Emerging Technology Grant - HP Campus of the Future

Partnering with HP and AMD, CUIT is enabling and supporting Columbia faculty and researchers in developing next-generation applications in their respective areas of expertise.

Brent Stockwell

Brent R. Stockwell, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry

This project evaluates the impact of holding weekly small group discussions on Zoom versus in virtual reality on several outcomes: quiz, exam, and problem set performance, student satisfaction, and research proposal quality. We hypothesize that the virtual reality format will be more immersive, and therefore will result in improved satisfaction, improved scores on these exams, quizzes and problem sets reflecting better learning, and a greater motivation and understanding for creating an effective original research proposal. Specifically, we hypothesize that some or all of the above course learning objectives will be enhanced by the use of small group discussions in virtual reality.


Courtney Cogburn

Dr. Courtney D. Cogburn, Associate Professor of Social Work

This project will immerse students in a virtual “classroom” for a semester-long course examining the intersections of extended reality (XR), social work and social justice and designing XR content to enhance an element of social work practice. While becoming familiar with XR technologies, students will focus especially on critically examining XR platforms as well as content being broadly applied in the name of social good, education and social work-related practice. XR content used in the course will range from educational support, clinical evaluation and treatment, professional development and diversity, equity and inclusion training and virtual meeting programs. Specific examples of XR content may include programs designed for professional training, such as case work with clients (Friends with Hologram) and police training (Apex Officer), reducing teen anxiety (Take-Pause) and educating people on pressing social issues (Becoming Homeless, 1000 Cut Journey). Students will examine the ethical considerations of the use of XR technology with marginalized and oppressed groups through a Power, Race, Oppression and Privilege (PROP) lens, which means their analysis and creation will be grounded in anti-racist and anti-oppressive frames (meaning do no harm to, correct past and on-going harms and uplift the most vulnerable) to explicitly avoid structural harm and more importantly seek structural justice. Themes examined throughout the course will include a) broad consideration of the XR landscape (historical and speculative analysis - where has XR been and where is it going), b) a critical examination of XR ethics, XR justice, data use and rights and c) imagining the possibilities for socioemotional harm, trauma as well as healing and justice. The course aims to provide a critical but balanced and practical view of XR technologies.



Steve Feiner - Director, Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Lab

This project will combine student-led discussion of research papers on selected topics in VR and AR, with the design and development of a VR or AR research project, either individually or in a small team. In addition to projects of a student’s own choosing, ones will be made available that will be co-advised by faculty experts in a range of fields, from medicine and dentistry, to the humanities.



Dr. Mark Hansen - Professor and Director of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation

Building on insights from our network of reporters working with emerging technologies, the workshops developed will combine hands-on tutorials with lectures and discussions on best practices and user experience design. Students enrolled in the workshop series will receive formal training in photogrammetry, volumetric video, and web-based publishing methods. The Institute will then staff office hours for participants who completed the training and are interested in incorporating these emerging technologies into their coursework or master’s projects. These weekly office hours will assist students in story development as well as technical assistance from capture to web/app presentation. As a byproduct of the work students will create through this program, the experience will provide students with an understanding of the tools, workflows, and vocabulary used in such productions, making them better equipped to enter ever-changing newsroom environments.