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Information Frontiers Learning Initiative:
Strengthening and Broadening the Science of Information Community through Education

"Learning is experience. Everything else is just information." - Albert Einstein

Our mission is to strengthen and broaden the science of information community through this unique learning initiative. We've achieved this by advancing interdisciplinary understanding, knowledge, skills of analysis, and application of the science of information techniques and tools to problems across multiple domains at both undergraduate and graduate levels. View the Legacy section to learn more about the overall outcomes and broader impacts. Read our white paper introducing our ten-year programmatic outcomes.

Goal 1: Foster a community of practice in the science of information

  • Strengthen the community through student workshops and conferences annually that have shown increases in knowledge exchange, skills development, and research collaborations. Significant increases in student and postdoc research collaboration have occurred as a community of practice has emerged (11% to 50% collaborating within the CSoI community). Collaborating students have demonstrated a significantly higher level of scholarly outputs compared with their peers who have not collaborated in the CSoI community.
  • Build research collaboration experiences by forming and supporting student research teams across all Center institutions. These teams work together throughout the year. Twenty student and postdoc led teams have formed, with 30 universities and 26 distinct departments represented. Teams have produced 50+ conference and journal papers.
  • Broaden the community Students from a broad range of universities participate in activities. 4,500+ attendees from 130 universities have been represented at our activities. Diversity at all levels has significantly increased. In addition to workshops and student teams, a range of seminars are offered, both online and in person.
  • Increase SoI trained scientists in the workforce Our alumni attain academic and industry positions in the U.S. Many of our graduate alums and postdocs have attained excellent academic appointments, 90+ faculty positions, and continue to broaden our community as their own students become involved. You can view our current undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral members.


Goal 2: Increase awareness and knowledge in the science of information in the broader community

  • A searchable organized online library integral to the Center’s website offering research & training resources. The resources range from video-based tutorials, topic modules, advanced topic seminars, student presentations, classroom-based course materials, research team documents, faculty teaching presentations, journal papers, Phd theses, research posters, interviews & articles. More than 1,000 video tutorials are available through the SoI learning hub.
  • The purpose of creating this hub of resources is to serve the broader science community in support of the science of information literacy and skills at both foundational and advanced levels. The Center supports the development of new training resources through our partners, and in the broader community. Learners in 184 countries and all 50 U.S. states access our educational materials online reaching .5 million learners, with 70,000 online learners enrolling in our MOOC's alone on EdX and FutureLearn platforms.
  • A significant number of new classroom-based courses and existing courses with new SoI content have been developed across more than twenty universities. 7,000+ students at our partner universities have completed these classroom-based semester courses taught by our Center faculty.
  • Evaluations show these students gain significant increases in information literacy, data skills, and multidisciplinary understanding.


Goal 3: Foster a productive research and education environment supporting increased diversity within the discipline of the Science of Information.

  • Through our Channels Scholar REU, we provide multiple educational, research, and mentoring opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs to enable them to succeed and flourish in this dynamic area of scientific endeavor.
  • Through dedicated integration of inclusive diversity, the Center has made significant progress in broadening participation. View aspects of these outcomes in the Legacy section under Diversity, and Lessons Learned.

Education and Diversity Team Leaders

Brent Ladd
Director of Education and Diversity
Purdue University
Deepak Kumar
Professor of Computer Science
Bryn Mawr College