Campus Technology magazine picks Hotseat, DoubleTake and Mixable as top innovations for 2012

June 1, 2012

The Hotseat, Mixable and DoubleTake team. Bottom row, from left: Dunstan Mashiku, web application programmer; Michele Rund, senior web designer/developer; Casey Wright, web application programmer; Alex Kingman, senior web application programmer; Buddy Favors, web application programmer; Brianna Lencke, web designer/developer. Top row, from left: Kevin O'Shea, educational technologist; Will Grauvogel, web application programmer; Jason Fish, manager of application programming; Kyle Bowen, director of Informatics; Josh Davis, web application programmer; Devin Lamb, web application programmer.

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Campus Technology magazine is recognizing Purdue as an international campus technology innovator for Hotseat, Mixable and DoubleTake, three mobile applications that bolster engagement inside and outside the classroom using technology already integral to students.

The annual awards recognize higher education institutions for initiatives in educational technology that are models for other schools. Purdue has won six of the awards since 2006, all for technologies developed by Purdue's IT staff.

Purdue is among 10 award winners for 2012 selected out of 354 nominations from higher education institutions worldwide. The winners are highlighted on and will be featured at the magazine's Campus Technology 2012 conference July 16-19 in Boston and in its July print edition.

Gerry McCartney, Purdue's vice president for information technology, chief information officer and Olga Oesterle England Professor of Information Technology, says IT organizations have reached a point where they must become innovators instead of builders, and Purdue's mobile applications result from that mindset.

"We have been able to make the transition from builders to innovators at Purdue not just because we have many smart and creative people - that's true of nearly every university campus - but because we've been able to create an environment focused on innovation," McCartney says. "For example, when we released Hotseat, our classroom discussion tool, we had our own ideas about how a faculty member might use it. But we've found that faculty are using it to engage students in ways that never occurred to us. When people invest their own creativity into a technology to make it better, that's a great sign that the technology truly is innovative."

Hotseat uses student comments and a Twitter-like forum to enhance classroom discussion. Suddenly, every student can comment in class and may do so without interrupting the lecture's flow. Mixable connects students to their classmates by allowing them to create online study groups and share class materials automatically and securely on Facebook. DoubleTake is a mobile video system that allows students to capture, share and watch videos from virtually anywhere using their smartphones. The DoubleTake system also includes a Web interface where videos can be uploaded in various formats and shared with others, including instructors, or the world.

Kyle Bowen, director of Informatics, the IT team that created the applications, says modern technology, including mobile technology and social media, is changing how business is done in almost every area.

"But before now, classrooms have not benefited from these changes," Bowen says. "Through partnering with creative faculty members, Purdue is developing a portfolio of technologies for classrooms that engage students and contribute to their success. We see this award as validation for the concept of technology's role in the classroom as well as recognition of the innovative work of the team."

Bowen says Purdue is negotiating with McGraw-Hill on a licensing agreement to deliver Hotseat to the global education market. Licensing of some of the other applications is anticipated.

"Purdue's suite of mobile applications has harnessed the power of social media and mobile technologies to boost engagement, collaboration and student success, all within an educational context," says Andrew Barbour, executive editor of Campus Technology. "We are also impressed by the university's efforts to share its innovations with the higher education community."

This is the fourth year in a row Purdue has won at least one of the awards. The 2011 awards were for Signals, an early warning system that helps students succeed in their coursework, and HUBzero, a web-based platform allowing researchers to collaborate using computational models to study complex problems. The 2010 award was for the Community Cluster Program, a cooperative effort with faculty members to build supercomputers that now rank Purdue's research computing resources in the top five nationally among academic institutions. The 2009 award was for DiaGrid, a distributed computing system in which Purdue and partners on other campuses link idle computers in offices, student computing labs and elsewhere together for major research jobs. Purdue also won in 2006 for its visualization and virtual reality facility, the Envision Center for Data Perceptualization.
Writer: Andrea Thomas, ITaP technology writer, 765-496-8204,

Sources: Kyle Bowen, 765-496-7486,

                  Gerry McCartney, 765-496-2270,