Foundational Course Transformation Initiative

The Foundational Courses Initiative is housed within the Center for Teaching & Assessment of Learning (CTAL) at the University of Delaware and exists to support faculty that teach foundational courses primarily taken by recently-admitted and/or conditionally-admitted students. This initiative will pilot four programs in 2021, including the following: SPARK, STEP, STRIDE, and a recurring Professional Learning Community.

The model of mixed foundational course transformation programs proposed here represents a  collaboration both between CTAL and UD faculty/content experts to design subject and discipline-specific teaching resources best suited to online and hybridized modalities in high-enrollment courses. These programs will also support faculty in building a set of resources to enhance a suite of online and hybridized courses in a UD-specific context. In support of retaining first year and conditionally-admitted students that frequently enroll in foundational courses, this model presents multiple options for faculty teaching high-enrollment courses to engage in professional development and course transformation to student-centered learning practices. The multiple options offer flexibility for faculty to engage in professional development while balancing multiple commitments during the academic year, and also results in the broad adoption of  UD-specific best practices for hybridized and online teaching.


PLC: Innovations for a Post-COVID High-Enrollment Course

Looking ahead to the return to campus and in-person/hybridized instruction, this professional learning community (PLC) will reflect on this period of online teaching and learning and explore the various innovations that arose from individual instructor experiences. This group will reflect on course design and implementation practices that worked well, did not work well, and which strategies may become ongoing components of course structures moving forward in a post-COVID world. For additional information, or to apply, please visit CTAL’s PLC page.


SPARK: Transforming Foundational Courses in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Launching in Spring 2021, SPARK is designed for instructors from social sciences, humanities, and the arts interested in developing instructional approaches that foster knowledge, skills, strategies, and habits of mind that students need to become successful learners. For additional information, or to apply, please visit CTAL’s SPARK Page.



STEP is a short-term semester-based program where faculty meet individually with a CTAL staff member to work on one aspect of their teaching throughout a semester, e.g. a student engagement strategy or new teaching tool, and implement the revision within the same semester. Please note that CTAL is currently piloting the STEP model with STEM instructors teaching large-enrollment foundational courses. For additional information, please visit CTAL’s STEP Page.


STRIDE: Transforming Foundational Courses in STEM

STRIDE is a long-term course transformation program for foundational courses at UD. Faculty partners commit to a multi-semester course transformation program with focused support from a CTAL staff member. Participation in this program includes a commitment to major changes to the design and implementation of a course that may include drafting of student learning outcomes, designing authentic assessments, and conducting learning activities that are grounded in student-centered, evidence-based teaching practices.