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Center for Teaching Excellence

  • Virtual Environments

Virtual Environments Grant Call for Proposals

Application Deadline: Tuesday, February 15, 2022 by 11:59 pm

The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), with support from the Office of the Provost, invites full-time faculty to submit proposals for the revision or development of exemplary courses to integrate virtual environments technology (virtual reality, augmented reality, and/or 360o video).  The goal of these grants are to invest in the continuous quality improvement of courses taught by faculty who provide students with exemplary, highly engaging courses, offered either in an online, blended, or traditional format—utilizing virtual technology.  This goal will be accomplished by providing funding support, expert instructional design assistance, pedagogical resources and technological support to faculty. 

Eligible Faculty

  • Any full-time faculty member at USC Columbia or the Palmetto Campuses (Extended University, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter, and Union) is eligible to apply.
  • A faculty member who submits a proposal is expected to serve as the instructor of record the first time the course is offered after receiving funding.
  • Faculty may receive funding for only one course per grant cycle.
  • Prior recipients of a teaching pedagogy grant through CTE must have completed the prior project(s) and submitted final report(s) to be eligible to apply for this grant.


  • Participate with fellow grant participants and CTE staff in a kickoff meeting to share ideas, resources, and discuss best practices. These meetings will occur on the Columbia campus.
  • Meet with a CTE Instructional Designer or Staff to discuss and outline proposed project development and implementation.
  • Consult with a CTE instructional designer throughout the project development process to ensure that materials developed meet university guidelines for design quality and ADA accessibility.
  • Teach the proposed course or implement the funded project by Fall 2023.
  • Submit to present at a CTE workshop, Oktoberbest during the 2022-2023 academic year.
  • Submit a final report no later than January 31, 2024.

Available Funds and Project Timeline

Proposals are eligible for funding up to $3,000. Faculty will receive instructional design and pedagogical support from CTE staff and the instructional design team, supplementing the stipend.  Requests for amounts beyond this range may be considered on a case-by-case basis, the number of successful applications and available funds.  Funds are to be disbursed to awardees after the project kickoff session.  Full course revision and/or development must be completed and a final report submitted by January 31, 2024. 

The number of awards will be contingent upon availability of resources, the number and quality of funded applications received and approved, as well as the amount requested and allocated per application. The review committee will submit a ranked list of proposals recommended for funding. There may be changes in funding amounts based on resources and justifications.

Application Process

To apply, complete the Virtual Environments Grant Online Application and submit:

Provide a detailed Budget with Justification Narrative for total project costs, which clearly justifies each cost, consistent with university policies. 

The budget justification for equipment should describe each item or piece of equipment as completely as possible and address the need for the equipment necessary to accomplish the project. Include the estimated cost of the equipment, based on a catalogue, website or other vendor quotation.

The budget justification for miscellaneous costs should be listed separately for each item, including their intended use, and the estimated cost for each item, based on historical costs, or on a catalogue, website, or other vendor quotation, and must address them in more detail if necessary.

Please review the Budget Justification Checklist for narrative guidance. View the Budget Primer [pdf] for more information and allowable expenses. If other funding is attained, commitments against this internal award could be reduced.

Please also include a signed Department Support Form [pdf] from your department chair, program director, or dean confirming that the new version of the course, or learning module, you propose fits within curriculum guidelines. If the proposed learning content is for a unit outside of your academic department, you must obtain endorsement from that unit’s program director. This endorsement is also to provide support to offer it in 2022 or 2023 either through online or face-to-face delivery.

If this project proposal is receiving funding support from other sources, please let us know. If you received funding from CTE on any previous project, please provide a 1-page follow-up report on the project’s outcomes.

The questions for the Proposal Narrative are incorporated into the Virtual Environments Grant Online Application

The proposal should include the following information:

  • The Course: Describe the course that you wish to revise or develop. Describe what it is you are currently doing and what you wish to revise or develop.
  • Goals: Describe the goal(s) for developing or revising the course.  What is the purpose?  What new assessment styles, pedagogical theories/models, or innovative techniques will be incorporated to enhance student learning?  What new instructional content will be integrated into your curriculum?  What types of student learning will be achieved with the content or delivery changes?
  • Impact and Sustainability: How will this improve student learning outcomes?  How will the proposed deliverable be developed to ensure usage and continuity past the initial implementation?  How often is the class taught and how many students complete, on average?
  • Pedagogy: The applicant’s general philosophy or approach to innovative teaching pedagogy, theory, or methodology and how this project will be of value.
  • Initiative Connection: Describe how this project is connected to the selected initiative.
  • Technology Selection: Describe the virtual technology to be utilized, how it will be integrated into your course, how learning using the technology will be assessed

Proposals will be evaluated by the following criteria:

  • Completeness of application and conformity to guidelines.
  • Clear and pedagogically coherent rationale for the proposed course revision or development, as articulated through the proposal narrative.
  • Clear articulation of the potential to enrich the student learning experience.
  • Feasibility of completing the project in the time proposed and with the funds available.
  • Likely impact and sustainability of the proposed course or materials.
  • Fall 2021- Spring 2022: November 2021- February 2022: Develop course proposal
  • Completed Applications should be submitted by February 15, 2022.
  • Awards will be announced by March 07, 2022.
  • Summer 2022 – Fall 2023: begin teaching or implementing new course
  • Awardees should submit a completed final report by January 31, 2024.

Completed applications should be submitted online by midnight on Tuesday, February 15, 2022.  Awards will be announced by March 7, 2022.


This grant opportunity is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Center for Teaching Excellence. For more information, contact the CTE at 803-777-8322 or  

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