2013 NSF Collaboration Results in Innovative Active Learning Funding


Stony Brook, NY - October, 2013

Professor Ahmad Esmaili and Annie Liu from the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook University are thrilled to be part of a collaborative research proposal that has received National Science Foundation (NSF) funding.

The proposal, Collaborative Research: Innovative Active Learning Using Tablets, is a joint effort with Appalachian State University as the lead institution along with Stony Brook University and University of North Carolina at Greensboro. NSF funding totals $300,000 for this project which seeks to 1) expand the development of microlabs used in computer science education as an effective form of learning; 2) organize collaborative microlab training workshops; and 3) explore the use of tablets to deliver highly interactive educational materials.

Microlabs, which were originally developed as part of two Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM (TUES) grants, are a form of active learning whereby students complete short conceptual or programming activities during a lecture. During the microlab experience, students are exposed to three different phases of the learning cycle: exploration, invention, and application.

With this new Type 2 grant, researchers will further develop the effective microlab approach by revising logical microlabs, improving the code magnet labs using techniques from visual programming, and developing a microlab repository for sharing materials nationwide. According to Professor Esmaili, "In addition to providing training to faculty during on-site workshops, there is no doubt that this project will improve student learning and retention in the field of computer science,"

Department and University’s Research Approach
A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), Stony Brook University is a leading public research university in the northeast. With over 1000 researchers, 1600 active sponsored projects and growing investments in R&D, SBU aims to collaborate and participate in public/private partnerships that innovate in all fields of research and scholarly activity.

Consistently ranked one of the top Computer Science departments in the nation, the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook University is poised for interdisciplinary collaboration and research recognition. As the largest unit in SBU's College of Engineering and Applied Science, the Department boasts internationally renowned faculty who have made significant contributions in the research areas of visual computing, networking, computer systems, cybersecurity, algorithms, and intelligent computing.