CTEI Announces Recipients of Teaching and Learning Grants 2021-22

January 21, 2022
Submitted By: Lydia Chiappetti

The Executive Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies are pleased to offer faculty grants to promote innovations in teaching and learning to the following recipients:

David Calabrese, Associate Professor of Illustration in the Hartford Art School, will use his project funds to purchase Wacom Cintiq 16’s. The Wacom Cintiq 16’s are digital display tablets that will allow digital art students to draw, paint, and animate directly on the computer screen for more natural, efficient, and productive output. It will also give them hands on experience with industry standard hardware and prepare them to work in a professional studio. The Wacom is the primary brand used by professionals in games, film and animation fields. 

Mehmet Dede, Assistant Professor of Music and Performing Arts Management in Hartt, will create a visual representation of a handbook he wrote in 2021 for one of his Music Management classes. While the handbook was intended as an instructional material, it is written from a concert producer and curator's perspective and applies to many Hartt students who are looking to make a career as touring performers. The project consists of 15-20 short form videos shot at a downtown Manhattan club to add authenticity. They will be edited in post-production similar to how users edit content for social media use. Finally, invited guest artist Scott Kettner, an accomplished touring artist, creator of and a faculty member at the New School, will share his experience from the road while also playing a few tunes on his drums to make the sessions fun and engaging.

Reihaneh Jamshidi, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering in CETA, will use this grant to update the Mechanical Design course content to promote student engagement in the classroom. The plan is to embed in-class group assignments, and also online pre-lecture videos on each topic.  This will not only allow the advantages of flipping the classroom such as: (1) students learn the theories at their own pace, (2) they come to class prepared with ideas and questions, (3) the videos are always accessible to students and can be reviewed; but will also lead to less class time on theories, thus allowing more time for students to engage in group activities and discussions. Also, having the students engaged with the digital content and prepared with ideas will potentially result in a more productive and in-depth student participation.

Dan Liu, Assistant Professor in Physics in A&S, will continue her efforts on the development and implementation of interactive simulations of the human body along with related teaching materials. The simulation collection is a supplementary educational tool for the students in PHY101 Mechanics, Heat and the Body and the students who take undergraduate physics courses in general. Analogous to actual situations in life, the simulations are designed to enhance students’ understanding of key concepts in mechanics and emphasis on the essential skill of applying physics knowledge.

Fei Xue, Professor of Mathematics in A&S, will research and adopt an interactive assignment system (supporting LaTeX, Python, and R) for M260 Introduction to Data Science. A real-time interactive assignment system is an essential part of any data science course. It provides students with a way to check their progress and ensure they are heading in the right direction. A package of weekly assignments using real public data will be developed with the support of this grant. Meanwhile, Professor Xue also plans to create a new general education Data Science course with the interactive assignment system.