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The STEP Grant Program (Summer Technology Exploration Program) is a joint grant program offered by Office of the Provost and Information Systems. STEP provides funding for faculty projects to explore new and existing technologies with the potential to enhance teaching, scholarly, and creative work. The 2023 recipients are:

Meredith Farmer of the English department, purchased production equipment such as IPhones, lav mics, tripods with smart phone adapters, and a hard drive to assist students in her ENG 175, “Slave Narratives, Global and Local course who made two documentary films. The first documentary film is about Peter Oliver, a potter who was enslaved in Salem until he was able to purchase his freedom—and whose land the Creative Corridors Coalition is working to turn into the site of an $8 million dollar park designed by MacArthur Genius Grant award winning designer Walter Hood. The second documentary is a film about Harriet Jacobs, an enslaved person who wrote and published her own autobiography. These works will later be posted on the website.

Ziyi Geng of the East Asian Languages and Cultures department, purchased an Unity VR headsets. She is looking to create immersive language and culture learning experiences through virtual reality. Her project plan to adopt the 3D VR application Unity with the incorporation of 360-degree pictures and videos to explore the benefits and methods of using VR in Chinese language classrooms. The application intends to create a 3D city including street views, landscapes, and transportation terminals, along with interior views of restaurants, banks, and shops through the incorporated 360-degree pictures and videos taken in mainland China and Taiwan. Through the creation of this immersive and semi-authentic learning environment where students will be able to “walk around”, the project intends to 1) improve students’ motivation in Chinese language and culture learning; 2) prompt Chinese learners’ contextual and situated use of language with the ultimate goal of Chinese proficiency improvement; 3) expose students of the WFU community to an unfamiliar language and cultural environment to develop global mindsets and perspectives.

Terry Brock of the Cultural Heritage and Preservation Program intends to document Historic African American Cemeteries with Aerial Photography utilizing a drone. He is looking to utilize the aerial drone to support archaeological and architectural documentation of historic African American cemeteries for the Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Research Group (CHARG) in an effort to establish methodologies that address specific challenges in the documentation of neglected cemeteries. This project will use drones to conduct aerial photography to document two cemeteries: The Historic Odd Fellows Cemetery in Winston-Salem, NC and the Africatown Historical Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama. Aerial photography will provide unique opportunities for cemetery documentation that are otherwise impossible with regular cameras, and that are particularly useful in documenting cemeteries and other historical sites. He is looking to explore the following approaches:

  1. Creating an orthomosaic map of the cemetery. This process will allow for high resolution aerial photography of the cemeteries, allowing for accurate mapping of burials, show changes through time of restoration and cleanup efforts, and provide important visuals for maps and presentations of data. This will be of particular use at the Africatown Cemetery, where flat, ledger-style burial markers are used.
  2. Creating Digital Elevation Models will show elevation data of the cemeteries. This is of particular use at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Winston-Salem, where many of the unmarked burials are represented by depressions where the burial shaft has settled.

If you are interested in applying for the 2024 T-CART Grant, please visit our website at The T-CART Grant Program, Call for Proposals.