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LittleFe Survey Reports

The LittleFe/BCCD group received support from NSF grants 1258604 and 1347089 to host Buildout sessions as part of the HPC Educators Program at the SC12 and SC13 conferences and as a pre-symposium event at the SIGCSE 2015 Symposium. Buildout sessions are one-, two-, or three-day activities where teams, each with faculty members and possibly their students from colleges and universities across the United States, spend the allotted time assembling their LittleFe cluster, installing the Bootable Cluster CD (BCCD) Linux distribution, and learning how to use and develop curriculum modules for the LittleFe/BCCD platform. NSF grant 1258604 also provided a modest amount of support to evaluate the success of the LittleFe Buildout sessions.

The project evaluation has two overall goals: (1) to assess the quality of the LittleFe/BCCD platform as a tool for teaching and learning parallel/distributed computing and computational science; and (2) to understand how we can improve the platform and make it more available and accessible to a broader audience. Because of time and budget constraints of the project, the main tools used for completing the project evaluation were online surveys. One set of surveys targeted faculty and students who participated in the SC12, SC13, and SIGCSE 2015 LittleFe Buildouts and who took the units they assembled back to their home institutions. A separate evaluation survey addressed the use of LittleFe/BCCD at those institutions, which includes the creation of new curriculum modules for the LittleFe/BCCD platform. This latter survey also targeted participants of other LittleFe Buildout events besides those at SC12, SC13, and SIGCSE 2015. Parallel with the surveys, the LittleFe/BCCD team collected reports from Buildout participants via Google Forms on their publication and outreach activities that involved the LittleFe/BCCD units.