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.


  • Lightboard – Over the summer, James Sadler built a Lightboard based on online plans. The Lightboard allows for more compelling instructional videos, having the presenter to draw/write on glass between them and the camera. James is currently looking into ways that this could be used for online classes easily for faculty.
  • Screencastify – The ARCS team tested a web based screen capture software called Screencastify that allows users to record their desktop and/or a web camera easily. Videos are saved directly to their Google Drive. One of the key benefits of the platform is the ability to make edits to the videos without installing any kind of editing software.


  • Jupyter Notebook – An open-source web application to create interactive documents containing live code and its interactive output, narrative text, equations and visualizations. It supports 40 languages and can be used as a substitute for editors such as VSCode. Used by several professors in classes including Prof. Timothy Tsai.
  • Google Collab – Jupyter notebook based cloud computing provided for free by Google with certain limitations on runtime. Used by Prof. Liz Connolly. A Bite of Learning presentation was given by the faculty in October of 2019


  • Gradescope – Gradescope, a web platform that makes online grading faster and easier for faculty, had been used by the Computer Science department for several years. ARCS sponsored a pilot with faculty from several other departments in 2018. The pilot led to the purchase of an institutional license in 2019.
  • Autocaptioning – With the growing need to caption more videos, James Sadler developed a set of scripts that send those videos through cloud based Speech-to-Text services, like Google Cloud, Amazon ECS, IBM Watson, and Microsoft Azure. The output of these would then be converted to a standard subtitle format. The purpose was to analyze how accurate the results were compared to human captioning services, and the costs of materials such as a course syllabus, Github learning resources, and a student feedback survey for this course.
  • Hololens – James Sadler was lent a Microsoft Hololens to discover how Augmented Reality could be used in a class space. He created a presentation viewer that allowed users to walk through a real space and view virtual posters and slide shows.rn, Chukwudi Oguejiofor, worked with the HMC Teaching and Learning committee to visualize data collected through the Workload and Health at Mudd (WHAM) surveys using Tableau.
  • Omeka – After the success of using the Library’s Scalar platform in an HSA course, the ARCS team attended training for Omeka at the Library. Omeka is a web-based platform for hosting virtual museum exhibits.


  • 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.he audiovisual systems during the renovation of the Galileo Auditoria. This included the video projection, assisted listening, lecture capture, and audio distribution systems.
  • 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 35.


  • 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.


  • 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.