Bryan Carter

Associate Professor, Africana Studies
Director, Center for Digital Humanities
2019 CUES Distinguished Fellow

Note: Title was current at time of award and may have changed.

Immersive Digital Technologies for Teaching and Learning: Scaling Use, Broadening Access, and Enhancing Modalities

The use of computational tools to delve into the human mind’s range of expression are increasingly ubiquitous. Collectively termed “digital humanities,” such approaches to understanding human memory and imagination—including the stories we tell each other about where we come from and where we’re going—are facilitated by technologies that billions of people now carry in their pockets, access at home, work, and in transit, and share with friends and strangers alike. This technological proliferation means access to new questions and new ways to explore them:  we can reliably analyze big data, perform complex information visualizations, participate in global and multilingual collaborations, and avail ourselves of unprecedented levels of data storage and retrieval. Despite these world of possibilities, many educator-researchers remain behind the computational curve, lacking access and creative know-how about digital humanities’ latest tools and technologies. 

This CUES Fellowship project will pilot a program—initially for College of Humanities faculty, but with an eventual rollout for the entire campus—designed to dramatically lower the bar for faculty access to state-of-the-art digital humanities tools, particularly those with high-impact in pedagogical purposes.  This CUES project, and working within the Center for Digital Humanities, will establish the Immersive Technologies for Teaching Initiative (ITTI). Partnership with the ITTI, will explore how increasing levels of immersive technologies and interactivity impact in-person and online teaching, learning, and curriculum development, while building faculty capacity to scale the use of increasingly enhanced digital tools.

Project Outcomes

Research from this CUES project has directly impacted and been included in over a dozen grant proposals, most recently a National Science Foundation proposal on The Future of Work – Volumetric Video Capture and Streaming for University Professors, submitted in March 2021 for 2.1 million dollars. Aspects of this research are included in several other collaborative national and private grant submissions this year. This research project continues to provide experiential leadership as researchers and organizations seek more engaging and visually interactive ways to engage students and audiences. Research on volumetric video capture and streaming is very advanced and only being actively researched by a small number of universities around the nation, and currently none in the Southwest. This research is also central to upcoming grant proposals to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense between June and December 2022, totaling over 1.5 million dollars. Broader outcomes are also seen in efforts to galvanize faculty interested in using Virtual Reality for their courses this upcoming academic year. Collaborations have been established with individual faculty and outside organizations interested in immersive experiences as part of their research or production-oriented projects. Once results from the IRB-approved study are available, calculated decisions can be made on how to enhance further fully immersive virtual spaces, as well as how to increase engagement within augmented spaces.


JUN 2020-MAY 2021: Immersive Teaching Initiative. Pilot, Immersive Technologies for Teaching Initiative (ITTI) Program, sponsored by CUES, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, Virtual.


JUN 2021: Black to the Future: Exploring Digital Humanities to Engage Diverse Audiences.  Invited talk.  PDA Series, American Theological Library Association (ATLA), Virtual.

MAR 2021: Through Someone Else's Eyes.  Keynote presentation.  Summit on Human Dignity - Challenging Racism, Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix, AZ, Virtual.

MAR 2021: Project- and Inquiry-Based Learning in the History Classroom.  Keynote presentation & Workshop leader.  Getting Started in Digital History: Pedagogy in the Time of COVID, American Historical Association (AHA)Virtual. 

FEB 2021: Augmenting Humanities by Turning History into Reality.  Keynote presentation.  Black@GO: Black History Month Facebook Event, Virtual.

JAN 2021: Through the Looking Glass of Digital Humanities: Engaging the Next Generation.  Invited Talk.  A Digital Humanities Lecture Series, IIT Jodhpur, India, Virtual.

OCT 2020: Demystifying Advanced Technology.  Invited talk.  Silicon Harlem Next Gen Tech Virtual Summit: Advancing Humanity, Virtual.

AUG 2020: Re-Living Literature through Immersive and Interactive Technologies.  Invited talk.  Kumaraguru College of Liberal Arts & Science (KCLAS), India, Virtual.

APR 2020: Enhancing the Immersive Experience. Innovation Showcase. Thirteenth International Conference on e-Learning & Innovative Pedagogies, University of Athens, Greece.

APR 2020: Achieving a Small-Class Feel in Large Online Lectures: the Promise of 360˚ Broadcasting, CUES Inside UA-Funded Scholarship Series, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

NOV 2019: The Center for Digital Humanities at U of A. Panel Presentation at the American Studies International Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii.

OCT 2019: Supporting Digital Africana Studies.  Panel Presentation. Association for the Study of the Life and History of African Americans National Conference, Charleston, South Carolina.

JUL 2019: Digital Humanities and advanced technologies at the U of A.  Keynote presentation. Arizona 4-H Youth Development.

JUL 2019: Engaging 21st Century Learners. Invited talk. Arizona Senior Academy, Tucson, AZ.

JUN 2019: Engaging 21st Century Learners. Keynote presentation. 8th Annual International Conference on Language, Literature, and Linguistics (L3), Singapore.

Broader Engagement

JAN 2021: American Council of Learned Societies 2021 Digital Extension Grant, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).

MAY 2021: CURES Teaching Fellowship, University of Arizona, $7,000.

DEC 2020: Responsible Innovation in AR/VR: “Consider Everyone” Grant, Facebook, $75,000.

DEC 2020: Research, Innovation and Impact (RII) Challenge Grant, University of Arizona, $83,995.

NOV 2020: Provost's Investment Fund, University of Arizona, $50,000.

2019 CUES Distinguished Fellows