2024 Pilot Projects

Megan Avery, Computer Science, Natural Sciences, “CodeGrade: Cultivating Mastery Through Automated Assessment”

CodeGrade is a Canvas plugin that allows for automatic grading, plagiarism detection, and inline comments on code. Inline comments on code would allow for effectively pointing out exactly what could be improved in the student’s submission. The instantaneous feedback provided by a system like CodeGrade is invaluable to students as they are learning and figuring out what does and doesn’t work in their code. The aim with CodeGrade is to enhance student learning outcomes by fostering a culture of regular coding practice.

Amy Concilio, Environmental Science and Policy, Behavioral and Social Sciences, “Measuring and monitoring resiliency of urban trees to climate change in an environmental science course using authentic, inquiry-based learning”

The proposed equipment purchase will lead to the development of an authentic, inquiry-based project for my ENSP 2310 course, along with numerous opportunities for additional active learning lessons focused on data literacy and science communication in courses across campus. There are many well-documented benefits to introducing active learning pedagogy in undergraduate science classrooms, such as increased student engagement, attendance, and development of critical thinking skills. With active learning, students directly engage with the material they are studying, construct their own interpretation of information, and are then better able to retain it in their memory. This is particularly important for non-science majors and students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and thus, for inclusion in this general education course. Where science education fails to engage students, one reason reported in the literature is that students find it irrelevant for themselves and society. Authentic learning, which connects course concepts to real-world issues and societal decisions, can increase student engagement and facilitate the development of a more informed, scientifically-literate citizenry. The proposed project contributes to a new SEU initiative – the CLI-RES Living Lab- which will inform decision-making and outreach efforts across Central Texas about best practices for adaptation to climate change: a topic of great interest to policy-makers and land managers in and around Austin and in alignment with the Environmental Justice pillar of the SEU strategic plan. Lastly, this project will help meet multiple SLOs for the ENSP program, and thereby prepare our students for the types of complex environmental problems they are certain to encounter upon graduation as professionals in the field.

Alexis Croffie, Master of Arts in Counseling, Behavioral and Social Sciences, “Integrating gaming interventions in counseling”

The purpose of this course is to teach students how to integrate movies, books, and games into their work with clients. The textbook I will use includes topics on incorporating video games, DND, movies, comics, and superheroes in therapy. Additionally, I will incorporate supplemental topics on identity discovery and ethical considerations using these approaches in class. Class will be broken down into two parts. The first part of class, I will lecture on the topics previously discussed while the second part of class will involve a live demonstration with the students on how to incorporate these topics into a therapeutic session. Since I have completed the Therapeutic Game Master certification endorsed by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), and the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) I believe that I am competent to provide such training students. The technology sought in this grant will allow me to conduct these live demonstrations more efficiently. The new laptop will have the functionality necessary to run video games as well as software for a virtual tabletop to run TTRPGs such as DND. The portable virtual tabletop display that will connect to this laptop to display the virtual tabletop software and allow all participants to see the environment of the game without the necessity for their own personal devices. Finally, the tablet allows for me to conduct any hidden game components necessary that will not be displayed to students due to the laptop’s connection to the portable tabletop.

Laurie Cook Heffron, Social Work, Behavioral and Social Sciences, “Integrating Language Justice in Social Work Education”

The TLTR Pilot Project Grant will facilitate the integration of skill-building related to language justice in the Social Work Program. With language interpretation equipment and access to language interpreters, students will be able to practice delivering services in the preferred language of their client, via simulation exercises. These activities will be piloted in SOCW 2349, an elective focused on social work and advocacy with immigrants and refugees, through simulation exercises and by inviting guest speakers whose preferred language is not English. In addition to the pilot course, this equipment will be useful for classroom simulation in other social work courses (such as SOCW 3347) and with other disciplines (such as Nursing and MAC), as well as to facilitate language justice with guest speakers and campus events. This project clearly supports the university’s social justice mission as well as strategic plan commitments to experiential learning and connecting with the Austin community.