2011 i3 Scholar Research Projects
After the Introductory Institute, i3 Scholars worked on a year-long, team research project of their choosing. Under the guidance of a faculty advisor, each team developed its research topic and questions. Teams worked throughout the year to investigate their topics and were required to develop a research paper, poster, and presentation detailing their key findings. Teams presented their work during the Concluding Institute, held at the University of Pittsburgh in June 2012.
iDiscover: Inspiring Youth to Pursue STEM
Team Solutions (abstracted from Team Solutions' Research Proposal)
Team Solutions pursued a hands-on approach to its research, working with a Baltimore City middle school to create a one-hour, in-school program designed to pique students' interests in STEM education, research, and careers. The team named its program iDiscover and delivered the program to students at Lakeland Middle School in late May, 2012. The iDiscover program included informational handouts about scholarships, tutoring services, career options in STEM, and tips for preparing for college and applying for financial aid. To reinforce the importance of hands-on learning, the team included a group activity where the middle school students had to create organization categories for particular items. Team Solutions also designed and administered a pre-program and post-program survey to the students to gauge their interest in STEM and the effectiveness of the curriculum. Data from those surveys were analyzed and statistically significant results were reported. In addition, the team created an iDiscover wiki where helpful handouts and resources for the students could be found.
Information Occupation: Using Information Science to Explore Social Movements
Team 4.5 (abstracted from Team 4.5' Research Proposal)
Team 4.5 explored how the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) social movement developed and utilized information communication technologies over a nine-month period beginning in September 2011. Specifically, the team performed a network analysis of Twitter data sets, analyzed Twitter volume over time, and employed an ethnographic approach that included physical and digital participant observation to understand OWS' information practices. Team 4.5 utilized data analysis methods that included a tweet volume over time analysis, a study of sentiment among OWS tweets and comparison to mainstream media coverage, a network visualization and analysis of OWS tweets and retweets among a portion of the Occupy movement during the April 1, 2012 action, an agent-based simulation, and an analysis of tweet volume compared with number of people present at an action.
Source Scare: Curriculum Tactics in the Education of Information Literacy and Media Creation
Team Too Cool for Names (abstracted from Team Too Cool for Names' Research Proposal)
With an ever-evolving technological landscape, educational frameworks must adapt to constant change to compete - let alone participate - in our contemporary, more globalized society. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a model that suggests tools students can use to sift through and re-appropriate information in both critical and creative ways and communicate and collaborate with diverse populations. The integration of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills into a more traditional framework creates a more holistic approach to education. Based on information collected from an extensive literature review, Team Too Cool for Names created a sample curriculum of best practices addressing issues pertaining to information and media literacy.
Undergraduate Student Financial Managers: Improving college students' ability to manage their debt and money
Team Six Sigma (abstracted from Team Six Sigma's research proposal)
Team Six Sigma investigated the issue of undergraduate student debt and financial management. The team compiled an extensive literature review, considering factors such as student demographics and financial literacy, the effects of widespread loan availability, and the usefulness of financial management resources. The team also explored the creation of a geospatial application for smartphones that would assist students in tracking and managing their daily finances while in college. In its conclusions, Six Sigma successfully categorized and analyzed the financial management resources available to undergraduate students and attempted to expand that discussion with valuable insights.