Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Innovations in Teaching Awards

High-Impact Practices: Collaborative Assignments/Projects

The Innovations in Teaching Award (IiTA) is a professional development opportunity, offered through the University Teaching Center, for faculty interested in redesigning an existing face-to-face course. This year, the University Teaching Center is focusing the Award on High-Impact Practices.

HIGH-IMPACT PRACTICES (HIPs) facilitate learning outside of the classroom, require meaningful interactions between and among faculty and students, encourage collaboration with others and provide frequent and substantive feedback (Kuh, 2008)1. Research also shows positive associations with student learning and retention for students participating in these kinds of learning experiences (NSSE, 2007)2.  While there are a number of HIPs, the IiTA will focus specifically on faculty developing and assessing the impacts of Collaborative Assignments and Projects.

Collaborative Assignments and Projects
Collaborative learning combines two key goals: learning to work and solve problems in the company of others and sharpening one’s own understanding by listening seriously to the insights of others, especially those with different backgrounds and life experiences. Approaches range from study groups within a course, to team-based assignments and writing, to cooperative projects and research (LEAP, 2015)3.

Successful proposals will illustrate how the newly designed Collaborative Assignments and Projects will achieve the hallmarks of HIPs as listed below:

  • High expectations for performance: Describe how will you set expectations for collaboration among peers, problem solving and mastery of content
  • Demand time and effort: Describe the amount of time and effort involved with each assignment/project
  • Substantive interaction with faculty and peers: Describe the proposed interactions with you as the faculty member and how you intend to foster peer interaction through the assignments/projects
  • Help students engage across differences: How will you assign groups to ensure students are engaging across differences; if the group is more homogenous, how you might develop the assignments/projects to address differences
  • Provide students with rich feedback: Describe how the feedback you will provide on these assignments/projects is more substantive than feedback usually provided on assignments
  • Structured opportunities for reflection and integration: Describe how you will provide opportunities for students to reflect on the newly developed assignments/projects and how these reflections can be integrated into future assignments/projects
  • Opportunities to test and apply learning in new situations: Describe how your feedback and the student reflections of an assignment/project can be applied to future assignments/projects
  • Public demonstration of competence: Describe how students will demonstrate their competence in collaborative learning, problem solving and mastering the content/subject matter of the course

NOTE: Every new assignment/project developed for your course may not address all of the HIPs hallmarks; however, successful proposals will describe, in detail, how each will achieve most.


To apply for this award, faculty will need to (1) complete the online application (link below), (2) submit a proposal that describes the type of collaborative assignments and projects to be developed and how they will address and assess the impact of the hallmarks of HIPs as listed above and (3) include a Letter of Endorsement/Support from their Department Chair supporting their application for the award. Proposals and Letters of Endorsement/Support will be uploaded as part of the application process.  Faculty receiving IiTAs will also be given the opportunity to teach in an Active Learning Classroom (Field House 1220 or CL 0500C), if available.

Faculty interested in applying for the IiTA: High-Impact Practices can complete an application and upload their proposals via the link below:

application form

Application Deadline: Friday, May 4, 2018

Award Notification: IiTA Awardees will be notified by Friday, May 18, 2018.


Faculty selected for this award will receive $2,000 in Extra Compensation - 50% of the extra compensation will be paid in June, 2018 and the remaining 50% will be paid after the course has been taught and the agreed upon evaluation report has been submitted and reviewed by the UTC staff.


Faculty selected to receive the award will be expected to:

    • Design collaborative learning assignments and/or projects (the number of assignments/projects expected will depend on the size and scope of each)
    • Attend a 2-hour workshop over the summer, during which you will present your course redesign to the other awardees
    • Teach the course being redesigned within the 2018-2019 academic year
    • Complete an Evaluation of Impact report that includes a written narrative of the experience including an analysis of how the addition of collaborative assignments/projects impacted student outcomes. Evaluation techniques may include student surveys, a comparison of students’ feedback or grades to previous course offerings and/or other measures of performance or outcomes.  Some possible targets or benefits may include:
            - Improved student learning as measured by class tests and/or assignments   
            - Reduced the number of withdrawals and/or course failures  
            - Improved student and/or faculty satisfaction

If you have any questions or need additional information, please e-mail or We look forward to receiving your application and reviewing your proposal!

Last Updated: 7/15/24