The goal of CABPortal is to serve as a meeting place and repository for interdisciplinary and community-engaged collaboration and research. There are many academic collaborative models in existence today. CABPortal is home to numerous projects that utilize a collection of these models. Collaborative models being studied and implemented now, are built on previous years of collaborative engagement and research.
What distinguishes the CAB model from other collaborative computing models is its incorporation of a community partner into the endeavor of interdisciplinary learning. Utilizing the CAB model, two classes from different disciplines, under the guidance of their respective faculty members, work with a community partner on a community-identified problem. The CAB Model was developed over years of work that began in 2006 by educators actively researching and engaging with distributed expertise models. To date, there have been two projects awarded NSF-grant funding that have used the official CAB Model; CABECT (Collaborating Across Boundaries to Engage Undergraduates in Computational Thinking), NSF DUE Award #1141170 and CAB (Collaborating Across Boundaries to Engage Undergraduates in STEM Learning), NSF DUE Award #1914869.
CABECT (Collaborating Across Boundaries to Engage Undergraduates in Computational Thinking) can be categorized as the pilot project for CAB (Collaborating Across Boundaries to Engage Undergraduates in STEM Learning). This pilot project utilized the CAB model with a specific focus on computational thinking. Computational thinking centers around the ability to understand and make best use of problem-solving approaches commonly employed in the Computer Sciences. Computational thinking also explores what factors determine when best solutions are derived from humans rather than computers. CABECT involved students in computer science, journalism, and interactive media working with Habitat for Humanity to develop tools that would make it easier for both the agency and potential homeowners to understand what pollutants might be on their properties (as well as the associated cleanup costs of those pollutants). This project also resulted in the creation of the SOAP database.
This extensive research project was first conceived at the College of New Jersey to meet the growing need for STEM professionals. It aims to increase student motivation towards STEM learning and civic engagement through use of the CAB model, while also studying best practices for this type of engagement across disciplines.
Starting with the spring 2020 semester, different TCNJ classes from different TCNJ disciplines - STEM and non-STEM - paired with one another, then teamed up with a community partner on a community identified problem. The following semester, each participating faculty member partnered with a new colleague and a new community partner to work on a new problem. This began to build a network of practice and research around collaboration, interdisciplinarity, and community engaged learning.
The CAB research project can be categorized as a scaling-up of the CAB model employed by CABECT. Unlike its predecessor, CAB isn’t restricted to the sole pursuit of improved understanding in the field of computational thinking. This scaling-up of the model aims to increase scientific literacy more broadly. Whereas the pilot project CABECT involved two professors and one community partner, the CAB research project involves multiple professors, multiple community partners, and hundreds of students. In addition to this, faculty from any discipline can participate if they are paired with a faculty member who has participated before.
There are numerous collaborations being conducted under the auspices of the CAB research project. This is for the purpose of conducting continuous research to answer questions such as:
All of the collaborations taking place under the auspices of the entire project purposefully operate using a train the trainer model. Besides the first run of faculty participants, every new collaboration includes a faculty member who has participated before.