Campus News

UB researchers receive SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants

Virtual reality googles.

A UB research team in the Graduate School of Education received a $20,000 SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant to develop an interactive, virtual reality-based program to train preservice teachers for high-needs urban environments.


Published January 4, 2019

Six UB researchers have been awarded SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants (IITG) to pilot campus innovations and initiatives that have the potential to be replicated and scaled up throughout the SUNY system.

IITG is a competitive grant program open to SUNY faculty and support staff across all disciplines that encourages development of innovations that meet the power of SUNY’s transformative vision.

Recipients openly share project outcomes in the SUNY Learning Commons, enabling SUNY colleagues across all campuses to replicate and build upon an innovation. Now in its seventh round, the program has awarded 69 proposals with more than $1.7 million in funding.

“It is inspiring to me, and our students, to see the innovations in instructional technology being made by our faculty and support staff throughout the system, and this year’s IITG-awarded projects are examples of groundbreaking technologies resulting from this work,” says SUNY Provost Tod Laursen.

“Congratulations to all of the researchers, faculty and campuses awarded grant money from this year’s IITG program.”

Since 2012, the Office of the SUNY Provost has awarded $5 million in seed funds to support 225 IITG projects.

The six UB projects supported by IITG awards include:

Transforming online blockchain courses into college credit

A team of faculty and staff led by Timothy Leyh, executive director of UB’s Center for Industrial Effectiveness (TCIE) received a $60,000 grant to convert a four-course Coursera certificate on blockchain into a UB micro-credential, a skill-based program that allows students to concentrate in a field of study without the financial and time commitments of a degree.

The course, a partnership with Empire State College, will educate both matriculated and nontraditional learners on blockchain, the revolutionary technology that enables peer-to-peer transfer of digital assets without intermediaries.

Training tomorrow’s teachers with virtual reality

A UB research team led by Richard Lamb, associate professor and director of the Neurocognition Science Laboratory, and Elisabeth Etopio, clinical assistant professor and assistant dean of teacher education, both in the Graduate School of Education, received a $20,000 grant to develop an interactive, virtual reality-based program to train preservice teachers for high-needs urban environments.

The project will compare the experiences of preservice teachers at UB completing a virtual reality-based program with those assigned to real-life urban teaching environments. The results will inform the development of future virtual reality programs that allow teachers to put educational theory into practice.

Making online courses more available through UBx

The College of Arts and Sciences received a $20,000 grant to create massive open online courses (MOOCs) using the open source educational platform Open edX. Led by Jay Stockslader, director of continuing education in CAS, faculty within the college and other continuing education departments at UB will collaborate to offer in-demand, noncredit, professional development programs.

The team will form UBx to offer a series of online courses, certificates and training opportunities that will be made available to students across the globe. If successful, the project could lay the groundwork for a larger SUNYx service.

Removing barriers to cybersecurity learning with Open Cyber Arena

A group of faculty led by David Murray, clinical associate professor and director of the Sleiman Information Assurance Lab in the Department of Management Science and Systems, School of Management, received a $20,000 grant to develop Open Cyber Arena, a hands-on cybersecurity learning environment.

Open Cyber Arena will streamline access to the program’s server infrastructure, improving ease of use and access to both instructors and students. The software will be shared with other SUNY campuses that wish to implement a similar infrastructure.

Placing patients first in pharmacy care

Robert Wahler, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, received a $20,000 grant to develop a micro-credential program on patient-centered care and collaboration between health care professionals.

The program will educate faculty, staff, students and others on the new profession-wide Pharmacists’ Patient Care Process, a practice focused on interprofessional, patient-centered care that is emphasized by accreditation standards. The online course will be made available through Open SUNY.

Teaching gross anatomy with 360-degree video

A team of UB researchers led by Stuart Inglis, instructor in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences in the Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at UB, received a $16,000 award to develop immersive, 360-degree video of cadaver dissections.

The UB Gross Anatomy Laboratory, in partnership with Crosswater Digital Media, will create videos that allow students to virtually learn about human anatomy through cadaver dissections. The project will lay the groundwork for immersive video on other clinical and surgical demonstrations.