The Drone Thinking Initiative

What’s Happening on Campus?

Learning and discourse are key to campus-wide understanding of emerging and disruptive drone technology.

One (1) Credit Course proposed for fall 2018

Course Description

The Aerial Imagery and Cinematography course proposal is a seven-week, one credit course designed to immerse students in drone avionics, aerial photography and videography, and photogrammetry and image processing. The course will encourage teamwork, curiosity, critical thinking, perseverance, and creativity and will best suit the motivated student who wants to learn methods and techniques for acquiring and analyzing aerial data. Students will apply or propose appropriate drone flight protocols to acquire imagery/data to design a final project of their choice based on one of the twin drivers of the course – a mapping analysis / 3D modeling or a cinematography production highlighting drone flight and aerial imagery acquisition. The final project may also take the form of a research proposal that harnesses the affordances of drone technology.

Drone Study Group – fall 2017

A group of faculty, staff, and students, with support from the Kahn Institute, met weekly to learn and discuss drone technology within the framework of becoming certified remote pilots.  We hope to continue meeting in spring 2018.


If you would like to participate in a workshop, (or have a suggestion for one!) email Jon Caris at


Coming up in January 2017:

  • Fun With Drones (Offered January 9 – 13, 2017): Over the course of a week, we invite students to get an introduction to drones. From drone maintenance and safety to current events and issues, we will learn about the history of drone policy as well how to fly a drone. Through completing fun activities like taking a selfie with a drone and navigating through an obstacle course, students will get the chance to learn more about this exciting, high-potential technology.
  • In the As-Yet-Unforeseen Future:
  • As drones become more widely used in the future, we hope to remain at the forefront of the field, offering more workshops and classes, and encouraging drone usage throughout our school’s liberal-arts curriculum.
  • While we hope that legislation around drone usage will become more lenient so students can more easily use drones in their research, we will be filing for an exemption that will allow us to fly drones on campus (on the athletic fields).
  • We now have 3 certified remote pilots on campus who are available to work with students and faculty.
  • We hope to create our very own Drone Media Lab (or DML for short) in Bass Hall where students will be able to check out drones for their own use, as well as provide a space to host classes, workshops and debates surrounding drones. The DML will essentially become a physical extension of an online drone forum, giving students the chance to share their drone techniques and footage with their peers.