I Want My Department/College/University to Adopt SOCL
Thank you for wanting to join the SOCL Project! This document details general information you might need before making a decision. Once you have decided to join the project, please contact Richard at email@example.com as soon as possible.
The overall timeline of this project is as follows:
- Phase 1: Development. For the 2011 Academic Year (Fall 2011 - Spring 2012), the programming team will work on creating the SOCL software. This is based upon the socialPsych platform that served as the pilot data for this project.
- Phase 2: Active Student Participation. For the life of the grant (Summer 2012 onward), the grant will support almost all costs associated with SOCL including: hosting the software, providing a technical support chat line and e-mail address, and actively updating the software if bugs are encountered.
- Phase 3: Migration. After the life of the grant has ended, institutions are expected to migrate the SOCL platform to their own locally hosted servers. Because the software is free, this is primarily an IT infrastructure cost plus any technical support role required. Many institutions will be able to continue use of the software for near-zero cost.
For a more detailed timeline, see the Complete Timeline.
Levels of Involvement
Involvement is available at multiple levels:
- Entire institutions. This is the most powerful deployment of SOCL. With an entire institution on board, your students are all connected with each other, maximizing the sense of community this software is designed to bring.
- Department and colleges within large institutions. This is the likely the most common deployment of SOCL and is the minimum recommended deployment for SOCL. It reduces the administrative burden associated with larger deployments (a single person within the department could administer the system with only a few hours per week) while still creating the large-scale sense of community that many students desire.
- Course clusters or individual courses. If it is not possible to get buy-in from your institution, you can still adopt SOCL for your own course or courses. If you have multiple courses, they can even be linked together to create at least some of the sense of community created with larger deployments.
- General letter of support at the appropriate level. For any institution (be it entire institution, department, or college) that wants to be involved, a letter will need to be drafted specifying:
- That an effort will be made at the appropriate scope to implement SOCL at the level chosen.
- That the institution will see the project through to Phase 3 if the project reaches desired outcomes.
- That a local administrator to take ownership of the project at the site has agreed to that role (and the name of that person).
- That course grades and student evaluation data will be made available to the project team in order to evaluate the success of the grant in achieving its goals.
- At the university level, the letter writer will typically be a dean of academic affairs or head of a unit responsible for information or instructional technology.
- At the departmental level, this will typically be the department chair/head.
- At the course level, this will be the instructor of the course(s).
This letter can be addressed to either the PI (Dr. Richard Landers) or to the NSF review committee:
- CyberLearning: Transforming Education (NSF Solicitation 10-620)
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22230
- Letter of support from the IT function. Deployments at the entire institution level require support from information/instructional technology in order to maximize the value of the system. For example, student records could be automatically imported and updated to keep class memberships in SOCL accurate. Otherwise, the local institutional administrator will need to maintain these records. Smaller deployments may wish to take advantage of this degree of integration as well.
- Supplying of other information. Other information may be required for the grant proposal. The point of contact at the institution must be a part of the SOCL Listserv to receive information on project updates and specific requests (e.g. updated number of students that will gain access to SOCL, course structure, etc.).