Learning Technology Incubator

The Learning Technology (LT) Incubator supports funded UBC learning technology projects by housing their software development within the LT Hub. The instructor(s) for each project work closely with the LT Incubator development team, and guide the strategy of the project by acting as product owners.

How The LT Incubator Works

The LT Incubator invites instructors to partner with the LT Hub to grow their learning technology ideas with less administrative overhead.

Instructors Act as Product Owners

Rather than instructors having to fill the roles of hiring manager and technical team lead for their projects, they can focus on being product owners. A product owner is a software development role that is deeply embedded within the development team, but does not handle hiring or management. Instead, the product owner sets the direction for the learning technology and its technical priorities:

  • The product owner identifies user stories (that is, what users want to be able to do with the learning technology), defines what completion looks like for each user story, and prioritizes developing these within the project.
  • The product owner works in a close feedback loop with the LT Incubator team lead and developers, deciding which project features will be done first, which can wait, and when each should be rolled out.
  • In short, the product owner is the strategic thinker for the project.

The LT Incubator Manages the Development Team

To get development working quickly and efficiently, the LT Incubator hires all the developers (in consultation with the product owners), deals with the human resources side, and manages the team in UBC’s Workday system.

Key areas of assistance

  • Technical expertise: The LT Incubator team lead will make recommendations on tool architecture, platform, and implementation strategy. As the project grows, the team lead will also be able to guide development with a view to long-term sustainability and scaling up.
  • Hiring & managing: Instead of instructors hiring developers themselves, the LT Incubator team lead will hire the developers and then manage their development tasks for the project. The hiring will align with the philosophies/guidelines of the funding (e.g., Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund aka TLEF), meaning that the developers can and likely will be students. This approach will fulfill the vision of funds like TLEF to engage students in enhancing teaching and learning at UBC.
  • Privacy & security: The LT Incubator team will also handle all required learning technology-related approvals (such as UBC Privacy Impact Assessments) and assurances that information security standards are being met.


Partnering with the LT Incubator does not necessarily mean that a project will be centrally adopted, supported, or funded as part of the UBC learning technology environment after the project funding runs out. But the benefit of partnering with the LT Incubator is being able to build your learning technology ideas in a way that potential technical barriers to broader adoption are addressed as part of the development process. This approach will better position projects for participation in the UBC learning technology pilot process, which is a key requirement of broader adoption into the learning technology environment.

Benefits Of Working With The LT Incubator

There are several benefits to using the LT Incubator for your learning technology project.

  • Consistency in project staffing: Since students are typically working on shorter timeframes, it is a nice feature of the LT Incubator that the team leads will be the ones with a long-term view to continued resourcing and development of the project.
  • More time for project evaluation/reflection: Because you do not have to hire for or manage the project, you have the time to do other key activities related to the project—including scholarship, engagement, and dissemination.
  • Opportunities for shared costs: Because the LT Incubator manages multiple projects, they may be able to identify technical commonalities across projects, meaning that these projects could share costs for certain development components. These components might include aspects of the Canvas integration, portions of plug-in architecture, tools for data-gathering, or setup and management of databases.
  • Evaluation assistance: The LT Incubator team leads can also draw on their experience from prior project support and advise on evaluation work that should accompany learning technology development, such as activities funded by TLEF.
  • Potential for open-source: A side benefit of working on projects through the LT Incubator is that it may open the door to open-sourcing your project. Open-sourcing learning technology can help your ideas receive exposure, adoption, and incubation outside of UBC.

How To Collaborate With The LT Incubator

The LT Incubator model is based on the successful Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Seed model at UBC: a domain-knowledgeable unit hires students to carry out work on behalf of and in collaboration with a Principal Investigator (PI). The SoTL Seed model is slightly different in that it does not directly fund PIs; it provides students as in-kind support. In the LT Incubator model, the LT Incubator hires and pays for developers out of the PI’s TLEF or other funding source. Thus, we recommend reaching out either during or after you have secured your project funding.

During a TLEF Consultation, Ask About the LT Incubator

Each year, all UBC Vancouver Faculties and Colleges are invited to apply for the Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) for initiatives that will improve student learning experiences at the university. You are welcome to inquire about LT Incubator collaboration during the TLEF application process.

  • For Large TLEFs: All learning technology large TLEF applications must perform consultation with the LT Hub team. At those consultations, instructors can discuss engaging with the LT Incubator. Based on that discussion, they may be able to apply to the LT Incubator describing their interest in collaborating.
  • For Small TLEFs: We strongly encourage instructors to consult with the LT Hub team, but it is not mandatory. Consultation would be helpful if there are plans to include learning technology development and the LT Incubator in the work.

Note that applying or partnering with the LT Incubator does not guarantee your project being funded through the TLEF. The TLEF adjudication process is separate from the LT Incubator collaboration process.

For Other Funding, Consult Directly With the LT Incubator

If a project is funded by another means, such as Faculty-specific funding, you can reach out to the LT Incubator for a consultation. For consultations outside of TLEF projects, please contact us in the LT Hub.

Apply to Work With the LT Incubator

Instructors who have confirmed that their projects may be a fit for the LT Incubator can use the LT Incubator expression of interest form to provide more information to the LT Incubator regarding their project and to further investigate whether it could be taken up by the incubator.

Not all projects will be within the current capacity of the LT Incubator, so this application lets the LT Incubator team determine if your project is one that will benefit most from the collaboration.