Category Archives: IMPACT

Advancing the Active-Learning Culture at Purdue

The Active Learning Community of Practice (ALCoP) at Purdue University is comprised of faculty who gather to share ideas, explore active learning strategies, and discuss student outcomes. Facilitated by Susan Modlin, clinical assistant professor of nursing, ALCoP at Purdue meets monthly. Modlin’s role in this community was recently covered by the ITaP Newsroom in “Active Learning Community of Practice’s Focus This Year Is on Diversity and Inclusion.”

Rachel Fundator, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Rachel Fundator

Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies Information Literacy Instructional Designer Rachel Fundator has also been integral in assembling and implementing ALCoP.

Below, Fundator shares more about the community of practice.

Q. Tell me about about your role in this community.

Fundator: The ALCoP is a grassroots organization that has provided monthly opportunities for instructors across Purdue to learn about and discuss topics related to active learning since the opening of the Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC) in the fall of 2017. ALCoP is organized by one faculty member and representatives from three teaching and learning units across camps, including the Purdue University Libraries and School for Information Studies (PULSIS), the Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE), and Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT).

As a collective, we identify salient issues related to active learning and recruit people across campus who can share their insights on these particular issues with community. The organizers from PULSIS, CIE, and TLT work together with our faculty leader to facilitate connections and conversations that can help instructors reflect upon and develop their teaching practices. In this work, we are providing an informal, ongoing venue for advancing teaching and learning culture at Purdue.

Q. How do these meetings and the community help advance and transform learning at Purdue?

Fundator: Ultimately, ALCoP provides instructors with the space to connect with other instructors they may not likely cross paths with in other areas of their work. In these meetings, instructors share and learn from one another about topics related to active learning. Originally, ALCoP was created to help instructors adjust to the increased number of active-learning classrooms across campus. Together, we provided the chance for instructors to learn about the affordances of the classrooms, consider their own practices in relation to the variety of classrooms available around campus, and learn from others about how they help students learn and be engaged in these spaces.

Since the first year of ALCoP, we have expanded these monthly meetings to cover broader topics, such as active learning in online environments and gamification. Most recently, we are organizing a series of monthly meetings around the intersection of active learning, diversity, and inclusion to help instructors consider the ways in which they can engage all students in their courses. ALCoP is always responding to the needs and interests of the instructors who attend the meetings and the campus’ broader educational initiatives.

Q. What role does the PULSIS (Libraries) and PULSIS faculty and staff play in the community of practice, as well as in active learning at Purdue?

Fundator: The PULSIS has an important role to play in advancing active learning at Purdue and beyond. PULSIS faculty and staff are instructors of courses, contributors to faculty development programs like Instruction Matters Purdue Academic Course Transformation (IMPACT), representatives on faculty committees and organizations related to teaching, developers of online educational materials, overseers of the largest active-learning classroom building on campus, and researchers who engage in scholarship about the role of information in the learning process. We are ingrained in many aspects of teaching and learning, and serve as an important source of support for instructors interested in helping their students use information and data in better ways in their courses.

Our representative contributes to the organization of the community of practice, and several faculty and staff attend ALCoP sessions, where they make connections with and learn from other instructors they may not have had the opportunity to meet in other settings. PULSIS’ involvement in ALCoP is a natural extension of the way we contribute to advancing teaching and learning at Purdue through our partnerships with the CIE, TLT, and instructors.

IMPACT Data Science Education: Preparing Undergraduates to Lead into the Future

“IMPACT Data Science Education: Preparing Undergraduates to Lead into the Future” is a project awarded funding through Purdue University’s Integrative Data Science Initiative (IDSI). More information about the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies’ IDSI awarded projects is available at

by Yixuan Sun, Graduate Assistant, IMPACT Data Science, and Ph.D. Student, Mechanical Engineering

Yixuan Sun, Graduate Assistant, IMPACT Data Science, and Ph.D. Student, Mechanical Engineering

Yixuan Sun, Graduate Assistant, IMPACT Data Science, and Ph.D. Student, Mechanical Engineering

As we become increasingly dependent on data, data-driven work — such as data analysis, visualization, and predictive modeling — has never been more important across different fields. One of the projects of Purdue University’s Integrative Data Science Initiative (IDSI) is “IMPACT Data Science Education: Preparing Undergraduates to Lead into the Future,” which will contribute to the current data science education ecosystem at Purdue by helping faculty integrate data science into undergraduate courses.

The IMPACT Data Science team is comprised of six Purdue faculty and staff members who have expertise in data science, pedagogy, and instructional design. Led by Purdue University Libraries and School of Information (PULSIS) associate Professor Clarence Maybee, the project includes team members Guang Lin, associate professor, mathematics/mechanical engineering/statistics(courtesy)/earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences (courtesy) & director of Data Science Consulting Service; Wei Zakharov, assistant professor, PULSIS; Chao Cai, assistant professor, PULSIS; and Jason Fitzsimmons, instructional developer Center of Instructional Excellence (CIE).

Clarence Maybee

Dr. Clarence Maybee

The IMPACT Data Science project builds on successful Purdue programs, such as IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) and the Data Science Consulting Service. The purpose of the project is to create a sustainable and scalable course development process for integrating data science into undergraduate courses. The project will support six faculty members as they design innovative and engaging data science coursework to enable their students to develop a comprehensive high-level understanding of data science and its applications in their fields.

The IMPACT Data Science team will organize several major activities across the 2019-2020 academic year, which include:

  • selecting six faculty participants to participate in the project (participants must concurrently participate in the IMPACT program in spring 2020);
  • arranging four IMPACT Data Science working group meetings (during the spring 2020 semester), in which the participants will learn from other Purdue faculty who have successfully integrated data science into courses, as well as learn about specific data science tools and methods used in their disciplines; and
  • hosting a half-day IMPACT Data Science Summit (between May and July of 2020), during which the participants will share with the Purdue community their plans for integrating data science into their undergraduate courses.

The IMPACT Data Science project will have a significant impact on the students in the six undergraduate courses selected to participate in the project. Aligned with the learning goals of each course, students will gain the ability to conduct basic statistical analysis, data visualization and predictive modeling, which will provide a unique insight into the subject of the course.

Data science is essential for societal advancement, as it could unlock gateways to new research, technology, and commerce. Students equipped with basic data science knowledge will be more competitive in their careers and the IMPACT Data Science project offers a way for Purdue faculty to help the students succeed in their fields by integrating data science into undergraduate courses.

For more information about the IMPACT Data Science project, contact Yixuan Sun at, or Clarence Maybee (PI) at