Within the past month, a pair of National Science Foundation-funded initiatives have been announced — one at IU Bloomington, the other targeting IU’s regional campuses — that will respectively boost efforts to improve STEM education and advance research efforts at a statewide level.
The former project, known as TRESTLE — or Transforming Education, Stimulating Teaching and Learning Excellence — will see computer scientists at IU Bloomington collaborate with seven other institutions on a five-year, $2.2 million grant.
Led by the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Program at IU Bloomington’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, the effort will focus on increasing the number of students who graduate within science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines by designing courses that are more “learner-centered” in their teaching approach. By 2019, it is anticipated that up to eight computer science courses will have seen such transformation.
“This project will promote high-impact practices that engage undergraduate students, which lead to increased understanding, confidence and student success. These practices are key to fulfilling the campus strategic plan objectives, but the study could have a larger impact on higher education across our nation.”
— Dennis Groth, IU vice provost for undergraduate education
The latter project will see IU Northwest, IU South Bend, IU Kokomo, IU East, IU Southeast and Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus share a $450,000 NSF grant for upgrades that will allow students and faculty to take advantage of IU’s 10-gigabit-per-second I-Light network.
I-Light connects member sites to state, national and international research and education networks. The move will particularly benefit students who take part in information systems, data analytics and cloud computing courses.
“Big data research projects are severely hampered by the low bandwidth that currently connects the regionals to IU computing resources, to collaborators outside of IU and to national computational resources. And our undergraduate research students are having a less fulfilling experience due to the slow turnaround of data or the limits on data set sizes that can be studied,” Carol Wood, executive director of information technology at IU Northwest, told Inside Indiana Business.
“I’m excited to say that this new upgrade will allow our faculty and students to transfer data sets over the network as much as 10 times faster.”