Sample Proposal Text:
Online Course Design and Delivery Program

**If you are proposing to develop online courses for high school or college-level students or if you represent an organization, university, or individual school, rather than a district, you will need to modify the text in a number of places; please read and edit carefully!

Introduction   9) Partnerships
Overview/Project Summary 10) Project Sustainability
Project Background 11) Timeline
Statement of Need 12) Budget
Goals and Objectives 13) Budget Narrative
Methodology 14) Capability & Capacity Statements
Dissemination 15) Conclusion
Evaluation 16) Appendix


Depending on the context and the grant requirements, your introduction may take the form of a cover letter, rather than an introductory paragraph.

At a minimum, the introduction should include the following:

  • Name of project
  • Focus areas of project
  • Contact person and contact information

Overview/Project Summary

This project will focus on the use of online learning to build the capacity of the XXX District to provide quality professional development to enable administrators and teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum to meet standards. The No Child Left Behind Act challenges school districts to improve student achievement through the use of technology, to raise student technology literacy, and to ensure that teachers integrate technology into the curriculum effectively. The EdTech Leaders Online program at Education Development Center will train faculty teams participating in this project to be Online Course Design and Delivery Specialists who will design and deliver a rigorous program of standards-based technology-enhanced online courses for teachers and administrators across all subject areas and grade levels in the XXX School District. Participants will also be trained to use online tools to evaluate the effectiveness of the online professional development courses, and to use online assessment techniques to measure the impact of the online courses on teacher practice and student achievement. All curriculum materials created will be in alignment with the XXX state standards.

Project Background

Over the past ## years, the XXX District has developed a powerful technology infrastructure and ## robust programs for preparing teachers to use this technology effectively in their classrooms. The XXX Schools adopted new standards for technology literacy in YY, and a primary goal for the YY-YY school year is to enable all teachers and students to meet this standard.

Include any information here about your district or organization’s past work with professional development, technology, or other related projects. If you have participated in ETLO programs in the past and are applying for funding for additional programs, this is also an appropriate place to outline your district or organization’s past experiences with ETLO and EDC.

Statement of Need

As web-based technologies infiltrate every aspect of everyday life, it is imperative that teachers are kept up-to-date, learning the most effective ways to use technology to enhance their instruction and their students’ learning. Nationally, school spending on technology and the number of computers in schools continue to grow, but districts often spend less on the professional development and training needed for teachers to implement this technology in the classroom.

Many of the professional development programs that are currently offered to teachers fail to provide the kind of ongoing support teachers need to make effective use of educational technology, and as a result, few teachers are in a position to integrate new technologies into their classroom practices. Teachers may attend a one-day workshop and return to school the following day not knowing how or having the time to integrate what they learned into their curricula, or they may lack the support from colleagues that is necessary for their attempts to be successful. To be successful in their endeavors to learn and implement new technologies, teachers need hands-on learning rooted in their own curricula that will enable them to translate training into practice.

Like many educators, teachers and administrators in the XXX District juggle a number of diverse and time-consuming responsibilities, and scheduling time for ongoing professional development or productive interaction with colleagues can be extremely difficult. Educators need to be able to participate in professional development courses whenever and wherever it is convenient for them: before or after school, during a free planning period in the classroom, or at home on the weekends, if need be. Moreover, teachers must be able to interact with colleagues in a collaborative, supportive environment and feel that they have a voice in guiding the direction of their training to ensure that the skills are applicable to the disciplines and students they teach.

In addition, educators in District XXX have very specific needs that can be met most successfully by online courses designed and delivered locally. Local teachers and administrators are already extremely invested in the process of improving classroom practice and student achievement, and are well-versed in the needs of their colleagues. They are uniquely suited to identifying and addressing professional development areas not adequately met by the district’s existing programs.

Goals & Objectives

Developing technology competence among all faculty is critical in order to cultivate classrooms in which technology is used to support the curriculum and to meet the individual learning needs of all students. Through participation in courses developed by EdTech Leaders Online, teachers will be able to bring technology-enhanced lessons to their classrooms as they integrate new technologies into their teaching practices. As a capacity-building project focused on quality professional development and technology integration into the curriculum, the EdTech Leaders Online program will have a long-term impact on teaching and learning in the XXX District, and will enable the district to sustain this learning far beyond the grant period. When teachers experience using technology as learners, they are better able to orchestrate its effective use in their classrooms for their own students.

As a result of this project, a core team of educators will be trained as online course designers who can design and deliver a rigorous program of standards-based technology-enhanced online courses to colleagues across subject areas and grade levels. Because they are conducted entirely online, these workshops will provide the flexibility needed to accommodate the varied schedules and professional development needs of teachers. In addition, teachers will be trained to assess and evaluate online learning and its impact on student achievement. This ongoing access to quality professional development will enable busy teachers to participate on their own schedule as they learn to [list course goals]. It will also build an online network of district teachers and administrators who can collaborate as they implement new teaching practices.

Participation in the ETLO program will help the XXX District achieve the following goals:

  • Build capacity to offer quality training to an increased number of educators in the district
  • Provide the district with a core group of educators trained in the creation of online curricula, an extremely important resource as schools move more and more curricula to this new medium
  • Develop leadership capacity and expertise of a select group of educators and administrators within the district
  • Integrate technology more effectively into teaching practice across disciplines and grade levels throughout our district
  • Help teachers gain access to the highest quality training available
  • Offer time flexibility that makes it possible for more teachers to receive meaningful professional development
  • Create a community that can work together toward a common goal of using technology to help meet curricular goals
  • Provide hands-on experience that makes it realistic for teachers to translate workshop experiences into classroom practice

If your school district has overarching goals guiding district programs, this is a logical place to insert these goals and the ways in which this project will meet them.

Methodology & Activities

Through a partnership with the EdTech Leaders Online program at the Education Development Center, Inc.(EDC), this project will train a team of ## teachers and administrators in the Online Course Design and Delivery Program over the course of ## months/years, adding a new level to current professional development offerings in the district. These facilitators will then deliver a program of ## online workshops developed by EDC to up to ## educators in the district. This team will design and deliver a carefully-crafted program of ## courses based on the specific district needs and goals. Courses to be developed will include [list course topics, if known].

Beginning in MONTH YY and throughout the YY-YY school year, teachers and administrators [or the appropriate target audience] will have the opportunity to participate in the courses created and facilitated by these trained specialists. Online courses may include readings, activities, and participation in an online discussion, and most will culminate in a final curricular project for classroom use. [or the appropriate final product] The following courses will be designed:

Title + course description for all courses to be designed, if known.

This is a good place to describe in full any plans to offer course credit, stipends, new or upgraded hardware, or software to course and workshop participants. You should also outline any concrete plans to select online professional development specialists, schedule face-to-face meetings for course participants or for program evaluation, market the program, or manage technical issues.

Upon completion of the training course, the district team will join colleagues from across the country in an ongoing national forum developed by EdTech Leaders Online. Within this forum, trained facilitators and designers from all of the ETLO programs will share ideas and tips and collaborate on local and national projects.

As teachers experience using technology as learners, they are better able to orchestrate its effective use in their classrooms for their own students. As a result of the EdTech Leaders Online workshops, teachers will be able to bring technology-enhanced lessons to their classrooms as they integrate new technologies into their teaching practices and begin to move curricula online.


As part of District XXX’s involvement in the ETLO program, lessons learned about online learning and professional development will be disseminated broadly throughout the XXX District and beyond. Teachers who participate in this project will be expected to share their new curriculum materials with other colleagues across the district. Project participants will also pursue opportunities to share ideas and projects with colleagues in neighboring school districts, across the state and in state-wide and national conferences where this work can be presented.

In addition, ETLO’s unique online forum for trained Online Professional Specialists enables the XXX participants to share resources and lessons developed in the courses they design and facilitate with other schools, districts, and organizations across the country. This forum will serve as an effective means of making District XXX’s work known on a national level.

Outline any specific plans your district has to share your lessons and data with other schools in your area, neighboring districts, or other states and organizations. For instance, if you plan to attend a state or national conference, you may want to bring along information about your online experiences. You may also plan to offer spots in your workshops to other local teachers, or you may plan to submit the final products from your district’s courses to one of the many national archives of lesson plans.


Please note that your district or organization may not use all or any of these evaluation tools; be sure to craft your proposal to fit your own means and objectives.

Ongoing evaluation is a key component of this program. The XXX School District and EdTech Leaders Online staff will use a combination of online and other survey tools and methods to evaluate the impact of the program and to continuously improve the design and delivery of the online professional development courses.

Teachers and administrators participating in the ETLO training will be assessed before, during, and after the Online Course Design and Delivery training course, and they will be evaluated by ETLO staff upon completion of the training to ensure that they have met all course requirements. On a local level, project participants will meet in person on a regular basis to reflect on their experiences and to learn from and improve the program as it progresses.

As the trained facilitators complete development of and begin to offer their courses to colleagues, they will administer surveys to participants before and after the courses. Data from these surveys will be analyzed to inform future course design and online professional development in the district. Guided by ETLO’s rubrics for online course participation and by the specific goals and requirements of the district, course designers will also be expected to assess the performance of each of their course participants. In addition, final products will be collected from educators who complete these online courses, and the district’s trained course designers will have the opportunity to confer with other ETLO participants across the country as they assess these products and evaluate the overall district online learning program.

At the end of each semester and project year, project staff will review the survey data and the teacher and student products to evaluate the successes and the challenges of the program. The results of this evaluation will be incorporated into the planning for the next round of training and course design and delivery.


The XXX District has selected the EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO) project at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) as its primary partner in this project, in order to gain access to its comprehensive training program for online facilitators and designers, and to the EdTech Leaders Online catalogue of exemplary online workshops. EdTech Leaders Online ( is a nationally-recognized nonprofit online professional development program designed to develop effective uses of educational technology for standards-based classroom instruction in school districts. It includes two complementary semester-long training programs, the K–12 Technology Integration Program, which prepares local teams to be online course facilitators for technology integration workshops developed by EDC in consultation with nationally recognized experts in integrating technology, and the Online Course Design and Delivery program, which trains local teams to develop online workshops based on an assessment of the local needs and the XXX state curriculum frameworks. The EdTech Leaders Online project will provide the necessary infrastructure and the critical training and support for XXX staff as they establish the XXXX Public Schools’ online professional development program. This program will complement the ongoing program of high-quality face-to-face professional development for administrators and teachers, and the high-quality curriculum for students currently offered in the district.


The XXX District has developed a number of plans to sustain and build on this program after the end of the initial grant period. Because the EdTech Leaders Online program is capacity-building in nature, the district will continue to expand and expand online professional development. Once trained, online course designers can continue to offer the their online courses or design new ones for a small fee.


The following hypothetical timeline is designed for an 18-month program beginning in September; you should adjust the schedule based on when your own training begins. In addition, you will probably want to add specific dates and numbers where possible.


  • Recruitment of Online Course Design and Delivery (OCD) specialists; preparation for training course

Late Summer

  • Initial face-to-face meeting for OCD Specialists


  • OCD Specialist Training Course (10 weeks)
  • OCD Specialist face-to-face meeting to discuss challenges of online design (recommended; midway through training course)


  • OCD Specialist team members complete first course sessions and finalize plans for completion of course development


  • Evaluation of training course begins
  • OCD Specialist continue to work on course development (and potentially meet)


  • Complete evaluation of OCD training course and decide whether to move forward with training of additional OCD Specialists, or purchase of additional course shells for the fall
  • OCD specialists complete course development and begin process of scheduling courses and recruiting participants
  • OCD specialists meet to discuss facilitation of designed courses (recommended)


  • First set of OCD courses offered to local educators or students
  • Evaluation and assessment data collected from participants at close of course


  • Evaluate survey responses and final products from fall courses
  • OCD Specialist evaluation meeting; overall grant evaluation begins
  • Formally evaluate and use data to inform and plan for continuation of online initiative


How detailed your budget is will depend largely upon the requirements and parameters of your grant.

For each budget item, include:

  • Item name
  • Description and purpose
  • Time frame
  • Cost, including any monies coming from external sources

Remember to include:

  • ETLO program fees (see for current pricing)
  • Any fees for incentives or stipends for OPD specialists and/or workshop participants
  • Meeting costs
  • Additional hardware (laptops, PDAs, etc.) district might provide for program
  • Costs for any Internet access, email accounts, or other technology provided by the district
  • Salaries for any staff covered in full or in part by the grant
  • Publicity and recruitment expenses
  • Fees for any additional evaluation time and materials 

Budget Narrative

The budget narrative should include descriptive prose adding detail as necessary to the various budget components.

Background/Capability and Capacity Statements

Include capability statements or background information for all of the organizations your proposal will involve. This should include EDC and ETLO in addition to any local partners you may have; you will also want to provide staff biographies for the local project directors and supervisors for the grant.

Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)

Established in 1958, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), an international nonprofit research and development organization, has long been a leader in educational improvement, research, curriculum development, professional development, and educational technology. With headquarters in Newton, MA and major offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Nijmegen in The Netherlands, EDC currently manages more than 350 projects in 40 countries. The organization’s work strengthens nearly every facet of society, including early child development, K–12 education, health promotion, workforce preparation, community development, learning technologies, literacy, institutional reform, and social justice.

Center for Online Professional Development (COPE) and EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO)

EDC’s Center for Online Professional Education, established in 1998 to explore innovative approaches to professional development, has a track record of providing the highest quality online training programs for educators. The EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO) program grows out of prior work conducted by EDC, including the Leadership and the New Technologies project, an AT&T-funded collaboration with the Harvard Graduate School of Education; the Northeast Regional Technology in Education Consortium, funded by the U.S. Department of Education; and the America 2000 U.S. Department of Education Technology Innovation Challenge Grant, a collaboration with school districts in Louisiana. The program now includes over 40 participating organizations in 19 states and the District of Columbia, and has trained over 400 online professional development specialists and course designers.

The EdTech Leaders Online program uses cost-effective online distance learning to build capacity for integrating technology into the curriculum and to improve student and faculty technology literacy.

The ETLO staff includes Barbara Treacy (Ed.M., Harvard), Senior Project Director, who has extensive experience designing, facilitating and assessing online courses for school districts across the country and Kirsten Peterson (Ed.M., Harvard), Associate Project Director, who has developed numerous technology integration workshops for K–12 teachers and administrators. For more information about the ETLO team or more complete bios, please see the ETLO website. (


Depending on the format of your proposal, a formal conclusion may not be necessary. However, this is a good place to summarize the major points in your argument, and to emphasize the importance of your work one final time.


Use the appendix to include other information, data, bibliography or research that you feel will help the grantmaking organization understand your needs and proposal. This would include letters of support from stakeholders, partners, or other key educators who are familiar with your work and relevant to the funder, materials developed in your district that illustrate the basis for or structure of your program, etc.