Reactr (Rethinking Education through Applied Collaborative Technology Research) describes the applied research and media consultancy initiatives of the team of faculty and staff within the Interactive Media cluster of programs at Fanshawe College.
While Reactr represents specific initiatives in the Interactive Media programs, the growth and development of Reactr has been fostered by, and has been possible only because of, the constant support of the administration of the School of Contemporary Media, the staff and administration of the Applied Research Department at Fanshawe, and the continued enthusiasm and professionalism of the Interactive Media teaching team.
The Applied Research and Development activities that became Reactr emerged from curriculum initiatives in the Interactive Media program cluster that began circa 2007. Interactive Media Faculty began to collaborate with companies in the London and Southwestern Ontario region to bring real-world, technology-based projects into coursework to enhance the experience for students in our programs.
It quickly became apparent that involving students in such collaborative projects had significant benefits: The students had to work in teams, and so find ways to make that work as effectively as possible. The technical and design demands of collaborative projects went significantly beyond the expectations within any single course or ‘regular’ assignment, requiring independent research and problem-solving by the student teams.
The students in generally pushed themselves to excel in ways that we did not always observe in the classroom. The response of student teams who participated in these projects was strongly (and almost unanimously) positive; some identified these projects as being the most significant single learning experience of their time in college.
The company partners were also extremely positive about the experience of working with students, to the extent that some companies return to Fanshawe with new or expanded technical projects, in the hope of continuing the collaborative relationship. Partner companies have begun recruiting and hiring students who worked on these projects after they graduate.
The demand for collaboration and the positive impacts on student experience has driven the growth and formalization of our activities into Reactr.
You can get more details about the mandate for the Reactr initiative in the vision section. Information and examples of our past and current projects can be found in the Projects section. The various ways company partners can be integrated into applied research projects are detailed in the Work With Us section.
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Phyta: Developing a Rich-Media Web Framework to Improve Client Educati...
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On March 26, 2014, Fanshawe College hosted the third annual Student Re...
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"Our generation want to do customizable adventures. We don't want to just buy a ticket and go to one thing."
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Web and Social Media Platforms for Collaboration, Iterative Testing an...
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Since 2002, when the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology A...
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The projects fit with many of Fanshawe`s strategic goals such as stude...
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Kelsey Wozniak was hired by a digital marketing company after graduati...
Rove Media is a London-based company founded by a Fanshawe College graduate, who went on to study Natural Nutrition. The owner of Rove wishes to integrate her background in Web, digital media and natural nutrition to develop a unique service for nutritionists to access and use with their clients on a daily basis. The Web portal and suite of digital tools will be marketed to nutritionists for use with their clients (likely on a subscription basis), as opposed to being a general informational site for the public at large. Currently, the assessment tools used by natural nutritionists in daily practice are exclusively print-based, and follow up is achieved typically through review and discussion of extensive handwritten information. The essential problem being addressed in this project is to determine what kind of Web framework, and what kinds of digital tools therein, will allow practicing nutritionists to better collect (and store) comprehensive client information, and how to best present ‘summary’ client information in an interactive and visual manner. The ultimate goals are to improve comprehension of identified issues and treatment plans, as well as improving client follow-through with assessment and ongoing tracking of critical information. It is hoped that online assessment tools will allow for clients to complete assessments more easily, and on their own schedules, from various locations; the infographics will present assessment results in a comprehensive and dynamic fashion that is currently not possible with existing print-based tools. The owner of Rove approached the Interactive Media team at Fanshawe to assist in defining the ‘look and feel’ and overall branding of this initiative, as well as for the design and development of some of the online assessment tools and core infographics that will be the major components of the Web portal. The role of the Applied Research team has been to design and develop both the overall branding for the portal, as well as functioning examples of the most critical online questionnaires and dynamic ‘infographics’ that will ultimately be offered through the portal. The framework and media assets developed will allow Rove to demonstrate the types and level of content that will be available on the portal, to potential customers and investors. This will in turn assist Rove in securing long-term funding that will allow for a more in-depth development partnership with Fanshawe College. Rove plans to continue to expand their digital tools to include mobile applications for use-tracking in various areas (food logs, dietary supplement usage, etc.) This presentation will discuss the overall branding for the Web portal as well as show a live demonstration of the dynamic, rich-media forms and infographics developed to date by the student team.
On March 26, 2014, Fanshawe College hosted the third annual Student Research and Innovation Day (SRID). This event allows students to showcase truly innovative projects that they have created independently, in-class or as a part of a capstone project. With more than 29 entrants, the James A. Colvin Atrium was filled to capacity with project displays and visitors touring the exhibitions. This year's event differed from previous SRID events as projects were divided into two categories: Applied Research and Social Innovation and Scholarship. The day commenced at 1 p.m. with a lecture in the Scotiabank Lecture theatre by Dr. Cecil Shewchuk. Dr. Shewchuk presented An Idea is Not Enough to help students bridge the gap between the conception of an idea and the implementation of an entrepreneurial business plan. At 2 p.m evaluation of the projects began with three judges for each category. The judging staff was comprised of two Fanshawe College vice-presidents and leading members of London's business and manufacturing sectors. Students had five minutes to present their entry and impress the judges. Entries ranged from a hydraulic test stand to a mobile application aimed at improving interaction between faculty and students in college environments. Many student projects were conceived in the classroom but had real world applications. After the judging had concluded, Dan Douglas, Dean for the Centre for Research and Innovation, presented the top three prizes in each category as well as an additional prize each for the most popular entry of the day.
Oxford County's outdoor adventures will soon be at the fingertips of smartphone users across the country with the launch of TecVana's new geo-adventuring application.
This summer Mariko and Wayne Izumi, who both host shows on the World Fishing Network, unveiled the new application with a demonstration at the Oxford Country Administration Building in Woodstock.
"There are two main reasons why you would want to use the app -because you are looking for a new adventure or if you know you have a weekend off and want to plan something," Mariko Izumi said. "Our generation want to do customizable adventures. We don't want to just buy a ticket and go to one thing. We want to post on our Facebook and our Twitter pages that we have done something very unique and active so this is what it is going to direct you to."
The application, which is populated with information from local businesses and tourism attractions, shows users where to go for new adventures and tracks the adventures using QR codes at each adventure site. Users can collect points for participating in new adventures and can redeem the points for gift cards or merchandise from the online store.
The app was research and tested by Fanshawe College's Interactive Media Design and Production and Interactive Media Specialist program. TecVana CEO, Doug Matatall, said the application was built by Fanshawe students because he wanted it to be develop and tested by the application's target demographic - youth.
Matatall said that many other communities, including Stratford and Middlesex county, are also interested in getting on board with the application. The application will be available widely in the fall through TecVana's Website
Bob Izumi's Real Fishing Magazine - Fall 2013
This presentation describes curriculum initiatives that involve students working on real-world digital media initiatives with corporate and government clients, and how the use of popular social media platforms and other online resources facilitate a client-based, team-oriented development cycle within the curriculum.
Selected students who participated were interviewed, and their feedback indicated that this aspect of their academic experience was a significant highlight in their curriculum. Positive and negative impacts on traditional curriculum and learning methodologies were identified, and assisted in planning subsequent phases. Sample application prototypes, Facebook groups and online marketing strategies were created for demonstration, and enhancements to learning outcomes and long-term success/job creation outcomes for participants were realized in:
Increased industry and job success, and continuation of this formal collaboration into the commercialization phase.
Delgado, R. & Haaf, R. (2011). Web and Social Media Platforms for Collaboration, Iterative Testing and Marketing Within a Client-Focused Curriculum: Considerations for Curriculum Planning, Student Engagement and Long-Term Success. In T. Bastiaens & M. Ebner (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2011 (pp. 137-141). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved December 4, 2013 from EditLib.com
Applied research and innovation projects provide students
with the opportunity to apply classroom learning to real world
situations and problems. This develops critical thinking and
problem-solving skills, always in high demand when employers
are asked about desirable employee traits. Participation on a
research team helps students learn teamwork, critical thinking,
interpersonal and communications skills, familiarizes them with
ethics, provides the chance to network within their occupational
sector, and o2en results in higher levels of engagement,
motivation and student retention.
Student researchers at colleges and institutes have won awards for their work, found employment with the companies they worked with, and/or discovered their research activity was the differentiator when an employer had multiple applicants for limited positions. The innovation and entrepreneurial skills that result from participation in applied research prepares students for a changing workplace in which these skills are becoming more and more a requirement for success and career advancement.
Our goal is to make applied research and innovation a studentfocused enhancement to the teaching and learning process, rather than an activity unto itself. That's why applied research activity at colleges requires student participation. Projects are rarely undertaken if they do not provide an opportunity for a student or students to be involved.
ARI facilitates applied research and innovation projects across Fanshawe College. We encourage you to engage your students in these types of projects. We're here to help you do it. Give us a call.
Here are some or Fanshawe Research Magazine issues:
Spring / Summer 2012
Acting Dean, Applied Research and Innovation
Special Edition 01 | Fall 2012
Research/Innovation - Professor Rob Haaf. Professor Haaf has worked determinedly to successfully instill and grow a research culture in the Interactive Media Programs in the School of Contemporary Media. With a philosophy of innovation and research and the new Fanshawe College downtown campus as catalyst, Rob Haaf and the professors and staff in Interactive Media have worked to establish embedded research projects in three teaching levels. The projects fit with many of Fanshawe`s strategic goals such as student success, excellence in teaching and learning, applied research and scholarly activity, a workplace where employees are proud to contribute, engaging community partners, and supporting strategic growth. These goals align with the province`s goals of building an innovation and creative culture to meet the needs of Ontario`s future workforce. The Interactive Research team includes all faculty and staff leading student projects in Interactive Media Cluster diploma and post graduate programs with Rob acting as Project Integration Coordinator.
London Community News By Craig Gilbert Fanshawe College says the release of a Geo Adventuring app is proof their students graduate ready for the workplace. Front and centre on Thursday (Sept. 26) was recent grad Kelsey Wozniak, who was hired by digital marketing management company TecVana after completing the interactive media design and production program in the spring. She connected with the company thanks to a collaboration the college wants to create more of, according to program coordinator Robert Haaf. It began when the college started bringing in clients for software development work: the companies received the labour and the students received valuable real-world experience. Now, students like Wozniak are being hired right after graduation in part because they are already working on projects for their employer. "Students on the team get to have their input heard from conceptualization to development," he said. "Who else are you going to hire? (TecVana) is going to grow in part because of our graduates. We don`t just want to be looked to for our technical experience, we want to help companies grow their capacity." Wozniak spent her second semester working on a team with TecVana to develop a smart phone app that lets users find and create "adventures," outings from hiking and fishing to festivals and events, earning awards or "badges" and loyalty points as they go. In Wozniak`s words, an avid gamer herself, having "real world products shipped right to your door." The prizes follow the theme of the trip: points from camping trips could count toward a tent, fishing trips toward a new rod. "Who doesn`t love that?" she said. "We like accomplishing things in the imaginary world, so I can see it working even better in the real world." The app was tested in Oxford County as a pilot over the summer, with adventures like the Oxford Cheese Trail, which features destinations that highlight the county`s dairy industry. Others include planned trips for hiking, bicycling and bird watching. It allows users to upload photos and reviews to their profile and social media, share with friends, access real-time information and maps (to search for things happening nearby) and discover discounts that may be offered at businesses along the way. Destinations associated with the adventures feature a QR code users scan with their phone to check in. They don`t have to stop at every destination to complete the adventure, but the more they do, the more points they earn. The company, which bills itself as dedicated to building a sustainable rural economy, is touting the app`s ability to connect people with rural communities and boost local economies and brought in some star power to drive the point home. The host of World Fishing Network`s Hookin` Up and the company`s director of major accounts, Mariko Izumi (Bob`s niece) said the app would appeal to the adventurous side of "city-slicking" tech savvy young people. "We`re curious, we`re adventurous and if you hook us, we`re not afraid to spend our money," Izumi said. "So we`re creating that balance. We`re using technology but we want to disconnect too." She said they pay good money to take part in outdoor events like Tough Mudder competitions where the only prizes are bragging rights, specifically online, and putting options at their fingertips will get even more of them off the couch. Izumi said when she posts fishing pictures on social media, even her "girliest girlfriends" ask her where she was because they want to plan a trip there too. "That`s why this app is so great," she said. "It lets us do that with a minimal effort, which you know we like. We can find and create an adventure is seconds."
"Our site is temporarily down, we are working on getting new projects online! We will be back soon."