Academic Technology Services
National Security Crisis Simulation:
Faculty: Brian Cook, Kristen Williams (Government)
The GOVT299: Directed Study course utilized the simulation based activity to complete a semester long study of the American Government. Participants assumed a role within that reality and became a functional component of the many evolving situations. This allowed students to learn and sharpen role-based problem-solving skills.
Specific technologies were used to create the reality that included the use of laptop computers for communication between administrative cabinet members. Video conferencing equipment was utilized to create a sense of distance between American and Foreign Governments, and a mock website, MECN was developed to provide a source of information to participants. Finally, a control room was established as the operations and command center. Faculty utilized web based technologies including Blackboard LMS and video tools to conduct remote monitoring of events, and introduce crisis throughout the simulation.
The National Imagination
Faculty: Marvin D'Lugo, Michael Spingler, Alice Valentine, Everett Fox (Foreign Languages and Literatures)
Offered each spring semester as a team-taught course, with a rotation of faculty from three different areas of the Foreign Languages and Literatures department, CMLT130: The National Imagination course involves its students in the comparative exploration of the process of "imagining the construction of national culture." In accomplishing the goals of the course, ATS has worked with the faculty over the years to provide a number of multimedia options to enrich the teaching and learning. These efforts have included the production of videotaped faculty roundtables and media-rich teaching materials, digital audio recordings of lectures, working with students on visual culture projects, and an ongoing discussion about the role of new media tools and resources in a course that continues to evolve year-after-year.
Worcester Community Indicators (WCI) website:
Faculty: Robert J. Ross (Sociology)
Professor Ross teaches students in IDCE325 Datamining: Community Profiles course to use demographic data to draw conclusions about communities through a semester long project, which requires creating indicator based profiles. His idea: a website that allows students to design and construct data sets for Worcester's six neighborhoods.
The WCI web site, created in 2005, is a multi-user environment written in ColdFusion that facilitates understanding of the complexities presented by ever-changing urban populations. Users can create and modify tracts, add categories and fields. After users enter data, they are able to compare and analyze trends for up to five locations.
The Google Earth Project:
Faculty: Colin Polsky (Geography)
Dr. Colin Polsky contacted ATS about having the students of his first-year seminar, GEOG025: Suburban Sprawl, work with the Google Earth application as part of a semester final project. The idea was to have students develop meaningful measures of sprawl and apply those measures to suburban areas around the United States. ATS staff and interns created a web interface that would allow students to define their variables, describe their areas, and export the whole package over to Google Earth for class presentations. With Google Earth as the backdrop, students were able not only contextualize the suburban area geographically, but were also able to highlight on the map features that reinforced their definitions of suburban sprawl, such as the use of portable classrooms at schools where overcrowding had obviously become a problem.
De-territorialized learning through Video Conferencing:
Faculty: Jaan Valsiner (Psychology)
Professor Valsiner's interest was to enable students in PSYC157: Cultural Psychology of Urban Living to understand content through a different perspective. The introduction of a new perspective was facilitated by video conference technology that connects students at Clark with students from the Higher School of Economics in Russia. In addition to f2f communication, the technology enables sharing of visual materials such as photos and video.
Plants of the District of Sexi, Peru:
Faculty: Deborah Woodcock (Marsh Institute), Susan Aragón-Carrasco (Geography)
Deborah Woodcock, Research Fellow in the Marsh Institute, and Susan Aragón-Carrasco, Ph.D. candidate in Geography, had been studying the fossil forest near the small town of Sexi, in the northern Andes of Peru. As part of the study, they had made a survey of the plants currently growing in the vicinity and wanted a way to present and share the contents of that survey with other researchers. In partnership with ATS, the result is an English-Spanish web site, "Plants of the District of Sexi: A Photographic Guide." Along with information about the research, the photo-rich site includes a database of the surveyed plant species.
Student Response Systems ("Clickers"):
Faculty: Esteban Cardemil (Psychology)
Professor Cardemil was interested in finding new ways to engage his students in the classroom. He experimented with "Clickers" in the 50 student Abnormal Psychology course in Spring of 2007 on an ad-hoc basis, using equipment borrowed from ITS. His experience was positive and found that student response was positive as well.
In the Fall of 2007 Clickers were completely integrated into the 150 student General Psychology course, where they were utilized to review material from previous class sessions, and to collect data from students to demonstrate psychological phenomena. Using Clickers provided a mechanism to give students a sense of how they are doing, facilitated direct feedback regarding comprehension, and increased student engagement and enjoyment.
Though Clickers have obvious applications in larger courses, faculty in departments including Communications, Government, Management and Psychology find ways to utilize SRS in classes with enrollments of 10-25.
Schiltkamp Gallery Archives:
Faculty: Elli Crocker (Visual and Performing Arts)
"What's left when the show's over"? That was the question posed to then curator, Prof. Elli Crocker (Studio Art), in 2002 in discussing the art exhibits that take place on campus. Photos of the show would end up in a collection of photo albums held by the Visual and Performing Arts department, but nothing was available online to the community or to the artists who's work was used in the show. Working with the department, Prof. Crocker, and other curators and faculty since, ATS has endeavored to preserve as much of the gallery experience as possible for visitors to the exhibit archives, employing technologies such as audio, video, QuicTime VR and Adobe Flash. After all, the exhibit is as much a work of the curator as it is the artist(s) involved.
Since 2003, the online archive has showcased the works of students, faculty, staff, and other community artists. The site has also provided an outlet for art history students to review and critique exhibits as part of course assignments.
Music and Lyrics in the Spanish Classroom
Faculty: Connie Montross (Foreign Languages and Literatures)
Prof. Montross was looking for a new way to present supplemental Spanish-language course materials to her SPAN101: Elementary Spanish students. Through a Curricular and Research Innovation with Technology (CRIT) grants, ATS created a Adobe Flash-based karaoke-style music player that incorporated audio from the course text CDs, along with lyrics, translations and a vocabulary glossary, which gave students multiple entry points for accessing the content.