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Research Experiences for Undergraduates

by schrod69 — last modified Jun 19, 2012 11:50 AM

2011 REU in CS online learning environments
(June 1 - July 27)


NSF Award Number 0851569

Faculty Investigators: David Furcy, 920-424-1182,, Tom Naps, 920-424-1388,, George Thomas, 920-424-2069,

Are you eligible? Please read these NSF eligibility rules. All students accepted into the program will be required to provide proof of U. S. citizenship or permanent residency.

Four-step application process described below. Applications are due no later than Feb. 28. Applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions no later than March 28.

The enormous growth of open source software presents both challenges and opportunities for computer science research and education. Preparation for careers in computing will require new ways of thinking about software design that meet the needs of the open source community. The overarching theme of this Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site is the improvement of computer science instruction through the development of more effective open source online learning systems that address the unique requirements of computer science. The JHAVÉ algorithm visualization project, based at the REU site, is a highly interactive approach to online learning in computer science and will provide the foundation for the open source exploration. Within that context, projects will allow participants to engage in the complete development cycle of a research project involving algorithm visualization:

  • Initial conceptual design of the visualization to be created
  • Implementation of that design using the object-oriented framework of JHAVÉ
  • Authoring of hyper-textbook instructional material for learners who use the visualization
  • Design of a controlled experiment intended to assess the effectiveness of the visualization in helping other students learn the algorithm that is visualized
  • Authoring a paper describing the research
  • Developing a use-case video to illustrate to learners how to use the artifacts that were developed in the project
  • Creating a research poster that is presented to other participants and visiting collaborators in a mini-symposium at the end of the eight-week period

Sample videos showcasing the work done by two of last year's research teams are available for viewing -- VIBE research team and Sutherland-Hodgman research team. Additionally the VIBES research team (Will Clements, Caitlyn Pickens, and Cory Sheeley) had their research poster accepted for presentation at the recent ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium. The work of the Sutherlan-Hodgman research team (Alejnadro Carrasquilla and Shawn Recker) was one of two award winners for "best algorithm visualization" in the 2011 voting conducted at

Projects will incorporate interdisciplinary perspectives from computer science, software engineering, and education. Students from the computing disciplines are encouraged to apply, but our research projects also offer opportunities for educational psychology and education majors with strong computing backgrounds, specifically at least two semesters of object-oriented programming in Java.

Through a variety of ongoing collaborations between the faculty mentors at UW Oshkosh and other developers worldwide, JHAVÉ has already proven itself to be interoperable with a variety of automated assessment, course management, and hyper-textbook systems. Our REU program will focus on efforts to continue this interoperability and integration among systems. The developers on several of these other projects -- for example, Lab-centric instruction (WISE project) at UC-Berkeley, the Algo Viz Wiki at Virginia Tech, Jawaa at Duke, Animal at Darmstadt Technical University, Xaal and Matrix at the Helsinki University of Technology -- will collaborate with our participants both electronically and by visiting in person. The participants will become integral members of the very active open source software community currently working on these projects.

This summer's program will start on June 1st, 2011 and run through July 27, 2011. Participants will receive stipends of at least $4000 for the eight-week period, travel expenses, and complete support for on-campus lodging and food.  Additional funds up to $1000 will be provided for those participants who extend their research project by continuing to work on it after departing Oshkosh and consequently submitting it to one of several possible external venues.


Application Process

The first step in the application process requires that you complete a general online form used in common by many Computer Science REU sites.

After you complete that online form, you must then send to Tom Naps (, the project director for the UW Oshkosh site, the following three items:

  • A single-spaced statement between one and two pages in which you address your career intentions, how graduate school might play into those intentions, and how the project described in the summary above would be a good fit for those intentions. Statements that fail to explicitly address these points will not be considered.
  • A copy of your transcripts -- unofficial copy is OK.
  • A letter of reference/support from a faculty member. This letter must be sent directly by the author of the letter, not by the applicant -- please be sure that you inform the faculty member who will write the letter of your desire to have a letter sent to us and of the Feb. 28 deadline for the letter.

If it is not possible to send these three items as email attachments to Tom Naps at, they may also be sent by postal mail to the following address:

Tom Naps
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901
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by schrod69 — last modified Jun 19, 2012 11:50 AM
Contact Us

Computer Science Department
UW Oshkosh
800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901

Phone: (920) 424-2068
Fax: (920) 424-0045
Building: Halsey Science Hall

Rooms: 229 (general office), 221 (David Furcy, co-chair), 214 (Tom Naps, co-chair)

Email: Send mail to co-chairs at