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STELAR Events, STELAR Partnerships with Faculty, Technology Tools

Art + Technology: New Perspectives on the Humanities

What is the Digital Humanities Grant Program?   

The Digital Humanities Grant Program is a collaborative effort between the College of Arts and Sciences and STELAR (St. Thomas E-Learning and Research), which was established to increase awareness and participation in the blending of two complementary fields of study, Art and Technology. It offers grant funding for faculty and graduate students whose proposals are chosen by the selection committee. Sound interesting?  Come to the information session on how to apply for the next round of grants on Thursday, December 5th (5:00-6:00 pm) in the STELAR Smart Classroom (OSF LIB LL21 St Paul campus) to get details on the application process and see project examples. Read on for a rundown of currently funded projects that recently participated in a mid-point showcase.

In the spring of 2019, the Digital Humanities Grant Program awarded three grants to support projects that merge art and technology in the areas of Virtual Reality, Story Mapping, and Machine Learning. On 10/29/19, the grant winners participated in a showcase to display their work in progress. In addition to faculty and staff, the gathering included students from Emily James (Associate Professor of English) “Modernism and Its Afterlives” class.    

Learning together Oct 29     Eric presenting learning

The Arts provide boundless content and expertise which can be exhibited and explored in novel ways using emerging technology. The grant program is funded by generous donations from Dean Yohuru Williams and STELAR, who provided seed money and technological expertise for the initial round of grants. 

Presenting This Year’s Projects 

 The committee reviewed proposals last year and chose three excellent and diverse projects for funding. Two faculty projects and one graduate student project were funded. A recap of the projects:  

Professor Gretchen Burau submitted a project on the culture and art of the Asmat people in Indonesia that utilizes ArcGIS Story Map technology to create interactive maps that allow viewers to regional cultural differences and similarities tied to the geographic locations of this diverse tribal culture. 

Gretchen presenting learning

Professor Laura Zebuhr is exploring the nature of Eros in the writing of Thoreau. This project uses machine learning and a contextual word search algorithm developed by STELAR to explore all 10,000+ pages of Thoreau’s published works and private journals for commonalities, correlations and coded messages that would be impossible to notice through reading and study alone.  

Laura presenting learning

Graduate student Theresa Malloy’s project is an Ethnographic Virtual Reality work that highlights the activity of Appetite for Change, which works in North Minneapolis to build community through urban gardens and food markets. Theresa’s work allows the viewer to step into the garden to experience it in three dimensions while learning more about the organization and their work. 

Theresa presenting learning

 When completed in late Spring 2020, the projects, as well as the technology used to produce them, will be highlighted in the STELAR Showcase, allowing visitors to interact with the three works and to learn more about how the technology is used in order to inspire further works that blend art and technology. 

More Background on this Partnership 

How the Partnership DevelopedThe program grew out of the vision and initiative of Professor Alexis Easley (English Department) who then reached out to Brett Coup (AVP of Academic Technology) to discuss the concept of Digital Humanities and how we could promote and support them. From that conversation evolved the idea of a grant program. Alexis took the idea to Dean Yohuru Williams (College of Arts and Science) who provided funding, while STELAR agreed to provide the coordination and technical resources necessary to produce the projects.   

Leadership TeamThe DHGP committee members are representative of interested parties across the university, with Ann Zawistoski. Associate Director of Research and Instruction for Libraries and Information Services, Tommie Marrinan, Assistant Professor in Computer and Information Sciences, Salvatore Pane, Associate Professor of English, Alexis Easley, Professor of English, Brett Coup, AVP of Academic Technology, and Eric Tornoe, Associate Director of Research and High-Performance Computing. This group creates the documents, runs the application process, selects grantees from the applicant pool, and assists the grantees in the execution of their project. Heather Shirey, Associate Professor of Art History, served as Faculty Mentor to Theresa Malloy, the grad student winner.  

For questions on the grant, contact Eric Tornoe or anyone on the leadership team! And watch for a future STELAR Stream announcement on the spring 2020 in-person learning showcase.   

This post was written by Eric Tornoe, Associate Director of Research and High-Performance Computing with the St. Thomas E-Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. To learn more about this topic, please visit our website at or email us at


Upcoming EVENTS from STELAR (December and January)

Take advantage of these hot topics for December and JanuaryDecember Tech Calendar

New Semester Prep: Canvas Course Refresher Sessions (virtually via Zoom)

If your course was previously taught in Canvas and you are getting it ready for a new semester, come learn 8 quick-tips to refresh your course!  These sessions are all offered virtually via Zoom so you can login from your location of choice!

Canvas Gradebook (St Paul)

Canvas One-on-One Consultation Appointments (in either Minneapolis or St. Paul)

Sign up for 30-minute blocks.

Canvas Hosted Training Sessions

Whether new or experienced with Canvas, sign up and attend in December, January and beyond.

STELAR has purchased access to pre-recorded and live Canvas training sessions, available through This is for all St. Thomas faculty and staff. The classes range from beginner (Introduction to Canvas) to topic specific (Outcomes & Rubrics for Instructors) and everything in between.  If you are interested in seeing what is available, you can Browse by Category and look through the Building Block Series, and the Classroom Application Series.

After you create an account, you have ongoing access to an extensive number of trainings (for both beginners and more experienced Canvas users).  You also have access to any recordings from past sessions. Here’s a short list of upcoming sessions of these Canvas hosted sessions:

Canvas Training Series: Assignments

Canvas Training Series: Course Basics

Many more offered in December and January.

Resources You Can Access at Any Point

You’ll want to bookmark these so you continue to see new opportunities showing up on the calendar.

Other Sessions of Interest

Zoom for Advising, Appointment Hours and Tutoring

Accessibility Practices in Zoom Sessions


Introducing the STELAR Scoop

Have you seen this sign around campus?

Flyer about the STELAR Scoop Events















Or maybe you’ve seen this banner on OneStThomas or other websites.

Flyer about the STELAR Scoop Events

Either way, we want you to know that STELAR is starting a brand new series of round-table discussions called the STELAR Scoop! Faculty and Staff, feel free to stop by STELAR St. Paul (LIB LL20) on Wednesdays from 3:00-3:45pm to “get the scoop” about the latest trends in educational technology and pedagogy. Oh, and also stop by for the free ice cream!

These sessions are very informal, so feel free to come late or leave early as needed.

Sessions begin on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.

This post was written by Karin Brown, an Instructional Designer for the St. Thomas E-Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. To learn more about this topic, please visit our website at or email us at


Johnnie Bennie Media Visits STELAR Studios

TommieMedia and Johnnie Bennie Media teams discuss studio productions

Student leadership from St. John’s / St. Ben’s “Johnnie Bennie Media” and their staff advisor visited the OEC multi-camera studio facilities April 23.  St. Thomas TommieMedia production students Cory Spawn (Engineer), Natalie Koerbitz (Senior Producer), TommieMedia Director Noah Brown, COJO professor and TommieMedia faculty advisor Dr. Peter Gregg, and STELAR Engineer Dan Lamatsch were all on hand to share knowledge with the Johnnie Bennie Media team.

Johnnie Bennie Media is in its third year of production and is in a unique position to benefit from the shared knowledge that St. Thomas students, faculty, and staff have acquired over their years of supporting TommieMedia.  It was a great afternoon of collaborative efforts between the two teams!

Discussing finer points of media production