Research projects

Future work and learning research projects focus on all human-technology interactions

This is the second in a series of articles outlining and updating the college’s sociotechnical research impact areas for 2021-2022.

Purdue Polytechnic faculty collaborated to explore the intersection between learning and working in the context of technology. Through new approaches to education and training and workforce development, their ongoing research aims to empower employees to take charge of their careers and become professionals and members of active and prosperous society. The research team’s area is titled Future Work and Learning, one of the college’s three research impact areas.

Faculty participating in this impact area bring diverse perspectives to their research, including computational thinking and e-learning.

Paul Asunda and Luciana Debs, Co-Leads of Future Work and Learning Research Impact AreaDuring 2021-2022, the Future Work and Learning (FWL) research team plans to continue on the same path first charted in 2018.

“The focus of our research impact area has not changed since our team was formed,” said Paul Asunda, associate professor of technology leadership and innovation and co-lead of the impact area of FWL research. “We look at the future of work and learning from a broad lens, examining recent advances in both areas and their direct and indirect impacts.”

The research team has three main goals, Asunda said:

  • Create a community of researchers

  • Advancing École Polytechnique’s global research efforts

  • Maximizing the potential of faculty members through mentoring

Notable recent projects and grants

Asunda said the team’s collective work has been important to the college, and he provided several examples of their efforts and research.

Mesut Akdere, professor of human resource development and Purdue Polytechnic’s acting associate dean for research, has shared his expertise in human resources through several grants focused on the impact of integrating higher levels of technology on the workplace. His contribution highlighted the need for continuous improvement of soft skills and communication in educational and industrial environments.

Akdere is working on a variety of funded research projects, including virtual reality training simulations to advance agricultural safety programs, cyber resilience adaptive virtual reality experiments, developing business communication skills in training for manufacturing technicians and a program to promote innovation and foster entrepreneurship among Turks. young people from the eastern region of Marmara who have obtained or are pursuing technical studies.

Lisa Bosman, assistant professor of technology leadership and innovation, has received over $1 million in research grants over the past few months. The first grant focuses on applied energy research projects that incorporate customer discovery through the development of an entrepreneurial spirit. She will collaborate with Sunghwan Lee and Jason Ostanek, assistant professors of engineering technology, and Jose Garcia Bravo and Daniel Leon-Salas, associate professors of engineering technology. The project will provide thirty undergraduate students with applied research experience focused on entrepreneurship. Funding came from the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.

Bosman has received two KEEN (Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network) scholarships, each focused on the professional development of engineering professors. Bosman and Nathalie Duval-Couetil, Professor of Technology Leadership and Innovation, will train 64 engineering teachers to bring entrepreneurship into the classroom.

Bosman also received a LASER (Long-term Assistance and SErvices for Research) PULSE (Partners for University-Led Solutions Engine) grant to teach entrepreneurship to young people in Ethiopia.

Vetria Byrd, assistant professor of computer graphics technology, and a multidisciplinary research team have received a five-year, $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation to create I-GUIDE, a new institute for data-driven scientific research geospatial. She will focus on the education and workforce development goals of I-GUIDE, including understanding, learning and connecting with communities of practice, designing connections to the I-GUIDE platform to support research-related learning pathways and the development of innovative teaching and training activities for convergence science education.

“It’s exciting to be part of such an impactful initiative that leverages Purdue’s expertise in GIS (geographic information systems), artificial intelligence, data visualization and data science, aimed at bridging disciplinary divides in digital data,” said Byrd.

Julius Keller, assistant professor of aviation technology, worked with students Aaron Teo and Erik Levin on a research project focused on alleviating fatigue in professional flight students. The team has created a training course specific to collegiate pilots available through Purdue’s online professional certificates, and they hope it will soon be offered by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The research of Alejandra Magana, WC Furnas Professor of Business Excellence, on improving engineering and technology education has been recognized with numerous awards and her research results and collaborations, has said Asunda. “Dr. Magana and other tenured faculty in our research impact area provide essential support and mentorship to other faculty in the group.

Alejandra Magana (standing), working with graduate research assistants.  (Photo provided)

Greg Strimel, assistant professor of engineering technology teacher education, collaborated with Sascha Harrell, director of workforce development and education for Purdue’s Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC ), about creating a long-term research project to explore how industry and education can work together to change children’s perceptions of manufacturing careers, and how giving students consistent access to Industry 4.0 technologies can impact their career choices.

Strimel also received a Purdue Exceptional Early Career Teaching Award for his work developing École Polytechnique’s Design and Innovation minor.

Jin Wei-Kocsis, assistant professor of computer science and information technology, works to develop a resilient and cognitive data-driven network management architecture using deep learning (DL), the defined network software-defined radio (SDN) and software-defined radio (SDR). ) technologies for NASA space exploration. Its NASA Early Career Faculty project aims to advance the autonomy, environmental awareness, and intelligence of NASA’s deep space network and improve the resilience and scalability of NASA’s space communications system.

Wei-Kocsis is also studying cybersecurity education in the age of artificial intelligence, working with Baijian “Justin” Yang, professor of computer science and information technology, and Tonglin Zhang.

“Recent research has demonstrated that artificial intelligence (AI) techniques can be manipulated, evaded and misled,” Wei-Kocsis said. “While progress has been made to better understand the reliability and safety of AI techniques, little has been done to translate this knowledge into education and training. Fostering a skilled cybersecurity workforce that understands the usefulness, limitations, and best practices of AI technologies in cybersecurity is essential.

A focus on the use of technology in industry is common to all schools and academic departments at Purdue Polytechnic.

“Purdue Polytechnic prides itself on using and applying new and more effective learning methods,” said Luciana Debs, assistant professor of construction management technology and co-lead of the FWL research impact area. . “Human-technology interaction is integral to everything we learn and study, so our area of ​​research impact on future work and learning is truly at the heart of what Purdue Polytechnic does.”

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