2020-2021 Faculty Grant Showcase

Young student engaged with extended reality device

(Above image credit: UT'S eXtended Reality Alliance)

On Febraruy 26, 2021 the FIC hosted the annual Grants Showcase, which invites current recipients of the FIC’s Undergraduate Teaching Grants, Instructor Learning Community Grants, and the DIY Microgrants to share their project outcomes and future goals. Instructors and staff from across campus attend the showcase and engage with this community in harvesting new practices, ideas, and technology that will positively impact their pedagogy. In particular, those who have an interest in applying for grants in the future find this event fruitful in preparing for the application process.

The Instructor Learning Community Grant Recipients included:

  • Luis Avilés & Jermani Ojeda, Owning the Classroom: Student's advocacy in the language learning process through the production of digital storytelling

  • Mirza Lugo-Neris & Liberty Hamilton, Enhancing cultural inclusivity in teaching in CSD

  • Erin Reilly, Lucy Atkinson, Sven Ortel, Paul Toprac, & Anna Pickett, XR learning community 

  • Gautami Shah, Darsana Manayathu Sasi, & Ahmed Shamim, Inclusive pedagogy in less commonly taught language classrooms

  • Sarah Sloan & Starla Simmons, Inclusion and equity learning community in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work

These conversations ranged from ways in which faculty can begin with incremental changes within their learning environments to ways in which whole departments are collectively working towards positive culture shifts around inclusive teaching and learning. 

Some of the resources shared by the Instructor Learning Community cohort promote more inclusive spaces through discussions of radical honesty, community building, and egalitarian structures that can broadly shift UT’s campus like the book “Race, equity, and the learning environment: the global relevance of critical and inclusive pedagogies in higher education” edited by  Frank Tuitt, Chayla Haynes, and Saran Stewart: foreword by Lori D. Patton. Also, this group spoke about the benefits of technology to provide access and root their pedagogy in inclusivity with the use of tools like Gather.town, a video conferencing application with the added capability to “move around” in a virtual room where you are represented by an avatar that you’ve created! Additionally, one of the cohort members suggested visiting UT'S eXtended Reality Alliance if you want to learn more about Virtual Reality possibilities here at UT. If you want to see more about the projects funded this past year, check out Instructor Learning Community Grant Videos on the FIC’s vimeo page.

Next, the showcase featured recipients of The Undergraduate Teaching Grant

  • Zhengrong Cui, Fostering learning from peers by evidence-based optimization of the structure of small discussion groups

  • Lauren Gutterman, Austin LGBTQ oral history project

  • Thushani Herath, Career Panel Day: Think like a practitioner in your field

  • Chang Liu, Improving learning from evidence-based practice with online tools

  • Jason Lustig, "Fake News" and the Jews: From blood libels to holocaust denials

  • Linda Mayhew, Historical immersion with reacting to the past

  • Adrian Rodriguez, Creating opportunities for engagement in an Engineering lab

  • Gwendolyn Stovall, Student leadership: Measures and artifacts

  • Veronica Yan,Transforming effective strategies into regular habits

Present at the showcase were 6 out of the 8  faculty members who were awarded the Undergraduate Teaching Grants for the 2020-2021 cycle. Each chose one area from the Principles of Effective Teaching to enhance their classes and increase student learning. All the projects were creative and innovative, ranging from building student skills such as leadership and effective habits of learning, to organizing career possibilities for chemistry students, to building LGBTQ oral histories and active learning modules. The grantees discussed how their innovations had increased student learning, how they could use what they had learned in future classes, and how to share what they had learned with other faculty. Each grantee expressed not only their gratitude to the FIC but the utility of having a summer stipend to have the time to build these new units into their classes for the fall 2020 semester. To see more about these projects visit the 2020/21 cohort of Undergraduate Teaching Grant stories of impact.

To conclude our showcase this year, The DIY Microgrant recipients shared some of the ways in which they improved upon their pedagogy during a year when technology was imperative for our success!

  • Gordon Abner, Using Camtasia Suite to Record Demonstration in Data Visualization

  • Gwendolyn Stovall, Modelling Benchwork at a Distance: Recording Lab Sessions for Remote Learning

  • Elon Lang, Digitizing Documents for Community-based Learning

  • Adam Clulow, Virtual Angkor: Developing Immersive Experiences Online

  • Alex Karner, Teaching Architecture Online: Flipping the GIS Classroom

Five Microgrant recipients joined us to discuss how they were using technology in exciting new ways with their classes. As all of their classes were being taught remotely, these faculty members and instructors decided to use tools to enhance student engagement and interest in projects that had to be built online. Several presenters discussed creating "flipped" classrooms, building banks of videos that students could reference on their own time. One presenter outlined how she had used an iPhone stand to record how students would work in a lab setting by showing how they would "see" their workbenches. Finally, one presenter talked about an experiential learning project in which students would scan documents from a local school using portable digital scanners; these scanned documents were used to build a digital online exhibit of the history of that school and its achievements. Listen to more about how technology improves pedagogy with a story from a 2020-21 DIY Microgrant recipient.