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Hrabowski Innovation Fund Grant Recipients

Interim and Final Reporting Requirements

Hrabowski Innovation Fund award recipients are required to submit interim (first year) and final reports of project outcomes, products, participants and impacts. Please consult the Hrabowski Innovation Fund Award Interim Report and Hrabowski Innovation Fund Award Final Report forms for the content and formatting of your report.

Spring 2019 Awardees
  • Ethical considerations in data science curricula (Implementation and Research Grant) — A multidisciplinary team led by Vandana Janeja (Information Systems) will develop a pedagogical module to infuse ethics into data science and related curricula. The team will work with faculty partners across campus to design lectures (in person and online) to discuss ethical considerations in data science, particularly focused on decision making throughout the data life cycle. The modules will be evaluated by pre- and post-surveys, including scenarios of decision making during the development of a data science project. Colleagues from other academic units involved in ethical reasoning and data science education will be invited to participate throughout the round-tables and utilize the module for their own classes. This project will provide leadership opportunities to engage with partners across the country in future opportunities.
  • Understanding, Assessing and Improving Student Teamwork (Implementation and Research Grant) — A multidisciplinary team led by Simon Stacey (Honors College) aims to understand, assess and improve student teamwork skills and behaviors. The team will focus primarily on the textual interactions of students collaborating through online platforms and will also transcribe a limited set of face-to-face interactions in the later stages of the project. The interactions will be analyzed by 1) generating statistical data focusing on the form of the interactions and 2) exploring the content of the interactions by identifying the characteristics and behaviors of successful interactions using qualitative content analysis and machine learning techniques. The ultimate goal will be to use the qualitatively coded interactions to train a neural network to perform qualitative coding. The team will provide information to instructors, teams, and team members in real time to allow for changes in behavior, adaptations, support and interventions.
  • Text + Code = Better Machine Learning Education (Seed Grant) — Tim Oates (Computer Science and Electrical Engineering) will write the first several chapters of a Machine Learning textbook in a format that allows free intermingling of code, data, interactive visualizations, and professional quality typesetting. The tools used to write and represent the book are based on the default technology stack for modern machine learning, which enables active experimentation with live examples. Students can read about a concept or algorithm and then text their understanding interactively inside the textbook. Tim will use surveys to evaluate the utility of the proposed format by measuring differences in engagement and understanding between the proposed format and a standard print textbook.
  • The Influence of the “Seeing White” Podcast Course on Racial Knowledge, Attitudes, and Skills among Undergraduate Students (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grant) — A team led by M. Nicole Belfiore (Social Work) will evaluate the effect of a semester long course based on the “Seeing White” podcast on undergraduate students’ racial attitudes, knowledge, and skills. The course requires listening to podcast episodes, attending integrative seminars, reflective journaling, and completing a self-evaluation analysis paper. The team is interested in the innovative use of a podcast for content delivery, as well as the effect on student growth and commitment to social justice around race issues. The team ultimately hopes to develop coursework on race, discrimination, and oppression issues for undergraduate students guided by this study for integration into the curriculum.
  • Effectiveness of Disciplinary-Decoupled Mathematical Reasoning (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grant) — A team led by Kathleen Hoffman (Mathematics and Statistics) will decouple the foundational proof-writing skills from the disciplinary course of real analysis, Math 301, and develop a new course in Mathematical Reasoning that will focus on  fundamental skill development in the area of proofs in order to increase success in Math 301 and upper level mathematics courses. Much of the material taught in the lower level mathematics courses is “calculational” in nature and does not prepare students for the theorem-proof based classes at the upper level. As a result, in the “bridge” class to the upper level courses, Math 301, students are required to learn the foundational skills of proof writing at the same time they master the disciplinary topic of real analysis. The team will collaborate with an active researcher in mathematics education to study course effectiveness with an approach that includes active learning and contemporary pedagogical techniques.
Fall 2018 Awardees
  • Development and evaluation of a supplemental hands-on social statistics training materials using the open source application – R Commander (Implementation and Research Grant) — A multidisciplinary team led by Takashi Yamashita (Sociology, Anthropology, and Health Administration and Policy) will develop ready-to-use supplemental social statistics training materials with the open source statistics application, R Commander. Students’ lack of statistical analytical/reasoning skills, often referred to as the “quantitative gap,” has been a serious concern in social science programs. This project combines two known strategies for improving learning outcomes as well as students’ attitudes toward statistics: development of teaching materials focusing on concepts rather than the mathematics and increasing opportunities for students to practice statistical analysis.
  • Competitive active learning games for inclusive computer science classrooms (Seed Grant) — Benjamin Johnson (Computer Science and Electrical Engineering) will create competitive active learning exercises as hands-on games to allow students to practice abstract skills. While many of the abstract concepts covered in high level computer science classes are easy to grasp from an explanation, they require a great deal of practice before they can be intuitively understood by students. The variety of games will be designed with consideration of scoring methods that evaluate whether the students benefit from the exercise, accessibility, inclusivity, and generalizability of the creation in other fields of study.
Spring 2018 Awardees
  • Math, Fiction and Video: A STEAM Project (Implementation and Research Grant) — A multidisciplinary team led by Manil Suri (Mathematics) will explore the use of fiction and video in mathematics instruction, in the context of a redesign of Math 120, restructured around the Pl’s math novel, The Godfather of Numbers. This novel weaves in some of the present topics along with new ones, and can be expected to evoke a much stronger “interest experience” response in students. The team will develop a detailed website that includes mathematical exercises derived from the novel’s plotline, several short narrative videos to promote the understanding of key concepts, and a series of essays for publication in national media outlets.
  • “These Aren’t the Kids I signed up for”: General Education Teacher Candidates in Special Education Settings (Adaptation Grant) — Michele Stites (Education) will provide an opportunity for two groups of UMBC teacher candidates in early childhood, elementary, and secondary programs to complete an early field experience working in an inclusive setting. The teacher candidates will be placed in one of UMBC’s professional development schools where they will be mentored by an in-service special educator, spend three hours a week observing and assisting in-service special educators, and teach lessons in these classrooms under the guidance of their special education mentor teachers and a UMBC designated supervisor. This will allow UMBC’s teacher candidates to obtain authentic experience working with students of diverse abilities, a unique project in a field in which extensive review has indicated that general education teacher preparation programs do not include targeted field work in special education settings.
Fall 2017 Awardee
  • Reimagining the Beginning Conducting Curriculum (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grant) — A team led by Brian Kaufman (Music) will complete a study that will evaluate student reflections in a beginning conducting course in order to understand how the structure of the course and the process-focused assignments impact student learning. These reflections are written in UMBC’s project-based conducting class with the goal of helping students identify and develop successful practice strategies as well as experience and create their own process for approaching a conducting score. This study will help address the research showing that many standard beginning conducting class books focus primarily on the development of generic conducting gestures and lack comprehensive skill building in musical score study.
Spring 2017 Awardees
  • Broadening Student Engagement with Virtual and Augmented Reality Technologies (Implementation and Research Grant) — An multi-disciplinary team led by Anita Komlodi (Information Systems) has designed curriculae to introduce Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) technologies to UMBC students across disciplines. The team has developed and offered one introductory VR/AR course for students in non-technical majors. They have also developed educational modules for several Human-Centered Computing graduate courses, which can later be adapted to other technical courses.
  • Integrated Team-based Active-Learning Redesign of Introductory Microeconomics: Building a Supportive and Exciting Climate in the Classroom (Adaptation Grant) — A team led by Bing Ma (Economics) has redesigned the introductory microeconomics course using team-based learning (TBL) in order to address certain challenges of effectively teaching large classes. The course redesign involved developing online modules for students to complete prior to class, as well as a unified sequence of in-class activities that students complete in small groups. The team has also developed training for undergraduate peer tutors who will facilitate in-class TBL activities and staff an out-of-class learning lab.
  • How does student mindset affect learning of non-STEM majors in STEM classes? (Seed Grant) — Suzanne Braunschweig (Geography and Environmental Science and Interdisciplinary Science) led a multi-disciplinary team that created and implemented an instrument to study the mindset and motivation of non-STEM students taking STEM classes. Based on the results of this survey, the team has developed and implemented classroom interventions for moving students toward a growth mindset, which led to better student learning outcomes and deeper appreciation among these students for science and mathematics.
Fall 2016 Awardees
  • lntercultural Tales: Learning With Baltimore’s Immigrant Communities (Adaptation Grant) — A team led by Tania Lizarazo (Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication and Global Studies, joint appointment) has launched a project that brings UMBC students studying Spanish or Global Studies into collaboration with Latinx immigrants in the local community to coproduce digital stories of the immigrants’ experiences. The project aimed to enhance students’ language abilities and cultural competence while raising immigrants’ visibility in the local community and disrupting negative stereotypes about them.
  • From Service to Study: Creating a Better Environment for UMBC’s Student Veterans (Seed Grant) — A multi-disciplinary team led by Meredith Oyen (History), has addressed issues in student veterans’ transition from military service to university studies at UMBC through two efforts: 1) collecting the student veterans’ oral histories and sharing them with the rest of the campus community, and 2) implementing “Green Zone Training” to create a visible network of faculty and staff on campus who are conversant in veterans’ issues and willing and able to offer assistance to student veterans who need it.
Spring 2016 Awardees
  • The Baltimore Metropolitan Area Study on Race, Inequality and the City: A Graduate Student Survey Research and Training Program (Implementation and Research Grant) — A team led by Cedric Herring, Chair, Language, Literacy, and Culture, built a multi-disciplinary Graduate Student Survey Research and Training Program at UMBC. This program emphasizes questions surrounding race and inequality in the multi-ethnic context of Baltimore, yet is designed with flexibility in mind: Specific research questions have developed over time, and the design of the studies have been responsive to emerging issues. The emphasis was be on gathering data (on a bi-annual basis) that can span the interests of academic researchers with basic research questions as well as applied research of particular relevance to public policy.
  • Incorporating CNC Machining in a Machine Design Course (Implementation and Research Grant) — Neil Rothman, Professor of the Practice, Mechanical Engineering, led a project that integrates low cost computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine tools into ENME 304–Machine Design, a junior level design course required of all ME students. Since this course focuses on the design of machine elements and includes a project where students must design, build, and test a “machine” to meet specific project requirements, it provides a fertile context for training students in conventional fabrication process and assisting them in acquiring skills and knowledge crucial for the workforce.
  • Student-Led Survey Projects to Enhance Analytical Skills in the Social Sciences (Seed Grant) — Ian Anson, Assistant Professor of Political Science, implemented a collaborative, student-directed approach to political science research that entails the writing, implementation, and analysis of a national online survey in POLI 330, a junior-level course on public opinion. Students collectively proposed research hypotheses, created survey questions, engaged in pre-tests of the survey instrument in a laboratory-style, self-directed format, and launched the survey online. Students then analyzed their chosen hypothesis and interpreted the results of the survey. The principal investigator used a mixed-methods approach to measure learning outcomes, student engagement, and student satisfaction.
  • Improving Student Support to Reduce Academic Integrity Violations for Computer Science I and II (Seed Grant) — Katherine Gibson and Jeremy Dixon, Lecturers in Computer Science, collaborated to improve teaching around academic integrity issues by developing audio-visual case studies for improving student comprehension of the academic integrity policy. They developed guided problem sets and offered tutoring sessions to improve students’ understanding of the course material. They evaluated the effectiveness of these improved methods by studying the occurrence of academic integrity violations before and after their implementation.
Fall 2015 Awardees
  • Virtual Reality Design for Science: Integrating Research, Communication, and Learning for Interdisciplinary Training (Implementation and Research Grant)  – A team led by Jian Chen, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, has harnessed the growing interest and popularity of virtual reality through the creation of a new course designed to challenge graduate and senior undergraduate students to collaboratively write, review, and critique research proposals. The project-oriented class introduces students to the use of hybrid reality displays, 3D modeling, visualization, and fabrication to conduct and analyze scientific research. The new course embraces the university’s goal of advancing interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research activity.
  • Designing and Developing Effective Mobile Applications (Implementation and Research Grant) – A team led by Viviana Cordova, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts, and Nilanjan Banerjee, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, have created an interdisciplinary project that teaches both designers and developers the life cycle and project management of mobile application development. Working with professional clients, visual arts and computer science students used teamwork to tackle real-world projects with deadlines, milestones, and budget constraints. Throughout the semester, students from the Advanced Interface Design and Mobile Programming classes collaborated to apply their design and programming experience to develop smartphone applications for clients.
Spring 2015 Awardees
  • Learning and Innovation at the Interface of Mathematics and Medicine: A NEW Approach (Implementation and Research Grant) – A team led by Bradford Peercy, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, has proposed the Neuromathematical Experience Workgroup (NEW), a new approach to training students on the interface of mathematics and neurosciences that focuses on interdisciplinary, team-based experiences. A fundamental change in the nature of biological research toward quantitative sciences has created a need for interdisciplinary collaboration in biology and mathematics and statistics. Through the NEW project graduate and advanced undergraduate students developed core skills and tools required in mathematics and neuroscience to form a common foundation that has prepared them for future careers in neuroscience and as research and teaching faculty.
  • NEXT at UMBC: Researching Connections Between Applied Learning, Affective Learning, and Student Success (Implementation and Research Grant) – A team led by Hannah Schmitz, Applied Learning Program Coordinator for the Shriver Center, trained an interdisciplinary team of graduate students to investigate the interconnection between applied learning and student affective development. This analysis has set them on a path to generating metrics to help assess the contribution of applied learning experiences, such as internships, research, study abroad, and service-learning to our students’ academic, social, professional, and civic development.
  • Explore Baltimore Heritage: A Partnership Between Baltimore Heritage and UMBC (Adaptation Grant) – A team led by Denise Meringolo, Associate Professor of History, expanded UMBC’s partnership with Baltimore Heritage through supporting the organization’s goals of developing educational material, while also deepening UMBC students’ learning experience and professional development. Specifically, this collaboration granted students in the History program the opportunity to build meaningful historical content for Explore Baltimore Heritage, a mobile app that lets people build self-guided tours of the many unique historic places of Baltimore and its neighborhoods.
  • Connections: A Transfer Student Experience Course (Seed Grant) – Diane Alonso, director of Psychology at Shady Grove, created a transfer student experience course that uses the principles of Interprofessional Education (IPE) to bring students from different disciplines together in a technology-rich active learning environment and challenge them to think beyond their physical and mental boundaries. This innovative course is based on our First Year Experience program and has be integral in helping transfer students to UMBC at Shady Grove learn and grow as students and professionals.
Fall 2014 Awardees
  • Pilot Study of an Integrated, Active, Team-Based Learning Redesign of MATH 155, Applied Calculus (Adaptation Grant) — Matthias Gobbert, Mathematics and Statistics, led a team of faculty to redesign MATH 155, Applied Calculus to incorporate active and team-based learning, change the meeting pattern, and integrate the course with other departmental initiatives, including QuizZero and the Math Gym. Delivery of content in the redesigned course shifted to online lectures with in-class active application of techniques, including problem-solving in teams, supported by a TA and undergraduate assistants.
  • Baltimore Stories: Emerging Media Across the Curriculum (Adaptation Grant) — Nicole King, American Studies led a collaborative teaching innovation that brings together courses in American Studies, Media and Communication Studies, and Visual Arts to work with the Center for Emerging Media, a Baltimore non-profit, to produce audio oral histories focused on Baltimore residents and neighborhoods. The oral histories have been edited and produced for broadcast on WEAA during the Marc Steiner Show.
Spring 2014 Awardees
  • Replaying the Past: Building a Digital Game for the History Classroom (Implementation and Research Grant) — Anne Sarah Rubin, Associate Professor of History, led a team that was awarded funding to bring together History and Game Development students to create a new tool for history education. Students from both disciplines collaborated to build an educational game that immerses players in Civil War Baltimore, allowing them to work with original documents and experience the limitations faced by real-time historical actors.
  • The Future of Feedback: An Audio-Only Response to Student Writing (Seed Grant) — Sally Shivnan, Senior Lecturer in English (assuming the role of PI from Holly Sneeringer, former Lecturer in English), led a team that explored the use of audio comments–recorded using iAnnotate for iPads–as a way to produce effective, timely comments on drafts of students papers.
Fall 2013 Awardees
  • Exploring Opportunities and Challenges for Wearable Computing in Classroom Settings (Implementation and Research Grant) — Shaun Kane, former Assistant Professor of Information Systems, explored the potential of wearable computing technology, such as Google Glass, for augmenting the classroom environment, especially for increasing the instructor’s awareness of student progress. The project became inactive because the lead investigator left UMBC to take a position at another institution.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Measurement & Skills Lab (Implementation and Research Grant) — William LaCourse, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Dean of the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, led a team to develop a foundational skills laboratory course for STEM majors focused on quantitative reasoning using measurement.
  • Financial Self-Efficacy of School of Social Work Students (Implementation and Research Grant) — Carolyn Tice, Associate Dean of the School of Social Work, led a team to investigate social work students’ perceptions and financial knowledge and increase their financial self-efficacy through creation of a series of workshops and seminars on such topics as debt literacy, financial capability, and application to vulnerable populations.
  • Leveraging Technology to Improve Small Group Advising in COEIT (Seed Grant) — A team led by Emily Abrams-Stephens, Academic Advisor in the College of Engineering and Information Technology, developed a small-group advising system for students in the college.
  • Individualized Degree Design Lab (IDDL) (Seed Grant) — Steven McAlpine, Assistant Director of Interdisciplinary Studies, led a team that created a lab where undergraduate interdisciplinary studies students are guided to integrate and articulate their career aspirations, research interests, and learning objectives into a cohesive plan.
Spring 2013 Awardees
  • Using SimLabs (Implementation and Research Grant) — Mauricio Bustos, Associate Professor in Biology, led a team that developed computer simulations of lab experiments based on mathematical models within our biology lab curriculum (SimLabs) to provide a structured environment to allow students to focus on the critical biology concepts rather than on rote lab procedures.
  • Hands-On Problem Solving in Chemical Engineering (Implementation and Research Grant) — A team led by Joshua Enszer, Lecturer in Chemical, Biochemical & Environmental Engineering, created a structured sequence of hands-on activities that cross-cut a five-semester sequence of required courses in chemical engineering. The project involved construction of a customizable, multi-function laboratory apparatus, including pumps and piping systems, a heat exchanger, and process control hardware and software to be used directly in the required chemical engineering laboratory courses, plus as a new component to traditionally lecture-only courses in the sophomore and junior sequences.
  • Metacognitive Activity Promotions (MAPs) in Chemical Engineering Thinking (Seed Grant) — A team led by Mariajosé Castellanos, Lecturer in Chemical, Biochemical & Environmental Engineering, employed two student assistants to support an analysis of students’ understanding of chemical engineering concepts, as reflected in samples of their reflective writing in two junior-level courses in the discipline.
Fall 2012 Awardees
  • The Math Gym (Implementation and Research Grant) — A team led by Nagaraj Neerchal, Professor and Chair of Mathematics and Statistics, developed The Math Gym, featuring “conditioning coaches” and “personal trainers” who help students keep their foundational math skills in good working order. Moreover, the gym promotes healthy math habits among all our students, drawing a clear analogy between the regular work outs and conditioning needed to maintain both athletic and mathematical skill.
  • Active Computing Teaching and InnoVation Environment (Implementation and Research Grant) –– A team led by Marie desJardins, Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, created ACTIVE, a dynamic “laptop laboratory.” The lab supports innovation in computing courses – with a particular focus on improving the retention and success of women, underrepresented minorities and transfer students. The laboratory extends active-learning environments, such as CASTLE and the new English writing labs, to a new area of the university.
  • The Wisdom Institute (Seed Grant) – A team led by Craig Saper, Professor and director of UMBC’s Language, Literacy, and Culture graduate program, created an institute to expand the role for emeritus professors at UMBC.
  • Putting Students’ Language Skills to Work (Seed Grant) – A team led by Susanne Sutton, Lecturer in Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication, developed experiential and service-learning course requirements for undergraduates studying German, with a particular focus on connecting students to Baltimore’s German community.
  • Service-Learning in Statics (Seed Grant) – A team led by Anne Spence, Professor of the Practice in Mechanical Engineering, developed new service-learning requirements for undergraduates studying mechanical engineering, with a particular focus on identifying components that increase retention and student success.
  • EHS (Seed Grant) – Bruce Walz, Professor and Chair of Emergency Health Services, led a project to integrate individual cameras into EHS exercises, so that students receive more personalized and immediate feedback on their performance.

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