By Dave Cillay, Academic Outreach and Innovation

Back in October, we explained what AOI is, and gave you a snapshot of some of the new projects and initiatives we are working on. We are back with additional updates to demonstrate more of the ways the AOI team uses technology and innovative strategies to enrich learning for WSU students. But first, here’s a quick review:

AOI stands for Academic Outreach and Innovation, which is the division of the university that champions and supports the use of academic technology in a variety of teaching and learning contexts — traditional classrooms, online courses and video conferencing courses. AOI is the home of Global Campus, Learning Innovations, Learn365, Professional Education, and a wide variety of other enterprising programs and initiatives.

With that, here are a few more AOI projects and program highlights:

Technological Artistry: “Artists in Residency” at the Spark

One of AOI’s most forward-looking achievements is the Spark Academic Innovation Hub, a state‑of‑the‑art facility dedicated to bringing the learning experience into the 21st century. Opened on the Pullman campus last year, the building boasts cutting‑edge technology and innovatively designed classrooms and learning spaces.

Starting in the Fall 2018 semester, AOI has given students the unique opportunity to use the Spark’s cutting‑edge 3D fabrication technology to create one‑of‑a‑kind works of art.

Known as “Artists in Residency,” this initiative gives undergraduate students enrolled in Fine Arts 351 and 363 the ability to conceptualize, design and fabricate unique artistic creations using 3D printing, laser cutting and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) 3D routing equipment in the Spark’s design studio.

“We often think of technology like 3D fabrication tools being used for industrial or engineering purposes,” said Jon Manwaring, AOI’s Assistant Director of Academic Media Services. “We wanted students to be able to broaden their horizons by using this technology in creative and artistic ways as well.”

Along with gaining hands‑on experience in using these technological innovations, students also learn about the process of conceptualizing and marketing their artistic creations, a valuable skill for those who might wish to become professional artists after graduation.

Giving new students a “Summer Advantage”

In addition to innovative technology, AOI also works to provide enriching learning experiences to students year‑round with programs like Summer Advantage.

Part of AOI’s Learn365, the six‑week program allows newly‑admitted first year students to live on the Pullman campus in the summer before their first fall semester, giving them the opportunity to take condensed courses and acclimate to college life.