The University Center for Teaching and Learning received funding for two Pitt Seed Awards, the Office of the Chancellor announced Wednesday.
The grants will address two areas of need within the University: to be able to offer online continuing education [CE] programs to an international audience; and to expand the outreach of the Open Lab, the Teacher Center’s makerspace laboratory.
A dedicated CE platform will provide important features, such as self-registration of non-matriculated learners, credit card payment, student progress tracking, and automated completion certificates. Dr. Lorna Kearns, director of Next Generation Learning Initiatives, said funding for the seed grant will be used “to offer leading edge online continuing education programs to learners around the world interested in advancing their careers.”
The Teaching Center’s Open Lab was awarded funding for a project aimed at expanding its efforts throughout the University community. The Open Lab is a cross-disciplinary makerspace that serves the entire University community. This Seed Award will help acquire and mobilize cutting-edge maker technology for transport to classrooms, academic units, and community events for active learning, demonstrations, workshops, and training.
This funding of maker education will help inspire a new generation of critical thinkers and problem solvers.
“This project is reflective of Open Lab’s mission and philosophy to serve not only the innovative technology side of making, but also the pedagogical aspect as well,” said Aaron Graham, Assistant Manager of Classroom Services. “Being able to broaden our offerings and outreach is an opportunity we believe will have a lasting impact across campus and in the community. The Open Lab team worked incredibly hard to pull this proposal together; it was truly a collaborative effort.”
The Pitt Seed program was announced in spring 2018, calling on Pitt faculty and staff to propose new and innovative ideas that propelled forward the Plan for Pitt. A total of 171 applications were submitted and 23 received funding. Only three staff members were awarded grants—two of them coming from the Teaching Center.
“We are both honored and excited to be the recipient of two Seed Awards,” Teaching Center Director Cynthia Golden said. “We anticipate each initiative to have a powerful and lasting impact on the University of Pittsburgh.”