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Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Evan Weaver Chair, School of Information and Communications Technology Seneca College Advancing Learning 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Evan Weaver Chair, School of Information and Communications Technology Seneca College Advancing Learning 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Evan Weaver Chair, School of Information and Communications Technology Seneca College Advancing Learning 2012

2 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Defining Applied Research in the college context: Not basic research Novel application of whatever it is you do Benefit to external stakeholder Done primarily by students with faculty supervision

3 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study The Centre for Development of Open Technology (CDOT) Applied Research Centre with between $500k and $1m annual funding focused on open source Involves 5-10 faculty and 5-10 industry partners Involves paid students

4 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study The Centre for Development of Open Technology (CDOT) Started in 2002 as a loose association of faculty with a common interest and belief Has become as a research centre as faculty interest matured into an organization

5 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Academic Environment: students 6-8 programs (diplomas, degrees, grad cert) full-time profs, PT/PL

6 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Historical challenges for colleges: Research not part of base funding Little culture of research, applied research (changing) Few accessible grants (changing) Collective agreement Professors interests

7 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study History Pre-2004: Research internally funded Research barely funded Done out of professors interest E.g. install Linux lab in local HS

8 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study History More recently: Externally funded projects with industry partners, sourced through central research dept Small, single-project grants Little linkage between projects

9 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study History And then… One project unintentionally connected us with a new industry partner (Mozilla) Professor and partner hit it off, students delivered their part New partner funded more…

10 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study History …and then… Tied projects into some courses More partners and more faculty got interested More students got involved More grants became available…

11 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study History …and now… Special expertise is recognized More stable funding is available, including 5-year NSERC grants Partners seek us out Industry knows us

12 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Were we lucky? Area is open source Gives students opportunity to work on world class software Industry values free work Philosophy and IP licenses are academia friendly

13 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Or did we make our own luck? Open source projects need expertise, reject time-wasters Expertise is very hard to develop Trust takes time to develop Granting agencies didnt understand open source

14 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Making our luck… Our programs already had strong technical component Our professor convinced Mozilla to pay for his release time Our programs had flexibility of Professional Options – no need to change core curriculum

15 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Making our luck… Repurposed OSS (symposium for college teachers) to FSOSS (industry symposium) Chased money down many blind alleys (on-going) Insinuated OS work into other projects (e.g. MotionView)

16 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Making our luck… Leaned on professors to take part Rejected a lot of offers that did not include money Had to manage professor burnout Had to manage partners expectations

17 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Benefits of Applied Research to the program: External stakeholder gives perspective Faculty and students are pushed Gaps in curriculum exposed (and hopefully filled) Value of program is promoted

18 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Benefits of Applied Research to the student: Real-world experience more challenging than most co-op opportunities Work one-on-one with prof and stakeholder Chance to build a reputation

19 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Benefits of Applied Research to the external stakeholder: Grant funding Inexpensive expertise Source of HQP after project Chance to influence education to produce MHQP

20 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Drawbacks of Applied Research: Overhead – Paperwork, events, contacts Not everyone can participate Can overshadow other studies Can easily overload faculty Can skew perspective

21 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Tips Be patient, success takes longer than you think Talk to anyone, make arrangements with few Pursue all leads for funding Align with energetic professors

22 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Tips Use central services Look for linkages between research and curriculum Dont work for free Dont sell out Build expertise, build a reputation

23 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Tips Learn from failed grant applications, failed projects When in doubt, consider student perspective Manage burnout proactively Make academic limitations clear

24 Applied Research and Learning: A Case Study Tips Leverage grants with other grants when possible When spending, be careful to meet grant requirements, often takes juggling Follow your strengths to make your own luck

25 cs.senecacollege.ca/~evan.weaver


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