Educational Technology Research in Higher Education: New Considerations and Evolving Goals

Exemplar: Integrating Technology and the Arts at Yale University

Disclosure: Yale University is an HP customer and has received loaned and/or donated equipment from HP.

Yale University and HP are coming together for their sixth year to continue to examine technology's role in assisting learning and teaching. A lot of the technology involved in that exploration has been funneled into the continued development of programs at the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media (CCAM). The center provides a Curriculum in Residence program to demonstrate how technology can be used to improve, advance, or highlight curriculum in ways that benefit the students and learning. They do this through collaboration with faculty from across the university who apply to work with the CCAM, from which about 16 courses per year are selected to be taught using the various technologies available in the center, including motion capture, light and sound systems, AI computation, data visualization, and motion graphics. The projects and courses vary significantly based on the ideas of the faculty who apply to the program. Dana Karwas, director of CCAM, shared two examples of projects that were selected for the program.

In the first, a libretto and an opera, I AM ALAN TURING, were co-created by Professor Matthew Suttor and generative AI in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of designers and developers. This project seeks to shine a new light on the space of contact between humans and machines. How do we interact with technology and to what end? How does technology interact with us? Using generative AI software designed for text generation, the opera pursues these questions and others after being trained on Turing's published writings and on materials he read and was inspired by in his time.

The production of this opera is attached to two courses being taught at CCAM. One is for advanced students in directing and design, who will be interacting with the motion capture studio to help design and plan interactive sonic and visual systems for live synthesis during the opera's performance. The other is an undergraduate course teaching theater majors how to use technology such as generative AI to help develop their creative practices, with the development of the Turing opera as an example workflow for generating creative inputs.

The second project shared by Karwas is a smaller-scale architecture class called "Ornamenting Architecture: Cosmos, Nature, Neuroaesthetics." This is a collaboration between the Yale School of Architecture and partners in neuroscience. This course aims to pioneer a highly technical interdisciplinary approach to design that comes from neuroaesthetics, which is how the brain reacts to visual stimuli. Students will use eye-tracking devices and galvanic skin devices to examine and compare the brain's response to architecture through biometric tracking and processing of this tracking to try and anticipate how the mind will react to different patterns in architecture. Students will use this technology to try and determine how the design of spaces affects us and our relationships with the built environments of the world.

Bringing technology to the arts through the CCAM requires a collaborative effort between specialists and a dedicated team of technologists. This team consists of six individuals, four full time and two part time, with expertise in production, computer programming, and dramaturgy. The team works with each faculty member who applies to the Curriculum in Residence program, helping them understand the available technologies and how they can add value to courses and to students' experience. The team helps develop a syllabus for the course, outlining specific projects and goals that can be achieved with the integration of the center's technologies, and they provide scheduled access to the studios and labs.