Ideas for Summer Projects and Research

We are only a few weeks away from the start of the summer research season.  Are you trying to accomplish more with your projects this summer?  Do you find that documenting summer projects has been difficult, time consuming, or ineffective?  If you are looking for ways to improve how you document, publicize, or carry out your research projects, ITS is here to help.

Wikis – Wikis are ideal for documenting group projects because they make it easy to create and update web pages that link to one another and keep a history of all the contributions of each member.  Instead of each person writing up individual documents, all the work can be viewed, edited, combined, and linked by the group.  The more adventurous may be interested in using wikis for the basis of Open Notebook Science.  ITS has experience with many types of wikis and can suggest one that best meets your needs.

High Performance Computing – Is your computer crunching away for hours, days, or even weeks on your latest calculations?  ITS has free access to supercomputing resources through TeraGrid and can help with migrating your work from a desktop to systems containing over 100,000 compute cores.

Mobile Devices – Going out in the field or on the road?  Are you interested in documenting your work without having to come back to your office?  You can take pictures, record your location with GPS, take notes, and even video conference with devices available for loan from Media Services.  We have high quality digital cameras, HD video cameras, GPS units, iPod Touches (4th generation – with cameras), and iPads available.

Social Media (Flickr/Twitter/Facebook) – Want to share your work with others, keep your group informed of new events, or publicize your progress?  ITS can suggest effective ways to reach out to others.  We can also develop innovative ways to use social media sites such as programming your data collection system to send a tweet when it finishes its calculations or automatically uploading new graphs to Flickr.

Blogs – Are you looking for ways to document your summer work?  Consider using a blog to keep a daily journal of your progress.  It’s easy to get started and makes a good way to keep others informed of what is going on.  ITS can help you select the best blogging tool for you.  Want to get started this minute?  All Swarthmore faculty, staff, and students can create blogs through our Google Apps system.  Go, click on “more” in the top left, then “even more”, then “Blogger” under “Communicate, show & share”.

Digital Media – Interested in working with video, audio, or images this summer?  Are you attending a conference and would like help creating a great presentation or need to print out a poster? The ITS Media Center has high performance workstations with large screens loaded with multimedia software.  We also have a variety of high quality printers for posters or prints.

For more information on these and other research ideas, contact your Academic Technologist: Eric Behrens (Humanities), Doug Willen (Social Sciences), or Andrew Ruether (Natural Sciences and Engineering).