Lin Cheng - Trinity College

Information Technology in Education Committee (ITEC)
Course Development Grants
Application for the 2012-13 academic year
Objective: to encourage the thoughtful use of technology to expand liberal arts learning beyond
course timeslots and classroom walls. We welcome proposals from all faculty members on
tenure-track or renewable appointments who expect to be employed at Trinity through 2013-14,
including new hires beginning in 2012-13. Current ITEC members are not eligible. Write a 1-2
page proposal responding to these questions.
1) Name, departmental/program affiliation, and contact information. If you wish to collaborate
with other faculty members, list all names on one application, but grants are capped at $1,000 per
Lin Cheng, Engineering, [email protected] x4117
2) Course title and semester offered, type of students (e.g., majors, non-majors; intro or upperlevel), and projected enrollment
Title: FYSM 200: Engineering our Digital World, will be offered Fall 2012. Freshman level
seminar course. Projected enrollment 15.
3) What are the goals of your course, and how do you plan to enhance student learning with
technology? We specifically encourage proposals that stretch learning beyond course timeslots and
classroom walls. Examples may include (but are not limited to) pre-class online exercises, writing
assignments on the web, and creative uses of video. Please write for non-specialists, add web links to
relevant resources, and do not exceed one single-spaced page for this section.
One of the essential learning outcomes for students in this class is to work effectively in a team
for problem-solving. A common method is to engage students in group projects or other
collaborative activities. However, working in a group project itself does not necessarily imply
that students truly work as a group. There are students who are not 100% clear about what
teamwork in group project means and how it really works, or they are not convinced of the
benefits. For example, one of the problems I observed in the past is that student group members
tend to produce individual pieces that are glued together the night before the due date.
Group wikis could contribute to the development of students' teamwork skills by facilitating
collaborative work and making team dynamics transparent. It is interesting to investigate how
wikis can be used to support the development of students' teamwork skills in the context of
engineering projects, and how students could use the wiki to deliver their group project.
Other possible learning benefits for this specific goal include:
- It is not surprising for team projects in an industrial setting to have team members
located in two or more different cities or different countries. Providing students with the
opportunity to engage in wiki-based group collaboration not only emulates realistic
industrial practice, but also equips students with transferable skills for working
with community tools.
- In addition to end product or report, wiki activities could make the following processes
visible (they are as important as the end product from our learning objectives):
Students could learn through team working, discussion, disagreement or
consensus building. They could see the process and power of articulation,
analysis, synthesis and knowledge-sharing.
Students can see how they can effective communicate ideas to others through
networked knowledge environments.
The creation of explicit design options from tacit understanding of concepts.
The implementation plan is summarized in the following table:
Set early orientation and small exercises
Many students may be unfamiliar
such as creating simple Wiki pages with
with wiki editing.
their names only
Faculty creates sample project pages so that
Making the desired process more
students could see the process for
transparent. Reducing the level of
Students in this class are in their
We provide students the option of using
freshman year, having suggested
one of the suggested project topics or
project topics helps them to make the
proposing their own topic
process easier, leaving the option of
proposing their own topic encourages
their creativity.
Help students plan out their time
We require students to work out a project
milestones and timeline
Monitor current state of the group project
while it is being completed.
Project completion
Here are a few examples of the project in mind:
 Design a camera-based system that would count cars traveling down a one-way
residential street.
 Design a camera-based home alarm system that would detect any movement of a gate
that prevents very young children from leaving their own yard. The alarm should sound
as soon as the gate is moved rather than after a child has already gone through it.
Here is an example of the final project deliverable:
- Clearly outline what basic digital imaging modalities and operations are applied to your
design to detect and measure the erosion.
- The design process is usually iterative. Identify two problems with taking the photographs
that might make your application a little more complicated than you originally expected.
- How would you respond to these potential problems in your system design. Use group Wiki
to document the iterative design process and justify how you arrive at the final design.
4) While teaching your course, how will you determine if this technology innovation actually
enhances student learning?
We plan to use some of the following measures to assess if this technology innovation actually
enhances student learning.
• Direct assessment from individual students: We plan to design feedback form to obtain direct
assessment from students. Students write up summaries of their contributions to the wiki and
assess if they find this technology innovation actually enhances their learning.
• Direct assessment from instructor: We develop a rubric for the instructor to directly assess
their learning and provide feedback to students.
• Group-based assessment: Students work in groups, and rate the contributions of each group
member, as well as suggesting possible ways to enhance their learning.
• Peer review: Each student is assigned two or three other students’ contributions to
assess, based on a rubric, as well as assessing if this technology enhances their learning.
• Examine the number of edits: While we may not interpret the number of edits as an exact
measure of the distribution of work performed by the various group members (an 'edit' could
be a large or small change), we believe it may be correlation between the number of edits and
the amount of work done, and it is both an assessment measure as well as a worthy
investigation that could benefit our community (for example optimal ways to measure work
5) How do you propose to spend up to $1,000 to support your plans? Categories may include
stipends for faculty time, hourly student assistants, workshop/conference training, software or equipment
costs, or other invoiced expenses.
The fund will support time to make suites of wiki based pre-class exercises, as well as
developing specific rubrics to assess students’ preparedness and collaboration efforts. It is also
envisioned to make a video for the wiki usage and design iterations.
By submitting a proposal, you agree that if funded, the College will publicly share its content
on the web, and that you will participate on an ITEC panel with other recipients in 2012-13 to
share your experiences, and submit a brief report on lessons learned by June 30, 2013.
Save your file with your full name (e.g., SmithJane.docx) and send as an email attachment to
[email protected] Thursday, May 17th, 2012 at 12 noon. Late proposals will not be
accepted. ITEC members will meet on the following day to make our decisions.
To learn more about this grant opportunity, visit the Trinity College ITEC website