Monday, September 22, 2014

ITLS student participated in e-textiles hacker camp at the University of Pennsylvania

Suzanne Fluty, USU graduate student in Fine Arts, who took one of two second place prizes in the Instructibles Sensor contest after her ITLS Craft Technologies class this past Spring, got another opportunity to further develop her crafty skills at 2014 PennApps X Stitchfest.

Suzanne was accepted into a fully funded 2-day, 48-hour crazy e-textiles hacker camp at the University of Pennsylvania led by Dr. Yasmin Kafai this September. The event lasted from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon (as part of Penn Apps initiative), with over 1,000 high school, undergraduate and graduate students participating. After an evening of instruction, students were put into 200 teams of 2-4 students where they experimented with various software and hardware kits.

Inspired by her own climbing experience, Suzanne and her Stitchfest partner decided to focus on wearable technology and design a ClimbAssist glove, which is aiming to "relay commands between the climber and his/her belayer when they are out of sight and hearing range". Suzanne's project won a prize for "most unexpected" in addition to AlphaLab Gear and Intel runway hack prizes. But, the most rewarding part of this experience were the newly developed friendships, new ideas and an amazing opportunity to work and contribute to an amazingly creative environment.

To read more about Suzanne's project, please visit her page on Challenge Post website.

Monday, September 15, 2014

2014 Orientation

ITLS is proud to announce...
...that this academic year, ITLS enrolled 64 new graduate students!!! Of those, eight students enrolled into the PhD program, one in EdS, while the rest of this years' group joined one of the Master programs offered in ITLS.
According to the ITLS tradition, on August 6th and 22nd we took the students to a Ropes Course, as part of our 2014 Orientation for New Students.

Friday, September 12, 2014

ITLS Alum, Steve von Niederhausern and his wife: USU 2014 Homecoming honorees

ITLS Alum, Steve von Niederhausern, and his wife Rachel are USU 2014 Homecoming honorees:
Young Alumnus of the Year – Steve & Rachel von Niederhausern.

We are so proud of all of our alums!

To read more about Steve and Rachel, please Alumni Spotlight page at USU Alumni Association blog

Congratulations Brian!!!

Since his Spring 2014 promotion to Associate Professor with tenure, Dr. Brian Belland was granted a sabbatical leave. He is spending the 2014-2015 academic year at the University of Georgia, where he will be continuing with his USU research groups remotely, writing a book, and doing research on supports for English Language Learners in science at the K-12 level.

Congratulations Brian! We are proud of you! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Drs. Martin and Brasiel announce the release of the Learning Analytics Workgroup (LAW) Report

Drs. Taylor Martin and Sarah Brasiel are excited to announce the release of the Learning Analytics Workgroup (LAW) Report: Building the Field of Learning Analytics for Personalized Learning at Scale, and encourage students and faculty in the ITLS department to read this report for it lays out guidance for building the field over the next 10 years for students, faculty, policymakers, and funders. The report is available at

Dr. Martin has been a member of the LAW Group since it started. The LAW Group is comprised of 37 contributors from academia, for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations, government, and philanthropic foundations. Dr. Martin co-organized the first Learning Analytics Summer Institute (LASI) in 2013 at Stanford University with Roy Pea, Dragan Gasevic, and John Behrens. Dr. Martin presented a workshop this summer at LASI 2014 where she introduced researchers to conducing data analyses in R even if they did not have much prior knowledge with the R programming language and R statistical computing environment. The methods covered included hierarchical clustering, sequential pattern mining, and graphical data interpretation.

This summer 2014, Drs. Martin and Brasiel and the Active Learning Lab students worked with the author, Roy Pea from Stanford University, to put together a public facing document of all of the great work from the LAW Project. This project involved multiple rounds of review from experts in the education and data science sectors, editing, and formatting of the final document in InDesign with support from graphic designers. The final result is a set of documents for dissemination to a broad audience across the world. 

We appreciated the opportunity to work with Roy Pea and the experts across the nation who contributed to this project. It was a valuable experience for our graduate students, many of whom are interested in pursuing careers in education data science and seeking ways to develop knowledge and skills in this area.

 **This report was made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation to the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Victor Lee speaks at USU press conference on record research funding

Photo courtesy of  Eli Lucero/Herald Journal
Dr. Victor Lee, Assistant Professor in USU ITLS department, was one of the speakers at USU press conference on record research funding held on September 2nd, 2014.

"Fueled by a huge increase in funding for its Space Dynamics Laboratory, Utah State University took in a record $220 million from government, corporate and foundation sources during the 2014 budget year." says The Salt Lake Tribune. Our college, The Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services, was second among the biggest recipients, "amassing $27.2 million in outside research funding, up 13.2 percent from the year before".

This year's press conference showcased research from two colleges, education and agriculture. Victor spoke about his research with physical activity trackers placed on schoolchildren, who were then encouraged to use their science and math skills to do research projects based on the data. To read a fuller statement, please read The Salt Lake Tribune article, "Utah State sets $220 million funding record for research".
Herald Tribune in their article "USU researchers say record funding well spent", further cites Victor's speech: “We have a powerful opportunity to do better in the education system,” “This new breed of technology we can wear produces data about our daily lives; they reproduce data for us — how far we walk, how fast our hearts are beating, how many calories we burn, how we sleep. Now kids can see it for themselves.”