The SPINEL Lab and its members create real-world impact in many ways. Here’s just some of what we’ve been up to!

[Outreach] Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation and Michigan Tech Intro to Programming
(2021) As part of a collaboration between the College of Computing at Michigan Tech, Ford, and The Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Briana facilitated a special section of Michigan Tech’s Intro to Programming course for dual-enrolled students attending virtually from Detroit. This unique opportunity allowed students to receive college credit from Michigan Tech while at distance. Our design-based mindset encouraged constant consideration of how best to serve these students, and our observe/redesign/test cycle allowed us to quickly adapt and pivot as new needs and considerations arose.

[Grant] NSF EAGER SAI: Illuminated Devices
(2021) As Co-PI on an interdisciplinary team from Computer Science and Cognitive and Learning Sciences, we received funds as part of the strengthening American Infrastructure grant to conduct the research project “Illuminated Devices”. This project will use design-based research approaches to develop a digital portal, which can be checked out from local libraries in order to have access from anywhere to a human digital tutor who can aid with technology based questions. The goal of this work is to empower more people with the skills to use and understand the technologies they need to use, wherever they are. (Details of Award @ Research.Gov)

[Course] Punk Programmers: Curricula for Culturally Competent Computing
(2021) As part of the 3C Fellows Program at Duke, Briana designed a deliverable based on the principles of design and empowerment that surround the research lab. Her upper level culturally competent computing course is divided into two parts: the first half focusing on a big idea in computing alongside a cultural competency topic, and the second half applying those conversations to specifically targeted applications of technology for present and future. The course is designed with a unique flavor of “punk programmers”, chosen to encourage new demographics to engage with these ideas through an evocative curricular design.

[Grant] IDEAHub Innovations in Engineering Fundamentals
(2020) In collaboration with an interdisciplinary team from Computer Science, Cognitive and Learning Sciences, and Engineering Fundamentals, we received funds to design interventions and investigate their impact in the Engineering Fundamentals course at Michigan Technological University. The goal of our efforts is to help engineering students better understand the value of MATLAB programming skills they learn as part of their engineering curricula.