Large TLEF Special Call for Gen AI Collaborative Cluster Grants

Background – The Emergence of GenAI Tools

The 2025/26 Large TLEF Transformation projects funding round is a special call to support UBCV project teams interested in experimenting with Generative AI (GenAI) in teaching and learning. This initiative will prioritize student learning, meaningful student engagement, and the ethical use of GenAI models. Approximately $1 million will be allocated to support this special call.

The funded projects will aid understanding of the impact of GenAI across various disciplines. By connecting projects with shared goals, we aim to encourage collaboration and learning as teams develop strategies to integrate GenAI into different courses.

This special call will strengthen UBC’s capacity through partnerships with pedagogical and technological experts. It will help us understand the range of GenAI tools needed by the UBC community and the costs of developing and sustaining these tools. Funded projects will have access to a Large Language Model (LLM) Sandbox environment, initial reference applications, and support from the Learning Technology Hub (LT Hub).

This year’s Large TLEF Transformation call for proposals will only accept new applications that align with this special call. Currently funded Large TLEF teams applying for year 2 or 3 funding will submit their renewal applications in mid-October as usual. The call for proposals for Small TLEF projects will be announced in September as usual.

Collaborative Cluster Projects

This TLEF special call will prioritize collaborative project clusters focused on specific areas of exploration. The clusters should:

  • Involve multiple departments, units, and/or course contexts.
  • Address GenAI’s impact on teaching and learning contexts.
  • Promote collaboration and shared learning to encourage experimentation, critical literacy, and capacity building that can be widely shared across UBC.
  • Focus on next steps and proof-of-concept experiments and learning, rather than build long-lasting tools or platforms.

Applicants can submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) with an already identified collaborative cluster project team, though it is not required. The LOI process will help the TLEF Adjudication Committee identify potential connections between projects exploring similar focus areas. Applicants will receive consultation support from the Learning Technology Hub (LT Hub) and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) to help them connect with other projects and encourage the formation of collaborative cluster project teams between the LOI and the full proposal stages.

Exploring the Implications of GenAI on Teaching and Learning – Focus Areas

Applicants to this special call are encouraged to consider the following focus areas when framing their projects. The examples below are representative of potential projects, not exhaustive.

Cognitive Impacts: Including learning outcomes, skills acquisition:

      • Projects that implement GenAI to personalize student learning using custom tutor chatbots or other course elements designed specifically for individual courses, concepts, or disciplines.
      • Projects that integrate and leverage GenAI to develop simulations and experiential learning opportunities for students. Examples: Virtual patients using GenAI to create interactive scenarios; promoting self-reflection in experiential learning settings.
      • Projects that integrate GenAI within formative and summative assessments. Examples: Redesign of assessments to integrate GenAI to support authentic and peer-assessment, or to support the development of emerging skills.

Affective Impacts: Including well-being, motivation, belonging, and resilience:

      • Projects that use GenAI to differentiate learning pathways for individual students.
      • Projects that consider how GenAI tools may positively impact student stress and anxiety when learning.
      • Projects that explore the effect of GenAI tools on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for learning.

Strategic Pedagogical areas of focus: including decolonization, indigenization, accessibility, and inclusivity:

      • Projects that integrate GenAI tools to create more accessible content for learners through custom chatbots, applications that reduce barriers to learning, or provide students with flexible options to access learning materials.
      • Projects that address issues of Indigenous data sovereignty or bias in the context of GenAI tools or outputs.

Teaching Material Co-Creation:

      • Projects to create tools that assist in the development of course materials and learning resources, applications, or customize GenAI tools to generate course material in specific disciplinary contexts.

Financial Support for Departments

  • The maximum funding available for projects through this Large TLEF special call is $200,000 over the life of a project, with a maximum duration of 2 years. The requested funding should be appropriate to the project’s size and scope.
  • Applicants can request funding for a course release, but there is a limit of one release per course affected by the project. The cost of course releases will be shared, with TLEF providing 50% of the funding (up to $5,000) and the Faculty and/or Department providing the other 50%.
  • Projects funded through this call will have access to TLEF funding starting in April 2025.

GenAI Tool Development: Sandbox and Incubator Support

The CTLT/LT Hub will provide centralised support for those wishing to develop GenAI tools as part of their large TLEF work.  Two kinds of support are provided: A GenAI sandbox as a platform for tool development, and an Incubator team, that TLEF project holders may employ for software development, guidance, and system administration support, as needed.

Sandbox: TLEF applicants wishing to develop GenAI tools may build upon a centrally provisioned and supported locally running Large Language Model (LLM) sandbox architecture. Initial reference applications will be provided that can be used outright, or adapted by projects for their teaching and learning contexts.

Incubator: An incubator team is available through the CTLT, for software development associated with TLEF projects. The Incubator model lets the TLEF team play the role of product owner, and lead the design and strategy of the development of the tool. Technical management, system administration, hiring, data/privacy approvals, and other administrative processes, can be handled by the incubator team.  These services can be opted into individually.

Budgeting: Concrete costs associated with each of these services will be provided after the Letter of Intent stage of the TLEF. Should a TLEF applicant wish to use these services, they should include the associated costs in their TLEF budget.  The Incubator team will be available to assist in scoping the kind of support needed, and helping assess associated costings for the full TLEF applications.

For more information on Learning Technology Incubator Support for this special call, please review the  GenAI Sandbox Incubator Support and the LLM Sandbox Model pages on the TLEF website. You can also read more about general Learning Technology Incubator support that is available from the LTHub to UBC faculty.

Important Dates

  • Call for proposals announced: Wednesday, June 12, 2024
  • TLEF Special Call Information Session: Wednesday, July 10, 2024 – Slides from the information session
  • Letter of Intent deadline: Thursday, July 25, 2024 at 3 pm
  • Full proposal deadline: Thursday, October 17, 2024 at 3pm
  • Funding decisions: December 2024

Information Session and Consultation Support

The CTLT will offer an Information Session to applicants interested in submitting a Letter of Intent to the Large TLEF special call July 10 from 2-3 pm. You can register for this event on the CTLT Events Website.

Following the LOI review, applicants will receive consultation support from an incubator team provided by the CTLT and the LT Hub to help them to develop their proposals, as well as to explore opportunities to make connections with other projects teams engaged in similar focus areas with the potential to collaborate as a project cluster.

Application Process

Large TLEF Transformation applications follow a two-stage approval process, beginning with a Letter of Intent (LOI) in July, followed by a full proposal and budget application in mid-October.

Letter of Intent (LOI)

        • The LOI must be submitted by Thursday, July 25, 2024, at 3pm.
        • The LOI template for the special call is available on the Templates page of the TLEF website.
        • The TLEF Adjudication Committee will review the LOI and provide feedback to applicants in mid-August.

Proposal

        • Applicants must submit a proposal and budget by Thursday, October 17, 2024, at 3pm.
        • The proposal and budget templates will be distributed to applicants who submit a LOI.
        • Faculty TLEF review committees and the TLEF Adjudication Committee will review the submissions.
        • Funding decisions will be made by the TLEF Adjudication Committee in December.

Renewal Applications for Returning Projects

        • Renewal applications for Large TLEF projects funded in previous years (year 2 or 3) are due by Thursday, October 17 at 3 pm.
        • Templates for renewal applications are available on the Templates page of the TLEF website.

Eligibility

  • UBCV faculty are eligible to apply as Principal Applicants for funding. Faculty members can submit grant proposals individually or jointly.
  • Students and staff are welcome to apply as co-applicants.
  • The TLEF primarily supports undergraduate program enhancement. While proposals for projects focusing on undergraduate or graduate programs will be accepted, priority will be given to undergraduate programs with significant student impact across multiple departments, units, and course contexts.
  • All projects must demonstrate alignment with UBC’s Guidance on the Principles for the Use of Generative AI Tools.

Ineligibility

  • Proposals that focus on the development of Large Language Models are not eligible for TLEF funding.
  • This funding is not intended for Learning Technology (LT) tool procurement or licensing.
  • Proposals that focus on cost-recovery Graduate programs or non-degree non-credit courses are not eligible for TLEF funding.

For more information about this Large TLEF Transformation Project special call, please contact tlef.info@ubc.ca.