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Tabule: Maybe The Answer To Every Student’s Woes

When Neil Gupta and Muhammed Fazeel, now at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, met in their first year in college, little did they know that this friendship would bloom into a partnership in a company. Having participated in competitions relating to entrepreneurship together throughout their college life, they were used to throwing around random ideas, and figuring out what clicks. This synergy came in especially handy when they started to think about ways to improve the classroom learning experience. The result was Tabule, a complete package that could possibly revolutionize the way that classes are taught across universities.

The origin of Tabule was with the two of them just talking about how they could use existing technologies to improve how students participate during lectures, and finding that a large group of people agreed that the traditional lecture model needed to be changed. The way that Tabule works is that it allows students to log in and actually see their discussions in real-time. In the same screen, on the left, they can take notes during class. To the right, students are able to pose questions and look at questions asked by others in class, so that if people have similar questions, they can all be attended to at the same time.

Once this idea was born, IIT gave them free iPads to experiment with, and the Knapp Entrepreneurship Center gave them access to their office, so that they could focus on building the product. Once the Idea Shop was completed, they were given one of the rooms in the building as their office. One of the driving ideas behind Tabule is that a lot of schools are now giving their students iPads, but most schools have not been able to find effective ways to incorporate it into the classroom, and use iPads even more effectively as a tool to better educate students. With Tabule, students can take notes, while looking at questions that other students had, while at the same time having access to old quizzes and notes as well. While it was developed mainly to be used in the classroom, it can also be used at home to go through notes or quizzes. Like other online systems, Tabule is web-based, but it is better in that it is faster, and it allows people to vote on the answers, like the iClicker.

Currently, they are carrying out trials in various classrooms around IIT and even expanding outside IIT. By bringing together two very common things in college classrooms in America, the need to participate and technology, Tabule may well be the answer to a lot of the problems students face, and hopefully, we will soon be seeing it in every classroom across the country.

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Six IIT students selected for 50 for the Future

Two graduate and four undergraduate IIT students were recently chosen among the Illinois Technology Foundation’s (ITF) 50 for the Future, an annual award recognizing “Illinois’ most promising technology students.” ITF supports the development of a technology talent pipeline by fostering connections between students, academia and regional employers. The students chosen were Anne Shultz, Jonathan Sibley, Stacy Morton, Jeffery Chiles, Max Graziano and Omaditya Khanna. Their interests are many and varied.

Anne Shultz is a graduate student in the Information Technology and Management degree program specializing in information system security management. Her focus is on designing access for unstructured data, such as images or word documents, which exists outside a database. Shultz has recently published a paper titled “Controlling the Emerging Data Dilemma: Building Policy for Unstructured Data Access” in which she proposes a strategy for organizing unstructured data. Prior to coming to IIT, Shultz was employed at New United Motors Manufacturing Inc. in Fremont, California, where she held a position in information security compliance and was deeply involved in the design and implementation of their data governance program. Interestingly, as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Shultz studied history of arts and visual cultures. Shultz became interested in writing policy, “just because [she] enjoyed writing,” a task that other IT specialists avoided.

Jonathan Sibley recently graduated from IIT with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. He also received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from IIT. He interned at Underwriters Laboratories, conducting safety testing in electric machines, capacitors and thermal fuses, at AVL, modeling electric components and at IAV GmbH, working on diesel engine calibration. Among the highlights on Sibley’s resume is his extensive work as part of the IIT formula hybrid racing team, serving throughout his undergraduate and graduate career as team leader, project manager, and recently, graduate advisor. The IIT team recently competed in the Formula Hybrid International Competition, a design and engineering challenge for undergraduate and graduate students in which teams design, build and compete in an open-wheeled, single-seat, plug-in hybrid racecar. The IIT team earned the honor of the top GM Best Engineering Hybrid Systems Award for the level of complexity of their hybrid. Today, Sibley continues to work on hybrid and electric vehicles, albeit no longer as part of the IIT team, but at Chrysler as part of their powertrain electrification group.

Approaching environmental friendliness from another direction, Stacy Morton is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in architecture at IIT. Specializing in urbanism and modern design, Morton believes that design is important but not sufficient for great architecture— sustainability and integration within the city are key. To improve the sustainability efforts on the IIT campus, Morton has founded the Student Sustainability Committee. Morton’s interest in sustainability has also led her to work as the Assistant Implementation Manager at IIT’s Office of Campus Energy and Sustainability, researching, developing and implementing environmental technologies and practices on IIT’s campus. Moreover, Morton is an IIT Leadership Academy Scholar; she was awarded a competitive full-tuition scholarship for exceptional leadership potential. Not only does Morton have the opportunity to attend leadership seminars by invited guest lecturers, Morton herself leads seminars with Chicago high school students to improve their leadership skills.

Max Graziano, also a Leadership Scholar, recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. Graziano’s involvement on campus sparked his entrepreneurial spirit. Graziano demonstrated his leadership when he founded the IIT Quizbowl team, which competes in team trivia competitions with other colleges. He soon realized that the buzzer system that acts as digital referee for the game was outside the student organization’s budget. Using the skills and knowledge gleaned in his sophomore level circuitry class, Graziano started designing a buzzer system of his own. As he took more advanced classes, he reduced a design that took up eight circuit boards into a single chip. Moreover, Graziano realized the $600 equipment could be replicated with $2 worth of electronics. He is currently working on getting a printed circuit board made. Graziano will soon begin work at Epic Healthcare Systems, a medical records firm.

Like Morton and Graziano, Omaditya Khanna is also a Leadership Academy Scholar. Khanna is studying chemical and biological engineering at IIT. He is taking what he learns in the classroom and putting it to good use as an undergraduate researcher at the IIT Pritzker Institute for Biomedical Science and Engineering. Khanna works with Dr. Eric Brey, professor of biomedical engineering, on developing and optimizing a drug delivery system as a potential treatment for type 1 diabetes. Frequently, transplanted cells and proteins are rejected by the recipient’s immune system. However, alginate microcapsules can acts as immune barriers to cell transplantation. Khanna’s work on the alginate microbead drug delivery system has led him to co-author a published paper in the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research. Indeed, Khanna’s research has not gone unnoticed. He won first place at the oral presentation at the 2010 Chicago Area Undergraduate Symposium (CAURS), where nearly 200 Chicagoland area undergraduates presented their research. In 2009, Khanna presented at the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) National Conference. He won second place in the undergraduate oral presentation research competition. Like many of the 50 for the Future recipients, Khanna has made significant contributions to the IIT community and beyond. For several years, Khanna has been a resident advisor, serving as a leader and peer mentor to first-year students living in the residence halls. Khanna has also spent several summers assisting medical students and attending physicians in providing healthcare to underinsured and uninsured patients and translating from Hindi to English on behalf of patients to doctors.

Like Khanna, Jeffery Chiles has been using his engineering prowess to the betterment of others. An electrical and computer engineering major at IIT, Chiles spearheaded an engineering outreach service project designed to show high school students the underlying concepts behind engineering. Chiles has been also heavily involved in student organizations, serving as vice president of Camras (Chiles is the recipient of a full-tuition Camras scholarship) and as president of Eta Kappa Nu, the national electrical and computer engineering honors society. While Chiles has always been interested in electronics, his interest grew during a systems engineering internship at Northrop Grumman, a defense contractor. Chiles had the opportunity to test equipment for a system that misdirects incoming heat-seeking missiles. A highlight of his experience was hearing Northrop Grumman employees tell of U.S. Air Force personnel who came back to thank them for working on equipment that saved their lives. Unsurprisingly, Chiles wants to continue studying electromagnetics and working on electronic warfare systems after graduation.

As remarkable as these students are, they all have one thing in common: they all study at IIT. From IIT students, one would expect nothing less.

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Illinois Institute of Technology to Provide Apple iPads to Incoming Undergraduates

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs Mike Gosz and students discussed the iPad initiative with NBC 5 News on Wednesday. Watch the video here.

The following information was provided courtesy of IIT Today.

Illinois Institute of Technology will provide all incoming, first-year undergraduate students with Apple iPads as part of an initiative to integrate new technologies into the classroom and foster educational innovation among faculty and students, Provost Alan Cramb announced this week.

Educational applications for iPad, such as electronic textbooks, Blackboard Mobile Learn, and iTunes University will empower IIT students with engaging tools that will enhance their educational experience. IIT faculty and students will also develop new applications to provide greater classroom interactivity and collaboration.

IIT is at the forefront of a new age of technology innovation in a variety of ways. In the past year, the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology and Management introduced some of the nation’s first courses devoted to the development of mobile applications.

The university also recently opened a new 13,000 square foot facility, called the Idea Shop™, located in IIT’s University Technology Park. The Idea Shop™ will be the home of the Interprofessional Projects Program (IPRO) where students from all disciplines collaborate in teams to solve real-world problems, some of which turn into entrepreneurial ventures through the Knapp Entrepreneurship Center, which helps students take their ideas and products from the classroom to the marketplace. The Idea Shop includes space for scientific computing and visualization, engineering graphics, mobile app development, team-based idea generation and communication, and a state-of-the-art machine shop filled with rapid-prototyping equipment. Current IPRO projects, such as IPRO 318, Zoo Tech: iPhone Learning App to Classify Animals, have focused on the development of mobile applications for different purposes, and more are planned.

“University education is much different today as compared to even ten years ago,” said IIT Provost Alan Cramb. “Students live in a world where technology is seamlessly integrated into virtually every aspect of their lives where information and collaboration are available anywhere, anytime. IIT is committed to providing students with the tools and support to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape.”

Beyond the use of iPad devices for educational purposes in and out of the classroom, IIT will release a university app for iPhone/iPod and iPad that provides students and visitors with access to news, events, maps, course listings, and more. The application will also enable the university to push emergency alerts directly to iPod/iPhone/iPad devices, enhancing the existing IIT Alert emergency messaging system. The application is being developed by students and faculty in computer science, information technology and management, and technical communication, in collaboration with the Office of Communications and OTS, and incorporates features from the student-designed IIT Navigator app, developed during the Knapp Lab’s iPhone App Challenge weekends in 2009 and 2010.

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