Digital Course Design/Redesign Initiative

Application Deadlines: By 11:59 PM on 15 September 2017; 1 December 2017; and 23 April 2018 (the first day of Short Term). Note: There are no extensions to these deadlines.

Questions? Contact Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir, Director of Faculty Research and Scholarship

Recently passed legislation that creates a program in Digital and Computational Studies declares, “We believe deep conversancy with computer technologies allows faculty and students to discover new worlds and to enrich worlds they already think they know well.” Drawing on Catalyst Funds, Bates seeks to help faculty redesign current courses – or design new courses – so as to incorporate computational thinking, logical argumentation, algorithmic problem solving, computational modeling, database management, and the application of these skills and tools to subjects we study and teach.  This initiative also endeavors to cultivate theoretical and critical engagement with computer technology and computational methods.

The Digital Course Design/Redesign (DCD/R) Initiative, is available to faculty who seek to develop students’ computational and information technology skills, and deepen their understanding of what it means to live in an increasingly computerized world, as they explore subjects in and across our curriculum at Bates.

Examples of possible projects, drawing on DCD/R support:

  • Incorporating Digital Humanities tools or methodologies (data mining, social network analysis, spatial analysis, etc.) into disciplinary or interdisciplinary methods courses.
  • The updating of a course to include computational tools or methods of analysis used in research and industry today; for example, adding modules on the use of microcontrollers to a course in Physics.
  • Creating instructional materials for students to use when learning emerging research methods in DCS or in a DCS-related field. For example, developing MATLAB instructional materials dealing with computational mathematics for neuroscientists, a manual for working with very large data sets in STATA, or an R handbook for students who are modeling or visualizing data in Politics.
  • Learning imaging processing, generative design, computational graphics and data visualization techniques for use in the arts and sciences.
  • Learning 3D scanning and modeling techniques for use in, for example, archaeology or the study of visual culture.
  • Developing conversancy with a programming language as part of a project to explore and interrogate how that programming tool reinforces ideologies, biases, or inequalities present in society.
  • Learning various software-based text analysis methods that complement and enhance students’ and researchers’ close reading of texts.
  • Creating a lab module for computational modeling of nutrient cycles in earth systems.
  • Developing web or mobile applications by students that support a pedagogical purpose, e.g., storage/retrieval of information; creation of maps that use data from an underlying data base; design of historically accurate games.
  • Developing a major course component requiring students’ use of a digital database tool to organize and manipulate large sets of data, i.e., a relational database management system (DBMS).
  • Developing conversancy with principles of computational logic so as to improve students’ facility with logical argumentation.

Projects can be supported each academic year or in the summer, on an application basis, subject to funds available and the expertise and availability of staff help from Curricular Research Computing and/or the Imaging and Computing Center.

Possible ways to use funds include:

  • A stipend, to be used in the summer or as part of a sabbatical leave, to facilitate course development/redesign.
  • Travel to an approved computer coding or digital technology short course that will facilitate course development/redesign.
  • On a more exceptional basis, releasing and/or replacing a course so as to free-up faculty time during the academic year to design/redesign a course.

A stipulation of a grant from the Digital Course Design/Redesign Initiative is an agreement that the designed/redesigned course will be taught at least twice during the next three academic years.  It is not necessarily expected that the course will join the list of courses cross-listed with the new program in Digital and Computational Studies.  As relevant, faculty may use DCD/R resources to facilitate a Short Term Course Redesign.

Before applying, prospective applicants are encouraged to have a preliminary conversation with the Dean of the Faculty and Bates’ curricular academic computing experts on campus (e.g., Mike Hanrahan or Matt Duvall), so as to discuss the feasibility of the proposed course design/redesign.

Reporting Requirements: Faculty members are expected to submit electronically a one page final report to the Office of the Dean of the Faculty ( on the work accomplished including, as relevant, an accounting of expenditures, within 60 days from the end of the semester or summer period when the project is sponsored. All future intramural support is contingent on the submission of this report, without exception. If funds are provided for this project, any funds remaining at the end of the grant period are returned to the Bates Faculty Development Fund.

This proposal form and any uploaded attachments should be submitted at least six months prior to the proposed start date for the proposed project. Please note that course releases pose particular challenges for departments and programs and will require your consultation with the department/program chair. 

Click here to apply for the DCD/R Initiative.