Person holding sign in front of face that says innovation and has bar graphs and flow charts

The Innovations in Teaching with Technology Awards (ITTA) fund significant, innovative projects that have the potential to improve teaching and learning throughout the University of Iowa. This year, eight UI instructors received awards in support of their innovative approaches.


Learning to Build Tomorrows Computing 


Brandon Myers was awarded $2,702 for his proposal that challenges students to think critically about both software and hardware solutions. For example, students identify computing applications that can be improved by application specific hardware to produce faster, lower cost and lower energy solutions by implementing hardware solutions. This funding provides access to the hardware starter-kits that allow for system on a chip (SoC) development.


Content Rich Interactive Student Evaluation Platform


Hans Johnson was awarded $24,514 to purchase the PrairieLearn platform. PrairieLearn provides interactive problem-solving for STEM based problem sets, primarily for homework, test preparation or administered tests. Their approach focuses on mastery of topics and provides students the ability to re-take problems with potentially infinite variations.  


Building Blocks to Design, Create and Facilitate Self Directed Learning (Phase 2) 


Natah Swailes was awarded $17,000 to improve upon the existing application, Building Blocks (BLOX). BLOX is a course design tool originally developed and funded from a 2016 ITT Award. Intended to be a customizable media tool for online learning that focuses on user experience related interface elements.  


Introduction to Drone Technology & Streamlining 3D Modeling Experience 


Denise Szecsei & Peter Chanthanakone were awarded $15,000 to increase advanced drones available for checkout in the Engineering library. Prof. Szecsie will use the drones as part of an interdisciplinary course for students to program drones in collaboration with K-12 STEM outreach and the Division of Performing Arts. Prof. Chanthanakone will use the drones to create realistic 3D environments based on drone aerial photography.


Integrating VR into Classrooms


Joseph Kearney was awarded 9,000 to utilize emerging virtual reality technology for a class that combines students from computer science, engineering and art disciplines. Recent advances in consumer level VR make it important for students to have experience in this new technology to prepare for their future and work together in a diverse team exposing them to other disciplines.


Enhancing Public Health Training


Rema Afifi was awarded $10,000 to merge existing technologies on campus and create a new course focused on global collaboration between five international universities. Primarily using PhotoVoice techniques to create a dialogue between distance students with the purpose of deepening the understanding of health issues that impact their communities. 


Guided Tinkering


Geb Thomas was awarded $18,174 to develop a software tool that draws on game-like elements to assist students in learning about relational databases. The intent is to provide a risk-free environment allowing students to explore and receive immediate feedback.