Technological change continues to influence life and work on campus and beyond. UNC-CH instructors are using technology to explore new opportunities to engage students, lower barriers to student access, and make their own teaching practices more satisfying and effective. The Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE) works with faculty members to explore the appropriate and effective use of digital technologies, in partnership with other campus organizations such as ITS Educational Technologies, OASIS, and University Libraries.
In 2017, Lenovo decided that CFE would receive approximately $400,000 over the next four years to support instructional innovation on campus. The funding is part of the University’s renegotiation of the Carolina Computing Initiative contract with Lenovo. As a result, CFE announced a competitive grants program in 2017 and made the initial round of awards in 2018-19, and a subsequent round of awards in 2019-2020.
2021-22 Call for Proposals
The Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE)/ Lenovo Instructional Innovation Grants Program invites applications from faculty who seek to enhance teaching and learning by implementing teaching innovations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) during the 2021-22 academic year. Proposals are welcome that enhance any aspect of teaching and learning with undergraduate, graduate, or professional students at Carolina. Proposals could address any number of factors where one might leverage instructional technologies, digital learning tools, or pedagogical approaches to enhance student learning and success. Prior projects have been developed in partnership with various campus or school-based professional staff (OASIS, ITS Educational Technologies, Libraries, ITS staff in a UNC-CH school). Previously funded project descriptions and outcomes are posted on the CFE website.
Digital technology continues to evolve and with it opportunities to reimagine nearly every aspect of teaching and learning. In response to teaching during the global pandemic, Carolina faculty have increased their use of campus-supported instructional technologies (Sakai, Zoom, PollEverywhere, etc.) and are teaching in various modes of teaching, including some who will have both in-person and remote students. Given the challenges of this evolving context and the lessons learned from teaching remote and/or hybrid courses, you may have new ideas about innovative teaching methods or instructional technologies that could improve your class or ensure the success of all students. Some faculty may want to explore teaching innovations that ensure their courses can be taught well to both in-person and remote students or across various modes of teaching. Others may want to propose and develop innovations that support discipline-specific needs or explore ways to apply universal design principles to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure that all students can succeed in their courses.
This grants program is designed to support faculty who want to explore teaching innovations using instructional technologies and pedagogical methods that engage and challenge students to learn, lower barriers to student access, or make your own teaching more engaging, satisfying, evidence-based, and effective. We seek to support projects and outcomes that can be relevant and shared with other instructors or that contribute to new knowledge related to effective teaching.
Any eligible faculty member or instructor interested in developing a proposal should review the following information and contact the CFE with questions.
- Empower faculty members and academic units to advance instructional innovation goals via applications of existing or new instructional technologies or digital tools
- Increase faculty awareness and instructional uses of digital solutions and/or emerging technologies in teaching courses at Carolina
- Support projects that seek to enhance various aspects of teaching across different modalities (in-person, remote, or hybrid students) to strengthen student success
Examples of goals that might be the impetus for a proposal under this program include the following:
- Enhance specific courses, curricula, or programs through digital transformation
- Promote interdisciplinary teaching and learning across disciplines in creative ways
- Make authentic learning experiences more affordable, accessible, and/or scalable
- Enhance remote, hybrid, or e-learning courses or learning experiences
- Support student learning using mobile devices or mobile learning tools
- Develop creative Open Educational Resources (OER) to enhance teaching and learning
- Pilot an innovation that may serve as a foundation for a larger external grant and/or technology commercialization
- Conduct a project in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) on innovative teaching
- Implement new teaching strategies or tools to enhance student skills in research
A strong proposal will note how the project aligns with the strategic initiatives outlined in Carolina’s strategic plan, Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good, the new IDEAs in Action general education curriculum revision, or the Quality Enhancement Plan.
Approved projects should be ready for full implementation by or before the Spring 2022 semester.
The CFE will partner with each grant recipient to refine the plan for assessment to evaluate project impacts. In addition, grant recipients are expected to respond to brief quarterly reports and to participate in CFE evaluation activities of the overall grant program. If you plan to budget for assessment support within your academic unit, please check with the CFE first to clarify how unit support can complement CFE support. Recipients may seek to adopt assessment or evaluation methodologies modeled on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) to publish or present their findings at disciplinary or teaching conferences. Others may be interested in contributing to a departmental or cross-disciplinary workshop or in participating in the CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching or conferences beyond Carolina. Grant recipients should include acknowledgment of support from the CFE/Lenovo Instructional Innovation Grants Program at UNC-CH in any scholarly products. Staff from the CFE and relevant partner organizations (including ITS Educational Technologies, OASIS, and University Libraries) often support grant recipients in these scholarly activities. Grant recipients may receive additional support by participating in one of several Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) hosted by the CFE or other units that relate to innovative technologies used in their projects. Examples include the CFE SoTL FLC or the XR FLC managed by University Libraries.
- Personal Commitment / Interest in Proposal: Brief statement of your personal interest, investment, and effort available to implement
- Proposed Innovation and the Role of Technology: Explain the importance and role of any technology chosen to the proposed innovation
- Alignment with Learning Goals: Identify and clearly articulate how the innovation will align with the stated learning goals and enhance student learning. Where appropriate, note how universal design principles or matters of diversity, equity, or inclusive teaching inform the proposal or project
- Impact: Describe the significance within a course or curriculum, the number of participants affected (# of students per semester), or any potential for use in instructional settings beyond UNC-CH
- Implementation Plan: Outline the project timeline and milestones (note that projects funded should be implemented before or during the Spring 2022 semester)
- Feasibility: Note how the proposal can be completed within the stated timeframe using existing campus or technical resources or new support to be developed
- Technology Support and Sustainability: Consider the shelf-life of any proposed technology innovation noting future updates and any ongoing costs, and consider ongoing leadership, administration, technology support, and partnerships or future funding that may support project longevity
- Relevance: Explain how the project builds upon existing or contributes to new, generalizable, knowledge or technologies related to teaching and learning
No minimum or maximum has been established for the number of proposals to be funded (prior calls funded 10-12 projects), but the CFE will cap the funds to ensure longevity and impact of the program. The goal is to support instructional innovation across a wide range of academic disciplines and schools at Carolina.
Grant awards will range from $500 to $25,000. Please indicate the expected range in your application as follows: (a) $500 to $5,000, (b) >$5,000 – $15,000, or (c) >$15,000 – $25,000.
Note: Budget for training, faculty stipends, staff, or student salary support should be directly related to a deliverable that will have sustainable use at UNC-CH for favorable consideration.
Applications will be accepted any time after March 1 with a final deadline of April 19, 2021.
- Personal statement of your interest and commitment (300 words maximum)
- Descriptive title for your project
- Course or learning goals for students and how project will enhance learning
- Proposed innovation / role of technology
- Technical support and sustainability
- Implementation plan and timeline
- Project rationale and budget
Applications are due by 5:00 PM on Monday, April 19, 2021. The CFE plans to inform applicants of funding decisions on or before Friday, April 30, 2021.
- Call for Proposals opens: March 1, 2021
- Information Session with Lenovo representatives: March 11 or 12, 2021
- Deadline to apply: Monday, April 19, 2021, 5:00 PM
- Review Committee decisions: on or before April 30, 2021
- Funding released: In general, we plan to release the first half of approved funding during Summer 2021 (after July 15, 2021), and the second half in January 2022. The exact dates depend on the funding amount. If needed for summer efforts, we may be able to release funds in May 2021. We will obtain your departmental business contact information if accepted and approved for funding.
Matthew Belskie, CFE/OASIS (Office of Arts and Sciences Information Services) Liaison
or please contact:
Dr. Doug James, Associate Director for Faculty Development in Teaching and Learning, CFE (Center for Faculty Excellence)
Prior Grant Awardees
Results: Project completed. Endeavors Magazine covered the project in their presentation Here
(“Taking Research to New Heights.”) UNC’s The Well also covered their progress Here.
Results: Project completed. Development and piloting were completed on modules for Orientation (in person and online in Sakai), the 3D Printer, and Laser Cutter. Given the shift to remote teaching, they also added online modules and digital learning approaches.
Results: Despite the pandemic, Sabrina Robertson has been able to incorporate the ELNs in a neuroscience wet-lab course (Spring 2020); and several of her students in Spring 2020 presented research posters on their lab findings virtually at the UNC Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research.
Results: Project planning and resources were completed, but course disrupted due to the pandemic and shift to remote teaching. A collaboration with Duke on the project has advanced with Michael Betts who has pressed forward with IRB reviews of assessment of student outcomes. A systematic study is ongoing of the impact of this interactive teaching module on student engagement and student learning.
Results: Given that their project is web-based, it was possible to meet the need for more online learning as clinical rotations in the school of medicine were paused. To address the challenge of creating accurate rosters of students moving from their 3rd to 4th years between 2 courses where the web-based modules are embedded, they have embedded these modules entirely in the 3rd year course.
Results: Most recent updates include the creation of more than 70 models in 3D of their fossil cast collection along with progress on a set of “teaching modules” built around this collection. Completed models can been seen Here. The medical side of the project has shifted towards virtual teaching techniques since the single screen is not compatible with multiple students. To enhance this effort, they have engaged a realistic 3-D patient avatar who understands human speech and responds following a predefined script. A sample of the system at work on Looking Glass platform appears Here. Also, they have developed a low cost 4-D video recording technique that can easily be deployed for both medical and archaeology teaching using off-the- shelf hardware.
Results: Integrating computing and visualization in my BIOL 064 Flows through and around organs and organisms was successful with assessment showing strong improvement and student enjoyment with using COMSOL in particular. While the implementation of the lab in Biol 226 (valve flows) has been delayed due to the difficulty in a remote environment, progress has been made on a paper on the BIOL 064 project to submit to the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology that will include some of the student evaluation data. Finally, a project to make IBAMR easy to install and run as a free alternative to COMSOL has advanced and should expand the impact of the project to colleges and universities that do not have COMSOL licenses.
Results: A phase I update on the project includes this Gameroom promo. A full progress report can be found Here which described an active/playful learning classroom environment that includes furniture, gaming equipment, along with a website and the establishment of one-on- one consultations, multiple gaming classes both remote and in person, and the establishment of the gameroom as a space for research. Accompanying these activities are new successful efforts in communication and outreach with extensive attention to remote learning during the pandemic and future plans for renovations, and assessment tools.
Results: While slowed by the pandemic (pause in video recording in the classroom for the VR portion), updates included progress on background work and planning, interviewing, and scripting in anticipation of returning to classrooms.
This proposal builds on the groundwork laid down in a prior CFE/Lenovo award with the mission to support a number of projects and proposals across the university and foster a thriving ecosystem of immersive technology at Carolina. Faculty interested in integrating immersive technologies into their courses often require technological expertise to understand the range of software and hardware that might apply to their subject. Additionally, they need access to those apps and devices, and someone to teach themselves and their students how to use them. Most importantly, faculty need partners who can help them to determine the best ways to truly integrate these technologies into their courses to enhance student learning and outcomes.
This project will unfold in three key areas: (1) Projects: In-depth partnership with approximately 4 projects throughout the year with a focus on integrating technology into curricula; (2) Faculty Engagement & Consults: Consulting with faculty and students looking to use immersive technology, and give workshops or presentations to select groups about how the technology applies in their field; and (3) Campus-wide Ecosystem-Building: Benefit all of campus through support for community building, awareness raising, and engagement through the AR/VR interest group, student group, events, workshops, online resources, Twitter outreach, providing connections across campus, and introductions. The goal is for library’s efforts to enhance a thriving ecosystem; a community of people engaged in helping each other. We have mapped the landscape of departments and labs on campus supporting VR, including the 3D workshops and VR stations at the libraries which are open to all at UNC.
Results: With updates of the Project PI to Nandita Mani, and Co-PI to Lynn Eades, the project has led to these presentations:
Moynihan & Eades (2019) “Disability, Enhancement, and Empowerment: Giving Users Superpowers Through Emerging Technologies” at the IDEAL ’19: Advancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility in Libraries & Archives.
Mani, Eades & Batista (2020) “Empowering Teaching and Learning Through AR/VR” at the
EDUCAUSE ELI Annual Meeting.
Results: Due to COVID, unexpected responsibilities in transitioning courses online, and the need to identify a new collaborator, progress on this project has paused.
Results: Project completed. A summary and links to multiple diverse student projects arising from this initiative are found here on .
Results: Project completed. Led an XR workshop in partnership with World View for teachers from the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District. In this workshop, participants interacted with other educators/experts via a virtual classroom environment, Engage VR, installed on their Oculus Quest devices. Also offered a workshop for faculty at Carolina to introduce AR/VR/XR tools. Unfortunately, both PIs have since left UNC.
Results: Project completed. The database provided students access to reconstructed grammatical forms and sentence frames with which to construct their own sentences. This fulfilled the primary goal to develop a composition tool to expand and accelerate Cherokee language learning by providing tools for composing sentences, short-form essays, and simple stories. These updates advanced instruction in written Cherokee while ongoing work addresses speaking and listening. A new collaboration with computer science dept staff targeted quicker methods of translation from English into Cherokee with a new a neural network-based machine translation system. The research team expanded to include an instructor and graduate of the program. Undergraduate students created a web page to archive teaching materials and tag them for subject matter and use. Students in Computer Science created a mobile phone game to promote speaking and listening practice in Cherokee. Next steps include a student-to-student apprenticeship program, long-form writing and scholarship, and translation initiatives. Assessment initiatives included a focus on student commitment to a communitarian ethos with the intent to publish. Possible additional funding may be sought through the NSF and through graduate student applications for funding.
Results: Project installation took longer than expected due to material orders and campus facilities but was completed in late 2019. Three faculty had begun to pilot the Lightboard in 2020.
Results: The tool was used in 2020, but in a limited fashion due to the pandemic.
Results: Project completed, and small additional funds provided to develop additional materials. Featured on the Lenovo Storyhub linked here. A formal publication was accepted, Lauren and Bradley Erickson. “Visualizing and Materializing Himalayan Buddhist Sacred Sites: Pedagogy and Partnership” in Oxford Handbook of Religious Space and Place. Oxford University Press. Also, a website on the project is in progress.
Results: Project completed, and Wonda VR license extended. Although Brian Moynihan left UNC, Nandita Mani and Lynn Eades continued to oversee and partner with a faculty led XR Faculty Learning Community to promote XR technology use especially in the health sciences. Two publications/presentations were completed:
Moynihan & Eades (2019), “Disability, Enhancement, and Empowerment: Giving Users Superpowers Through Emerging Technologies,” IDEAL ’19: Advancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility in Libraries & Archives
Mani, Eades, & Batista (2020) “Empowering Teaching and Learning Through AR/VR”, EDUCAUSE ELI Annual Meeting
Results: Project completed. Implementation continues with the content revision, updated layout, and the podcast channel is up with first episode under review. A link to the podcast is Here.
The textbook concept was presented at two conferences and is being published as a journal article (forthcoming):
“Digital Citizenship meets Open Educational Resources: Local Government Open Textbook Project.” In S. Carliner (Ed.), Proceedings of E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, linked Here.
“Designing for Openness: Multiple Audiences, Formats and Delivery Channels – Local Government in North Carolina E-Book, Podcast and AR Channel.” In Bastiaens, Van Braak, Brown, … O. Zawacki-Richter (Eds.), Proceedings of EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology linked Here.
Results: Prepared online dental modules with release planned for Fall 2020, digital molds work continues as does planning for a paper on user experience via focus groups (didactic and personality focus on learning), and a second paper on knowledge retention.
Results: Project completed and resource shared in publications and presentations. Osment, M., Anderson, Chandler, Zwemer, Coletti, & Lawrence (2019). “Pick 5: transforming a paper-based group learning activity into an online gaming experience.” In S. Carliner (Ed.), Proceedings of E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) linked Here.
Lawrence, Chandler, Osment, Coletti , Zwemer (2020) “Making Pick 5 Come Alive.” Selected as one of three oral presentation for Association of Pediatric Program Directors Annual Chief Forum, Virtually presented, 2020 and presented as oral presentation for Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics Technology Collaborative, Virtually presented.
Results: Project completed. PI noted more challenges than expected with room noise to include off-site students in language exchange. Some issues identified and addressed with the specific room location and setup. Overall the project was a success and will be continued.
Program Contact: Matthew Belskie at email@example.com