PITFS developed interactive flash animations that allowed students to fully explore and understand a phenomenon and ultimately gave them better intuition about the physical concepts presented in the course. Interactive animations for the following systems were created: single spring, rotating disk, double spring, double pendulum, falling rod, shaky table. Students were able to change the values of various parameters, animate the systems, and plot graphs of different variables.
This PITF project created information and consolidated online resources for all model and prototyping resources at the GSD - including tutorials, sign-up sheets, webcams, information data, and user settings on how test to use and implement the resources such as the cnc tools, robotic devices,laser cutters, 3D rapid prototyping, and digital input devices.
A scenario-driven exercise was developed to explore the effects of segregation laws that restricted the activities of African Americans during the Jim Crow era. The exercises presented students with a set of information drawn from source materials, and then presented scenarios in which the students made a decision. Students learned how each decision would have affected their experience during this era. Built in Perl, the exercises could be authored by the instructor using a simple web interface. The instructor defined situations containing source materials, images, and other information, and then constructed a navigation path by connecting scenarios together. These technologies could be repurposed for other courses with relative ease.
A mutating bug widget (application) was developed in Flash and PHP to demonstrate some aspects of Darwinian evolution in an appealing, graphical way, while allowing a class of individuals to collectively monitor—and mutate—the bug while visiting the website.
A collection of readings, videos and weblinks on the history of environmental planning and the theoretical basis of ecological urbanism were created. Practical case studies were made directly available to students, in addition to topic research, analyses, and the opportunity to retain course materials, conversations and resources for future iterations.
The PIH Travel Programs website provides a central repository of knowledge, which serves as a one-stop portal for all course related information: academic, financial, and logistic. Prospective participants can now use the website to make informed decisions about which courses to apply to based both on their regional interests as well as professional skills. Additionally students can get quick and convenient tips from previous students, review anticipated expenses, and find clearly articulated information regarding expectations of the course.
The PITF initially identified a product, Mind42, which met many of Professor Fisher’s criteria. However, questions about technical viability arose, and a decision was made to use MindJet Catalyst instead. Catalyst is a robust, web-based product that met virtually all of Professor Fisher’s needs, including an ability to convert his existing Freemind maps. In addition, MindJet offered a desktop product, MindManager, that provided Professor Fisher additional authoring features. The PITF ran some capacity tests prior to the start of the course, and assisted in managing student accounts in Catalyst. Professor Fisher implemented the pilot. Student feedback on using the mapping software as a discussion tool was mixed.
PITFs developed a MediaWiki template that allowed users to post inline, color-coded comments on a wiki page. This allowed students to use a different style when reviewing problem sets and enabled TFs to quickly identify students’ annotations on problem sets.
PITFs developed an online collaborative research tool that allowed students to work in teams to analyze primary sources and to create sets of searchable online notecards. Students used social computing-style tagging to annotate the cards. The Collaborative Research Tool was built using the Cake PHP framework. The user interface was updated and refined, and a larger data set of source materials was imported into the application in 2009.
Professor Tivnan integrated closed-question PowerPoint slides into his curriculum. These touchpoint moments were designed to gauge students' understanding while also providing the opportunity for everyone in the large class to"speak." With the help of clicker technology, each student could weigh in on the questions and Professor Tivnan could adjust his teaching based on the real-time response data.