Provost's Awards for Transformative Online Courses

2018 TOC Awards Guidelines
  • Purpose:

    The Provost’s Awards for Transformative Online Courses (TOC) 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 given each year. The TOC awards include a cash prize and a trophy suitable for display.

    Criteria for Selection:

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

    1. Course alignment with Quality Matters standards.
    2. Incorporation of strategies into the course that support/promote faculty-student engagement.
    3. Incorporation of 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. Utilization of 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. Use of evaluation data (e.g., student evaluations, student feedback, etc.) to demonstrate impact on student outcomes and are used to improve the course.

    The Application Assessment Rubric (Attachment A) will be used to score application components.



    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..

    2018 Activities Timeline:

    June 1, 2018 Submission of Nomination Form and Letter of Support due
    June 8, 2018 Notification to eligible nominees
    June 15, 2018 Nominee’s acceptance email due
    August 17, 2018 Nominee’s completed application packet due
    October 5, 2018 Awardees selected and notified
    Oct/Nov 2018 Award Ceremony
    Nov/Dec 2018 Awardees’ presentation to faculty and staff

    Nomination Process:

    Courses may be nominated by completing and submitting a nomination form in pdf format (Attachment B) or completing the form online by going to tab - TOC Awards Nomination Form - at the top of this page.

    Courses may be nominated by a faculty, student or staff member of the UAB community, and self-nominations are accepted. In addition to the completed Nomination Form, the nominator must provide a letter of support. Both items must be emailed to UAB eLearning by end of day June 1, 2018.

    Nominations will be reviewed for eligibility requirements and those meeting the requirements will be notified by June 8, 2018. The nominee must email a memo of acceptance to UAB eLearning by June 15, 2018.

    Application Submission Process:

    Completed application packets must be emailed to UAB eLearning by end of day, August 17, 2018. The application packet must include:

    By Nominator (this will already have been received and will be added to the packet):

    • Completed Nomination Form
    • Letter of support by nominator. If self-nominating, please provide background on course and testimonials if available.

    By Nominee:

    • A faculty written assessment of how the course meets each of the selection criteria, as described above.
    • Maximum of three pages, minimum one page
    • Letters from students who have taken the course, describing how the course affected their learning
    • Maximum of three letters, minimum of one letter
    • Supporting documentation including student feedback and evaluations of the course.
    • Maximum of ten pages, minimum of three pages
    • Completed Course Access Form (Attachment C).

    Awards Selection Committee:

    The Executive Director of UAB eLearning shall appoint a selection committee each year. The committee shall consist of members of the UAB eLearning Advisory Council, a representative from each UAB College/School, and the UAB eLearning Executive Director, who shall serve as committee chair.

    Responsibilities of the committee chairperson:

    • Appointment of committee members
    • Solicit nominations
    • Provide copies of application packets to the committee members for independent review and scoring
    • Communicate with members of the Committee
    • Hold a meeting of the selection committee to discuss application packets, scoring and determine award winners
    • Notify the Provost of the award selection(s)

    Responsibilities of the committee members:

    • Appointment of committee members
    • Members will have access to the nominated course, through Canvas
    • Members will review and score the nominated course using the Application Assessment Rubric
    • Members will provide written feedback on the rubric form

    All communications and information provided to the selection committee shall be considered strictly confidential and cannot be shared with anyone outside of the TOC Selection Committee.

    Presentation of Award:

    The TOC Award winners’ courses will be recognized at the annual Awards Ceremony, hosted by the Provost. This will occur during the Fall 2018 semester.

    Sharing of Best Practices:

    The TOC Award winners will share their innovative course strategies with UAB faculty and staff at a professional development activity scheduled later in the year and hosted by eLearning.

  • 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.
  • Nominations may be submitted using the fillable pdf Nomination Form (Guidelines pdf - Attachment B, above) or by completing this form online.

    Courses may be nominated by a faculty, student or staff member of the UAB community, and self-nominations are accepted. In addition to the completed Nomination Form, the nominator must provide a letter of support. Both items must be emailed to UAB eLearning by end of day June 1, 2018.

    2018 Transformative Online Course Awards Nominations

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  • 2017

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    Course: OT679 | Foundations in Low Visions II
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    School: School of Health Professions
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    Dr. Christopher Edmonds

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    Dr. Malinda O'Leary

    Dr. Malinda O'Leary

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    Department: Foreign Languages & Literatures
    School: College of Arts & Sciences
    Learn more about Dr. O'Leary.