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Successful Grant Proposals Help CCNMTL Expand Project Development

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August 10, 2006. The Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) has secured or helped secure substantial grant funding this past spring. Most of the funding will support the deployment of innovative technologies for course work and the development of pedagogical strategies that encourage students to engage fully with course material in disciplines that span the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A new facet to some of these grant-funded projects is a community service-oriented component, part of CCNMTL's new Triangle Initiative that seeks to extend the benefits of University research into the classroom and to the community beyond Columbia. Below is a sampling of these projects:

CCNMTL and the School of Social Work continue to build upon a strong partnership with two successful grant proposals that are key elements of the Triangle Initiative. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded Project Connect, led by PI Professor Susan Witte, a two-year grant of $400,000 to disseminate HIV interventions based on research produced by the Social Interventions Group. CCNMTL will receive approximately $271,000 to help develop technology and media for a multimedia version of Project Connect, components of which are currently being used in courses and tested in metro area clinics.

Also from the School of Social Work, Ellen Lukens (PI), Peggy O'Neill and Helle Thorning of the Center for Family Education and Resilience have been awarded a grant of $45,000 to develop HOPE-NY, a curriculum to train NYC officials and community leaders to deal with trauma in the event of community disasters or public health emergencies. CCNMTL will receive a subcontract for $16,000 to assist in the development of a small pilot prototype.

The Center for Jazz Studies, led by Professor Robert O'Meally, Director for Jazz Studies, has received a three-year $1 million grant from the Ford Foundation. CCNMTL will receive approximately $241,000 to produce a Jazz Sonic Glossary, as well as an implementation of Video Interactions in Teaching and Learning (VITAL) that will include a library of videos of jazz performances to be deployed this fall in Jazz Studies courses.

CCNTML has also received a one-year gift of $200,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to increase the understanding of educators, technologists, video producers, and other stakeholders about potential uses of video and open content. As part of this grant, Peter Kaufman, director of Intelligent Television, joins CCNMTL as an associate director to provide leadership with initiatives related to video and open content, including producing a conference to be held at Columbia in the spring of 2007.

The School of Journalism received a $1.25 million grant from the Knight Foundation to establish the Knight Case Studies Initiative to promote journalism leadership. CCNMTL will develop the case studies into interactive modules, which, coupled with classroom discussion, will teach the process of newsroom decision-making in ways that further the creation of fair, accurate, contextual news in the public interest. Columbia has already tested three cases. The first follows one day's news cycle at the Washington Post from the point of view of Leonard Downie, Jr., the paper's executive editor, who decides what to put on the front page. Another looks at the reporting from Knight Ridder's Washington bureau on Iraq's weapons capabilities during the buildup to and aftermath of the 2003 invasion. Knight Ridder was significantly more skeptical about those capabilities than most American news organizations, and the case illustrates how to question the official version of the news on national security matters. The third case leads students through an analysis of the data available to reporters covering Hurricane Katrina.

In addition, Video Interactions for Teaching and Learning (VITAL): A Learning Environment for Courses in Early Mathematics Education, was approved for a third year of funding from the National Science Foundation at approximately $460,000. Originally awarded to CCNMTL and Teachers College in 2004, this grant supports the development of a learning environment that consists of a curriculum for early childhood mathematics education and a digital library of videos within an online community workspace.

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