Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee UniversityFounded in 1749, Washington and Lee University is named for two men who played pivotal roles in the University’s history: George Washington, whose generous endowment of $20,000 in 1796 helped the fledgling school (then known as Liberty Hall Academy) survive, and Robert E. Lee, who provided innovative educational leadership during his transformational tenure as president of Washington College from 1865 to 1870.

The University is located in the historic city of Lexington, Virginia (population 7,000), a warm, welcoming and historic college town located in the Great Valley of Virginia between the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny Mountains. W&L’s 35 principal buildings include the picturesque Washington College group forming the Colonnade facing Lee Chapel, where Robert E. Lee is buried. The Colonnade and Lee Chapel are National Historic Landmarks.

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Student DataCon@WLU, networking for data analytics, big data and statistical computing

In November 2017, Washington and Lee University held its first DataCon, a new event for students. The two-day program was designed to highlight the impacts and career paths for data analytics, big data and statistical computing across a variety of industries.  The gathering brought together students, faculty, staff and alumni for a series of discussions and networking opportunities around data sciences in both academic and professional life, including ways that analytics are used in the fields of advertising, finance and technology.

DataCon-692x768Reflecting on the experience, DataCon co-organizer Professor Denny Garvis noted:

We can tell already that we are tapping into an existing but quiet network of students, faculty and alumni who are really doing interesting work

The inaugural conference was so successful that another DataCon will be held next year. (more…)

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Adaptive Learning (and Adaptive Teaching) in a First Course in Applied Statistics


Session 9: Adaptive Learning (and Adaptive Teaching) in a First Course in Applied Statistics
Speaker: Denny Garvis, Professor of Business Admin & Mgmt, The Williams School at Washington & Lee University
Date & Location: June 16 at Vassar College

D. Garvis, Washington & Lee University
D. Garvis, Washington & Lee University

This presentation serves as a practical follow-up to the Candace Thille keynote from LACOL 2016. Specifically, adaptive learning courseware originally developed in the Online Learning Initiative (OLI) at Carnegie Mellon University has been used in the Applied Statistics course in the Williams School at Washington and Lee since 2014. Pedagogical advantages, trade-offs in teaching, and student learning outcomes from using the OLI Statistical Reasoning courseware, now hosted by Stanford EdX, will be discussed.

Additional Resources:

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You Are the New Gatekeeper of the News

news

video gallery button_edited-1Event: Online Pop-Up Discussion, April 4th 2017
Title: You Are the New Gatekeeper of the News
Discussion Leader: Aly Colón, Knight Professor of Media Ethics, Washington and Lee University
Audience: Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumnae/i
Background Reading: You are the new gatekeepers of the news (The Conversation, Feb 7, 2017)

Aly Colón, Professor of Journalism Ethics, W&L
A. Colón

Discussion Topic: News consumers today face a flood of fake news and alternative information. In this online meet-up, journalism ethics professor Aly Colón explores forces of change in the new media landscape as we become responsible for deciding how we filter what’s news and what’s not. Professor Colón frames the conversation with historical examples and point to emerging trends in the digital age of news where Velocity + Volume = Volatility. As an ethical agent of journalism, how can you cultivate a mindset of open inquiry and deepen your capacities to handle challenging or uncomfortable views, especially in online settings?


Highlights (9:52)

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Experiments in Virtual Reality at W&L’s IQ Center

wl

Students, faculty, and technologists at Washington & Lee’s Integrative and Quantitative (IQ) Center have been experimenting with virtual reality (VR) for a couple years, starting with cell phone-based VR systems like Google Cardboard. This year W&L upgraded to a dedicated VR headset, called the HTC Vive. These new VR headsets provide a compelling (and immersive) way to visualize and interact with content but there is very little educational content currently available, especially for higher education. This means that, for the time being, getting the most out of these systems requires either creating original content or adapting existing material to work in VR.

Fortunately, when it comes to visualization, many of the workflows for generating and manipulating 3D content such as molecular modeling, 3D animation, motion capture, photogrammetry, geographic information systems, 360-degree photography and video translate well to VR platforms with a little work and a healthy respect for the current limitations of the hardware.

According to IQ Center Academic Technologist Dave Pfaff:

Developing interactive scenes for VR takes a little more work and some specialized skills, but the potential for creating educational tools that facilitate active and blended learning at all levels of education are virtually limitless.

Faculty and students, including a group from W&L Advanced Research Cohort (ARC), have launched a number of explorations this year that are highlighted in more detail on W&L’s Academic Technology Blog, including:

  • Interactive structural biology models (catalyzed phosphorylation reaction)
  • Photogrammetry models of campus buildings
  • Laser scan model of a Wooley Mammoth
  • Crystal structures in 3D
  • “Grabbable” MRI scans of the brain from the “Glass Brain” project
  • Motion capture animation from a dance class


Clip from W&L’s virtual reality lab


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