Great Teaching at University of Michigan

Susan Ashford, Ross School of Business, teaches a leadership course where she wants students to understand how leadership emerges through daily activities. In order to do this, Ashford uses a program called Leadership Inbox Simulator where students take on the role of a busy executive about to leave for a trip. They have to prioritize and respond to an inbox full of requests, complaints, and opportunites and make leadership decisions while doing it. 

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Bob Bain, School of Education, uses two electronic tools, Virtual Curator and Virtual Expedition, to support students' use of museum objects and to learn history.

The Virtual Curator allows students to take of the role of a museum curator. They are asked to review a number of primary sources in order for the Henry Ford Museum to reconstruct one of the houses purchased for Greenfield Village. The Virtual Expedition allows students to explore a number of the houses on the ground of Greenfield Village in order to support students learning of history and/or science.

These tools were developed in the Primary Sources Network project, a collaboration between the Henry Ford Museum, Henry Ford Academy, Melvindale Schools, and University of Michigan's Center for Highly Interactive computing in Education (hi-ce)

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Santhadevi Jeyabalan, LSA - Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, worked with ITD technologists to develop a copmuter program for her upper level genetics laboratory course that simulates later stages of a fruit fly experiment. The students begin the experiment with real fruit flies but complete it using CyberFly simulation in the Science Learning Center. Cyberfly replicates the visual and audio aspects of a fruit fly experiment in which students collect and analyze data leading to the location of mutant genes on different chromosomes.

The program provides information for collection and analysis, without coaching the student, unlike commercially available software. Jeyabalan is working to develop introductory level and K-12 versions of the software.

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Nancy Kerner, LSA - Chemistry, created CoLABnet (Collaborative Laboratories through Networked Computers) in order to give science students experience with how experiments are conducted and conclusions are reached in the “real world.” 

Students work in the lab in teams, with each using its own set of samples and/or conditions. Each team funnels its data into the CoLABnet software program, which then collects, pools and summarizes the qualitative and quantitative data and places it into a customized databank. Students can then study, manipulate and analyze the data in a laboratory context that simulates the scientific process that they might follow as professional scientists. 

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Eric Rabkin (esrabkin@umich.edu), LSA-English, is a campus leader in the area of instructional technology. An example of his work with teaching and technology is English 414: Multimedia Explorations in the Humanities, a course that offers students the opportunity to create and/or augment web-based resources. Students create individual online portfolios to showcase their ongoing mastery of computer programs and reflect upon their learning process. They collaborate on group projects in which they research and write on a humanities topic of their choice and create a website that becomes a permanent resource for the UM community. For more information on English 414, as well as Rabkin's other instructional technology projects, visit his homepage at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~esrabkin/.

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