Adams State receives National Science Foundation grant


Developing virtual classrooms that expand course choices for students is the goal of a new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant recently awarded to Adams State University, in partnership with three other institutions. The three-year grant of $479,762 will fund the project "Engaged Student Learning: Coalition for Undergraduate Computational Data-enabled Science & Engineering (CDSE) Education."

Adams State Professor of Mathematics Matt Ikle is leading the project, in collaboration with Hong Liu of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), Michael Wolyniak of Hampden-Sydney College, and Raphael D. Isokpehi of Behthune-Cookman University. This grant expands upon a previous NSF-funded project conducted by Adams State and ERAU.

"This approach gives students at smaller institutions access to upper-level courses that might not be offered otherwise. Students also benefit from expertise beyond their own campuses," Ikle said. For example, smaller schools may have only one or two students interested in Data Mining and Visualization, which Ikle developed and taught in the first project, or Mathematical Modeling and Simulation, developed by Hong Liu of ERAU. But the collaboration will bring students from four schools together, creating a larger, viable class size.

Students at all four institutions will take a class simultaneously, through live, interactive broadcasts that are supplemented with web-based content. Another professor will also participate live at each school in order to answer questions or elaborate on instruction. Adams State Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems Comfort Cover will teach in the program, as well. Students will pay tuition and receive credit through their home institutions.

"Students can interact with each other and the professor through the live broadcasts, and the local facilitator will be another resource," Ikle said. He noted four Adams State students who took courses through the original project presented their work on non-linear phenomenon at an international conference.

Ikle explained the project's vision is to build more coalitions of participating schools, broadening the courses each can offer. Over the course of three years, the project will develop four new courses:

  • Database Design
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Problems in Atmosphere and Hydrosphere
  • Advanced Computing Resources in Biology