Elon faculty use ATACC grants to advance student learning

Posted on: February 12, 2015 | By: Casey Brown | Filed under: Instructional Technologies

ATACC Grant WinnersWhat do quadcopters, concussion measurements and digitally designed costumes have in common? They are all faculty projects funded by The Academic Technology and Computing Committee (ATACC). Every year, ATACC awards hardware and software grants to faculty members to advance student learning.

Here is a summary of recent ATACC grant-funded projects.

Dr. Scott Wolter, Engineering

Dr. Scott Wolter – Engineering

This spring, Dr. Wolter and his students will attempt to code a GPS on a quadcopter to deliver a pizza box to pre-determined locations on Elon’s campus. In order to do that, Dr. Wolter used the ATACC grant to purchase a couple of different things. LabVIEW software to develop sophisticated measurements, tests and control systems. MyRIO and Arduino are logic program devices that will be used with the AeroQuad quadcopter. This same technology has recently made headlines as a new mode of transportation by commercial delivery companies.

Dr. Wolter said that he hopes using technologies in this capacity will be the first step in developing new engineering and science projects to enhance educational experiences of his students.

Dr. Caroline KetchumDr. Caroline Ketchum, Exercise Science – Exercise Science

Dr. Ketchum will use her ATACC grant to purchase Triax headbands and software. The software is an accelerometer that measure the directional acceleration of the head and is commonly used to study the impacts of concussions.

Dr. Ketchum said she was excited to use this technology in her research and in her classroom for activities related to head movement, balance and impacts on the skull during various physical exertions.

Jack SmithJack Smith, Performing Arts – Performing Arts

Jack Smith, one of the performing arts department’s professors and resident costumers, has used his grant to purchase two things: the Wacom Cintiqu 24 HD Tablet and the animation application, Toon Boom Pro. With the tablet, Smith is learning to digitally render his costume designs. Smith plans to implement Toom Boom Pro into his Costume Design class, introducing the principals for designing digital characters.

Smith thinks with the growing use of digital design in theater, it is important to teach his students how to incorporate digital character and costume design to successfully enter the current market for designers. 

Dr. Janet CopeDr. Janet Cope, Physical Therapy Education – Physical Therapy Education

Dr. Cope realized that flat, 2D images in textbooks and online weren’t as effective in teaching anatomy as a 3D source may be. So, Dr. Cope used her grant money to purchase 3D 4 Medical, an application which provides users with multiple 3D models of the human anatomy.

During the summer of 2014, physical therapy and physician assistant anatomy students had the application downloaded onto each of their personal devices. Students reported that the content on the app aligned well with the content of the class. Though their anatomy class may be over, a number of students have reported using the app in clinical settings to explain symptoms and procedures with visual support.

Dr. Jeremy HohertzDr. Jeremy Hohertz, Physics – Physics

Dr. Hohertz purchased Explain Everything to record short videos to share with his students. Explain Everything is a mixture of a whiteboard and screencasting software, in which users can narrate videos, import images and video clips, and annotate slides among other features.

Dr. Hohertz has utilized the app to create remedial instruction for outside the classroom, so he can use in-class time to present new material and have discussions with his class. He says that so far, his students have embraced the Explain Everything videos and that they have helped them learn the material.

Dr. Amanda SturgillDr. Amanda Sturgill, Communications – Communications

Dr. Sturgill will be studying the usability of professional-level social media and analytics tools with her ATACC grant. Dr. Sturgill plans to study a variety of applications, which include social media tools like Buffer and Hoot Suite as well as analytic tools like Ravel Tools and Sprout Social.

Dr. Sturgill thinks that looking into the growing field of analytics, especially with the new addition of an analytics-based major here at Elon, is important for the iMedia students.

Dr. Ryan KirkDr. Ryan Kirk, Geography and Environmental Studies – Geography and Environmental Studies

Dr. Kirk used the grant to purchase hardware that enabled students to learn geographic concepts using their personal devices. With the purchased hardware, students participated in exercises to track their location in order to study  geographic theory, urban planning, consumer behavior analysis, and GPS accuracy.

Dr. Kirk says that the use of this technology for out-of-the-classroom experience works to teach geography better than traditional instruction and students have favored the use of the hardware in class. 

To learn more about applying for an ATACC grant, visit ATACC’s website.

Casey Brown

Casey Brown is the Writing Intern for Technology with Elon University's Teaching and Learning Technologies Department.

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