ARCS Pilots

ARCS Pilots

The Academic and Research Computing Services (ARCS) team regularly performs trials of new technology in “real world” situations within HMC. By this we typically select a few faculty members to test out new technology in their course, and then ask for feedback about how it worked for them. We then investigate the practicality of implementing that new technology either across campus, or for select courses/classrooms.

We are always interested in finding new technology and tools that might be helpful to the college. If there is a particular technology that you know about, that we should investigate, or are looking for some technology that you saw online, at a conference, or even in a movie, submit an email to the ARCS team so that we can look into it.

To submit a request, please email

For a detailed look at one of our Pilots, visit our Pilot Spotlight.


  • Smart Sparrow – Smart Sparrow is a web-based platform for creating adaptive learning modules. Prof. Karl Haushalter worked with Elly Schofield to develop a module on enzyme kinetics for his Chemistry in Living Systems course that would otherwise have been an in-class lecture. Students could work through the module at their own pace, skipping sections that they were already familiar with.
  • SmartMarker – Several faculty members used the SmartMarker system, both the single color and multi-color versions, to capture their writing on the whiteboard. One of the differences of the SmartMarker system is that it also allows the instructor to stream their content to multiple users’ laptops or mobile devices.
  • Perusall – Perusall is a web-based, interactive platform for assigning readings such as digital textbooks and PDFs to students. Students can annotate the readings and respond asynchronously to each other’s questions. Two faculty members, one in Chemistry and one in Engineering, experimented with Perusall in the Spring semester.

2016 Pilots

  • Canvas  We had 5 courses using Canvas instead of Sakai for their course. The goal of this was to see how well these courses worked with this different platform and how the faculty and students liked it in comparison to Sakai.
  • Yuja – We had 2 courses use YuJa to handle the capture, distribution, and discussion of video content in a single place. The goal was to see whether or not this was a viable platform to use long-term.
  • Wireless Projection (continued) – In 2016 we expanded the pilot from the three SCTL to include all of the CIS meeting spaces and two of the Hoch-Shanahan Private Dining Rooms (Mudd & Mitchell). The devices were narrowed down to the AppleTV and MS WiDi adapter.

2015 Pilots

  • Wireless Projection – Using three different wireless display technologies, we installed an AppleTV, Microsoft WiDi adapter, and a Wireless HDMI device into Shanahan 2450, 2454, and 2460. We asked faculty that were using the rooms to try out the different devices and let us know what they thought about each.
  • Digital Badges – Seven Digital Badges were created between two categories: Scientific Computing and Faculty Development. Students and Faculty participated in workshops and evaluations to earn the digital badges. For certification and distribution the ARCS team used The team also presented two Bite of Learnings about the pilot.
  • Interactive Surfaces: SMARTBoard/Perceptive Pixel – The SMARTBoard was placed in Shanahan 2560 for the year where we had a few faculty members use it for their classes, as opposed to writing on a white board or their tablets. The Perceptive Pixel was placed in the Sprague Learning Center’s first floor area where students could use it in their course work, and other activities.
  • Cloud Computing – During summer 2015, we tested Azure and Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud computing resources for research computing (HPC) needs. The target application for this pilot was Materials Studio, a software package for modeling and simulating the relationships of a material’s atomic and molecular structure.