2010-2011 LIFT Award Recipients

The following proposals were selected to receive funding for FY 2010-2011.

The QUEST Continues

Over the past three years, the College of Natural Sciences has developed the Quest Learning and Assessment System to serve as an innovative technology platform to support instructors and students. It contains a pool of 60,000 Math and Science questions, which instructors use for building exams and homework assignments; over 55 million student responses have been graded already. The emphasis to date, however, has been solely on assessment - homework and exams consisting of questions in multiple choice or numerical free response format with answers returned via the web or bubble sheet. This proposal seeks to develop multi-media content that will be delivered via highly flexible instructor-built modules so that Quest can become a true Learning and Assessment system adapted to various learning styles.

Participants: John Gilbert, Elizabeth Stepp, and Katherine Davis, College of Natural Sciences, Mathematics; Shane Lewis, College of Natural Sciences; Dawn Zimmaro, Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment.

Data Flow Infrastructure Initiative

The Data Flow Infrastructure Initiative (DFII) will introduce handheld devices with integrated barcode scanners as a mechanism to enhance research productivity and information access. These devices are established technology and provide a flexible but consistent platform for research data collection and data management. They are not in widespread use yet in the research community. Additional application benefits will accrue by using handheld devices to deliver data on demand in teaching applications.

Participants: Suzanne Pierce and Roy Rich, Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy; Tim Keitt and Christine Hawkes, College of Natural Sciences, Integrated Biology; Dan Breecker, Jackson School of Geosciences.

eFossils - An Interactive Online Community Database for the Study of Human Evolution

The proposal team will build a website, www.eFossils.org, with an interactive set of online tools that will permit students to investigate the various lines of evidence for human evolution within a presentation format that organizes the data according to anatomical features, geographical location, and geologic age.

Participants: John Kappelman and Denne Reed, College of Liberal Arts, Anthropology; Peter Keane, Sr. and Joe TenBarge, College of Liberal Arts, COLA Instructional Technology Services.

Enabling Data-Intensive Research and Education at UT Austin via Cloud Computing

This proposal team envisions the University of Texas at Austin as a pioneer institution in scientific discovery and education based on cloud computing. While UT already has many of the necessary raw ingredients to achieve this vision, an additional investment in cloud computing infrastructure and training is needed to bring together existing resources and personnel to make this vision a reality. The proposal uses an existing TACC computer cluster augmented with distributed storage (local hard drives) and open-source "Hadoop" software, which will together enable cloud computing. Faculty, students, and staff will work collaboratively to develop campus-wide cloud computing expertise at UT via a program of research talks, training workshops, course offerings, and online documentation.

Participants: Jason Baldridge, Colin Bannard, and Katrin Erk, College of Liberal Arts, Linguistics; Matt Cohen, College of Liberal Arts, English; Inderjit Dhillon, Dianel P. Miranker, Raymond Mooney, and Pradeep Ravikumar, College of Natural Scienes, Computer Science; Joydee Ghosh, Cockrell School of Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Matthew Lease, School of Information; Michael Marder, College of Natural Sciences, Physics; Russell Poldrack, College of Liberal Arts, Psychology; Weijia Xu, Texas Advanced Computing Center.

Smart Building Initiative

The UT Smart Building Initiative plans to develop an integrated system for understanding the relationship between energy usage and user behavior, and to create a method for sharing that information with facility managers and the occupants themselves.

Participants: Barbara Wilson, Ulrich Dangel, and Matt Fajkus, School of Architecture; Gloria Lee and Riley Triggs, School of Fine Arts, Design.