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January 31, 2022

Announcing the Educational IT Innovation Grant Awards for 2022


The Educational IT Committee, a part of the University of Rochester IT Governance structure, promotes the use of technologies to support instructional innovation throughout the University of Rochester. By encouraging and supporting faculty and staff efforts in this area we hope to enhance learner experiences and outcomes. We also seek opportunities that lead to the broad applicability of educational IT innovations across multiple schools in order to maximize the potential impact.

To support these aims, our Innovation Grant program provides funding through a proposal process to support faculty and staff in adopting new technologies to their teaching. This program also includes mentorship, support, and connection to existing resources in the institution through the committee.   We are excited the announce the grant awards for 2022.


Personalizing the Hy-Flex Learning Experience – The Learning in the Digital Age (LiDA) research center in the Warner School recently organized forums to identify current challenges faculty and students experience in HyFlex environments and explore opportunities to improve the HyFlex delivery model. This project seeks to address the challenges faced by faculty at the University who wish to increase engagement and find balance when teaching in hybrid-flexible environments. The goals of the project are to pilot recommended and innovative strategies when teaching HyFlex to address challenges noted and document implementation to strengthen delivery methods beyond the scope of the project partners. The project includes piloting three hardware strategies over three academic semesters in a variety of courses and contexts.


Standards-Based Assessment of Individual Students’ Music Achievement - In response to the coronavirus pandemic, faculty at the Eastman School of Music developed a web application designed to collect standards-based achievement from secondary instrumental students who Eastman student teachers were working with (in many cases virtually) in Fall 2020. This was broadened with several instrumental music teachers in early 2021. In Spring 2021, ESM faculty collaborated with the Goergen Institute for Data Science in AS&E, to sponsor a capstone project—where Goergen students analyzed individual student data. This project will now expand with additional digital instrument technology and the enhancement to the web application to run new pilot studies with both elementary-aged students and collegiate instrumental music education majors and develop a model for commissioning new musical repertoire units for the web application to be written by composers from diverse backgrounds.


Communicate with Canva – Acquisition of Canva Pro licenses will pilot the exploration of instructors in the Writing Speaking and Argument Program in AS&E, students, and staff producing high-quality, professional presentations, and marketing materials for the communication of academic ideas, course-related events, and enrichment opportunities.


Articulate 360 Instructional Design Trial - The University of Rochester School of Nursing (SON) Instructional Design (ID) team works with faculty to utilize best educational practices to create engaging activities for faculty and students. Acquiring Articulate 360, an instructional software tool will enable the ID team to exponentially expand interactive content that aligns with active learning strategies across a variety of SON programs. Specifically, the ID team will use Articulate 360 to design self-check quizzes, escape room activities, and a free introductory module.


The 21stCentury Resident Didactic Model: Enhancement with Technology - Formal didactics in the University of Rochester neurology residency program consist of four weekly lectures. Given current challenges with the didactic curriculum, this project integrates technology to facilitate synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences and modernize the curriculum. Additional technologies to optimize sessions will include: 1) simulation technology for procedural education; 2) multiple-choice question bank software for resident assessment and development of a question bank; and 3) interactive case-and problem-based learning web module.


The Adoption of Extended Reality as a Teaching Pedagogy at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) – This project aims at establishing an extended reality (XR) lab at the URMC as a space that enables the use of virtual reality (VR) and different forms of XR for learning. This project intends to provide students and healthcare professionals at the URMC with VR as a high-end technology for medical training. With the preliminary success of a pilot study on the use of VR in empathy training for SMD students, and with the increasing interest in the technology among medical educators, it has become essential to establish an accessible and sustainable space that is well-designed and well-equipped for VR training.


Fostering Scholarship and Use of Educational Technology in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Educational Interventions: An On-line Faculty Development Program - The goal of this project is to develop a community of medical educators with skills in scholarly approaches to designing and evaluating effective, meaningful DEI interventions while integrating educational technology. By creating a partnership between the Medical Center and the Warner School, we will bridge expertise in DEI education in general with a focus on medical education specifically. Sessions will be held every 4-6 weeks. By integrating educational technology into the delivery of the program, along with explicit teaching about how to use the technology simultaneously with the discussion of each topic, the project aims to foster knowledge and skill development along with the development of a community of practice. Discussions will also be framed by theoretical literature from a variety of fields, along with a focused examination of practical educational efforts aimed at improving equity across the landscape of medical education.


Technology to Support the Synchronous Hybrid Virtual Classroom - The goal of this project is to create a synchronous hybrid experience for new hire orientation, staff and leadership development classes, and departmental meetings. State-of-the-art technology will create the experience of in-person participation for hybrid teams and integrate with existing technology used at the University and will support Nursing, Learning and Development, and Human Resources.


Using AhaSlides to Gamify New Hire Orientation - Onboarding new hires at the University of Rochester Medical Center has taken a dramatic turn in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many activities are now done virtually or condensed to shorter formats. This pilot project of a new instructional software application will provide an easy route for educators to create microlearning, in the form of interactive games, to review key points and better engage new hires during the instructor-led portion of orientation, whether it is over Zoom or face-to-face in a classroom. Procurement of educator licenses for the AhaSlides program will allow educators to create gamified slides for orientations at the University, department, and unit level. This is especially critical for Nursing Practice, the largest department at the University of Rochester, which is onboarding more than 1,000 nurses per year.