Grant Recipients 2019

Independent Projects 

RecipientsOpen Educational Resources for English Language Instruction

Esther Boucher-Yip (PI), Althea Danielski, Mohammed El Hamzoui (Humanities and Arts)

The Humanities and Arts department offers a robust and integrated English language curriculum for international multilingual undergraduates at WPI. The purpose of this project is to use Open Educational Resources to support a more inclusive and relevant learning experience to our students. The use of OER will also provide instructional continuity for students at intermediate to advanced-level English skills.

wiinersBeyond the Great Problems Seminars: Connecting History and Science in Urban Ecology Labs

Michael Buckholt (Co-PI, Biology and Biotechnology), Joseph Cullon (Co-PI, Humanities and Arts), Jill Rulfs (Biology and Biotechnology)

While many models, including WPI’s Great Problems Seminars, exist for linking humanities modes of inquiry with specialized science and engineering content through lecture, seminar, and project-based courses, less effort has been expended in enriching traditional laboratory courses with humanities content. Using courses in environmental history (HI 2400 and HI 3317) and an authentic laboratory course in Ecology, Environment and Behavior, the investigators will build lab modules that bring history in the lab and the biological sciences into the historical archive.

centering latin america in WPI CurriculumCentering Latin America in the WPI Curriculum

John Galante (PI) and Aarti Madan (Humanities and Arts)

The goal of this project is to develop pathways for additional and enduring inclusion of Latin America as a topic of focus in the curriculum of the GPS and HUA programs at WPI. Those pathways will create opportunities for students to move study of the region closer to the center of their WPI experience. Enhanced involvement with Latin America-related issues can enrich diversity, equity, and interdisciplinary efforts as well as the pursuit of WPI’s global and intercultural competency learning outcome.

Padraig O CathainMaking the Abstract More Concrete: Using 3-Dimensional Solids to Build Intuition in Group Theory

Padraig O Cathain (Mathematical Sciences)

Group theory studies symmetry within an abstract mathematical framework. It is often a student’s first exposure to axiomatic mathematics. This project will develop interactive physical models of 2D and 3D solids which will be used to illustrate key concepts in group theory, bridging the gap between mathematical proofs and physical intuition. As a result of this project, students will develop a better understanding of the interaction between mathematical definitions and proofs and consequences for physical objects in the real world.

Faculty Learning Community on Open Educational Resources

joshua cuneoOpen Educational Video Resources for Computer Science

Joshua Cuneo (Computer Science)

The purpose of this project is to generate OER video materials for WPI computer science classes, with an emphasis on lower-level courses that have high NR rates. These materials will incorporate animations and coding demonstrations, will be tailored to WPI’s 7-week curriculum, and will be narrated by WPI computer science instructors. The videos will also be broad enough in scope to be applicable outside of WPI, and they will be publicly available online for educators around the world.

Courtney KurlanskaCulture Across the Curriculum

Courtney Kurlanska (Undergraduate Studies, Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division

This project seeks to further develop and create new interactive modules and activities that highlight the importance of social and cultural factors in multiple contexts and across various disciplines. These team-based activities could be adopted by a faculty member in any number of disciplines to help students understand how issues such as race, socio-economic status, culture, or language could influence the way people interact with and respond to one another in the classroom, on the job, and in life.

geoffrey pfeiferOER Modules for Project Based Learning in Philosophy Courses

Geoffrey Pfeifer (Humanities and Arts, Undergraduate Studies)

My project will be an opportunity to think more about project-based learning (PBL) in my discipline, talk to others on and off campus who use, or are interested in using PBL style assignments in philosophy, construct some module-like adaptable types of PBL based assignments and tools that others could make use of and share them on an OER platform potentially on the American Philosophical Association’s web platform—or on another platform like the website for the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World.

adam powellMaterials Engineering OER International FLC

Adam Powell (Mechanical Engineering)

This project will use the Transport Phenomena Archive to kick-start an international Faculty Learning Community (FLC) which meets annually at materials conferences to review, brainstorm, develop, and index OER for materials engineering education. The Archive consists of 145 OERs (readings, problems, videos, open source codes) written mostly by Adam Powell and hosted on Purdue nanoHUB. The project will support forming the FLC and publishing open source visualization codes (e.g., ternary phase diagrams, particle/bubble flotation) as web-based interactive applications on nanoHUB.

Stephen Online Resource Development and Assessment to Improve the Introductory Mechanics Series in the Engineering Sciences

Sarah Wodin-Schwartz (Mechanical Engineering)

In this project I will develop online videos and activities that support technical content delivery in Introduction to Statics. I will use this content to develop a partially flipped classroom giving students a more communal classroom experience. The content I develop will increase the presence of women and minorities within technical examples, something currently lacking in traditional course materials. I will conduct student assessments to measure both technical and non-technical impacts of this work.