Nexus Online Learning Grant


2019 Application should be submitted through the InfoReady Portal

Scoring Template for Reviewers

Dean’s Letter of Support

Program Director or Coordinator’s Letter of Support

Deadlines for Spring 2019 applications:

  • Applications are due February 1, 2019.
  • Notifications sent on March 8, 2019.
  • Grant funds initially available after July 1, 2019.
  • The grant project can be undertaken at any time in the funding year.   
  • Grant funds must be used by May 31, 2020, with all requests for reimbursement processed by June 30, 2020.
  • Final report due on Monday, August 31, 2019.

The Director of the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning (CTinL) is also available to talk about proposals at any time.

Nexus Online Grant Recipients 2018

Jeff Klemens
"Developing Student Competency in Computational Science: A Micro-Credentialing Approach"

This project will lay the foundation for development of an online, competency-based curriculum that serves as an introduction to computational science for current Jefferson undergraduates.

Reza Masoodi
"Incorporating and Assessing Real Life Experiments and Everyday Applicaitons in an Online Engineering Course"

This project aims to develop an assess an online version of MENGR-428 (Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer II) that engages students through hands-on, real world experiments and applicaitons.

Gulbin Ozcan-Deniz
"The Future of Education is Here: Virtual Reality Implementation at Jefferson"

This project will utilize virtual reality (VR) in undergraduate and gradaute Construction Management courses to develop a road map for peers at Jefferson and outside to succeed in VR implementation, and assess the best VR approaches to imporove the understanding of students.

Nexus Online Grant funded in 2017-2018

Gulbin Ozcan-Deniz, Assistant Professor of Construction Management
"Exploring Best Practices in Delivering Online Masters Project Courses"

The purpose of this project is to explore the best practices in delivering an online Masters’ Project course that will promote Nexus Learning principles. The Masters’ Project course in Construction Management (CM) is selected as the pilot course due to its emphasis on Nexus Learning parameters such as understanding the Real World. The Masters’ Project is an independent research study that serves as the culminating experience in the program, where students choose their own project to produce a comprehensive Project Manual with an oral defense presented at the end of the semester. It is a challenge to promote Nexus Learning in an online independent study, as students need to be active, engaged, motivated, and prepared for an online final presentation. Additionally, the non-traditional nature of online students requires flexibility and interactive teaching methods to sustain collaborative and connected learning. This project will identify and disseminate best practices for delivering an online Masters’ Project course, which is engaged, collaborative, real world-based, and grounded in the liberal arts and sciences. This grant will fund: (1) creation of online learning modules and (2) guidelines for faculty who teach online independent study courses. Results will be disseminated via conferences related to teaching and learning, and will be submitted for publication.


Nexus Online Grants funded in 2016-17

Erin Lucas
"Developing Synchronous Online Writing Assistance for Distance Graduate Students."
View Proposal

Purpose: The Academic Success Center wants to upgrade technology and develop new training materials to pilot synchronous online writing support for distance graduate students and align our online writing services with industry best practice.

Rationale: The ASC has seen a stark increase in the number of distance online graduate students seeking writing support. The ASC currently assists these students asynchronously via the “online writing lab” (OWL) model: the students submit their drafts to a dropbox and receive substantive written feedback from a writing tutor in 24-48 hours. The OWL model assumes a threshold level of writing facility and understanding of genre conventions that not all new graduate students possess. A synchronous feedback system allows not just for real-time collaboration between writers and their tutors, but also for tutors to monitor student comprehension and ensure that students are able to interpret and apply feedback.

Goal: Synchronous writing support will offer distance graduate students a collaborative tutoring environment wherein they can set the agenda, ask questions, and take ownership of their own learning, all of which are essential indicators of student engagement and learning in the tutoring environment.

Lloyd Russow
"Electronic Textbook: Basic Principles of International Marketing."
View Proposal

The primary focus of the project is the development and writing of electronic textbook. It will be open use – free to faculty and students, regardless of location. I am exploring the possibility of publishing as open source text as well – that is use technology to populate the text with current reading and topics for discussion as well as foundation material for exercises, cases, and other assignments. One of the complaints associated with electronic texts is the shortage of ancillary materials (slides to accompany the material, exercises, test questions, etc.) and a goal is to develop and make these materials available as well.

Nexus Online Grants funded in 2015-16

Robert Fleming and Robert Fryer
Collaboration in Online Studios
View Proposal
View Final Report

By its nature, online collaboration is different from collaboration in on-campus courses, because it often occurs asynchronously, at a distance, and requires the use of relatively complex digital communication technologies. To date, the targets for the amount and quality of collaboration in the online design studios at PhilaU have not been met. The purpose of this project is to: Assess more deeply previous online studio results.  To evaluate models for online collaboration especially from the professional disciplines and design and develop new pedagogical approaches.  We will test those new approaches in upcoming online studios.

This project will improve learning in online design studios, provide concrete examples of online collaboration options for the any hybrid or online course with high levels of collaboration, and lead to opportunities for publication.

Jeffrey Klemens and Jack Suss
Developing Interactive Simulation Models to Focus Faculty-Student Interactions on Learning Outcomes in an Online Non-Major Science Class
View Proposal
View Final Report

Maintaining an atmosphere of active and engaged learning in one of the most difficult challenges in adapting courses to the online environment. The DECSYS courses have benefited by relying on Vensim for modeling systems thinking. While Vensim is a strong modeling tool, the installation and user interface presents a hurdle to students that is usually mitigated through instructor interaction in an active learning environment: a solution that has proved untenable in the online format.

This grant will fund the repurposing of systems models that have already been developed in Vensim into a Forio simulation that explores systems behavior without student model development  precedent for this has been successfully achieved at MIT Sloan School. Secondly, we intend to test the effectiveness this implementation across thirty DECSYS classes from online and classroom settings.

Previous Recipients

Nexus Online Grants funded in 2014-15

Lisa Phillips & Alex Messinger
Online Teaching and Learning Experiences: Capstone Research and Programming
View Proposal
View Final Report

Jeff Klemens
Contrasting Faculty and Student Expectations in Online Learning and Applying Student Expertise to Bridge the Gap
View Proposal

Nexus Online Grants funded in 2013-14

Meriel Tulante, Concetta Caporale, Farida Ferradji
Bringing World Languages and Nexus Learning Online

The purpose of this grant is to research best practices in online learning for languages and to assess how Nexus Learning can be transferred to an online environment for language instruction. Through the grant, we will explore both innovative ways of teaching languages online and the potential for the success of courses teaching global communications strategies and cultural awareness.  Online language classes at Philadelphia University could fit immediately into the summer course offerings as many students study languages at other institutions over the summer, as well as having future relevance to the redesign of the curriculum for an online audience.  A course on global communication strategies could be part of a College Studies online core and is of crucial importance for all students entering an increasingly global workforce.  This project emphasizes collaboration between full-time and part-time faculty and is centered on faculty development. We aim to produce guidelines and a final report on best practices in online language learning, Nexus Learning in an online context, and the potential for teaching global communications strategies. Through this work, we will support the university’s plan to develop a distinctive online curriculum.

Craig Griffen
Researching Best Practices for On-Line Studio Courses
View Final Report

The goals of this project are to research and develop guidelines for best practices of teaching strategies for online and hybrid studios.  The curricula in undergraduate and graduate programs such as Architecture, Interior Design and Landscape Architecture, require design studios to be taken every semester and in sequential order.  Researching online studios for effective teaching practices can enhance existing courses, as well as future courses.  On-line studio courses could expand our audience by appealing to advanced placement and/or transfer students with extensive incoming credits, career changers, full time workers, and stay at home parents, as well as other non-traditional students. Standard studio scheduling greatly limits the flexibility of these students to fit an academic schedule into their busy life. These examples and possibly others demonstrate a need for investigating the potential of online-based studios. The goal of this grant is to develop guidelines for best practices of teaching strategies for online and hybrid studios.

The Following was Partially Funded by a Nexus Online Grant:
To Develop Faculty Expertise, and Create Pedagogical Guidelines, to promote Nexus Learning Online in College Studies
Tom Schrand and Katharine Jones

This grant will be used to develop faculty expertise and pedagogical guidelines to promote Nexus Learning in new College Studies Online courses.  During the upcoming academic year, College Studies faculty members will be asked to develop the first generation of online general education core courses. We currently have little experience or capacity in this area, and we aim to promote Nexus Learning in our online courses just as we do in our on-campus courses.  This project will identify and disseminate best practices for engaged, collaborative, real world learning in the liberal arts and sciences. It will involve College Studies faculty in reviewing the goals for Nexus Learning online goals and to customize them into guidelines and best practices for the online general education core curriculum, document and disseminate those guidelines and best practices for future College Studies Online courses, and apply the guidelines and best practices to new courses developed for College Studies Online during Spring and Summer 2014.