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CFE/Lenovo Instructional Innovation Grants Program

UNC CFE and Lenovo

The Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE)/Lenovo Instructional Innovation Grants program empowers faculty members by providing funding to explore appropriate and effective uses of digital and instructional technologies to transform the educational experience for students at Carolina. The next call for proposals will be announced in early 2025.

2024-2025 Grant Awards

The focus of the 2024-2025 Call for Proposals was on support for generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). GenAI has burst onto the scene over the past two years and presents both opportunities and challenges as faculty, students, and academic units explore its impact on teaching and learning. Grants were funded under three different categories:

Curricular Innovation

This category supports academic units and faculty members interested in integrating GenAI topics and uses into a disciplinary or interdisciplinary curriculum.

  • Daniel Anderson and Matthew Duncan, English and Comp Lit; Dayna Durbin, University Libraries
  • Ken Bollen, Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Scott Gifford, Earth, Marine, and Environmental Sciences
  • Zachary Yukio Kerr and Aliza Nedimyer, Exercise and Sport Science
  • Yesenia Merino, Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • Todd Ramón Ochoa, Religious Studies
  • Lisa Pearce, Sociology
  • Becky Salomon and Marlena Brokob, School of Nursing
  • John Stephens, School of Government
  • Eva Zhao and Nori Comello, Hussman School of Journalism and Media

Communities of Practice

This category supports individuals and academic units interested in coordinating/leading opportunities for instructors to come together and discuss instructional AI uses and issues.

  • Maureen Baker, School of Nursing
  • John Caldwell, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Jean Davison, School of Nursing
  • Al Duncan, Classics
  • Will Goldsmith, Public Policy
  • Tyler Motley, Chemistry
  • Valérie Pruvost and Anastacia Kohl, Romance Studies
  • Dana Rice, Gillings School of Global Public Health

Scholarship of Teaching Learning

This category supports faculty members interested in conducting a systematic inquiry on some aspect of GenAI used to support student learning.

  • Zachary Noel, Eschelman School of Pharmacy
  • Kimberley Williams, Kenan Flagler Business School 

Past Calls

2023-2024 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 instructional innovations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year.

Digital technologies continue to evolve, and with them opportunities to re-imagine nearly every aspect of teaching and learning. Proposals typically address 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 over 40 faculty across numerous departments and schools at Carolina, as well as various campus units or school-based professional staff (OASIS, ITS Educational Technologies, University Libraries, BeAM, IT staff in a UNCCH school). Descriptions and outcomes of previously funded projects are posted on the CFE website.

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 success, or make their teaching more engaging, satisfying, evidence-based, and effective. We seek to support projects that have clear goals, demonstrable impact, appropriate timelines, and measurable outcomes that can serve as a model to other instructors or contribute to new knowledge related to effective teaching in higher education. Each project proposal must include a plan for a deliverable (research publication, conference or poster presentation, a campus workshop, participation in the CFE Faculty Showcase, or similar) showing how the project will contribute to teaching and/or learning.

Interest Areas

We invite proposals that enhance any aspect of teaching and learning with undergraduate, graduate, or professional students at Carolina. Projects related to data sciences, gaming (i.e., video gaming, board gaming, or other playful learning), pedagogy in the metaverse (e.g., AR, VR, XR) continue to be popular topics for accepted proposals. We encourage you to contact CFE staff listed at the bottom of this application to discuss any idea or topic which you think might merit consideration.


This year we invite proposals that align with one of two proposal types.

PI-led Core for Instructional Projects

The PI-led Core instructional project type can be funded up to $30,000 and based on the Selection Criteria listed below for an instructional innovation project. To be eligible each project application needs a faculty member who serves as the Primary Investigator (P.I.) to lead a project, to implement teaching and learning innovations in an instructional setting, and to conduct research to demonstrate the impact of the instructional innovation.

Seed funding for Team-based Instructional Projects

Seed funding for Team-based instructional projects, a new proposal type, can be funded up to $50,000 for proposals that bring together three or more faculty members in pursuit of a common instructional innovation project. Team-based projects may designate either a faculty member or a Carolina staff member in a campus unit (such as University Libraries) as the PI. If a staff member is indicated as the PI then at least one faculty member must be included and listed as a Co-PI. This seed funding may be applied to stipends for participating faculty members, hardware or software to be used for the instructional innovation, or to hire a graduate assistant or compensate a staff member for their role in helping to organize and facilitate the faculty team.

The purpose of this seed funding is to provide support to a faculty member or campus partner to organize and facilitate a group of faculty members to embark on a common instructional innovation project within their courses or across curricula. These courses could feature a common innovation to be applied across multiple departments or multiple sections of a single course. Team-based instructional projects must also conduct research to demonstrate the impact of the instructional innovation.

An example of such a project might be for faculty teaching different courses in related departments to collaborate in the development of a classroom space that makes use of rich media formats to facilitate instruction and in-class activities. Another example might be a group of three or more instructors teaching multiple sections of a large course within a department who implement an instructional innovation across sections and want to assess the impact on student learning.

Proposals for this seed funding must, as part of their application, provide clear descriptions of:

  • What the seed grant will accomplish, with an emphasis on the instructional innovation(s) to be implemented across participating faculty.
  • The target faculty you intend to work with (including what students they instruct) together with a plan for how you intend to recruit faculty members and engage them throughout the course of the project.




The CFE/Lenovo Instructional Innovation Grants Program began as part of the Carolina Computing Initiative (CCI) that ensures Carolina students have easy access to high-quality and affordable technology. In 2017, Lenovo made a multi-year commitment to provide an annual rebate from CCI sales to support this grants program administered by the Center for Faculty Excellence. Since then, 42 projects have been funded across four funding cycles. Projects have supported classroom innovations, campus infrastructure, interdisciplinary projects, and AR/VR/XR or other emerging technologies in teaching. Please review the Prior Grant Awardees listed below. The CFE and partner organizations including ITS Educational Technologies, OASIS, and the University Libraries are excited to continue this Lenovo-supported grants program to support the work of faculty or instructors who are exploring new ways to educate, engage, and empower Carolina students in any school or program of study.

Program Goals

The goals of the grants program are to:

Empower faculty members and academic units to advance instructional innovation goals via applications of instructional technologies or digital tools,

Increase faculty awareness and instructional uses of digital solutions and/or emerging technologies to enhance teaching and learning at Carolina.


In 2023-24, there are two proposal types in which individuals or teams can submit proposals. For PI-led Core project proposals, faculty members teaching in any school or department at UNC-Chapel Hill are eligible to apply. They may name other faculty, staff, or students as Co-PIs who have various roles in the project. For the new Seed Funding for Team-based Projects, a campus staff member in a relevant unit can serve as the PI, but you must also identify at least one faculty member as a Co-PI. Students (graduate or undergraduate) can be named as collaborators on team proposals.

In either proposal type, UNCCH staff members may also be listed as Co-PIs or affiliated staff. The person identified as the Principal Investigator (PI) cannot be funded as a PI or Co-PI on more than one proposal for the current year’s grant cycle.

Supported Activities

Grants can be used to enhance any form of instruction or learning at UNCCH. Proposals do not have to be linked to a credit-bearing course. Applicants have broad discretion to consider a wide range of instructional or learning goals that technology can support. We encourage applicants to review the summaries of previously funded CFE/Lenovo projects for examples of how their proposals might build upon existing campus resources or infrastructure or how they might address unique instructional innovations.

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 IDEAs in Action general education curriculum revision, the Quality Enhancement Plan, or school-based strategic plans or educational initiatives. Approved projects should be ready to begin planning in or before the Fall 2023 semester and implemented in courses by Spring 2024.

Role of Technology

The use of instructional technology or digital resources is a requirement for this program, but proposals are not limited to the use of specific technologies or current campus-supported tools.
For example, some proposals may feature newer technologies such as Augmented/Virtual/Extended Reality (AR/VR/XR), Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML), or Internet of Things (IoT) that are not yet widespread on campus, while others may make innovative use within their department, program, or school of older technologies already present on campus. Prospective applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with campus-supported technologies already available.

Project Assessment, Program Evaluation, and Support

Every proposal must develop and include a plan for assessment of the impact on your project on teaching or on student learning, attitudes, growth, engagement, or success (with support from CFE or related partners), and a plan to disseminate your findings through a white paper, publication(s), and/or presentation(s).

The CFE can partner with each grant recipient to refine the plan for assessment and help with evaluation of project impacts. In addition, grant recipients are expected to provide brief quarterly reports to the CFE and to participate in basic evaluation activities of the overall grants program. If you plan to budget for assessment support within your academic unit or using another campus resource, please check with the CFE first to clarify how that support can complement CFE assessment activities.

Recipients may seek to adopt assessment or evaluation methodologies modeled on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in order to publish or present their findings via higher education or disciplinary teaching conferences or journals. Some may seek ways to contribute to departmental or cross-disciplinary workshops or to participate in the CFE Faculty Showcase on Teaching, or similar conferences beyond Carolina. Grant recipients should include acknowledgement of receiving support from the CFE/Lenovo Instructional Innovation Grants Program at UNCCH 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 and research 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.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed using the following criteria (not listed in order of importance).

  • Personal Commitment / Interest in proposal: brief personal statement of your personal interest, investment, and effort available to implement
  • Proposed Instructional Innovation: Describe any pedagogical or classroom teaching innovations to be utilized; explain what is innovative about doing this in your discipline or course and how students will be engaged
  • Alignment with Learning Goals: Identify and clearly articulate how the innovation will align with the stated learning goals and enhance student learning; as appropriate, note how universal design principles or matters of diversity, equity, or inclusive teaching inform the proposal or project
  • Technology Role, Support and Sustainability: Explain the importance and role of any technology chosen to support project goals; 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
  • 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 UNCCH
  • Implementation plan: Outline the project timeline and milestones. Funded projects should have a start date no later than during the Spring 2024 semester. We recognize that some larger projects might require two academic years to complete.
  • Feasibility: Note how the proposal implementation can be completed within the stated timeframe using existing campus or technical resources or new support to be developed
  • Relevance: Explain how the project builds upon existing or contributes to new, generalizable, knowledge or technologies related to teaching and learning
  • Equity: Describe how the proposed instructional innovation takes into account equity in learning for students or addresses a current equity shortfall.

Budget Allowances

Applicants may request funding to cover costs directly related to their proposals including technology, training, faculty stipends, as well as staff and student salary support. The CFE will provide some assessment and evaluation support for each funded project. Funds for this program are not to be used to support travel, conference registrations, or other activities not directly related to the proposal implementation.

Proposal Submission Process

We respect every applicant’s time, and therefore encourage you to email the CFE contacts ( and with any questions well in advance of your submission. The CFE contacts can clarify whether your project ideas fit within the scope of the program and whether the proposed technology can be properly supported.

To Apply

To submit your application, please select and download the appropriate CFE/Lenovo Application Template below. Follow the instructions on the template to submit via the provided link by the February 13, 2023 deadline.

When completed the Application can be uploaded at

Please see the CFE Lenovo 2023-24 Timeline below for deadlines and details.

CFE Lenovo 2023-24 Timeline

  • Call for Proposals opens: December 7, 2022
  • Recommended date to seek optional CFE input by: Friday, January 27, 2023
  • Deadline for Full Proposal: Monday, February 13, 2023 5:00 PM (EST)
  • Review Committee decisions announced: by March 10, 2023
  • Funding released: (depends upon the funding amount)
    In general, we plan to release the first half of approved funding around July 15, 2023 and the second half in January 2024. If funds are needed for summer effort, we can release them in May 2023. We will confirm departmental business contact information for those proposals accepted and approved for funding.

Contact Information

CFE staff members or colleagues from related units (ITS Educational Technologies, OASIS, University Libraries) involved in the CFE/Lenovo projects are available to discuss proposal ideas and respond to questions about the Call for Proposals.

Program Contact:

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)


2022-2023 Grant Awardees 

The 360° Content Exchange

The 360° Content Exchange is a platform to support the use of 360° content (e.g., images, videos, and objects) for teaching and learning. The Exchange will allow users to access a large collection of 360° content along and pair that content with instructional ideas, so users can easily find the content they want to use and implement it with fidelity in the classroom. This project is currently in its prototyping phase, where the website for the Exchange along with a limited amount of content will be loaded into it. Next, user testing will commence to ensure the approach used by the Exchange resonates with users. At that point, additional content along with instructional ideas will be added to the Exchange, so its robust, usability, and scalability will increase, along with a way for users to upload their own instructional ideas and 360° content.

Todd Cherner School of Education

PI: Todd Cherner, School of Education

A Class for Creating Digital Tools to Promote Adolescent Thriving

Psychology 518H: Creating Digital Tools for Positive Youth Development is an upper-level course in which students will learn about the interdisciplinary field of Positive Youth Development and create a digital tool to improve health, well-being, or developmental outcomes for youth through an intensive semester-long project. Students will use designed-based tools and the empirical literature regarding Positive Youth Development to develop prototype interventions to support positive outcomes – whether apps administered via smartphone, website, or virtual reality.

andrea hussong

PI: Andrea Hussong, Psychology and Neuroscience

Digital Media Suite for Improving Science Communication Skills

With the creation of the Carolina Biology Education Research (CBER) Lab, Drs. Hastie and Ott sought to use the Lenovo award to create a space to facilitate more science communication projects—an area where there is a lack of training. This digital media lab builds on a successful TikTok Biology project that connected students with Dr. Raven the Science Maven and allowed them to highlight class topics and marginalized scientists in fun, effective short videos. Now, with advanced video editing software, cameras, green screens, and more, the space will be used to generate more student projects and collaborations with other departments that will be used to assess student learning with peer generated content and to examine student perceptions of science communication, not only between scientist, but also between scientist and the public. If you are interested, please reach out to Dr. Hastie or Dr. Ott.

Eric Hastie and Laura Ott Biology

PIs: Eric Hastie and Laura Ott, Biology

Islands in the Sky

The “Islands in the Sky” project is a collaborative effort among the Carolina Drone Lab (CARDNL) research unit within the UNC Institute for the Environment, UNC Facilities, and UNC Sustainability to gather both ground-based and aerial data to better inform green roof performance and management practices on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus, and to produce updated publicity materials for these under-appreciated green spaces. The project aims to field-test uncrewed aerial platforms as a management tool for green roof installations and to ultimately develop a workshop on implementing drone-based vegetative assessment projects, which will then be adapted as a lesson plan and data set that will bring interactive field data collection and analysis into the classroom. On the ground, several student interns will work directly with UNC Facilities to conduct manual surveys of vegetation present on the green roofs, while in the air, these interns will learn to plan and operate drone missions on campus using several aerial platforms and sensor types, gain experience processing this aerial data using photogrammetry software, and utilize ArcGIS for presenting and managing their data. No comprehensive vegetative assessment has ever been conducted for UNC’s green roofs, meaning that the results of this work will uniquely inform changing management practices for these green roofs in the future.

Susan Cohen ENEC

PI: Susan Cohen, UNC Institute for the Environment

Peggy Mullin, ENEC

Project Lead: Peggy Mullin, UNC Institute for the Environment

Improving Social (Data) Science Undergraduate Training Through Technology and Gamification

This project develops new core course materials for POLI281 – Data in Politics I. POLI 281 introduces students to the fundamentals of quantitative data management, description, and analysis.  While Poli281 has been a successful course, many students still struggle with the abstract nature of the skills, and with developing the strong foundation they need to use quantitative data in their own lives and careers. Our project will reorganize the course into set skill modules; develop a set of low-stakes evaluations to better gauge student progress and trouble-shoot areas of concern; and—most critically—create a new system of homework projects based on capture-the-flag-style computational challenges. Our goal is to improve data literacy for all students, regardless of backgrounds, and ensure that all UNC students have the tools they need to succeed in an increasingly data-driven world. 

lucy martin

PI: Lucy Martin, Political Science

Efficacy of tablets as a teaching tool for faculty at the UNC Adams School of Dentistry

I believe that the use of iPads during lectures and pre-clinical activities enhances student participation and success. The dental field requires a great understanding of the structures and processes that occur in the oral cavity and throughout the body. Learners must utilize their understanding of this knowledge to restore the form and function of teeth. With a heavy emphasis on structures, processes, and aesthetics in dentistry, slides and lectures are limited in describing the nuances involved. With the use of iPads, faculty will be able to bring diagramming to their lecture slides in lecture halls and move around the classroom to assist learners in small group activities.

fernando astorga

PI: Fernando Astorga, Adams School of Dentistry

Augmented Reality Technology as an integral part of 2D and 3D Animation courses

Students will learn to make Augmented Reality animations as part of both the 2D and 3D animation course in order to prepare them for jobs in animation across industries (advertising, gaming, and art).The two animation classes include animation storyboarding and conceptualizing, pencil testing and timing animation, animating simple sequences. As part of these classes, I am proposing to add a new module: An Augmented Reality (AR) project using Spark AR. Students will import their 2D and 3D animations or models into SparkAR and create interactive AR. These interactive stories will be showcased online with a link to their AR projects.

sabine gruffat

PI: Sabine Gruffat, Art and Art History

VR Piazza Italiana: Learning Language and Culture Through Presence and Embodiment

Piazza Italiana is a live-in, literally, textbook for beginners Italian. It foresees the time in which a great deal of learning will happen in the Metaverse. Students access WebXR/VR spatialized environments, at present a gelato shop and a market place custom built in Mozilla Hubs, where they practice their lesson’s topics immersed in a social VR task-based scenario that leverages haptics, kinetics and 3D objects to enhance a sense of presence and cultural belonging. Along with the environments, we are developing instruments to test student receptivity and motivation and how effective they are in helping students achieve the linguistic and cultural learning objectives of their course. We are piloting in two basic phases, with different cohorts, carried out in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023. The questions we pose and answer forthcoming will undoubtedly guide our and others’ future work in this field.

binotti and chambless cfe lenovo

PIs: Lucia Binotti and Amy Chambless, Romance Studies

Prior Grant Awardees

This project set out to create flipped modules for teaching the Business Model Canvas. Following the “Own It, Learn It, Share It” framework for instructional design, each module begins with students “owning it” by constructing a connection with the topic and their idea for a venture. Next, student “learn it” by viewing a video that explains that topic, which is reinforced with a virtual reality experience that utilizes 360-degree videos. That experience is intended to demonstrate the topic in an authentic setting. For these modules, that setting is UNC. Finally, to “share it,” students make a presentation about the application of the topic to their venture via PitchVantage, a platform that uses artificial intelligence to provide students feedback about their presentation.

This project aims to develop Mandarin Talk, a Mobile app that visualizes pronunciation methods, tongue positions, and tone pitches of Chinese pronunciations. The target courses include two elementary level Mandarin Chinese curses: CHIN101 Elementary Chinese I, and CHIN 102 Elementary Chinese II. Mandarin Talk is designed to provide students high-quality practice with immediate feedback. With the assistance of technology, this app makes effective pronunciation demo and hands-on practices available to all students at no cost. It is hoped that this app will help teachers compensate for large class size, lack of teaching assistants, and possible continued remote teaching. With the help of technological innovation, this app can promote educational equity by providing under-staffed public university students with equally fine instruction on pronunciation without being disadvantaged by economic disparity.

In order to deliver high quality and safe patient care, all health care providers must be skilled in interprofessional communication and collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking. Sloppy Mountain Medical Center is a team-skills-challenge activity modeled after the popular “escape room” activities, except that it is played entirely on-line. The theme of this activity is grounded in interprofessional health care delivery and takes place in a simulated hospital setting.

Using the Lenovo grant, I redesigned the N352 (Pathophysiology and Pharmacology Part II) with 2D illustrations and animations. I implemented this in Fall 2021 and currently working on to apply for IRB application to survey students

The 3-year sequence of medical device design classes are a core requirement of the biomedical engineering undergraduate program. These classes teach students the principles of medical device design from the initial stages of problem identification through to development of a solution prototype. As part of these classes, students currently learn a range of technical skills such as computer-aided design and rapid prototyping which they use in their senior year class to design and build a medical device to solve a healthcare problem. The purpose of this project is to introduce VR technologies to students in the program so that they can use them as tools for prototyping their device designs and for communicating their concept ideas to their clinical mentors. Developing skills to use VR in engineering design will complement the students’ other design tools and enable them to be at the forefront of this emerging field. The aims of the project are to teach BME students how to create a virtual environment simulating the healthcare setting in which their device will be used. They will then import their medical device CAD model into the environment and interact with it to assess need qualities such as user interface, aesthetics, ergonomics, mobility, and, where possible, functionality. Students will be able to invite clinical partners to take part in user feedback sessions and design reviews in the VR environment. The design communication opportunities afforded by using VR will allow for much improved clinician or patient feedback prior to physical prototypes being created. Ultimately this should enable more user-focused device designs being developed to solve unmet healthcare needs.

The goal of this project was to make high quality recordings of lectures, and to streamline the process enough that other tenured faculty would be willing to do the same. This was motivated by students needing to stay home if sick, as well as allowing students access to lectures (edited and with captions) to watch again. I hired an undergraduate to edit the videos and captions, which was essential to the process. In the spring semester, I am teaching a small graduate course and will experiment more with the in room technology in the smaller rooms.

Our project involves the creation of VR experiences which will be integrated into the curriculum of our elementary language classes in French, Italian, and Spanish. Through these experiences, our students will learn to interact in real-world scenarios in order to benefit from a set of learning goals associated with the pedagogy of our discipline as well as our university’s general education curriculum.

We are focused on expanding immersive learning in the UNC School of Medicine curriculum, in collaboration with numerous faculty providers and students across our departments, including current requests for the Neurosciences block (Part of MTEC103 course) to integrate longitudinally with Social Health Sciences Curriculum and Patient Centered Care Course, Radiation Oncology, Orthopedic Surgery, and the Surgery Clerkship Curriculum, Neurosciences Bootcamp (Part of Transition to Residency Course).    

While our goal to expand immersive learning in SOM curriculum spans a variety of use-cases, our initial use case is focused on improving empathy and understanding for the patient perspective, to improve patient-centered care in collaboration with our Trauma Services team.  

In our first semester running the course, we conducted it remotely. Students reported a very positive experience that enhanced their scientific skill set. Due to the remote nature of the course, students voiced their desire for a more hands-on experience, noting the limited computational power of their laptops to process image analysis jobs and the challenge associated with 3-D visualization of a biological macromolecular mechanism (e.g. protein structural changes and the process of lipid droplet biogenesis).

In this course, and through this proposal, we aim to further develop Biol544L, capitalizing on our familiarity with big data microscopy image analysis software that the class will use to analyze image data without bias. We will also capitalize on our expertise in structural biology, and have the class utilize molecular graphics visualization programs to generate models of the macromolecules they investigate and print 3-D flexible models of their system using the BeAM Maker Space to help visualize the process and to aid in presenting their findings to the public.

Thus, we are excited to enhance the class with cutting edge computational tools for data processing, analysis, and visualization, and empower our students with competencies in these areas.

Registered Dietitians are increasingly being hired to manage foodservice programs in hospitals, corporate dining rooms, college and university campuses, school cafeterias, sports and entertainment arenas, and other public and private venues. In addition, they are taking on leadership roles in environments that require knowledge of wellness trends and programming, education of colleagues and staff, education of the public, agricultural and foodservice sustainability trends, government regulation, food labeling, recipe and menu development with chefs, product development, quality assurance, etc. 

Foodservice management is required subject matter for all students studying to become Registered Dietitians (RDs). Approximately 4800 students across the US each year take the exam to become an RD—an exam in which 35% of the content is based on Food Systems and Management of Food and Nutrition Programs and Services. At UNC, the RD curriculum does not afford time to teach this content, so this material—which comprises over ⅓ of the registration/licensure exam—must be learned as a part of a two-week field experience. In addition to preparation for the RD exam, this Foodservice Management Experience provides students with the skills and confidence necessary to perform at entry level in a foodservice management setting; the perspective to choose areas of interest and expertise for those interested in foodservice management careers; and the opportunity to achieve required competency measures established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®). 

This project focuses on makerspace faculty development programming within the BeAM Network of Makerspaces at UNC-Chapel Hill. In particular, project leaders will use insights gained from moving courses to hybrid models over the past pandemic year to train faculty in the design and development of flexible, blended makerspace curriculum that deeply connects to their course content. This past year posed challenges for faculty across campus, but makerspace courses faced a particularly unique dilemma: how do you provide hands-on design and making experiences during a global pandemic? How do you design maker course curricula that can adapt for either remote, blended, or in-person learning, while still consistently meeting the same course objectives across all learning modes?


The focus of this project is to design and execute a five-day drone (unmanned aerial system, UAS) course and create online learning modules to provide experience, confidence, and skills for faculty to begin incorporating drone technology into classroom curricula and research applications. Participants will be prepared to obtain their FAA Remote Pilot Certification and will plan and execute a flight operation to collect and analyze geospatial data for a nearby natural system.

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.

The BeAM (Be A Maker) Makerspace program has four campus locations and has grown quickly to over 4,000 campus users annually. BeAM staff have provided face-to-face orientation and training events for faculty and students on all tools via small groups and hands-on individual instruction which is at capacity. PIs will create online orientation and training modules on various BeAM tools (3D printer, laser printer, etc.). The modules will follow evidence-based learning practices, provide learners with longer-term retention and confidence with skills, and solve capacity problems for staff and locations by allowing users to complete initial or updated training prior to BeAM usage.

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.

These faculty help lead the cross-campus, interdisciplinary effort for the new neuroscience major which has grown quickly among undergraduate students. They will offer a new series of four research methods courses to provide hands-on lab experiences to students. Teaching students how to create and maintain Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs) is an essential skill for students in the modern STEM workforce in industry, government, and academia. Students will learn how to design neuroscience experiments and will use ELNs to create detailed records of experimental procedures, data collection, results, and conclusions to conduct and report on their research.

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.

This project charters a new pedagogical approach to bring the history of modern Latin American revolutions and culture into the university classroom by using “live documentary” that fuses traditional documentary form with real-time interactions between students, experts, and a documentarian. Students will examine the multiple causes, trajectories, and effects of armed conflicts that swept through Latin America. Students will also engage with the digital humanities to produce their own historical videos via small group projects in which students write, film, and edit short films on course topics. The course will take advantage of resources available in an updated flexible classroom space.

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.

This project will develop interactive, interprofessional modules to address the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) competencies (Values/Ethics, Roles/Responsibilities, Interprofessional Communication, and Teams and Teamwork), and to connect students across multiple professional schools and geographic locations. Colleagues in the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Dentistry, Social Work, and Pharmacy will collaborate to design modules that promote team-based care.

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.

This unique collaborative effort between the Curriculum in Archaeology (College of Arts and Sciences) and the Department of Radiology (School of Medicine) leverages the synergistic expertise of the two groups. The Archeology team has developed photogrammetric and photo-overlay techniques that place a realistic “texture” on 3-D objects. This significantly enhances the visualization of objects, transforming them from bland 3-D models to realistic objects that closely resemble the originals. With such visualizations, students can closely examine and even “handle” precious artifacts and fossil casts without risk of damage. The Radiology team has developed an expertise in extracting the 3-D data from different imaging modalities (CT and MRI). These modalities can rapidly scan biological or nonbiological (artifacts) items without risk of damage to the objects. In archaeology, teaching tools will be developed to introduce students to ancient artifacts and hominin fossils using 3-D technology. In Radiology, teaching tools focused on complex 3D anatomy will be developed based on anonymized and publically available CT and MRI data. The Looking Glass Hologram allows the visualization of 3-D digital objects without the need for virtual reality glasses utilizing a light-field display technology. This enables collaborative discussions and interactive teaching without the need for virtual reality goggles that limit the number of people who can view the object, and more importantly, the ability of participants to interact with each other in the learning process.

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.

The purpose of this project is to integrate 3D scanning, computer assisted design, 3D illustration, and multiphysics simulation technology into lessons and semester projects for BIOL 064 (Fall 2019) and into two lab activities for BIOL 226/226L (Spring 2020). The specific technology to be integrated includes Autodesk Fusion, Autodesk Meshmixer, Autodesk ReCap, Adobe Photoshop, and COMSOL Multiphysics. This software will be used to perform simulations of flows around and through 3D models of organs and organisms (BIOL 64) and to simulate diffusion of chemicals and heat in biological structures (BIOL 226L). Students will use Adobe Photoshop for 3D illustration and the creation of images for semester project reports and presentations. The topical focus this particular FYS is to describe organisms living within moving fluids using both mathematical and physical models.

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.

Our project focuses on fostering instructional innovation in multiple literature and composition courses in the Department of English and Comparative Literature by centering gaming pedagogy. The Digital Literacy and Communication (DLC) Lab will offer support for instructors in developing best practices for games-based pedagogy through training, workshops, and most importantly access to gaming equipment and instructional space in the proposed Greenlaw Gameroom. The courses listed below will be taught in 2019-2020 academic year, and the instructors listed have agreed to work with the DLC Lab to integrate games-based pedagogy into their classes.

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.

Human Development and Family Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study examining the biological, relational, and sociocultural influences that shape families and human development across the lifespan. HDFS undergraduates go on to numerous health and helping professions, and rigorous experiences with research methodologies used to obtain valid information about human functioning and evaluate programs aimed at improving lives across ages, contexts, and cultures is critical for their training. The goal of this project is to build upon a ‘flipped classroom’ by creating three new and highly innovative enhancements that will increase the dynamic and direct learning experiences for students. These include (1) a series of virtual reality vignettes to provide dynamic and realistic opportunities explore sensitive content, (2) a hands-on experience with bio-behavioral data collection methodologies, and (3) the development of an online searchable repository of video clips from existing online lectures that would allow students to “ask” questions about specific topics and be directed to relevant material.

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.

The overarching goal of this project is to improve course design across the Adams School of Dentistry. The School is undergoing curriculum transformation to promote more active learning and creative solutions to instructional design. This project will help to revitalize the learning experiences of students in courses that were traditionally didactic instruction in both dental surgery and dental hygiene. The project will help faculty integrate the use of Articulate Storyline 3 software, a program designed to help users create instructional content that is widely accessible across digital platforms. Faculty will participate in workshops and be able to loan laptops and AV equipment from the ASOD Academic Support Center to use the Articulate software to create more discussions, assessments, and application-based structure in their courses.

Results: Due to COVID, unexpected responsibilities in transitioning courses online, and the need to identify a new collaborator, progress on this project has paused.

This project involves training undergraduate and graduate students to strategically mix media elements for scholarly purposes by employing the technologies Adobe Spark Pages and Muse. In this project, The Digital Muse will create five modules to guide students toward employing these new composing tools in ways that are not only rhetorically sophisticated but also transformative of familiar academic modes. Modules will include assignments, resources, sample projects, and screen-based instructional videos.

Results: Project completed. A summary and links to multiple diverse student projects arising from this initiative are found here on .

PIs will develop a series of onsite and online workshops that offer strategies for successfully integrating augmented reality and virtual reality into curriculum. Workshop goals will include an introduction to enhanced reality environments and technology, increasing awareness about available AV/VR content (e.g. effective use of VR field trips for learning, use of AR/VR in STEAM-related content areas), and an orientation for faculty interested in creating their own VR content.

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.

This project in applied language revitalization will integrate parallel text concordance software to strengthen capacities for language acquisition, produce original linguistic data about the Cherokee language, and empower students to compose their own stories in Cherokee in the Cherokee course series. Computer-assisted translation tools will also allow students to engage in much-needed translation work. Parallel text concordance software, such as AntPConc, can identify sentence-structure conventions that are unique to the Cherokee language. Through long-term collaborations,this project will yield a foreign language “text reader” and radically reduce translation time.

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.

The Lightboard installation at the Health Sciences Library will provide a core tool for creating instructional videos in courses that are whiteboard-intensive. This technology is particularly useful for courses where formulas,diagrams, or whiteboard drawing are used extensively. Additional imagery (e.g., maps, code samples) can be incorporated into presentations with the video editing software being requested as part of this proposal. The Lightboard studio will be a shared resource for all courses and instructors, TAs, students and staff for whom it might be helpful. It will be located in and integrated as a service of the Health Sciences Library(HSL) and be a centrally accessible and reservable studio-type space.

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. 

This project will integrate mobile technology and 3D anatomy visualization into the School of Medicine human anatomy courses taken by over 400 students yearly. This project will utilize the computer-based software platform BodyViz that permits virtual visualization of complex anatomical relationships and correlative diseases processes blended together to create ultra-detailed 3D digital images of the human body. The use of BodyViz revolutionizes the current medical curriculum by transforming MRI and CT scans into interactive 3D visualizations that allows for the coupling of the pathology and pathophysiology of real medical conditions in 3D with the anatomical subject students are studying.

Results: The tool was used in 2020, but in a limited fashion due to the pandemic. 

This project will use photogrammetry software, 3D modeling programs and video game engines to develop 3D models and virtual reality (VR) modules that will digitally transport students to religious sites in Nepal. This VR immersion allows students to explore sacred spaces (monasteries, pilgrimage sites) and ritual objects (prayer wheels, statuary) in the first person and empower them to encounter Buddhism in hands-on ways that appeal to diverse learners and inspire active learning.

Results: Project completed, and small additional funds provided to develop additional materials. Featured on the Lenovo Storyhub linked hereA 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. 

This project is centered on the expansion of Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality(AR/VR)offered within the Health Sciences Library as part of the Digital Health Program. Through this project greater access to these technologies will be facilitated for purposes of instruction, research and practice for students, faculty and staff in the health affairs. Year-round consults will be offered and proposals for use of the technologies will be solicited.

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 

This project will create an e-book as an Open Educational Resource to update the 2012 edition of the book ‘Local Government in North Carolina’ by Gordon Whitaker. A new podcast will extend the book with interviews and stories about everyday activities in local government. Augmented reality layovers, implemented with Aurasma will add playful elements to the text, can be used to generate webquests, and connect to video or audio material. This new innovative resource is designed for use in K-12 civic education, School of Government classes, Citizen Academies and more.

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 Educationlinked 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. 

This project aims to provide a 3D interactive learning experience for dental students that will allow them to learn how to identify dental features associated with malocclusion using sample patient cases and learn about the history and application of the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN). Students will be able to visualize and manipulate the 3D facial and intra-oral images just as they would with a live patient and learn about malocclusion. Students will be able to take measurements on the 3D images and make notes on a personal virtual notepad,facilitating more engaged dental training.

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. 

This project will use a computer program built around adult learning theory of problem-centered learning to create and maintain an interactive learning conference for medical students and pediatric residents. This computer program would allow a single user to run an interactive educational conference for the medical students and pediatric residents based on the conference style “Pick 5,” currently being deployed by the UNC pediatrics department.

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. 

This small grant will provide headsets to facilitate group work for courses taught in DE 104 connecting on-site instruction for UNC-CH students with the dual language students off site in Chatham County schools. ROMS is piloting its first hybrid UNC/distance course, SPAN 338, and the primary challenge is difficulty in audio clarity during group work involving on-site students and students in the distance classroom. Because their approach to teaching is student-centered, group work is a critical component of classroom instruction.

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