Great Teaching at University of Michigan

Mary Starr
Joseph Krajcik
Brian Coppola
This program fosters collaboration between first- and second-year undergraduates in LSA gateway science and mathematics courses with local middle and high school teachers. FUTURE gives undeclared undergraduates the chance to design and implement a lesson in an authentic classroom setting, leading many to consider a career in teaching.
Two to three U-M students are matched with an in-service teachers who propose lesson ideas that they’ve previously lacked the resources to carry out. The U-M students visit their host’s classroom and enroll in the FUTURE seminar, which covers practical, ground-level ideas about teaching, learning, and instructional design. Students have access to the ideas and experiences of previous participants, as well as consultation time with LSA and SOE experts (graduate students, post-docs, faculty members).
Brenda Gunderson
By carefully selecting and interweaving technologies, instructors can guide large groups of students through challenging material in a way that feels highly personalized. The 1,500 students who enroll in Statistics 250 each semester eagerly engage with a suite of technologies that gives them multiple paths for developing, practicing, and testing their understanding of concepts and relationships.
  • SMART Presentation Tools: A tablet PC allows the instructor to make the problem solving process transparent and guide students to see connections to earlier material.
  • Lecture Capture Technology (UM Blue Review): Students can review recorded material multiple times.
  • Clickers: Difficult questions are paired with peer discussion.
  • PreLab Video Wrappers: Brief videos made with Jing teach a software feature or introduce an online learning resource.
  • Online Homework + e-Textbook: Assignments link to the relevant section of the e-textbook. Paperless homework is submitted automatically and returned quickly with tailored feedback from GSIs.
Paul Conway
Undergraduates explore the ethical issues posed by the use of social information teachnologies in SI 410 Ethics and Information Technology under-graduates explore the ethical issues posed by the use of social information technologies. Integrated learning activities work with two distinctive new technologies as both objects of study and pedagogical tools.
Through MediaWiki, students experience directly the ethical challenges of anonymous collaborative writing. The ability to model behavior within a closed (and safe) community makes it possible for students to take risks that would be unethical if conducted in Wikipedia itself. A further advantage of the wiki format is that students not only produce original writing, but also participate in a sufficiently high level of editorial revision for the course to satisfy the LS&A upper-level writing requirement.
Using Evolver, digital avatar software, students document the process of creating both realistic self-portraits and fantasy versions of themselves and then write about what personal identity means in virtual environments. Students find that this process deepens their understanding of the material provided in course readings and lectures.
Susan Ashford
The LCC simulation forces students to make decisions under acute time pressure and to trade off competing demands, thereby addressing the difficulty of teaching these key elements of leadership. Intangibles such as judgment, courage, and integrity are hard to meaningfully broach with traditional teaching methods. However, leaving these skills to be learned in the field has costly financial, social, and career consequences.
The intensive exercise runs 24 hours and presents a realistic business crisis that poses vexing questions: What does a company “owe” the community in which it does business? Should the natural environment be sacrificed for shareholder wealth? Can companies admit wrongs in today’s aggressive legal climate? In the absence of any “right answer,” students must think hard and critically together regarding the best response, exercise integrity in making judgments about how to proceed, and exercise courage in standing up for those judgments under fire.
Elizabeth Moje
Robert Bain
This project borrows the idea of rounds from medical and nursing training and applies it to the process of preparing secondary school history and social studies teachers. Over three semesters, teacher candidates work in a professional program that integrates discipline-specific literacy, history/social science content and high-leverage teaching practices while they “rotate” through a series of carefully scaffolded and closely supervised clinical experiences. 
Traditionally, would-be teachers acquire disciplinary content in LSA, encounter pedagogical theory in SOE, and struggle to interweave the two during unstructured field placements. This fragmented approach does not reliably prepare teachers who can help create major gains in student learning across a school year.
Five innovative changes have increased the coherence of the Social Studies Teacher Education Program:
  • New assessment tools make visible beginning teachers’ levels of understanding and performance;
  • Discipline-specific sections added to the core literacy instruction course create cohorts among pre-service teachers;