School of Music faculty member wins first Open Innovation Challenge

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Ann Clements, associate professor of music education in the School of Music, was named the winner of the first annual Open Innovation Challenge. The Open Innovation Challenge is a high-profile speaking opportunity to present new innovative ideas about anything that enhances teaching and learning in higher education. Clements, whose idea involved creating a 3D Virtual Teaching Lab, was one of six finalists chosen from a pool of nearly 40 innovative ideas submitted to the challenge. The six finalists gave five-minute presentations to showcase their ideas as part of the 2015 TLT Symposium, held at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center on March 21. Attendees at the symposium then voted for the winner, choosing Clements’ idea.

Clements’ idea focused on building a 3D Virtual Reality Teaching Lab Oculus Rift, or similar device, a Leap Motion controller and an omnidirectional treadmill. This virtual reality lab would assist emerging and experienced teachers in refining and improving their teaching and interaction skills by providing them with extremely detailed feedback and the ability to virtually experience the same or similar experiences multiple times in a row. It will also provide teachers an opportunity to experience issues of disability and accessibility in ways that are simply not possible outside of virtual reality. As the winner of the Challenge, she will receive the opportunity to work with a team of educational technology experts to explore and develop the idea further.

Other finalists included:

  • Katie Kostohryz, assistant professor of counselor education; coordinator of counseling services, CEDAR Clinic, Penn State University Park.
  • Rungun Nathan, associate professor of engineering; program coordinator for mechanical engineering, Penn State Berks; Idea: “E-Collaborative Board: An Electronic Board for Group Involvement"
  • Andrew Peck, senior lecturer in psychology; associate director of undergraduate studies in psychology; director of the PRISM Research Group, Penn State University Park; Idea: “Choose Your Own Adventure Style Courses"
  • Sam Richards, senior lecturer in sociology; director of development, World in Conversation Center for Public Diplomacy, Penn State University Park; Idea: “Do I Want to Know What My Students are Really Thinking? Actually, I Do”
  • Marietta Scanlon, lecturer of engineering Penn State Berks; Idea: “Your Life is Your Lab”

For more information on the Open Innovation Challenge, please go to


Jamie Oberdick

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Department of Biomedical Engineering and Department of Chemical Engineering


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