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Hewlett-funded SCORE Collaborative Pilot Projects - Spotlight on SIMIODE

SIMIODE (Systemic Initiative for Modeling Investigations and Opportunities with Differential Equations is a Community of Practice of faculty who wish to teach differential equations through modeling activities, many of which are in the life sciences. Prior to receiving a SCORE Collaborative Pilot Program mini-grant, SIMIODE was in conversation with QUBES (Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis) about moving the SIMIODE HUB platform into the QUBES community.  In light of QUBES’ commitment to mathematics and biology and SIMIODE’s efforts to support teachers of differential equations by using modeling activities, it is a natural “fit” for SIMIODE to join with QUBES for mutual benefits and efficiencies and exchanges of content, pedagogy, collegiality, and technical expertise, while developing structures to maintain SIMIODE’s integrity and identity within the QUBES culture. The mini-grant provides funds for technical support, design, conceptualization, and personnel to make the transition of SIMIODE into the QUBES family, thereby increasing the viability of both organizations.  Much of the work is technical in building an infrastructure home for SIMIODE inside QUBES; moving all the many resources and intended group conversations found onSIMIODE into the QUBES structure; taking advantage of the technical implementations already present in QUBES’s repertoire; and maintaining the integrity and functionality of SIMIODE’s already established activities while linking with the already present capabilities of QUBES.

With a team of technical and design personnel from SIMIODE, QUBES, and HUBZero, the latter being the platform provider for both QUBES and SIMIODE, the effort is concentrating on the migration of all SIMIODE resources and features. Significant changes in structures are necessary, but will be well worth this migration effort as SIMIODE will be able to take advantage of many of the features the QUBES technical team has developed on top of the HUBZero platform. In addition, with the support of the HUBZero team, both QUBES and its new “resident” group SIMIODE will benefit from enhancements provided by HUBZero.  These include things like improved search functionality, which is so important to users who are searching for sound pedagogical materials related to specific disciplinary topics, the nature of the resource, features of teaching modeling scenarios, and type of materials (videos, data, collegial comment, sources).

SIMIODE has the support of the National Science Foundation for programming and evaluation to reach out and support faculty who wish to use modeling to motivate and teach differential equations. SIMIODE is also working on sustainability initiatives sparked by our consultation with Science Gateways Community Initiative (SGCI) in which SGCI personnel have supported SIMIODE initiatives and financially invested in student internships as well. These SGCI-supported SIMIODE initiatives include SCUDEM, an international student challenge for three-member student teams from around the world, SIMIODE EXPO 2021, a planned international online conference in support of SMIODE’s mission, and the preparation of a SIMIODE online text which will bind modeling scenarios from SIMIODE into a traditional flow of a differential equation text, except this SIMIODE text will be driven entirely by modeling, not just traditional techniques for solutions. 

We are grateful to all the technical assistance and financial support provided by the mini-grant from the Bates College Hewlett Foundation grant.  Our projected planned completion is the end of December 2020.


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