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About this Project

The project is developing, implementing, and assessing an advanced interactive landform simulator that engages undergraduate students in game-like guided inquiry of the interactions between river and hillslope processes and landscape formation. It is building on the successful WILSIM project at Northern Illinois University, with major upgrades including

  1. A shift from cellular automata to a physically based model,
  2. Design-based and pedagogical improvements to the GUI and output formats, and
  3. A shift from hypothetical to "real-world" landscapes, specifically the evolution of the Grand Canyon over the past 10 million years.

Curriculum development and testing are targeting introductory students at four-year institutions and at community colleges, and are being performed in collaboration with the College of Lake County (IL).

The landform simulator enhances student learning about both landform processes and approaches to numerical modeling in the geosciences. The web-based nature of the simulator allows ready adoption of the approach across institutions, and curricular materials are being developed for dissemination through web portals, conferences and professional organizations. The project is also actively working to engage students from groups underrepresented in geoscience courses and careers.

Project Team

Dr. Wei Luo, PI, Department of Geography, Northern Illinois University (contact: wluo@niu.edu, (815) 753-6828)
Dr. Jon Pelletier, Co-PI, Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona
Dr. Kirk Duffin, Co-PI, Department of Computer Science, Northern Illinois University

Dr. Wei-chen Hung, Educational Technology, Research and Assessment, Northern Illinois University
Ellen Iverson, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College
Dr. Carol Ormand, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College
Dr. David Shernoff, Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations, Northern Illinois University
Dr. Xiaoming Zhai, Department of Earth Science, College of Lake County

Anjana Chowdary, Graduate Assistant, Department of Computer Science, Northern Illinois University


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