Dr. Greg O'Toole, Ph.D.


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Human Computer Interaction HCI = Web UI Design + UX + Art + Programming + Data Science + Philosophy + Applications Engineering + (Media) Psychology + Human Behavior...

"Reflected in the pursuit of creative outlets found in the view of Terman's Genetic Studies of Genius, that the 'laws of nature are correlative, not compensatory', that good things go together... Gregory O'Toole can be likened to the Niagara Falls, beautiful to behold but also harnessed to light up the city of Buffalo and environs."  Dr. Walter S. Nosal, Ed.D. Professor, Emeritus, John Carroll University

(Read more comments on Greg's work.)


Curriculum vitae - Updated 3/2015
Prof. Dr. Greg O'Toole, B.S., M.A., Ph.D.
Professor of Web Technology & Data Science


College of Information Sciences & Technology
304 IST Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
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P.O. Box 10102
State College, PA 16805
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Lecturer & Senior Research Web Engineer
College of Information Sciences & Technology 
Founder & Manager, Penn State Open Device Lab ODL@PSU
The Pennsylvania State University
2009 -

Senior Research Web Engineer
Research Associate for Web-based Global Scientific Collaboration
Earth & Environmental Systems Institute
Critical Zone Exploration Network (NSF Funded)
Shale Network (NSF Funded)
EarthKin Environmental Kinetics Database (NSF Funded)
CZchemDB Critical Zone Geochemical Data (NSF Funded)
College of Earth & Mineral Sciences
Penn State Institutes of Energy & the Environment
The Pennsylvania State University
2013 -

Research Web Engineer, Consultant
Surge Business Development
State College, PA
2014 -

Affiliate Professor in Web Development Technology
College of Communications
The Pennsylvania State University
2014 -

Affiliate Professor in Photography
College of Arts & Architecture
The Pennsylvania State University
2011 - 

Assistant Professor
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division
Department of Web Design Interactive Media
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
2008 - 

Host Professor
Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program
Federal University of Paraná, Brazil
Spring 2014

Host Professor
Instituto de Educação Superior de Brasília
Spring 2014

Visiting Professor
Institute for Educational Research
Ochanomizu University, Tokyo, Japan
Spring 2013

Social Science Research Institute
Web Developer, Internal Advisory Board Member, Researcher
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania, USA
03/2009 - 06/2012

Technical Writer, eLearning Web Interface Specialist
Sunoco, Inc.
Health, Environment, and Safety Division
Mellon Bank Building & Marcus Hook Refineries, Philadelphia, PA, USA
8/2008 - 12/2008 (on contract)

Adjunct Professor, Emergent Digital Practices
University of Denver
Denver, CO USA

Coldfusion, PHP Web Developer, eLearning Web Interface Specialist
University of Denver
Sturm College of Law
Denver, CO, USA
2004 - 2007

OpenWebby, Sustainable Web Ecosystems
Research building education.
Founder, Principal
1995 - Present



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) 2013 Magna Cum Laude
Media and Communication Philosophy
University of Denver, Philosophy and Cultural Theory
Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien, European Graduate School EGS
Saas-Fee, Ringacker, Switzerland
Dissertation: Media, Meaning, and the Legitimation Problem: From the Eradication of the Metanarrative to the Present. 
Dissertation Oral Defense: May 2013, Berlin, Germany.
Committee Advisory Chair: Dr. Professor Hubertus von Amelunxen, Präsident, President, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig / Braunschweig University of Art.
Committee Members: Dr. Larry Rickels and Dr. Jennifer Davy.
Dissertation published Atropos Press, Dresden, Germany, New York, 2014.

Professional Graduate Certificate in Data Science
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA USA, 2014 - 

Master of Arts (M.A.)
Emergent Digital Practices
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Denver
Denver, Colorado, USA
M.A. Thesis Project: New Media New Journalism
Advisory Board: Dr. Trace Reddell, Professor Tim Weaver, 2005

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Studies
Web Development and Visual Communication
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois, USA, 2000

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
Communication Photography
College of Communications and Fine Arts
Bradley University
Peoria, Illinois, USA, 1995



Professional Development for courses, workshops, seminars, etc. at universities, companies, and conferences (ongoing)



2015 Penn State College of IST Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award (Nominee)
2015 Awarded contract to build next-generation interactive water quality research data portal for Nature Abounds PA Senior Environment Corps. (Funded by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Growing Greener Grant)
2015 Invited Research Web Engineer, Center for Collaborative Research in Intelligent Natural Gas Supply Systems at Penn State. (Funded by a $10 million grant from General Electric.)
2015 Invited Research Web & Data Engineer, Methane Project, Penn State EESI & Trout Unlimited (TU), PA water quality monitoring research (Funded by the National Science Foundation)
2015 Invited Research Web Engineer, LunarLion at Penn State. The first university-lead mission to the moon in history.
2014 Invited Reviewer by Yale University Press for Web Style Guide, 4th Edition
2014 Invited Lecturer, University of the People
2014 Invited Host Lecturer for the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program, Penn State, and the Federal University of Paraná, Brazil 
2014 Invited Research Web Engineer for National Science Foundation-funded EarthKin Environmental Kinetics Database, a collaboration with the School of Earth and Climate Sciences University of Maine and Penn State's Earth and Environmental Systems Institute 
2014 Invited Host Lecturer in exchange program between Penn State and Instituto de Educação Superior de Brasília
2014 Invited Faculty Usability Expert for innovative elearning environment, EDMC
2014 Invited Classroom Technology Consultant, Acrobatiq Powered by Carnegie Mellon University
2014 Invited Reviewer, Sustainable Web Design, Focal Press Taylor & Francis Group
2014 Invited Web Technology Consultant, Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment
2013 Invited SME, The Power of Drupal in Higher Education, Princeton University
2013 Magna Cum Laude honors for Doctoral Dissertation/Defense (Berlin, Germany), European Graduate School, Saas-fee, Switzerland
2013 Doctoral Dissertation book publication contract, Atropos Press, Think Media Series (New York and Dresden, Germany)
2013 Invited Visiting Lecturer, Center for Research & Development of Education, Ochanomizu University, Tokyo, Japan
2013 Invited Keynote Address, Plone Education Symposium, Messai University, Tokyo, Japan (Invitation from Plone Users Group Japan)
2013 Sustainable Web Ecosystem Design book published by Springer (Springer Briefs in Computer Science Series)
2013 Invited Research Web Engineer for Scientific Collaboration, Critical Zone Exploration Network, Earth & Environmental Systems Institute, Penn State
2013 Invited Research Web Engineer for Scientific Collaboration, Shale Network, Earth & Environmental Systems Institute, Penn State
2013 Invited UI/UX Expert to Citeseerx National Science Foundation Funded Research Project by Dr. Lee Giles at the College of Information Sciences and Technology, The Pennsylvania State University
2012 Artwork inducted into Grateful Dead Museum Archive, University of California Santa Cruz McHenry Library
2010 Teaching Excellence Award, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division
2009 Webby Award, Honorary Mention
2008 Webby Award, People's Choice
2007 Kotka Photographic Center, Finland, NanoArt, (Most Viewed)
2007 Top Five Award, International Memefest
2006 Colorado Book Award
2006 Valparaiso University Poetry Review, Recommended Books List
2006 Denver Westword, City of Denver Literary Collective (with Twain, Whitman, Cassady, Kerouac, Ginsberg, H.S. Thompson)
2005 Graduate Deans Academic Scholarship, University of Denver, Digital Media Studies
2004 Graduate Deans Academic Scholarship, University of Denver, Digital Media Studies
2004 Graduate Teaching Assistantship, University of Denver, Digital Media Studies
2003 Montana Arts Council Opportunity Grant
2003 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Opportunity Grant
2002 Best News Photograph, Montana Newspaper Association
2000 Bare Walls Scholarship Endowment, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago



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Last Updated on 19 September 2014 15:35

Scientific UX Building

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Last Updated on 19 September 2014 15:35

Custom Drupal Theming for Education and Research

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Custom Drupal 7.xx Theme


TECHNOLOGIES / METHODS Drupal, HTML5, Javascript, CSS3, Firebug, Photoshop, PHP, Aquia Dev Desktop, Textmate

ROLE Drupal Themer, Developer, Integrator

PROJECT DESCRIPTION A custom Drupal theme that has been engineered for the College of IST at Penn State. This is a collaboration with the great professionals at MediaBarn user research and design firm in Washington, DC.

Last Updated on 21 August 2014 15:46

Openwebby iOS (iPhone, iPad) App

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Openwebby. Research building education.

Apache Cordova, Phonegap Build, Objective-C, HTML5, Javascript, CSS3, Firebug, Xcode, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Apple Developer Member Center.

App Designer, Developer

Available soon in the Apple App Store

The official openwebby native mobile app engineered and built specifically for the iOS operating system. The app will soon be freely available the Apple App Store.

Last Updated on 20 August 2014 15:20

Openwebby Android App

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Openwebby. Research building education.

Apache Cordova, Phonegap Build, Java, HTML5, Javascript, CSS3, Firebug, Dreamweaver, Photoshop.

App Designer, Developer

openwebby on Google Play

The official openwebby native mobile app engineered and built specifically for the Android operating system. The app is now freely available on Google Play.

Last Updated on 25 July 2014 14:27

The Life of a Web Technologist

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In an earlier post I wrote about "Making Life Easier With Drush". I just learned about another technology that will also improve the life of a web developer: Git hooks. If you are unfamiliar, Git is distributed versioning control intended for code (but it also works well with other media, like poetry, for example). Special Git hooks super charge Git to allow builders to manage processes like uploading directly to a webserver whenever you push to your master remote instead of having to upload your site with an ftp client. Check out Customizing Git - Git Hooks (http://git-scm.com/book/en/Customizing-Git-Git-Hooks) for more information.

As I was working on this, I started thinking more about the busy, cyclical life of a web technologist, defined as a professional working in web science and technology, design, development, building, research, and teaching. It's a complicated profession, just like a lot of the technologies we work with. To me it makes sense to break down the stages of a web technologist into five general categories:

1. Monitor changes in the industry. In times past history professors, tax lawyers, and medical doctors would all keep up with the new discoveries in their respected fields mainly by reading a few choice journals. Usually this would be done quarterly, when the new issue was published. Today, of course, this is still being done, but as we all know well, things have also changed in many ways, not the least of which has been -- at least for web technologists -- the quantity of these resources and the speed at which the innovations come down the line. Who knows, there might be a hundred competent resources out there documenting relevant updates in the web technology sector at any given time. Maybe a thousand.

Last Updated on 26 June 2014 13:21

Responsive Web Building

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Responsive Web Building

This mobile responsive Web application is a biographical and portfolio site for Greg O'Toole.

Joomla, HTML, MySQL, PHP, XML, Javascript, Firebug, Dreamweaver.

Author, Web Designer, Web Developer


This site has been around in many iterations since I started building on the web in the year 1994. In fact, there is still legacy HTML on the site that I wrote way back at that time. A few years ago I moved the static HTML site into a dynamic data driven application using Coldfusion and a Microsoft Access database. Later, I moved on to PHP and MySQL and embraced open source and content management frameworks. I eventually moved the site into a Joomla version which is where it resides today. The theme used wasn't mobile responsive, so I retroactively fitted it to respond to just about any and all tv, desktop, tablet, and phone platforms, OS's, browsers, resolutions, and models. This has been a great project for me to learn and build, and therefore I've referred to it many times over the years to my students who are learning topics like UI, UX, documentation, responsive building, clean code, HTML5, PHP, MySQL, content management, and the open source community. I imagine this site will continue to revise through the philosophy of progressive enhancement and will be around for many years to come.

Last Updated on 28 May 2014 08:52

Media, Meaning, & the Legitimation Problem (Atropos Press, 2014)


Media, Meaning & the Legitimation Problem is forthcoming from the Atropos Press THINK MEDIA EGS Media Philosophy Series (New York, USA • Dresden, Germany)

This book titled Media, Meaning, and the Legitimation Problem: From the Eradication of the Metanarrative to the Present is a qualitative analysis on the current state of extracting meaning from mediated message since Lyotard largely diminished the role of the metanarrative. The work started at the University of Denver and continued on in Media & Communication at the European Graduate School, Saas-fee, Switzerland. The philosophy and research degree culminated with the oral dissertation defense in Berlin, Germany in May 2013. The ways in which we extract meaning and understand the world around us as well as the workings of the semantic Web are key nodes of the sustainable Web ecosystem.

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