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3D Printing for Science and Cats

Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Center for Online Learning and Innovation (COLI) are proud to support Dr. Malini Suchak’s research on cat life in animal shelters.

Dr. Suchak, associate professor in our Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation (ABEC), and Anthrozoology programs, employs advanced micro-accelerometers to monitor cat behaviors.  Mike Szymendera in ITS carefully modified the microelectronic components so that the accelerometers can be powered by tiny but efficient batteries, as well as provided COLI guidance on case design.  Tyler Kron-Piatek in COLI designed sturdy, lightweight cases in CAD software.  COLI’s printers, Rigby and Mordecai, each printed examples of the cases, which both protect the accelerometer kits as well as attach them securely to cat collars.  The result is custom scientific instruments that measure cat movements–but don’t slow cats down!

Here is a short video highlighting the project:

Pope Francis, in reflecting on St. Francis of Assisi’s ministry, counsels us that centering, caring for, and providing for our fellow creatures may “take us to the heart of what it is to be human.”  With data drawn from her cat-collar instrumentation, Dr. Suchak’s research supports better care for cats as they transition through animal shelters.

Submitted by: Mark Gallimore, COLI

3D Printing for Academics

In the past week, the Center for Online Learning and Innovation (COLI)’s two 3D printers have been hard at work!  In his PHY104 class, Mike Wood, PhD, chair of the Quantitative Sciences Department, has introduced students to computer-aided design process for 3D printing, and the students have drawn up some creative digital work for our printers (named Rigby and Mordecai).  Each student designs the object and draws it in a web-based application called Tinkercad.  These drawings are then processed in a second application called a slicer, which translates the digital drawing so Rigby or Mordecai can print it.  Finally, the printers create the physical object by adding hot plastic, fed from spools of thin filament, to a build plate.  The object “grows” up from the plate over a period of several hours.

3D Printing, or “additive manufacturing,” is a new process used in a variety of industries, healthcare, and education.  Our little printers have bigger (and more expensive) cousins working at advanced technology firms, such as Moog, Inc., here in Buffalo.  Faculty at various levels in education use 3D printing to produce teaching aids, models, and replica artifacts.

We can’t wait to present students with the physical version of their digital art!  Thank you, Dr. Wood, for introducing students to an important and growing field of engineering and artistic creativity, and for providing COLI an opportunity to print for your students!

Submitted by: Mark Gallimore, director, COLI

Summer Faculty Development Week


On August 16 – 20, the Center for Online Learning and Innovation and the Office of Academic Affairs will host Summer 2021 Faculty Development Week!  

Join your colleagues on campus for faculty-led workshops. You can view and register for the many workshops planned for this Faculty Development Week at this link, including dates and times.  Space is limited, so register today!

Lunch will be served in the Old Main Faculty Lounge, and after-hours events include an appetizer gathering on Monday afternoon, and family cookout on Thursday evening.

Submitted by: Mark Gallimore, director of COLI, Online Learning and Innovation Center


COLI is Here to Help

COLI Dome Logo
The Center for Online Learning & Innovation (COLI) produces a variety of technology support resources for faculty.  At any time, you can see what we have by going to our wiki space, at  You can find information on our regular workshops, book a consultation meeting with our staff and find our blog and YouTube channel.

As always, if you have any questions concerning technology for teaching, learning and research, set up a one-on-one virtual or in-person consultation with us!

Submitted by: Mark Gallimore, PhD, instructional designer, COLI

New Look n’ Feel Coming for Desire2Learn!

D2L_COLIDesire2Learn is getting a new interface once the spring semester is completed.  While the changes appear extensive, so far it seems Desire2Learn’s developers aren’t changing the layout as much as they are simplifying screens.  This optimizes D2L for tablets but also may make finding things a little easier.  Layouts within certain toolsets will probably change but this is to make features and options more obvious to instructors.

Check out our preview video here!

COLI Quick Tip! YouTube is more useful–and usable–than you might think!

Submitted by: Mark Gallimore, PhD, instructional designer, COLI