Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Great example: Student research, their blog, and inviting community

Now THIS gets me excited!

I stumbled upon this news article from our UW Communications group:

Researcher uses GPS to find asthma causes
March 24, 2009

The juxtaposition of "GPS" and "asthma" first caught my attention, but the following statement led me to a wonderful gem:
"Current students enrolled in BME 201 are working on a low-cost spirometer, a device that measures lung function and is used in diagnosing asthma and other lung diseases...The project is set up as an “open source” endeavor on the Internet, allowing anyone access to their designs."
Turns out that David Van Sickle, a post-doc fellow, is working with the undergrad students in their applied design course -- bringing them into his research work. Van Sickle created a WordPress site for the project.

Students in lab-credit Univ. of Wisconsin
I assume that Van Sickle is the author of the project's "About" page. On it, he (presumably) describes how open and collaborative this course and research project will be.
"We hope you will help us develop a tool that could dramatically improve global respiratory health. We intend to grow an online community for the project, and, hopefully, to interact with other interested designers, engineers, respiratory physicians, and scientists around the world.

Please participate however you can or donate to help us defray the costs of the project.

We will post updates and all of our materials on the blog, wiki and forum."

Note the phrases he used:
  • help us
  • grow an online community
  • interact with other interested [people] around the world
  • please participate
  • we will post...
THIS is how we learn. By doing. By connecting with others. By engaging in dialog. By sharing.

Kudos to Mr. Van Sickle for modeling how to teach and learn using today's tools of technology and collaboration.

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