Five faculty projects rewarded for their educational innovations

Five faculty projects that involve innovative approaches to improving student learning will be honored next month with Provost’s Teaching Innovation Awards.

The winning projects were chosen from 57 entries from students, faculty and staff. They fell under one of two priority areas: anti-racist and inclusive education, and distance and hybrid education developed in response to the pandemic.

Winners will talk about their projects in a virtual panel discussion from 11 a.m. to noon on May 5 as part of the Enriching Scholarship conference. James Hilton, VP Academic Innovation, will moderate the session.

The Provost’s Educational Innovation Award is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, and the University Library. Winners receive $5,000.

Here is an overview of the TIP 2022 winners.

From Welcoming to Belonging: Community Research with Schools in Support of Newcomer Migrant Students

Michael Bellin

Michelle Bellino, Associate Professor of Education, School of Education

Traditionally, graduate students learn research methods through scholarly literature that renders real-world methodological, ethical, and relational dilemmas invisible. Bellino wanted his graduate students to grapple with these important decisions, engage in all stages of research, and experience a sense of shared ownership and agency with a research project.

She redesigned her EDUC 792: Qualitative Research Methods course around a community research project with Melvindale High School, where 14 student researchers were able to investigate what makes a school welcoming and inclusive for new students and families. newcomers with diverse identities and experiences.

The team built the research inquiry collaboratively, focusing on issues important to MHS stakeholders, determined through dialogue on current challenges and priorities. Graduate students defined driving research questions, developed data collection instruments, and engaged in collaborative analysis. They co-authored a written research report and an oral presentation to MHS staff.

In nominating the project for the Provost’s Pedagogical Innovation Award, PhD student Mara Johnson wrote, “This is one of the first times I’ve left a class feeling like I had meaning. acute of theory, methods and application in conjunction with each other. averse to committing to limited tranches.

Beyond Bellino’s Qualitative Methods course, the Doctor of Educational Studies program is being redesigned to center justice and equity in education, and the project with MHS serves as a model for an “Educational Equity Lab” that supports students as they enter communities responsibly, develop meaningful relationships, and provide substantial value to community partners.

LIFE: Longitudinal Interprofessional Family Experience

Olivia Anderson, Clinical Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences, School of Public Health; Thomas Bishop, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Director of Interprofessional Education, Faculty of Medicine; Debra Mattison, Associate Clinical Professor, School of Social Work; Laura Smith, associate professor of physical therapy, College of Health Sciences, UM-Flint; and additional faculty and staff

Interprofessional education programs provide opportunities for aspiring healthcare professionals to understand each other’s roles and establish positive teamwork practices. These exercises, however, can lack authenticity when based on one-off case studies or simulations, rather than repeated interactions with real patients and their families.

To address this issue, the LIFE team affiliated with UM’s Center for Interprofessional Education developed an all-virtual after-school certificate program, for which Michigan Medicine’s Office of Patient Experience connects students with real patients, called patient advisors, and their families.

Each team of health science students plans how to conduct two interviews with a patient advisor to explore how chronic illness affects daily life and interactions with health care providers. After each interview, students debrief what they have learned and evaluate their performance. The patient advisor also assesses student teamwork.

Students gained in-depth knowledge through authentic conversations with patient advisors about the time-consuming and emotional work of chronic disease, including care advocacy, managing complex insurance issues, managing medications, and performing prescribed daily therapies in addition to their work and family roles.

A student’s patient advisor taught him that “one. not something that was talked about before in my studies.

The LIFE program materials can be shared with other faculties or institutions wishing to implement this collaborative IPE approach.

Advancing Eurocentrism and Strengthening Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Specialist Lyric Diction and Vocal Literature Courses

Timothy plays
Timothy plays

Timothy Cheek, Clinical Professor of Performing Arts (Voice), School of Music, Theater and Dance

Cheek’s innovation responds to the inherent Eurocentrism of skill-based Italian, French and German lyrical diction and vocal literature courses that are demanded of vocal majors, bandleaders and collaborative pianists around the world.

In the wake of the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd, Cheek turned to technology to break down the silos of these classes and elevated the songs of African-American songwriters as an equal component of an international virtual exchange.

Innovation thus displaces centrism, gives students a perspective beyond the classroom, increases their skills and knowledge, and sets them on the path to true communication, independence, and global collaboration.

UM students virtually meet European peers who help them with the pronunciation, text comprehension, style, and cultural and historical context of European vocal music. In exchange, European students learn songs by African-American composers with the support of their peers at UM. This work culminates in performances for the combined classes which are in a master class format, with the students’ respective teachers leading the sessions for their country’s repertoire.

Students on both sides of the exchange attest to the positive impact of the experience. Collaborating with native speakers gave students more confidence and a deeper connection and appreciation for music.

Cheek encourages the adoption of this innovation in his forthcoming abridged book, “Reimagining Lyric Diction Courses: Leading Change in the Classroom and Beyond,” which addresses instructor concerns and helps strategize how to incorporate an element of virtual exchange into classrooms. diction course.

Simulation of interactions between science and policy-making

Josh Pasek
Josh Pasek

Josh Pasek, Associate Professor of Communication and Media, and Political Science, LSA

The return to in-person learning during a pandemic provided the impetus for Pasek’s innovative redesign of COMM 467: Debating Politics and Science.

While students taking COMM 467 needed no primer to learn that science could be distorted in translating academic studies into popular behavior, could they develop a richer understanding of the connections between scientific research, the journalism, public opinion and politics by simulating stakeholders in these areas and making decisions about coronavirus messaging?

Pasek combined an inquiry-based experiential learning approach with extensive simulation to achieve this goal.

Throughout the fall 2021 semester, Pasek students assessed what they needed to know to feel confident to meet in the North Quad basement during the COVID-19 delta wave, learn more on viral spread, air ventilation, and whether class members interacted regularly. with vulnerable people.

Students rotated through four class committees which:

  • Investigating the relative value of various mitigation strategies and identifying vulnerable populations that should drive decision-making.
  • Asked students about their contact with vulnerable people, the actions they took, and the most common misperceptions in the local community.
  • Tested messaging and nudge approaches to correct misperceptions and encourage mask-wearing.
  • Facilitated the work of the committees as efficiently as possible.

“As our students head into careers where they will try to persuade the public, the lessons they learned in COMM 467 will help them think critically about what the messages they create are likely to accomplish” , said Sol Hart, associate chairman of the department. undergraduate studies.

Slack Bots for asynchronous distance learning

Elle O'Brien
Elle O’Brien

Elle O’Brien, lecturer III and researcher, School of Information

In industry, data scientists often encounter the practice of daily standups, where team members update their colleagues on their work on a Slack channel. O’Brien wanted to give her students that authentic professional experience, so she added bi-weekly video stand-ups to her course.

Classmates were asked to leave comments on two other teams’ standups. The number of students in the course made it difficult to score standing attendance. To address this challenge, she wrote software using the Slack developer toolkit in Python to get automated reports on stand-up attendance. She developed a bot that checks whether each team has posted a video, and each student has given feedback to their peers. The bot returns a spreadsheet of scores.

Next, O’Brien built another bot to create a shared communication channel for each project team, as well as members of the teaching team.

Because Slack doesn’t have a simple way to message the entire teaching team, students often message only the lead instructor or send the same request to each instructor individually. Shared project channels make group progress visible to the entire teaching team and allow students to respond more quickly.

Qiaozhu Mei, the director of the fully online Master’s in Applied Data Science, describes O’Brien’s innovation as a “game changer” for the program. Student engagement in asynchronous classes is often a challenge, but in O’Brien’s cornerstone with stand-ups, “team interactions are kept high despite the large class size” . Mei anticipates that the practice will quickly be adopted by other MADS courses.


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