Letter From the Director: Support for Instructors

Dear Colleagues,

Now that the spring semester is over and you have submitted your grades, I am writing to let you know about some FREE tools and services that the Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research (ICER) provides for MSU instructors who are interested in increasing the amount of computation or data analysis/data science in their courses or other educational endeavors (such as workshops or student organization activities).  Specifically, ICER can:

  • Provide your class with access to OnDemand (ondemand.hpcc.msu.edu), a web-based portal to use Python via Jupyter notebooks (including data science/machine learning libraries such as TensorFlow), an RStudio environment, Matlab, Stata, and an interactive Linux desktop environment that includes many standard software packages.  OnDemand users have access to all of ICER’s file systems as well as all computing resources.

  • Create shared directories on ICER’s high performance file system where you can store large shared datasets and/or where your students can collaborate, and help you transfer data to and from the system.  Individual directories and files can be made “read only” so that students cannot accidentally destroy data.

  • Install software specifically for your course, for access by your students.

  • Offer training on all of these resources to your students, either in class via mini-workshops (e.g., on OnDemand, the Linux command line, using the High Performance Computing Center) or via our asynchronous Desire2Learn-based training modules.  The D2L modules also include assessment items to measure student mastery of the materials.

  • Provide reservations for computing resources during class or at other specific times of the day or semester, so that your students can instantly have access to the resources they need to do their assignments.

  • Provide support to instructors and teaching assistants both prior to the semester and while classes are underway to ensure that you are ready to use the resources described above, and to quickly deal with any problems you may encounter while doing so.

We may also be able to provide other types of support for instructors interested in using computation or data analysis in your instructional activities, or direct you to the unit(s) on campus that can meet those needs.

If you are interested in requesting instructional support from ICER, or discussing ideas about how to do so, please go to https://contact.icer.msu.edu/contact and fill out a message with the subject line of “Instructional Support.”

We look forward to working with you to support all of your educational endeavors!

Brian O’Shea
Director, ICER