The iF has been able to partner with several departments on the ACU campus on several challenge-based projects. In leveraging various technologies, iF has been able to inspire collaborative innovation to solve several problems, as well as equip faculty and students with digital skills for the future.
Current Partners and Projects
Alternative Textbook Initiative
Goal: To support ACU faculty in their efforts to replace traditional commercial textbooks with academically equivalent alternatives that are available at no cost to students.
The Innovation Foundry finds itself to be in a unique location, as the University it serves has a wide variety of creative software it makes available to faculty, staff, and students. From the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, Office 365, Google G Suite, and much more, there are not too many things those who are on campus could have need for in their creative endeavors. However, to say that everyone is on the same playing field when it comes to digital literacy would be a huge assumption. With great partners like ACU’s IT department, the Learning Studio, Maker Lab, Lynda.com, and the Adams Center, there are a lot of ways to get the help one might need. Yet, often times, many people struggle with connecting the various dots in the creative software universe in trying to understand what something does, compared to what they need to get done.
The Innovation Foundry has been able to provide hour long sessions dealing from basic to more advanced instruction in various tools available to them. Our session series include: Foundry Chats, Foundry Workshops, Tech Tune-Ups, and Maker Mondays.
Past Partners and Projects
Mobile Apps: Summit and ACU Theatre
The Innovation Foundry has collaborated and partnered with several individuals on campus to develop two Mobile Apps. The first was in partnership with The Summit Office to develop the 2017 Summit Event Application.
The second Mobile App was developed in partnership with Wildcat Software (an ACU student run web development business) and ACU’s Theatre Department.
Weather Bot: Nerves Pilot Project
John Kaczmarek led several students and staff in a Raspberry Pi project in partnership with the Innovation Foundry and Maker Lab. The project is a first of it’s kind pilot program in which participants built a distributed weather monitoring system utilizing the (Nerves) platform. This project followed an Innovation Foundry Friday talk John gave about the Internet of Things.
ARCGIS in the Classroom
Partnering with Dr. Jim Carpenter, the course ENVR 440.01 asked the question “What is GIS, and why should I care?” Geographic Information Systems allow us to analyze and manage spatial (geographic) data. From your smartphone to your tablet, location enabled devices are present in almost every household, contributing to the flood of geographic data available today. With over 80% of all data having some type of spatial or geographical component, GIS has relevancy everywhere. This course will introduce students to GIS and the principles of spatial data in their personal life as well as applications of GIS across various disciplines. Major components of the course include computer representation of geographic information, the basics of GIS databases, spatial analysis with GIS, and application areas of GIS. At the end of the course, students will have an understanding of elementary GIS theory and examples of GIS-based solutions in the world around them.
NEXTLab: ACU Engineering and Physics
The Innovation Foundry has begun a partnership with ACU’s NEXTLab (www.acunextlab.org) as a way for their students to bring their poster presentation creations to us for guidance and help with their visual representations. The NEXTLab mission is to provide global solutions to the world’s need for: energy that is less expensive and safer, water that is pure and abundant, and medical isotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer. By advancing the technology of molten salt reactors while educating the NEXT generation of leaders in nuclear science and engineering.
Caleb Hicks was one of the engineering students we were able to help. Below, you can click on the link to see one of the posters Caleb presented at a conference. Although not specifically a NEXTLab poster, it represents the kind of research the engineering students are doing. We are grateful for these types of partnerships, as well as what the ACU Engineering Faculty and Students are doing!
(Link to Caleb Hicks’ Poster Presentation PDF)
Train the Trainer: Adobe Education Exchange
Two of the Innovation Foundry’s Staff, Stephen Rektenwald and Donald Simpson (former staff), became certified through Adobe’s Education Exchange to become Adobe Train the Trainer certified.
Zap That Zika: School of Nursing
Dr. Anita Broxson hand picked four of her senior nursing students to participate in a research project whereby they would create a survey, develop and produce a video, and provide a means by which they could determine whether or not individuals would be able to gain a better understanding on how they could keep from contracting the Zika virus. Turns out, they did a really good job in not only attaining their objectives, but with some help from the Innovation Foundry, they were able to reach a larger audience by making the survey digital and able to host it on a learning management system to be used in several missions courses. The four students shared their experience with faculty and staff during an Adams Center Luncheon, and were able to talk about how they learned a great deal about how to incorporate technology into their project to get the results they were looking for, but also how this project can now continue to exist beyond their time here at Abilene Christian University. They would also present their research at the National Conference of Undergrad Research in Memphis, TN, in April of 2017.
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