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January 31, 2019

Announcing the Educational IT Innovation Grant Awards for 2019


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, in the fall we announced our Innovation Grant program, which 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 were excited and inspired by the response and interest in this grant program; receiving proposals from every school and a wide range of projects targeting classroom teaching, experiential learning, educational administration, and online learning.


The Educational IT Committee is pleased to announce the following projects receiving an award in 2019:


  • Piloting Blackboard Ally for Courses with UR Faculty and Students– The goal of the project is to create more accessible content for all students through instructor training and implementation of Blackboard Ally. Professors in AS&E, Eastman, SON, SMD, and Warner will be able to review, measure, and change their content to provide a more inclusive learning environment.

  • Piloting the Yellowdig online software platform– The goal of the project is to explore a new, innovative tool for student and instructor interaction within the University Blackboard system. Professors in SON, SMD, and Warner will facilitate meaningful exchange in their courses in the spring and summer semesters.

  • Enhancing Medical Education with a Shared Virtual Reality Lab – The goal of the project is to explore new methods and virtual reality technologies for 3D visualization of anatomy. Professors in SON and SMD will use immersive content that will encourage active student participation.

  • Technology Tools for Online Teaching & Learning– The goal of this project is to create Light Boards and a One Button Studio. Professors in AS&E and SMD will be able to easily produce high-quality videos which will impact their students through innovative instructional experiences.

  • Mediate: A Time-Based Media Annotation Tool– The goal of this project is to enable opportunities for students to annotate multimedia content in their media literacy assignments and research. Professors in AS&E and Eastman will expand on the existing Mediate project to enhance the experience in their courses.

  • Qwickly Attendance– The goal of this project is to expand the pilot of the Qwickly tool. Professors in AS&E, SON, SMD, and Warner will streamline the process of taking student attendance in their courses.

  • Gradescope– The goal of this project is to introduce a new tool into the University Blackboard system that improves the grading process of exams in science and mathematics. Professors in AS&E and the Simon School will pilot Gradescope to more efficiently and consistently assess student performance.

  • Ultrasound at the bedside: Point-of-Care ultrasonography for third-year medical students– The goal of this project is to build on recent advancements in Point-of-Care (POC) ultrasound as an educational tool. Professors in SMD and SON will use POC ultrasound as a cost-effective means to facilitate the translation of basic science knowledge into bedside clinical care.

  • Teaching with Technology Showcase– The goal of this project is to capture and share promising and effective experiences of University of Rochester faculty who are using innovative approaches to instruction. The River Campus Libraries will collaborate with professors in AS&E and Warner to build an initial web presence for this success stories. It is anticipated that this will expand to all of these Educational IT Innovation Grant projects and involve faculty from all schools.


A vital aspect of all of the projects is to collect and analyze data about these interventions and their impact. The Educational IT Committee will guide and support assessment and evaluation efforts in all of the projects throughout 2019, with assistance from the Warner School of Education.

 Questions about the program can be sent via email to both Eric Fredericksen ( and Sarah Peyre (