The recognition came from the American Council of Education and the AT&T Foundation.
In explaining the honor for the GVSU-Upsala Runestone computer program, Barbara Turlington, director of the International Education for the council, said:
“Our readers were impressed with the ways in which Grand Valley State has been able to involve its students in teams with students at Uppsala University in designing and building a distributed hardware system.”
She explained that the purpose of the award was to recognize and publicize the innovative use of technology to enhance U.S. undergraduates’ international learning.
The course is a joint project between the two universities and is the capstone course for students majoring in GVSU’s computer science program.
The students work in teams of six people — three here and three at Upsala.
Working together in different languages — and across half a continent plus the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea — the students design and build Lego robots that they then control over the Internet from a remote location.
Not only do students build the robots, but they also build the user interface that controls them and the server that relays the robots’ commands.
According to D. Robert Adams, the assistant professor who runs the program at GVSU, the setup provides a lesson in working as part of a design team in remote locations —something that is now quite common in the real world.