Projects with Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award winners

The Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards (UTRAs) support Brown students  who are collaborating with Brown faculty on research and teaching projects during the summer or academic year. Every year, the Academic Technology team works with select Summer UTRAs on projects that have a technology component. Past Summer UTRAs have done interesting work ranging from creating instructional resources to developing apps for digital humanities projects.

Mapping Violence

Professor Monica Muñoz Martinez and her team of Summer UTRA students mapped the locations of racial violence in Texas from 1910 to 1920. The digital map displays these historical markers to coordinate public history exhibits and create a visual representation of violence, grief, and loss. The team was composed of undergraduate students in American studies, ethnic studies, comparative literature, education, English, visual arts, history, public humanities, sociology, engineering, and computer science.
Over the summer, students collaborated with researchers using digital tools to document, evaluate, and archive primary sources. Students gained valuable research and writing skills and contributed to the initial designs of the project website. Additionally, the UTRA team included a dedicated group of students who developed a new collaborative database platform designed specifically for humanities research. Professor Martinez’s project will expand to deliver a public digital map of this research.

Sondheim Course Development

The primary goal of this project was to develop course materials for a first-year seminar about Stephen Sondheim, one of the most prominent musical theatre composers of the 20th century, who wrote the music and lyrics for Broadway shows such as Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods. One of the goals of this course is to connect Sondheim’s musicals to their cultural and historical surroundings

The challenge was organizing various materials —texts, recordings, videos — in a manner that was practical and not tedious. There were no surviving sources where the dialogue texts and song texts are presented in a linear sequence. The course needed a well-organized website and well-presented materials and excerpts.  After discussion with the faculty and the Summer UTRA student,  we recommended using a Canvas site and hosting video content on Panopto.   This allowed the student to create an integrated learning experience that makes the musicals, scores, and scripts accessible to students.

learn MORE about the Utra program

Interested in working with an UTRA student?  Check out this site!  Academic Technology staff are happy to partner with you and your UTRA to provide support for the technology component of your project.  Get in touch with us at to learn more about our services.

ITSF@B meeting notes from 9.19.14

In Attendance:
Kaitlin Beall – Dept. of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies
Jessica Brodsky – Sheridan Center- Digital & Online Learning Designer
Hong Chau – Instructional Technology Group
Tina Creamer – Religious Studies
TJ Kalaitzidis – Instructional Technology Group
Julie Lirot – Instructional Technology Group
John Melson – Sheridan Center
Tatum Ponte – Biomed
Jesse Schreier – School of Professional Studies
Devayani Tirthali – Instructional Technology Group
Pat Zudeck – Instructional Technology Group

At the meeting we went around the room, introduced ourselves and discussed issues our departments were facing or that we had heard about from faculty or others as well as gave an overview of current projects we were involved in. Attendees also asked questions as they came up.

Religious Studies
Dept. admins need access to Canvas courses to add content, etc. for faculty.
For now the faculty can add admins as TAs via Canvas.
CIS is working on adding the functionality to for faculty or designates to add brown community members and external users to Canvas and other Brown tools and services.

Sheridan Center
Need to ability to add people to Canvas too
Adding Brown community members and external users will not only be available for courses, there will also be functionality to request and add people to “Learning communities” such as a Canvas course for a study group.
The Sheridan Center has a new Digital and Online Learning Designer – Jessica Brodsky
As part of their Year of Communication theme – Sheridan is hosting:
Performance and Discussion Sessions: “7 into 15”, CRLT Players, University of Michigan
The CRLT Players are visiting Brown University with their acclaimed production of “7 into 15” on November 19th. As a nationally renowned touring theatre company housed in the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, the Players use a variety of performance modes and facilitation strategies toward a goal of fostering a University culture and learning environment in which diverse students and instructors can excel.

Looking for solutions for students to keep digital lab notebooks
Its difficult for students to takes use Evernote in a lab environment on a laptop
AT is currently working with Kristi Wharton – Prof. of Science in Biomed where the students are creating digital notebooks using Evernote to enter text and create images on iPads with a stylus.

Academic Technology
Starting up a monthly lunch series with the Center for Computation and Visualization
Oct. 31st there will be a session: “Social Sciences: using technology mindfully”
Currently supporting a few faculty projects developing e-Books and iBooks – this would be a good topic for a future ITSF@B meeting. There are many issues around the development including the open platform of e-books versus the restrictive nature of iBooks.

Can a student get an export of everything in Canvas?
Yes via the e-portfolio tool. They need to have transferred or uploaded whatever they want to export to the e-portfolio before export.

Brown digital repository
AT has discussed the idea of adding syllabi into BDR from courses.brown. Focus groups conducted by AT have shown that people feel the syllabus to be the best way to capture an archival representation of a course.
An overview of the BDR would be a good ITSF@B topic.

Do we have digital copies of all the PhDs written by Brown students?
Ph.D. candidates at Brown must file their dissertations electronically. Brown’s electronic theses and dissertation (ETD) system was developed by the Graduate School and the University Library and launched in 2008. The system is designed to collect and archive the final dissertation as a text-based PDF file.
A searchablehistorical database of information about Brown University theses and dissertations from 1893 to 2000 is available.
More information available here.

Portuguese and Brazilian Studies
Not heavy users of technology for teaching
some using LORE
many using nothing
AT will reach out to the department to give an overview of the advantages of using Canvas.

Professional Studies
Looking at which executive programs to expand
Also offering undergrad online programs
Executive Masters Program – Financial Integrity – Secrecy Law – training on how to abide by law – blended learning delivery model
Program in Cyber Security look to launch next Fall

Suggestions for future ITSF@B topics:

  • E-Books and iBooks
  • Evernote
  • A presentation on the Brown Digital Repository