I wanted to share with you this very interesting article about Purdue University's and the National Science Foundations's nanoHUB site, an online portal for nanotechnology researchers, instructors, and students created by Purdue University and the NSF.
This "authentic learning case study" is an EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) white paper published in early August. This is an amazing virtual toolkit where students and faculty contribute to the science of nanotechnology and perform experiments without downloading software. But more than that, I felt it was a great article that shows how a project that started out as a collaboration and research tool serving faculty has now also developed into a robust teaching and learning site as well.
The nanoHUB portal enables users to access scientific tools for research, demonstration and collaboration and as a resource to lectures, workshops, curricula, simulations, animations, videos and podcasts. Registration for a username and password is free and open to the public with more than 19,000 users in 2006 and so far in 2007, more than 1000 national and international researchers each month according to the article. The majority of users come from academia - either, students, faculty or staff.
I really liked the emphasis on collaboration, creating user groups and easy content or tool contribution. I don't know if you have heard about this project since nanoHUB has been around since its launch in 2003, but with this new ELI article spotlighting the site, you may want to revisit. nanoHUB certainly got me excited about nanotechnology.