Assistant Professor Brian Levine has been selected as a University of Massachusetts Lilly Teaching Fellow for the 2003-2004 academic year. Acceptance into the Lilly program is highly competitive, with about 30 applications each year for only eight awards. This award program, established in 1986, enables promising junior faculty to cultivate teaching excellence.
The Lilly Teaching Fellow Program is run by the UMass Center for Teaching (CFT). A year-long collaboration with the CFT on individual projects typically involves developing or redesigning a course, and gathering at an ongoing series of meetings in which each year's Fellows share ideas and experiences related to the endeavor of teaching at the college level.
Levine’s Lilly project will be to address the problem of creating new undergraduate courses for which there are currently no appropriate textbooks. His approach will be based on the use of collaborative wiki web sites. A “wiki” is a web site specifically designed so that content can be added extremely quickly by students, even non-computer scientists. During the semester, as the class gathers sources and gains experience in the new course content, students will add to topics on the web site based on what they have learned. “My aim is to create an on-line community-based textbook for the course so that I can offer the class to more students in the following year,” says Levine. Levine has already started this process as a trial with graduate students by co-teaching the Systems Building for Mobile Devices course (CMPSCI 691Q) with previous Lilly Fellow Assistant Professor Prashant Shenoy.
Many of the Department’s curricular offerings have emerged from previous Lilly projects, including Introduction to Computation (CMPSCI 250), Introduction to Algorithms (311), Operating Systems (377), Compilers (410), Databases (445), and Computer Networks (453). Previous Lilly Teaching Fellows in the Department include Prashant Shenoy (2001-2002), James Allan (1999-2000), Ramesh Sitaraman (1996-1997), David Mix Barrington (1994-1995), Jim Kurose (1993-1994), and Eliot Moss (1991-1992).