Topics: Building Better Communities, Immersive Learning

June 6, 2008

Seminars at Ball State's Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry will examine sexual assault, virtual business, interdisciplinary business operations and honeybees.

Leading the seminars are four new Virginia Ball Center fellows for the 2008-09 academic year:

  • John McKillip, associate professor of biology
  • John Dailey, assistant professor of telecommunications/multimedia
  • Cecil Bohanon, professor of economics
  • Carolyn Walker, associate professor of elementary education

Fellows receive a summer stipend to prepare the seminar and recruit students. Each immersive learning seminar explores the connections among the arts, humanities, sciences and technology; creates a product to illustrate their collaborative research and interdisciplinary study; and presents the product to the community in a public forum.

Fall 2008

  • "State of Assault: A Comprehensive Forensic Analysis" - John McKillip and his students will immerse themselves in a victim-centered perspective on how sexual assault cases are handled by experts in forensics, nursing, law enforcement, DNA analysis, patient advocacy and legal prosecution. The seminar will develop a DVD that will outline the evolving needs and future trends in rape case management, including laboratory technologies and assault kit evidence collection protocol changes. The seminar's community sponsors include the Anderson Sexual Assault Treatment Center and the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency.
  • "LifeWerx: A Virtual World Made for Business" - John Dailey and his students will develop LifeWerx, a fully functional 3D simulated environment designed to enhance the everyday work experience. In cooperation with Ball State's Software Engineering Research Center, Ontario Systems Inc., Rockwell Collins Inc. and Sun Microsystems, Dailey and his students will design, model, construct, implement and test avatars and interface elements of a virtual world that could be used by anyone. The seminar will focus on employees with project-based work. LifeWerx will be a secure alternative to publicly available virtual worlds such as Second Life.

Spring 2009

  • "Putting the Pieces Together: The Big Picture of Business" - Cecil Bohanon and his students will work with the Innovation Connector to develop a documentary illustrating the importance of interdisciplinary and cross-functional thinking necessary in modern business by focusing on operations and decision making processes. Real world businesses use skills and insights from all the core disciplines inside and outside the Miller College of Business. The film will help business students and young professionals see the interrelated nature of these disciplines as they impact actual business operations.
  • "Learning About the HoneyBee: An Interactive Exhibit" - Carolyn Walker and her students will develop and install a children's interactive museum exhibit on the honeybee. The exhibit, which will include a science curriculum, will help children learn how the honeybee community works and how it contributes to the fertilization of our food supply and the larger environment. The exhibit will also raise questions about why in the last few years honeybees having been leaving their hives and exhibiting other unusual forms of behavior. The seminars' community partners are Burris School, the Minnetrista Cultural Center and the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.