 10/27 1:30-2:30pm, Location: TBA
  2. Monday, 11/1412:00-1:00pm,  Webinar:
  3. Thursday, 11/17, 12:00-1:00pm,  Webinar:
    • Note: Participants should log in 10 minutes early to test their systems by selecting the Audio Setup Wizard from the Meeting menu. 

Supporting Documents


Reviewers Invitation

We invite faculty/staff to be reviewers. Timeline of the review process is:

  • Mon, Nov 21: LOI Due
  • Tue, Nov 22: Reviewers in each panel will be given access to the submitted LOIs in the Panel
  • Tue, Nov 22 - Fri, Dec 2: Independent Review by reviewers
  • Mon, Dec 5 - Mon, Dec 12: Each reviewer will attend one panel meeting.

For those interested in being a reviewer, please use the following poll to indicate availability during Mon Dec 5-Mon Dec 12 (please indicate all availability - only one meeting will be set up)

Poll for Reviewers


Advisory List of Candidate Courses

A list of possible candidate courses for S-BOLD 2016-17 was identified based on enrollments during AY 2014-15, space considerations, High Demand/Controlled Access Courses (HD/CA), courses with 200+ enrollments, major requirements for high enrollment majors, and student success rates. This list is not exhaustive in scope as they were identified based on enrollment history and student success rates. Other courses not listed may still meet the criteria for impact.  Faculty members are invited to contact the Associate Provost for Online Education, Wendy Tang, at and (631) 632-7012 to discuss their ideas prior to submission of LOIs.


Previous S-BOLD Awards



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