Spring Term Festival is Upon Us!

As Spring Term comes to a close, things are heating up at Leyburn Library.  We are gearing up for the Spring Festival, Friday, May 19th from noon to 2 pm.  Faculty and students alike have been actively engaged in learning this term and are excited to share their knowledge with you.  

Spring term is known for its in-depth immersion into a narrow topic that allows students to delve deep, and dedicate four weeks of their spring to becoming subject matter experts.  Some exhibits are student lead–check out their interactive exploration of the refugee crisis from W&L students’ first hand experiences working with refugees in Germany and Greece last summer.  Others are sharing their experiences through student-made movies, posters displaying their foray into science topics, their recreation of theater’s special effects, and virtual reality displays that allows you to experience a few moments of their term.

Join us for this exciting display of student learning on Friday, May 19th, at the the courtyards surrounding Leyburn Library and on Leyburn library’s main floor.  Then stop by the back side of Wilson Hall at 3:30 pm and watch the Dance 390 students put on an amazing aerial dance performance!

iPad Pro and Apple Pencil Available for Checkout!

Have you wanted to use an iPad Pro or try the Apple pencil?

The ITS Help Desk located at the Information Desk on the main floor in Leyburn Library has them to check out to faculty and staff.

iPad Pro data details http://www.apple.com/ipad-pro/specs/

Selected features:

  • iSight Camera – 12-megapixel iSight camera
  • Video Recording
  • Speakers – 4 speaker audio w/ high-fidelity speaker in each corner
  • Microphones – Dual microphones
  • Battery – Up to 10 hours

Apple pencil details https://www.apple.com/apple-pencil/

Selected features:

  • Highly responsive. Virtually no lag time. Draw lines of any weight.
  • IPad Pro is designed with palm rejection technology, making it possible to rest your hand on the iPad screen while you use Apple Pencil.
  • 12 hours of battery life. Slip off the magnetic cap of Apple Pencil to reveal a Lighting connector that lets you charge Apple Pencil simply by plugging it into iPadPro.
  • Use Notes to jot down ideas or sketch a diagram during a lecture.
  • Use your Pencil to mark up a PDF or document in your own handwriting.
  • Use Pixelmator on your iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil and 16K image support, Pixelmator is the ideal photo editing tool for imaging professionals. It offers advanced features like layer-based painting, cloning, and blending modes while working with the powerful multitasking abilities of iOS.


How do I reserve it?

  • Send an email to help@wlu.edu requesting to pick one up, and include the start/end dates.
    • Stop by the Information Desk in Leyburn Library to check one out.
    • Call us at 540-458-4357

 

 

 

 

Digital Storytelling Workshop during Fall Academy 2017

Academic Technologies will be teaming up with facilitators from StoryCenter (http://storycenter.org) to offer a 3-day workshop on Digital Storytelling, Wednesday, August 23 – Friday, August 25. If you’d like to attend, please apply at http://go.wlu.edu/DigitalStorytelling.

If you’re interested in incorporating Digital Storytelling into a course, but you’re wondering exactly what it is or how to go about it, this is the perfect workshop for you. It will take place on campus during Fall Academy. Breakfasts and lunches are catered–all you need to do is focus on creating a digital story.

Questions? Please contact Julie Knudson (jmknudson@wlu.edu) or Brandon Bucy (bucyb@wlu.edu) in Academic Technologies to find out more.

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

by Paul Low and David Pfaff

The Integrative and Quantitative (IQ) Center at W&L is a collaborative space where new technologies are made available to the entire campus – often before we know exactly how those technologies will be used. A recent example of this is virtual reality (VR). At W&L we’ve been experimenting with the technology for a couple years, starting with cell phone-based VR systems (like Google Cardboard) but in the past year, the price and quality of VR hardware has reached a point that has attracted a much wider audience, including retail consumers and small schools like ours and this year we 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 that we have developed over the past few years for generating and manipulating 3D content such as molecular modeling, 3D animation, motion capture, photogrammetry, geographic information systems, 360-degree photography and video, etc. translate well to VR platforms with a little work and a healthy respect for the current limitations of the hardware. 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.

Since we are so new to VR, most of our projects can be generously described as “ongoing”; nevertheless, this summer we had our first team of student VR developers – a group of incoming first year students participating in the month-long W&L Advanced Research Cohort (ARC) program. Their project involved capturing motion of themselves performing various exercises (running, yoga, etc.) then visualizing and analyzing the movement in VR. This fall, we developed our first VR “homework assignment” with Jill Leonard-Pingel for her “General Geology” (100-level) class, and most recently worked with a couple of teams from Gregg Whitworth’s “Molecular Mechanics of Life” class to create interactive scenes that require “player” input to complete complex biochemical reactions in VR. Our ongoing projects include faculty and students in the many STEM fields as well as dance, digital humanities, and theater. The video below shows some of our ongoing projects in VR (most demonstrated by Ashley Ooms ’17), in addition to those mentioned above:

  • Examples of interactive structural biology models (catalyzed phosphorylation reaction)
  • Photogrammetry model of the Liberty Hall Ruins (on the W&L campus) and a laser scan model of a Wooley Mammoth downloaded from the Smithsonian both viewed at 1:1 scale
  • Viewing crystal structures in 3D (from the virtual homework assignment mentioned earlier)
  • Interactive scene developed for a group project in an upper-level biology class (Molecular Mechanics of Life)
  • A 1:1 scale version of downtown Lexington, VA in 1867 created in Sketch-Up by former VMI French Professor Ed Dooley
  • “Grabbable” MRI scans of the brain from the “Glass Brain” project
  • Motion capture animation from a dance class taught by Jenny Davies.