CoolHub on Illini Cloud

On January 3, CoolHub moved from its server in California to the Illini Cloud.

This change enables us closer collaboration with a variety of Illinois Shared Learning Environment (ISLE) programs.

Many Uses for CoolHub

Here are some effective ways to use CoolHub to advance STEM teaching and learning. Link to original article.


Conference and Workshop Presentations

CoolHub is a convenient and easy way to package and deliver a conference presentation or workshop. All the materials can be stored in the site library for participants to download, learning activities can be delivered as Web pages, a Forum can be created to continue discussions after the presentation, links to all the sites used can be bookmarked, videos may be embedded, you may even use Adobe Connect to include remote participants. Example: Google - Feeling Lucky?





Learning Space for a Class or Camp

Organize a unit of instruction using CoolHub. Students or other members of the class, seminar, camp, etc. can interact with a wide range of materials online from one central space. Lay out learning activities or tasks or even days with online instructions and tools to help students interact, upload their work, participate in a poll, work with Google Docs, and much more. Example: Lifecycle of a Business





Mentoring Space

Use the Mentor Matching Engine or set up an independent study project to connect with mentors or students engaging in research or interships. This platform involves a teacher as a supervisor. All mentors go through background checks. Virtual mentoring is a superlative way to connect with subject matter experts without the expense and effort of transportation. Example: Michael's Internship










Department Team Virtual Meeting Space

Need a central location for a team to brainstorm, troubleshoot, share resources and test online prototypes? Start a team Project. Select from tools that include blogs, wikis, message boards, library, gallery, web content pages, social bookmarking. There are dozens of easy-to-install portlets in CoolHub--just drag and drop. Example: Mentor Matching Engine Admin Team






Problem-Solving or Task Space

Have a short- or long-term problem to solve? Invite colleagues to your Project for anytime collaboration. Choose the tools that make the most sense for your project. Ask a facilitator for helpExample: Hinsdale Central Robotics 2014




Web site

Maybe all you want is a Web site to publish your materials or content. You can set it up so visitors can leave comments, Whatever you create on CoolHub is your property. There's no cost for buying a domain name if you use CoolHub. Example:Core Project







Content Delivery and Management

If a Web site is not sufficient for all the content you want to deliver, CoolHub has extensive Library tools to provide searchable and downloadable content on the scale of a repository.  With Liferay Sync, uploading and managing files is as easy as Dropbox










Set up a blog on any STEM topic and build a following. Easy to manage and easy for followers to subscribe. Example: CoolHub Blog





Message Board

Just want to communicate with members, foster conversations and sharing on specific topics? CoolHub message boards may be the forum you need!

YouTube Co-Founder Steve Chen Designates $1 Million Gift to IMSA for Innovation Hub

Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube and AVOS Systems, Inc., generously designated a $1,000,000 lead gift, through the Schwab Charitable Fund, to the IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education to benefit his alma mater, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA).  The gift will be toward the construction of a $1.9 million, 6,400 sq. ft. Innovation Hub - an open space design steve_chen_article.jpgconcept for STEM collaboration and development. The Hub will feature cutting-edge resources that enable IMSA students and leading entrepreneurs, faculty, mentors, IMSA alumni, the Fox Valley business community and other students to ideate and collaborate.  The new space, coined as “IMSA’s new front door,” will be modeled in part after the highly successful digital co-op, 1871, in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.  IMSA partners with 1871 to advance Chicago-area innovation and economic development and expand opportunities for entrepreneurial students.

“IMSA helped guide me to the tools and knowledge I needed to develop my ideas into a successful business, but those tools keep evolving,” said Chen, who returned to IMSA’s campus last spring and spoke with students who were launching their own startups. “The Innovation Hub will bring the latest in entrepreneurial incubation to Aurora, the Fox Valley, and the western Chicago suburbs, allowing the Academy to help IMSA students, and even students from across the state, develop their ideas and stretch their inventive minds even more,” he added.

The Innovation Hub will feature a modern open space design optimized for collaboration, furnished with highly advanced technology such as 3D workstations, a touch screen video wall, and 3D scanners and printers. The new space will serve as a base of connectivity between IMSA’s TALENT (Total Applied Learning for ENTrepreneurs) program and entrepreneurs, teachers, mentors, the Fox Valley business community and startup incubators. “Our future STEM innovators are today’s teens, teens who need opportunities and resources, including physical spaces conducive for collaboration and breakthrough thinking, to help them learn how to take concepts from ideas to start up and early growth,” IMSA President Catherine C. Veal said. “This new space will be a hub of creative energy and startup culture.”

Chen’s donation continues a history of investment to assist IMSA by alumni who have been successful in Silicon Valley, Chicago and other areas, including a $600,000 donation by an anonymous alumnus, $200,000 from Mike McCool ’91, a founding creator at Netscape, $100,000 from Facebook employee David Kang ’96 and his wife Shirley, plus a major gift by OkCupid co-founder and CEO Sam Yagan ’95 and his wife, Jessica Droste Yagan ‘95, an executive at McDonalds USA. 

Sheila MB Griffin, Chairman of IMSA’s Board of Trustees, said, “We are thrilled to see more and more evidence of IMSA’s role in developing technology entrepreneurs whose pioneering products and companies change our world and advance the human condition, and who then pay it forward by giving back.  The generosity of Steve Chen and others who will help us complete this project will inspire the next generation of STEM innovators and entrepreneurs to dream big and bring their ideas to life.”

IMSA Fund President and Chicago business leader John Hoesley, himself an IMSA alumnus noted: “It’s important that the community comes together to fund the balance of this project, as the TALENT program not only serves IMSA’s residential students, but also other students statewide and beyond while further connecting IMSA to the local business community and Chicagoland Innovation network.”

The Innovation Hub will be home to the IMSA TALENT program, internships, business startup pitch contests, workshops, networking events, Fox Valley entrepreneurship programs, plus more yet to be imagined.  It is hoped that the space will be ready to occupy by late 2015 or early 2016.

The internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) develops creative, ethical leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  As a teaching and learning laboratory created by the State of Illinois, IMSA enrolls academically talented Illinois students (grades 10-12) in its advanced, residential college preparatory program, and it serves thousands of educators and students in Illinois and beyond through innovative instructional programs that foster imagination and inquiry. IMSA also advances education through research, groundbreaking ventures and strategic partnerships. (

The IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education is a 501 not-for-profit corporation that accepts and distributes gifts and grants from the private sector to support IMSA's mission and work. These contributions support programs and services for IMSA students and staff, other Illinois students, and educators in Illinois and beyond; activities for IMSA alumni and parents; and IMSA Fund operations including donor cultivation and recognition.(

For more information contact Mike Abrahamson at (630) 907-5033 or


November 11 kicks off Ideas Week. Monday Night Live, 8-9 pm will be an open workshop to tell others what new business idea you are working on, or considering working on.

Whatever is said in Tellabs Studio, stays in Tellabs Studio.

Some of the ideas will make it to Power Pitch, some ideas will pivot. The main thing is that we are a constructive sounding board for ideas.

Not everyone may have an opportunity to share an idea during Monday Night Live. For those who prefer a smaller group, we'll hold Idea sessions in B103 on Tuesday, Nov 12 and Thursday, Nov. 14 from 4 to 5 pm.

As a member of TALENT you can also post your ideas in a members-only blog here. You can also rate and comment on the ideas posted.

Mentor Matching Engine Progress

Enrollment in the Mentor Matching Engine (MME) is over 200 and continues to grow, driving CoolHub membership over 2,100. This is the beta year for the MME, as we develop essential features to make this a power tool for personalized learning in STEM. 

Here's how it works: an MME Admin invites a Teacher or Mentor or Mentor Supervisor to join. Once the invitation is accepted and account created, the new member may invite others to participate: Teachers may invite Students, other Teachers and Mentors, Mentor Supervisors and Mentors may invite Mentors. Teachers come from one of fifteen schools piloting the MME this school year (see below). Mentors and Mentor Supervisors are employed at research universities, industries and other STEM businesses.  If you would like to learn more about being a mentor, click here.

One of the essential features of the MME is safety: all mentors and mentor supervisors pass a  background check and communicate with students using only the tools within the platform. No outside email. No outside meetings. One of the unique features of the MME is a further safeguard: the teacher has access to all his or her student-mentor communications and helps facilitate the learning. 

At this point students have begun research projects with input from mentors as well as their teachers. Here's a sample of project titles:

  • How effective are different types of acne medication on acne-causing bacteria?
  • Which Anti-virus program can detect and remove viruses effectively?
  • The Effect of Biochar on Water Pollutants 
  • What effects will increased free radical creation have on the lifespan of Drosophila Melanogaster?
  • Does vitamin D supplementation prevent the negative effects of high glucose in C. elegans?

Schools participating in the Pilot: Chicago Vocational Career Academy, Hinsdale Central High School, Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA), Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy, Lane Tech High School, Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Muchin College Prep, Niles North High School, Oak Park and River Forest High School, Palatine High School, Peoria High Schools, Thornton Township High School, Waukegan High School and Wheeling High School.

Next time: More about the organizations providing mentors.

Meet Kevin Wang

Kevin WangKevin is one of TALENT's rising stars and definitely someone you should meet. In addition to winning second place in Power Pitch for Gravity Games Studio, Kevin recently received a Thiel Fellowship. The Thiel Fellowship is awarded to 20 entrepreneurs under the age of 20. There's a cash award ($100,000) and entrepreneurial support for developing a business. The catch: you don't go to college for two years.

Thiel Fellows work with outstanding mentors in Silicon Valley and have advantages few young entrepreneurs can claim.

On Monday, Nov. 4, 8-9 pm (CST) in Tellabs Studio we'll host Kevin for Monday Night Live. Learn about the Thiel Fellowship, how you can apply, what's involved and what Kevin is doing with his first year not going to UC Berkeley.

This will be awesome. It will also be webcast. From your computer:   Enter as Guest. Passcode: talent

Mentor Matching Engine

After months of intensive planning and development, CoolHub.IMSA, along with its partners Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, Northwestern University and Thirdwave LLC, are pleased to present the Mentor Matching Engine! The MME, for short, helps to realize a major goal of Illinois' R & D LEarning Exchange to bring together mentors from business, industry and higher education with high school students and their teachers in pursuit of personalized learning in STEM. Fifteen high schools are part of the pilot year.

Visit the MME site to discover more

Welcome Illinois Mathematics and Science Partnership!

We welcome one of our newest members, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Partnerships (IMSP) Workshop Institute Partnership (WIP-5). IMSP implements the new vision for K-12 science education described in the National Research Council (NRC) Framework, the foundation for the Next Generation Science Standards, as a focus for improvement in science instruction. The IMSP WIP-5 program supports the enactment of NGSS in Illinois classrooms for secondary teachers, using CoolHub as the foundation for teachers’ and students’ collaboration with university and industry partners. We anticipate adding 250 teachers and loads of content to CoolHub through this initiative

Liferay Sync

A new application called Liferay Sync makes it possible to drag and drop files from your computer to your Project Document Library. You don't even have to start up CoolHub to upload files!!

If you're ready to try it out, here's what to do:

(these steps may need to edited for different operating systems)




  1. Go to:
  2. Under Downloads, find the link to Liferay Sync on the page. Click it.
  3. You'll be prompted to create a Liferay account (this is different than you CoolHub account and the only way to get the download)
  4. Choose a version of Liferay Sync to download
    1. Liferay Sync for Windows, Mac, etc... Use the dropdown menu to select your operating system
    2. Liferay Sync for Mobile... Use this if you plan on using your mobile device for file management
  5. Once the software downloads to your device, open it.
  6. Click on the Icon for Liferay Sync in the popup that opens.
  7. You should be prompted to enter the following information:
    1. server address:
    2. username: your email that you use to sign into CoolHub
    3. password: the password you use to sign into CoolHub
  8. After you click Enter a new icon will appear on your task bar (Mac Users). All the projects you are a member of will be shown. Select the projects in CoolHub you want to connect to.
  9. Syncing starts automatically. Watch for the new icon to spin while it is active. This may take a while if you selected a lot of projects.
  10. Once all the files from these projects are synced with your device, click on the icon and select Open Sync Folder
  11. Choose the subfolder you want to use. This will display all the contents of this Project's document library.
  12. To open a file, click it.
  13. To upload a file, drag and drop it from your computer (for example, your desktop) to the folder you want it to go.
  14. Once you've done all these steps, the next time you want to retrieve, save to or move a file in CoolHub, just click the icon and follow steps 11-13.

Here's another huge bonus: Click the Sync icon and choose Open Website. Select a project. It opens the site without you having to log in. It takes you to the live document folder. You may navigate to the rest of CoolHub from there because the app logs you in.

Online Icebreakers

ice breakerGetting a group that doesn't meet face-to-face to act like they do (e.g., acknowledging one another's presence) is a challenge in an online environment. It's easy--and common--to lurk, to watch a few others interact and carry the load insead of being a contributor.

Enter the role of the online icebreaker: simple activities that a facilitator or project owner can use to improve the rate of interaction between online classmates or members of a project.

We are featuring five icebreakers in our Tools section, gleaned from a research article published in the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology:

  • Going the Distance
  • Hollywood Stars
  • Liar, Liar
  • What Do You Do?
  • World Series

We'll be using some of these activities in this summer's TALENT UPgrade camp. The first week of  the camp is conducted entirely on CoolHub. For the following two weeks, campers are in residence at IMSA to build out and test their prototypes, Web sites and software. We don't want to wait until the second week of camp to get to know each other.

Check out the icebreakers!


Power Pitch Finals

On Monday, April 29, six teams of students from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy compete for $6,000 in the Power Pitch Finals, hosted by MIT Enterprise Forum Chicago. The event starts at 5:30 pm and takes place at Emmi Solutions, 300 W. Adams (12th Floor). Businesses featured include innovations in composing digital music, tracking service hours, seeing who's registered in your classes at school, protecting workplaces from spear-phishing attacks, optimizing bus routes and generating low-cost electricity from deep ocean currents.

Finalists were selected on the basis of elevator pitches during the Power Pitch Prelims, held the end of February. The Finals were originally scheduled for March 5, but were postponed due to a winter storm.

For more information and to register for the event, please visit

CoolHub has been Upgraded

You may notice some changes as of Wedensday 4/17/2013 as we upgraded the platform from LifeRay 6.0 to LifeRay 6.1.  New features will become available as well as the look and feel changing slightly - hopefully for the better. There may be a few bumps in the road, but be rest assured that we will iron these out quckly.  Some additional changes are still on the horizon as we work on our new feature set that we call the Mentorship Matching Engine and then begin work on upgrading the design of the entire site.

TALENT Intern Night

interns wantedMonday, April 8 at TALENT Monday Night Live, 8 pm - We're looking at Internship possibilities this spring and summer.

Special guest and IMSA parent Diane Magerko will talk about her startup and how students can be involved. There are opportunities to use CAD, be involved in obtaining a patent and more!

Join us on the 8th at 8. IMSA Campus or request online (write to

Welcome New TALENT Project

CoolHub extends a warm welcome to the new TALENT Asia - Pacific Project. Visit Public Page Here.

The project is aimed at introducing IMSA TALENT into Singapore, Cambodia and surrounding countries to meet a growing demand for entrepreneurship certification for teachers and training for high school students.

This is a collaborative effort involving leaders of BOSI and TALENT. For more information, contact Carl Heine.

Testimonial from Hubble Middle School

“CoolHub allows us to transform the teaching and learning in our classrooms. CoolHub offers students an important tool that affords them with opportunities to share ideas, solve problems and reflect on their learning.  In doing so, we see students moving beyond simply accepting existing forms of knowledge to participating in meaningful dialogues with others, and thus, empowering students to co-construct their own knowledge.”  Patrick Bresnahan, Teacher, Hubble Middle School, CoolHub Member since 2012

Project Status - Spring Cleaning

cleaningI'm going through all the Projects in CoolHub and contacting owners of Projects that seem to be

  • tests (vacant projects that were never set up)
  • orphaned (some initial set up, maybe even some invitations, but little else)
  • concluded (some interaction occurred, but it's been months...)

One of the difficulties is keeping up with Projects that have met their goals or have something to publish but have not done so. It is important for project owners to keep their projects updated, otherwise visitors to projects are confused.

Thanks for your help.

Huge IMSA Fusion Web Conference

hummingbird robotEarlier this week, the IMSA Fusion team put on the biggest webinar we've had to date. Dr. E (Don Erbschloe), chief scientist from Scott Airforce Base, presented a terrific program, Flying Like Birds, about how engineers derive aircraft designs (and robotic hummingbirds) from nature.

Over 500 students from nearly 30 schools participated.  Kudos to the Fusion Team!

For the session recording, click here.

IMSA TALENT Project: Applications open for Power Pitch Contest

Applications are being accepted online for the annual Power Pitch competition that is offered by the IMSA TALENT Project.

To apply by January 31, click here

Here's the TALENT video that features participants in last year's Power Pitch:

Third Wave

thirdwaveCoolHub is partnering with Thirdwave, software architects located in Chicago, to work on the upcoming Mentorship Matching Engine. Thirdwave has started working on upgrading to Liferay 6.1, which comes with importnat features to aid in the process. The first phase of work involves the Mentor components. This will be followed by development of the Student and Teacher components.

We are excited to have Thirdwave join us!

Last Call to meet Thiel Fellows

thiel fellowship meetingUnder 20?  Got a Big Idea? Join us at 1871 on Friday, Nov. 16 to meet and talk with representatives from the Thiel Foundation and Thiel Fellows. There are openings at 9 am, 1:30 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm. Sign up using EventBrite. This event is free.

Here's what this meeting is about:

The Thiel Fellows want this session to be as dynamic and interactive as possible. They will talk about the Fellowships (20 @ $100,000) and answer any questions people have about the program and application process. But they also really want to hear from the students -- about what you're working on, your big ideas, how you want to change the world. What's great is that people from the selection committee and existing Fellows will then be able to personally brainstorm additional ideas, applications or ways to improve presentation for everything from Fellowship applications to VC pitches to partnership meetings.

Sign up on EventBrite:

More about the Thiel Fellowship here:

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