This award is designed to encourage innovative practices in all aspects of teaching and learning. The practice of effective and meaningful teaching can benefit immensely when educators thoughtfully experiment and apply new or different pedagogical approaches, technologies, curricular enhancement, course design and organization, and assessments.

STLHE frequently receives questions from potential applicants for the D2L Innovation Award about whether their innovation would qualify, or whether the adjudication committee would consider their initiative (or initiatives) innovative. We encourage all applicants to review previous award winners’ profiles to get a better sense of the variety of innovations and activities that this award supports. Dr. Christopher Buddle, a 2014 award winner, incorporated social media and mobile technologies into experiential teaching and learning activities. Dr. Ken Van Rees brought art into his soil sciences teaching. Other award recipients, like 2012 winner Dr. Joe Shapter, were honoured for innovative curricular and program design.

Examples of innovative approaches in teaching and learning include:

  • Classroom and course management innovations, including new ways of teaching that promote student engagement, reorganization of a course(s) that improves students’ ability to apply what they learn, course content that clarifies historical changes in theory, novel assignments that lead to increased student engagement, student publications, and/or activities that bring students from diverse backgrounds together.
  • Leadership in innovation that forges new paths and inspires others within and beyond the institution, including mentoring colleagues about innovative approaches, working in administrative and service positions to promote innovation, actively participating in committees to promote or create innovation and other pathways that enhance learning.
  • Championing new visions of teaching excellence through the scholarship of teaching and learning, including professional contributions to discussions, presentations, newsletters, publications, and other modes for sharing innovation.

In previous years, the adjudicators for this award have adopted a broad interpretation of teaching and learning innovation and have recognized that innovative approaches can also be discipline specific. An approach in one discipline could be very innovative, yet at the same time be potentially less innovative in another.

A good application should contextualize the innovative approaches. It should help the adjudicators understand how the approach, strategies, practices, etc. are innovative.

Evidence of Impact

This is an important aspect of the application. The D2L Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning is designed to support practices that are impactful on learning. The application should include tangible evidence documenting and supporting the impact and effectiveness of the innovation(s). More weight will be given to actual evidence than general statements of opinion or praise that it is unsubstantiated. Evidence could include feedback from learners (quantitative and qualitative), research data and analysis, student rating of instruction, or measures of change in student achievement and success rates.

A description of past awards related to innovation and letters from past students can also be helpful, but will not be weighted as heavily as direct evidence.

When presenting an innovative approach in the application dossier, applicants should be sure to include the following about his or her innovation:

  • The original and evolving goals of the innovation(s).
  • A brief description of the innovation(s).
  • The underlying philosophy and strategies used to guide, implement and refine the innovation(s).
  • A context in which the innovation(s) was conceived and applied.

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