Provost's Awards for Transformative Online Courses

  • Purpose:

    The Provost’s Awards for Transformative Online Courses recognize online courses developed by faculty members of the UAB community that exemplify best practices and innovation in online education. "Transformative" courses are defined as those that enhance the student experience through the use of innovative teaching strategies, fostering an interactive learning community that maximizes student engagement and outcomes.


    Up to three awards will be made each year. The awards include a cash prize and a crystal flame.


    Only courses developed by full-time UAB faculty may be nominated. At least 80% of the instruction must occur online. All nominated courses must have been taught at least two semesters prior to being nominated and must have evidence of learner outcomes. A course may only receive an award once in a five-year time period.

    Criteria for Selection:

    The awards are based solely on course excellence as demonstrated by how well the course:

    1. Aligns with Quality Matters standards.
    2. Incorporates strategies that support/promote faculty-student engagement.
    3. Incorporates innovative teaching strategies to achieve desired student outcomes. In this context, innovative teaching strategies are defined as the use of new evidence-based processes, tools, and methods that are designed and incorporated into a course to possibly impact student learning and achievement of course outcomes.
    4. Utilizes strategies to create an online interactive learning community. In this context, a learning community is defined as the vehicle through which learning occurs online.
    5. Evaluation data (e.g., student evaluations, student feedback, etc.) demonstrate impact on student outcomes and are used to improve the course.


    Procedure for Nomination:

    Courses may be nominated by completing and submitting a nomination form (accessible by using the tabs at the top of this page).

    1. Deadline for submission of nominations is April 1, 2017.
    2. Courses may be nominated by a faculty, student or staff member of the UAB community. Self-nominations are accepted, also.
    3. Submit nominations to Dr. Pam Paustian at
    4. Nominees will receive an auto-generated email notifying them of the nomination.
    5. Nominees are asked to confim their nomination by submitting a complete packet.
    6. Nominations must include:
      1. A letter of support for the nomination from the individual nominating the course.
      2. A completed nomination form.

    Application packets are due on June 1, 2017, to Dr. Pam Paustian.

    Submission of Applications:

    1. Applications are to be submitted by the nominee(s).

    2. The application must include a faculty written assessment (3 pages or less) of how the course meets the selection criteria:

    a. Aligns with Quality Matters standards;
    b. Incorporates strategies that support/promote faculty-student engagement;
    c. Incorporates innovative teaching strategies to achieve desired student outcomes;
    d. Utilizes strategies to create an online interactive learning community;
    e. Evaluation data (student evaluations, student feedback) that documents the impact of the course on student learning and outcomes. 

    3. Letters (no more than three) from students who have taken the course, discussing how the course impacted their learning.

    4. A maximum of 10 pages of supporting documentation. Such documentation should include student feedback and evaluations of the course.

    5. Applicants are asked to provide access to the course through Canvas as a "student" using the Course Access Form (Attachment C).

    Awards Selection Committee:

    A selection committee will be appointed each year by the Executive Director of the Division of eLearning and Professional Studies. The committee will consist of members of the UAB eLearning Advisory Council, a representative of each UAB School/College, and the Executive Director of the Division who will serve as committee chair.

    The chairperson is responsible for:

    a. Appointment of committee members.
    b. Soliciting nominations.
    c. Providing copies of nomination packets for each course to the commite members for independent review and scoring.
    d. Calling a meeting of the selection committee to discuss nominations and scoring, and making final selection of courses to receive awards.
    e. Notifying the Provost of the award selections.

    All deliberations and information provided to the selection committee will be considered confidential and not shared with anyone outside the committee. All communications with faculty or administrators regarding the awards will be made by the chair of the committee or his/her designee.

    Dissemination of Innovation:

    Awardees are expected to present their winning courses in a Lunch and Learn that will be open to the UAB community.

  • The following is the course assessment criteria for nominated courses in the Provost's Awards for Transformative Online Courses. If you have questions about the course self-assessment or the awards, contact Dr. Pam Paustian with the Division of eLearning & Professional Studies.


    Prepare a written statement describing how the course meets the award criteria, providing specific examples. The course self-assessment is limited to three pages and should address the standards and criteria in each of the two following areas:

    1. Meets Quality Matters Standards

    Provide a written assessment of the nominated course in relation to the following QM categories. Provide evidence in support of how each major category is met.


    Assessment and Measurement

    • The types of assessments selected measure the stated learning objectives and are consistent with course activities and resources.
    • The course grading policy is stated clearly.
    • Specific and descriptive criteria are provided for the evaluation of students’ work and participation and are tied to the course grading policy.
    • The assessment instruments selected are sequenced, varied, and appropriate to the student work being assessed.
    • Students have multiple opportunities to measure their own learning progress.

    Instructional Materials

    • The instructional materials contribute to the achievement of the stated course and module/unit learning objectives.
    • The purpose of instructional materials and how the materials are to be used for learning activities are clearly explained.
    • All resources and materials used in the course are appropriately cited.
    • The instructional materials are current.
    • The instructional materials present a variety of perspectives on the course content.
    • The distinction between required and optional materials is clearly explained.

    Learner Interaction and Engagement

    • The learning activities promote the achievement of the stated learning objectives.
    • Learning activities provide opportunities for interaction that support active learning.
    • The instructor’s plan for classroom response time and feedback on assignments is clearly stated.
    • The requirements for student interaction are clearly articulated.

    2. Demonstrates Evidence of Innovation

    • Integrates innovative strategies for student engagement.
    • Creates an online community of learning.
    • Impacts student outcomes.
    • Advances the methods and quality of online instruction.
  • Use the following form to nominate a UAB course for consideration for the Provost's Awards for Transformative Online Courses.

    2017 Transformative Online Course Awards Nominations

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  • 2017

    Beth Barstow

    Beth Barstow

    Course: OT679 | Foundations in Low Visions II
    Department: Occupational Therapy
    School: School of Health Professions
    Learn more about Dr. Barstow.

    Brenda Bertrand

    Brenda Bertrand

    Course: NTR 601 | Advanced Medical Nutrition
    Department: Nutrition Sciences Chair Office
    School: School of Health Professions
    Learn more about Dr. Bertrand.


    Dr. Eta Berner

    Dr. Eta Berner

    Course: HI 640 | Introduction to Health Information Systems
    Department: Health Services Administration
    School: School of Health Professions
    Learn more about Dr. Berner.

    Dr. Christopher Edmonds

    Dr. Christopher Edmonds

    Course: AC 200 | Principles of Accounting I
    Department: Accounting & Finance
    School: Collat School of Business
    Learn more about Dr. Edmonds.

    Dr. Malinda O'Leary

    Dr. Malinda O'Leary

    Course: SPA 313 | Business Spanish
    Department: Foreign Languages & Literatures
    School: College of Arts & Sciences
    Learn more about Dr. O'Leary.