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.

Academic Technology Semester-start Bootcamp

Get ready for the Spring semester! Kick start your semester preparation with Academic Technology workshops and open office hours on Wednesday, January 11 on the 6th floor of the SciLi.  Stop by for open hours with instructional technology group, multimedia lab staff, and classroom support team. Register for educational technology workshops.


10 AM – 11 AM Canvas Basics for Semester Start
 11 AM – 12 PM Everything Video for Your Spring Course
 12 PM – 1 PM Academic Technology Overview
 1 PM – 1:30 PM Classroom Response System: iClicker vs REEF
 1:30 – 2 PM Class communication: Piazza Online Q&A
 2 PM- 3 PM Assignments, Assessments and Grading in Canvas

Open office hours

11 AM – 12 PM Canvas
 12 AM – 2 PM Media Booth
 1 PM – 3 PM Library – OCRA
 1:30 PM – 2 PM Classroom Response System
 3 PM – 4 PM Canvas

Watch this space for updates.

Academic Technology Team at Educause

The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference brings together IT professionals and technology providers in  higher education. This year Academic Technology and their CIS colleagues offered the following three presentations:

Virtual Reality in the classroom

Virtual reality and 3D video, long time dreams of both science fiction writers and internet theorist, is now becoming an accessible tool for faculty and students. This presentation used faculty case-studies to explore the past, present, and future applications of virtual reality in teaching and learning.

– Kelly Egan, Andrew Goodman

Rethinking Academic Technology for 21st-Century Teaching and Learning

Pedagogical and technological changes are upsetting the status quo of course delivery. To remain relevant, academic technologists must be responsive, agile, and forward-thinking within a context of rapid change, high demand, and limited resources. Participants learned how Brown’s academic technology unit strategically prioritized and responded to these challenges in today’s climate.

– Hong Chau, Catherine Zabriskie

IT’s Easy: Creating an Engaging IT Organization

When we’re stuck in an under-resourced and overworked state, how can we step back, break the cycle of reactive support, and become an engaged and engaging IT community on campus? Brown University has seen the positive results of focusing on internal and external engagement, from support clinics to funny YouTube videos. Participants learned how to connect with students, faculty and staff in creative ways to learn what they really want from their University organization.

– Gillian Bell, Stephanie Obodda

If you’d like to learn more about any of these topics, feel free to contact us at