Phys .org: Team creates game-based virtual archaeology field school. “Before they can get started at their field site—a giant cave studded with stalactites, stalagmites and human artifacts—15 undergraduate students must figure out how to use their virtual hands and tools. They also must learn to teleport. This is ANTH 399, a course designed to bring the archaeological field school experience to undergraduate students who never leave campus. Designed by University of Illinois professors and computer science graduate students, the course satisfies the field school requirement for those pursuing an archaeology degree at Illinois.”
Illinois News Bureau: 100 years of architecture student design work to be preserved, archived. “The history of architecture education at the University of Illinois – and of architectural styles and cultural values over a 100-year period – sits behind a low doorway into a flood-prone basement room in the Architecture Building…. Architecture professor Marci Uihlein is working with University Archives and the University Library’s Preservation Services to catalog 1,600 drawings representing 775 student projects, do any necessary preservation work and move them to the Archives’ collections.”
Fast Company: The first map of America’s food supply chain is mind-boggling. “My team at the University of Illinois just developed the first high-resolution map of the U.S. food supply chain. Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S.—grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items.” I don’t want to get into a whole compare/contrast thing, but I do want to note that Arizona State University released a food supply chain tool in April.
New-to-me, from Forbes: Scientific Visualizations For Teaching Used To Mean Plaster Models. “In March 2005 during renovations to the third-floor flooring of the University of Illinois’ mathematics department building, around 170 of the campus’ mathematics models were temporarily removed from their cases. This provided the opportunity to create a series of more than 2,200 high resolution photographs preserving the incredibly intricate and complex designs of the models, as well as showcasing the enormous variety of their designs.”
Illinois Aces: You say Cairo, I say Cairo: New online resource provides audio pronunciation of Illinois places and landmarks. “A University of Illinois agricultural communications researcher and her students have created an online resource that offers proper audio pronunciation examples of places and landmarks across the state of Illinois. The tool was designed not only for broadcasters or news anchors, but for anyone publicly speaking about places in Illinois. And, of course, those curious about Illinois will also enjoy using the tool.”
LMT Online: U of I team studying spread of information on social media. “University of Illinois researchers are using a $4 million grant to study how information moves across social media, affecting people’s beliefs and shaping events. Computer Science Professor Tarek Abdelzaher (TAR’-ek AHB’-del-zah-hair) is leading a team that received a five-year grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The team has been modeling information spread on Instagram and Twitter and will study other platforms.”
The News-Gazette: In its 58th year, UI’s Dial-a-Carol embracing social media. “It takes focus to sing ‘Feliz Navidad'” when people 3 feet away are belting out ‘Santa Baby,’ ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ and the ‘Dreidel Song’ — all at once. Just another day’s work for the volunteers at Dial-a-Carol, the 57-year-old tradition at the University of Illinois.” This is really charming. You do not have to be at UI or even in Illinois to call them.