TIP Prize

August Evrard Arthur F. Thurnau Professor  Physics and Astronomy, LSA

Problem Roulette (PR) is a study service that offers topical access to a library of locally-authored exam problems in selected foundational courses at the University of Michigan. Research is clear that the more students use formative assessment tools, like practice problems, and use those tools over time, the better they understand the material. Because PR is not for credit, students can use it without risk of failure, as early and often as they like, receiving immediate feedback and guidance on every question. 

In the first five years of the project, more than 60,000 students attempted over 7,000,000 question instances from an aggregate bank of roughly 10,000 problems across the full set of courses served. Students are prompted to choose a topic to focus on, and then are randomly served questions from actual previous exams — a realistic preview of their future assessments. With the group-work feature, students can work on the same problems at the same time and then compare notes and strategies to teach one another. In the individual mode, students who need a lot of practice can get it and see how their performance matches others, targeting only the topics in which they need support. 

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Elisabeth R. Gerber, Jack L. Walker, Jr. Collegiate Professor  Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy Professor of Political Science, LSA

Role-playing simulations immerse learners in complex decision-making settings, providing opportunities to experience first-hand the challenges that arise when decision-makers must come to a collective decision over which they disagree. ViewPoint is a cloud-based software that streamlines the authoring and implementation of such simulations, and it is flexible enough to support a wide range of simulation scenarios, from intense in-person, multi-day events to entirely online, asynchronous experiences. The barriers of creating a simulation for an educator, and participating in a simulation for a student, are lowered, creating a more inclusive experience. Participants are assigned roles to play, and features like the newsfeed and dynamic calendar keep all participants informed of decisions being made, making the complex process more visible and comprehensible. Creators and facilitators can assemble documents and materials in advance, tailor templates to suit their own needs, and easily share the results of the simulations with other interested parties, making the role-playing process more understandable and legible even for those who did not directly participate. 

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MATTHEW DIEMER, Professor, School of Education

As Professor Diemer writes, “quantitative courses are commonly experienced as notation-heavy technical exercises that are divorced from both the lived experiences of students and from larger societal issues.” Students enter his advanced statistical method classes expecting to drilled with complex equations, often intimidated by the material, believing that they’ll never be “good at math.” 

By integrating issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of the course, this project provides a roadmap for exploring the impact and causes of pressing social issues across various academic disciplines, especially those with heavy technical content. With a syllabus that centers the perspectives of diverse scholars, who are sorely underrepresented in other quantitative courses, students learn not only the advanced quantitative skills, but how to use those techniques to “speak the language” of those in power. Students go from being “statistics skittish” to being able to communicate and advance DEI in spaces where facility with highly technical quantitative concepts and techniques may be privileged. 

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Ginger Shultz Assistant Professor Chemistry, LSA and Anne Ruggles Gere Arthur F. Thurnau Professor  English, LSA Gertrude Buck Collegiate  Professor of Education

M-Write increases learning in large enrollment introductory courses by requiring students to translate key concepts into real-life situations via writing. M-Write has made writing-to-learn pedagogies practical and sustainable by a) developing an automated peer review system that fits seamlessly into Canvas and b) training undergraduates to provide formative feedback on student writing about content. Combining technological and human resources assures that faculty can elicit student understanding of key concepts and in turn provide formative feedback—no matter the size of the course—without imposing an undue burden on their time. 

To support faculty and students, M-Write created a corps of undergraduate Writing Fellows who are trained by the Sweetland Center for Writing to assist students with understanding prompts, participating in peer review, and revising drafts. They serve as liaisons between faculty and students, providing a student perspective on writing assignments, standards for evaluation, and common misperceptions of subject matter. 

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STEPHANIE THARP, Associate Professor, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and ERIC SVAAN, Technology & Operations, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Expanding the design charrette model popular in architecture and design practices, the team behind Hacking Health has developed a hybrid model that amplifies the power of the “pop-up” meeting between users and designers by using it to jumpstart a semester-long design studio. 

A design charrette is an intensive, cross-disciplinary workshop involving a group of stakeholders to address a problem area and to inform design of products, services, and systems aligned with the needs of users. In each charrette event, students worked in interdisciplinary teams with faculty, researchers, health practitioners, and community members drawn from the target population. Following the charrette, students working in teams of 4 or 5 built on the insights generated in order to deepen their understanding of users. In a course setting, they develop and iterate physical prototypes in response to user feedback, understand technical viability and usability, and then plan businesses to engage in an economic competition with other teams. 

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