Vantage College Bootstrap Grants

One time grants of up to $5,000 are available for pilot or incubator projects that seek to investigate new, innovative or experimental approaches to teaching and learning at Vantage College. These funds are available to Vantage College faculty and staff to develop and evaluate a trial implementation that could potentially bring significant benefit to Vantage College educational programming. A maximum of five grants will be awarded per year. 

  • Facilitate the ability of Vantage College faculty & staff to kickstart innovative pedagogical practice and programming. 
  • Develop promising projects sufficiently to be in a position to apply for additional funding for further development: e.g. TLEF, OER, OLAF, AURA, Skylight, and so forth. 
  • Develop materials and approaches that are in support of the UBC Strategic Plan’s core strategies of Transformative Learning and People and Places. 
  • Proposed projects should be and should seek to find new and innovative means of delivering educational programming. 
  • Proofs of concept are eligible as long as they lead to a better understanding of the issue or lay the foundation for an iterative developmental step. 
  • Projects should involve students in consultation and/or as co-creators. 
  • Bootstrap grants are focused on, but not limited to: innovation in course delivery, interdisciplinary approaches, intercultural understanding, inclusive teaching, socio-cultural initiatives, enriching the student experience, emerging media integration. 
  • All applications must submit an online proposal (1 page equivalent) outlining the rationale of the project, an estimated timetable, its anticipated impact and how the project will be evaluated for effectiveness. A separate Excel budget must also be submitted outlining the anticipated cost breakdown. 
  • Bootstrap grants can be used to hire undergraduate student workers who are in years 2, 3 or 4+ of their program. Priority, where possible, should be given to former Vantage College students but this is not a requirement. The TLEF site has a list of current student wages for reference. 
  • Equipment/software requests may be funded up to a maximum of 50% of the total grant provided there is a clear pedagogical justification specific to the project that cannot be fulfilled by other campus resources. 
  • Grants will be offered two times per year. All proposals must be submitted by: July 15 & Dec 15. Projects should be completed within 12 months of allocation of funds. 
  • All proposals will be adjudicated by an ad hoc Vantage College Bootstrap Grant Committee.  
  • The project team agrees to disseminate their work as part of the Vantage College Academic Speakers Series and are encouraged to also disseminate through at least one storytelling device (e.g. a podcast episode, a how-to video) even if the project is not wholly successful. It is understood that the nature of this type of work does not always turn out as hoped but there is a lot to be learned in the attempt. 
  • Project teams are encouraged to share results within Vantage and more widely under a Creative Commons license where appropriate. 
  • The funds cannot be used to maintain existing or established programs or practices. 
  • The funds cannot be used for projects that do not have a direct connection to the Vantage One programs. 
  • The funds cannot be used to fund conference travel or items for personal use as separate funds are available for these purposes. 


Previously funded projects 

Enhancing the Circumstances for Precision in Student Writing 

Jodie Martin & Jennifer Walsh Marr 

This project explores how instruction in a particular grammatical resource that articulates the contextual factors of actions can be useful in enhancing students’ linguistic precision across disciplinary courses in both Arts and Science. Through explicit instruction in VANT 140 courses, we will develop and expand an emphasis on what are known as ‘circumstances’ in Systemic Functional Linguistics for reading and understanding materials, as well as for students’ writing. This project deepens collaboration across the Vantage programs and also with disciplinary instructors, as we seek to investigate the impact of the Vantage Academic English Program through showing if and how students apply this useful grammatical resource in their assignments for other courses. Our plan is to develop further teaching materials aligned to our disciplinary colleagues’ texts and assignments that explicitly focus on the use of ‘probe questions’ to highlight contextual information in texts and of particular consequence to specific disciplines and writing assignments. We would then perform a textual analysis of students’ writing to see how they included such contextual information in their own writing, and to see if this benefited their disciplinary course grades. The Bootstrap grant is being used to hire an undergraduate research assistant to facilitate project management, data collection and to conduct initial analyses of texts. We anticipate this project will be a rich source of data and innovative both theoretically and pedagogically. 

Linking Problem-solving Skills and Language in VANT 140 Science 

Alfredo Ferreira & Georg Rieger 

This project follows-up on an OER project in PHYS117 involving the development of supplementary materials to the physics textbook with multilingual students in mind. For this, the PI has worked with a Vantage College alumnus on teaching, in VANT140, the links between key problem-solving skills in physics and the language and other communicative modalities involved in physics practice. We teach these links and reinforce a foundational problem-solving strategy introduced in the textbook by focusing on multiple competencies and collaborative problem-solving in small groups. Specifically, we use a script of a problem-solving group-work session between three fictional students, each with strengths and weaknesses associated with the learning aims of the physics textbook unit in question, and the respective modalities of language, figures, and mathematics (O’Halloran, 2004; Doran, 2017). The focus on language is expanded in a task in which the informal script is translated into a formal written solution, an area of known challenge for Vantage Science students. Through the grant, we plan to: (1) expand the materials to highlight students’ respective contributions and challenges, the corresponding roles of various communicative modalities, and the focal learning aims in physics (such as applying technical definitions for work and energy); (2) develop the quiz and survey tools to evaluate learning; (3) develop similar modules for two additional units in the physics textbook. We strongly believe that the modules created for VANT 140 will be beneficial for multilingual students – also beyond Vantage College and for all 1st year science students.