Grant: Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching
Project Title Overview of the Project
Great Books for the 21st Century Student
Sara Ahbel-Rappe
Carrie Wood

06/01/2019 - 12/30/2019
Great Books, the Freshman Honors introduction to a core curriculum that surveys important works of literature and philosophy, has a storied career in the University of Michigan’s Honor’s Program. Since the retirement of Classics Professor Don Cameron, who taught a two-semester version of course for several decades under the rubric of a Great Books Program, the course has seen several changes. The course is now a one-semester class that is one of several Honors humanities core electives. Therefore, the Classics Department, which now houses the course together with the LSA Honors Program, must rethink the scope and purpose of the one-semester course, in light of the intellectual priorities of the Honors Core and in light of the goals of the University as a whole, which include the fostering of diverse, multi-cultural, global, and inclusive teaching, together with a holistic approach to the education of our first year students.
Healthcare Theatre: Taking Human Simulation to the Next Level
Beth Ammerman
Elizabeth Kuzma
Deborah Lee

04/01/2019 - 04/30/2021
Changing the way graduate nursing education is offered is vital to meet the needs of new generations of students. Distance learning offers options that enable today's students to achieve their education while studying on their own time. The School of Nursing (UMSN) is developing online nurse practitioner programs, admitting the first cohort in fall 2020. Distance learners will be required to be on campus several times throughout their program for assessments and standardized patient (SP) experiences. The quality of the distance cohort program needs to be equal to the traditional, on-campus cohorts, requiring well-trained SPs to provide high-stakes simulation that meet the national Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) Standards of Best Practice. Project faculty propose to develop a reliable UMSN Standardized Patient Program with the aim of creating robust on-campus clinical immersions and assessments for distance learners that in time can be shared with other health science schools on campus. The project will have three phases. First, clinical faculty will partner with the Clinical Learning Center (CLC) to recruit and train SPs by creating a healthcare theater elective course for undergraduate health science students. Second, SPs will be evaluated for consistency and accuracy in portraying their assigned roles, ability to give quality feedback to students and to complete assessments of students’ performance. Last, the SPs will be utilized in both traditional and online programs to provide formative learning experiences and summative assessments for students, in addition to interprofessional education courses with other health schools like dentistry and social work.
Good with Words: Speaking and Presenting
Patrick Barry
04/10/2019 - 04/10/2021
One of the most important skills professionals of all kinds need to develop is also, unfortunately, one of the most undertaught: the ability to speak clearly and compellingly. Good with Words is designed to address that problem by turning what was a very successful pilot course on public speaking into an innovative suite of digital, print, and in-person resources.
Digifab Process Library
Sophia Brueckner
04/30/2019 - 04/30/2021
Stamps’ new Digital Fabrication Studio has incredible machines, but there is so much unrealized potential for both student and faculty work. I propose to create an extensive library of inspiring and informative samples that illustrate the uses of our equipment on all kinds of materials. This library will complement the Materials Collection at the Duderstadt by focusing on demonstrating what our equipment can do and by showcasing what students themselves have produced. Arts & Design students are out-of-the-box thinkers who think through making. Students need to see in things in real life and touch physical samples. They need to know what settings/tools/etc. were used to get those effects with our machines in order to gain expertise and be innovative. It is important that this is driven by students’ work because when new students encounter the library they know whatever they see or touch is achievable...they are accessing things made by fellow students rather than exemplar pieces made by professionals. There is also an equity of access issue at play, with students who are less well off hesitating to buy and experiment with unfamiliar materials. This library would encourage more creative risk taking in all students but especially for those who are financially disadvantaged. This library will demonstrate the potential of new digital fabrication technologies when applied to fine art, design, and traditional crafts, encouraging all Stamps’ faculty and students to push the creative limits of this space as well as serve as a resource for the rest of the University.
Moving Forward with a Backward Design: Revision of German 221/231
Vicki Dischler
Mary Gell

04/24/2019 - 04/21/2020
German 221/231 is a fulcrum course. It is the bridge between first-year German, where students acquire a basic command of the language and familiarity with German culture, and the culmination of the language requirement in the German 232 special topics courses, which are vital feeders to our upper-level courses. We offer around 15 sections of 221/231 each academic year, serving an annual total of roughly 240 students. Students review and build on what they have learned in the first year and begin a more complex engagement with written and visual texts addressing a range of social and cultural issues. In its last major revision in 2006, 221/231 was organized around 5 feature-length films, 2 easy-reader novels, numerous shorter texts and videos, and online grammar and vocabulary quizzes. We feel the time has come for a much more flexible and sustainable course structure, more adaptable to changes in the world, more in line with Rackham’s DEI strategic plan, and more open to flexible implementation by instructors in accordance with their individual expertise. Consequently, we propose a complete revision of the course by means of backward design. We will start by establishing clear and common learning outcomes for all sections and develop a modular course built around themes. We seek funding to support our work over the summer of 2019 to establish learning outcomes, develop assessments, conduct brainstorming sessions within the department and create lesson plans and teaching materials, in order to offer the re-envisioned course as of Fall Term 2019.
Transformation of Health Sciences Scholars Program Core Curriculum toward Team- and Problem-Based Learning, Interprofessional Education, and Humanism
Adam Eickmeyer
06/01/2019 - 06/30/2020
The Health Sciences Scholars Program is a living-learning community that supports 120 first-year pre-health undergraduates each year through academics, leadership development, and community building. Students in HSSP are required to take ALA 106 and 109 (Perspectives on Health and Healthcare I and II) during their first year. These courses focus on aspects of health and health care that students often do not learn about until late in undergraduate studies or graduate school. Topics covered include: health policy, health care reform, international health, health disparities, social determinants of health, ethics, and more. Each course is currently 2 credits, and taught as a 1.5-hour lecture and 1-hour discussion section each week. Through the Gilbert Whitaker Fund support, I propose to develop a core team as well as faculty/staff advisory members to fundamentally change HSSP’s membership courses and subsequently evaluate these changes. We will adopt a problem- and team-based learning approach, further integrate interprofessional education, and deepen the humanistic components of these courses. These changes will allow us to provide a more holistic experience for our students as well as better prepare them for the rest of their pre-health studies.
Acquisition of remote access technologies to advance student learning in Wildlife Ecology
Johannes Foufopoulos
08/01/2019 - 04/24/2021
One of the key challenges that faculty in the field of environmental studies face today, is a fundamental lack of real-life experience and practical training among the incoming cohorts of ecology students. Substantial first-hand experience with natural organisms is the well-spring of understanding for anyone hoping to be a successful ecologist or natural resource manager. However, students today hail increasingly from urban settings and often have had very little exposure to nature. This lack of previous exposure to nature has strong repercussions on the knowledge, abilities and training of professional ecologists at the University of Michigan. Increasingly classes are taught without student exposure to the outdoors. However, the gold standard for the discipline is direct interaction and training on live wild animals and plants, and this standard is becoming increasingly hard to maintain. The University of Michigan lags sorely behind peer institutions when it comes to the introduction and adoption of new wildlife technologies (radiotelemetry and remote observation) in teaching and in training our students. To my knowledge no course on campus utilizes or teaches about the use of these technologies, creating a significant disadvantage for our students. What is urgently needed is an initial investment into the purchase of wildlife radiotelemetry equipment, which can then be used long-term within the framework of existing courses. I would therefore like to request funds that will be used to purchase radiotelemetry, remote monitoring and related field equipment for wildlife study.
Virtual Anatomy
Glenn Fox
B. Kathleen Alsup

04/01/2019 - 04/30/2021
The goal of this project is to create and integrate 3-dimensional (3-D) anatomical images into curated, curriculum-specific virtual reality (VR) experiences for students in Anatomy curricula. These VR experiences will be curricularly-incorporated into existing U-M Anatomy courses and publicly available as free resources by incorporation into our existing web resources.
Continuing Implementation of Gameful Pedagogies and Gradecraft in Second Language Classes
Ryan Hendrickson
Janaya Lasker-Ferretti
Qian Liu
Amaryllis Rodriguez Mojica

05/13/2019 - 08/16/2019
In 2018, our team of four language instructors were awarded an LSA Level 2 grant to develop and implement gameful learning practices into their respective curricula; Chinese 405, French 103, and Italian 232. This proposal is to support follow up activity based on the work accomplished and successes realized from our initial work. The work the Whitaker grant will support is codifying the best concepts of gameful learning for second language acquisition and to build on the previous pilot courses; to examine the results of attitudinal surveys, course feedback, and instructor experience, to synthesize those results, then revise the gameful implementation strategies piloted in Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 courses in the next iteration of course designs, to be implemented during the Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 semesters. For example, one beneficial aspect of designing the curriculum around gameful pedagogies is the ability to take advantage of a variety of different activities, including relatively spontaneous, real-world, opportunities that may present themselves. A successful example of this occurred in Italian, when Lasker-Ferretti added a “mini translate-a-thon” to her course. This service based learning experience engaged the students with real-world, authentic, language allows them to experience practical use of their emerging language skills. Facilitating this type of iterative course re-design provides opportunities for students to engage with real-world topics, experiential learning, and creates space for diverse learning styles, as well as provides learning opportunities that traditional learning courses may not have the impetus to include.
Measuring Sense of Belonging in the Engineering Classroom
Laura Hirshfield
Pauline Khan

05/01/2019 - 04/30/2021
Sense of belonging refers to how a student feels that they fit in to a community. If a student does not feel that they belong to a certain community, they are likely to be demotivated, have less confidence, and be more likely to disengage or even drop out of the community (Smith et al. 2012). If students develop a sense of belonging in their specific courses, they may be able to find a peer community within their course, seek the proper support, improve learning, and, more importantly, persist in their field of study. There has been a considerable amount of research conducted to investigate how engineering students think that they belong as engineers in general: in the profession, in their engineering college, or in their university at large. However, we propose that more research is necessary to investigate a student’s sense of belonging, specifically in their engineering classrooms. The primary focus of the proposed project is to create and pilot an assessment instrument that can measure a student’s’ sense of belonging in the classroom. Furthermore, the researchers would like to determine the specific factors, such as team dynamics in project work, instructor feedback, interactions from classmates, and course material, that may impact students’ sense of belonging. Smith, Tamara Floyd et al. 2012. “Investigation of Belonging for Engineering and Science Undergraduates by Year in School.” Pp. 1–11 in American Society for Engineering Education.
A holistic approach to calibrating clinical dental faculty for assessments that support a “growth mind-set”
Diane Hoelscher
Tracy de Peralta
Carol Anne Murdoch-Kinch
Vidya Ramaswamy
Romesh Nalliah

04/01/2019 - 04/30/2021
Standardization of faculty, which occurs as a result of calibration activities, is a particular challenge across all of dental education. Dental students must learn and be assessed on literally hundreds of procedures, techniques and clinical activities. At the UMSD as in other dental schools, dental faculty are diverse, graduating from clinical training programs around the world, with variations in clinical philosophies of care. The UMSD employs hundreds of full-time and adjunct-faculty often teaching in different clinical disciplines and in multiple locations, who must be calibrated on teaching and assessment; these factors create barriers to successful and sustainable calibration programs using traditional approaches. Calibration activities seek to achieve “consistent application of protocols, techniques, and philosophies, so the student experience is as consistent as possible.” (McAndrew, 2016). In this proposal, we present a much broader approach to calibration that supports and broadens faculty members’ knowledge of educational principles and their ability to facilitate a growth mind-set culture and humanistic learning environment within the UMSD learning environment. This program will utilize a variety of technology-based solutions to make learning opportunities more accessible to faculty and provide innovative ways to track and communicate the outcomes of calibration activities. Program goals will include increasing faculty intra and inter-rater reliability for selected student assessments and increasing faculty participation and collaboration in calibration activities. Study design and analysis will include a needs assessment, preliminary assessment of current systems using mixed methods, a calibration training intervention and a program outcomes assessment.
Design-Specific Leadership in Architecture
Irene Hwang
Reetha Raveendran
Joana Dos Santos
McLain Clutter

06/01/2019 - 04/30/2021
Our team’s objective is to develop and introduce design-specific leadership models and concepts to the architecture curriculum (graduate and undergraduate) and pedagogy at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. The goal is to shift the culture of architectural education and practice from one that is more individualistic and authoritarian, to one more collaborative and inclusive. We plan to begin this project on design-specific leadership through the continued evolution of the required, graduate-level course, Arch 583 Professional Practice. Arch 583 is considered the primary academic course where students learn about the profession of architecture. In spite of this course’s core position in the design curriculum, its format, concepts, and pedagogy have not changed in many decades. Evolving demands placed on the discipline of architecture, where projects are far more complex and require a higher level of collaboration and communication across diverse perspectives and concerns, require that our graduates possess an understanding of updated leadership principles and frameworks. Working with experts from our field and other fields, with our students and our faculty, our project team will learn how leadership impacts our design profession. To improve the effectiveness of Arch 583, as well as to evolve the entirety of the architecture curriculum, this project aims to first understand and discern those concerns and priorities of leadership in architecture and then to create a path to make the teaching of leadership concepts a standard component of architectural education.
Debriefing Training for Healthcare Learners: Learning to Process Distressing Events Together
Nasuh Malas
Kelcey Stratton
Janice Firn
Kathleen Robertson
Katie Feder
Patricia Keefer

05/01/2019 - 04/30/2021
Healthcare professionals are likely to be exposed to traumatic events and emotional distress repeatedly during their training and careers. However, many learners report receiving limited or no training in coping with patient deaths and other distressing events, which can contribute to isolation, professional stress, moral or ethical distress, and burnout. The proposed project seeks to fill an important training gap in how distressing events in healthcare settings are identified and discussed. The Departments of Psychiatry, Palliative Care, Clinical Ethics, and the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience propose an innovative, interactive, and multidisciplinary training initiative to teach healthcare learners essential skills for debriefing. The debriefing workshop is a 2-hour training session in which skills are discussed, modeled, and practiced. The workshop provides a unique opportunity for self-reflection and active learning, as well as an inclusive forum that recognizes the diverse roles, responses, and experiences of healthcare team members and learners. Debriefing sessions are effective in addressing the emotional impact of distressing events, and can improve concentration, morale, work engagement, and individual and team performance, which are critical components of learning. Funding will allow for the refinement of training materials, assessment of the implementation strategy, and partnership with academic divisions and educators to create multidisciplinary learning opportunities. The project will also contribute to Michigan Medicine and GME priorities regarding learner, faculty, and staff well-being and resilience.
Anatomy of Sound: Optimal airflow dynamics for producing a high quality woodwind tone
Amy Porter
04/01/2019 - 04/01/2020
The Anatomy of Sound project joins three U-M Professors, one in Music, Medicine and Engineering, with one alumna from U-M SMTD, responding to develop a modern and realistic vocabulary in the curriculum for flute players. Since we, as woodwind teachers, are describing actions that can’t be seen, I am dedicated to understanding and teaching the “real anatomy of sound,” or, what the body physically does or doesn’t do to produce consistent high quality sound while playing the flute. It’s an instrument without the resistance of a reed and one that requires more wind power of any wind instrument. I seek funding to be able to show each flute student small 3-D models of the tongue, throat, vocal folds, as reminders of how the body is producing their sound from the diaphragm and lungs, through the vocal folds and oral cavity to the tongue, and finally through the lips, thereby teaching the student the role anatomy plays in tone, phrasing, vibrato and intonation. We, as a team, also seek salaries to host, teach and disseminate our findings at the Anatomy of Sound Workshop in June, 2019. This project will benefit hundreds of U-M flute players, from flute majors and minors (enrolled as Undergrad in course MU-139 Freshmen through Masters- course 540 and also to MU-DMA course 891), hundreds of marching band flutists, and will be a new video resource for non U-M music students for whom the flute improves their quality of learning and life.
Improving Chemistry Teaching Through Instructional Coaching
Ginger Shultz
05/01/2019 - 08/30/2020
Science faculty typically begin teaching with minimal experience and limited opportunity for professional development, while at the same time meeting high expectations for research excellence. This tension makes learning to teach challenging for all faculty, but in particular women and people of color who are additionally challenged with developing teaching identities in classrooms where their authority is more likely to be questioned. The proposed project will address these challenges by initiating an instructional coaching community that empowers new chemistry graduate students, postdoctoral teaching fellows, and faculty to reflect and improve on their teaching practice while honoring their individual beliefs about teaching.
Training Data Savvy Public Health Practitioners: A Proposal to Modernize Computer Labs for Biostatistics 521
Matthew Zawistowski
04/01/2019 - 08/30/2019
Biostatistics 521 is an introductory statistical analysis course offered in the School of Public Health (SPH). Designed to foster data analysis skills in future public health practitioners, the course serves a large and diverse audience of >200 graduate students each Fall semester. Increasing expectations on practical data analysis skills have rendered the computer lab component of BIOS 521 outdated in content and philosophy. The current format of closed-ended problem sets and antiquated data simply do not meet the training needs of today’s public health students. We propose to modernize computer labs to an “authentic” learning experience that explicitly mimics the open-ended statistical tasks these students will perform in their future careers. First, we will team with faculty from across SPH disciplines to identify public health datasets that are current standards in their fields and develop a set of timely scientific questions for students to explore. Next, we will design a set of innovative, modular lab assignments that each focus on a specific piece of the statistical analysis procedure. The modules will naturally build upon each other to guide students through the logical steps of a statistical analysis. At the conclusion of the semester, each student will have designed and implemented a complete statistical analysis, from exploratory figures to multivariate inferential modeling, on a modern public health dataset. Our revised lab structure provides hands-on experience and enhances the training of first-year graduate students eager to jump into analyzing data on the latest public health topics.
Layering Film Into Anatomy Curricula
B. Kathleen Alsup
Glenn Fox

04/01/2018 - 05/31/2020
The goal of this project is to incorporate film as part of mixed multimedia learning strategies for students in U-M Anatomy curricula (ANAT 403; M1 Foundations of Gross Anatomy; D1 Head & Neck Gross Anatomy; etc.) and for non-U-M students who also use U-M anatomical resources. Incorporating micro-documentary style with parsimonious learning objectives, we will develop and produce films which educate and serve as a useful conduit to inspire continuous learning for students in the study of anatomy. Film provides a link of engagement at a lower cognitive load for students in ways that text-based and other visual-based multimedia are unable. Our goal with process creation will be to create a means by which project films may be developed and produced by various groups of students, faculty, and clinicians. These films will be curricularly-incorporated into existing U-M Anatomy courses and publicly available by incorporation into our existing web resources.
Understanding student learning in introductory astronomy classes
Eric Bell
Michael LoPresto

04/30/2018 - 04/30/2020
More than 2500 students per year fulfill at least in part their natural science and quantitative reasoning requirements with an intro astronomy class for non-science majors. To make this learning experience as impactful as possible, we should understand what our students are learning (facts, concepts, skills or attitudes) and how instructors shape that learning. Accordingly, the astronomy department has been assessing the learning of ~1000 students/year in some large enrollment 3 and 4 credit classes. This effort has provided an understanding of typical learning gains, how these gains vary between students with different backgrounds and characteristics and gives a rich dataset for both more nuanced analysis and as a baseline for assessing the impact of interventions. This effort allows us to frame some urgent, important and as-yet-unanswered questions. a) Has learning actually improved over the last four years, and if so, has that affected students from diverse academic and social backgrounds? Or, have we instead been monitoring but not improving? b) What, if any, is the measurable impact of particular interventions? c) How are students learning in our other large-enrollment classes? The goal of this proposal is to provide the funds to support the effort an astronomy education researcher to continue our assessment effort and answer these questions. This proposal strongly aligns with the Whitaker Fund goal of ‘assessing courses and/or curricula’, and supports our assessment and prioritization of ‘innovations in teaching methods or approaches’ and ‘inclusive teaching practices that foster success for students of all academic and social backgrounds.’
Technology-Driven Curricular Innovation for Performing Arts Technology 200/201/202
Jeremy Edwards
Paul Dooley
Christopher Burns

04/21/2018 - 05/01/2019
We propose innovative strategies for teaching introductory topics in recording engineering and music production. These techniques are intended for a newly created course, PAT 200/Introduction to Electronic Music (targeted primarily at non-PAT-major students, and being discussed for inclusion in a potential Popular Music minor), as well as existing PAT 201/Introduction to Computer Music and PAT 202/Computer Music courses for majors. Together, these courses reach 25 PAT majors and upwards of 300 students from other majors each year. We are developing new approaches to instruction and hands-on practice in microphone selection, positioning, and mixing. Previously, these topics could only be explored in group settings, and in highly-equipped recording studio spaces not accessible to introductory courses. Technological advancements, coupled with new pedagogical approaches, make it possible for us to teach these materials in more modestly-equipped classroom spaces such as our Music Technology Lab, and to give novice students individualized, practical experience with these key techniques. We intend to broaden the musical diversity of our curriculum, and thereby increase the inclusivity of our teaching, by adopting new approaches to instruction in music production. Hip-hop and other styles of global contemporary electronic music production are increasingly centered on sample-triggering hardware control surfaces. By embracing these devices for both new pedagogical materials around electronic drum programming and sample manipulation, and existing topics including live performance, we can convey to students from diverse backgrounds that we embrace genres of music important to them, and help to inspire their creative work in the classroom and beyond.
Standardizing Language Instruction in Spanish 280
Mar Freire Hermida
04/16/2018 - 09/30/2019
Spanish 280, Conversation through Spanish/Latin American Film, was created in 2011 to respond to the students demand for more oral practice at the advanced level. Since then the course has grown from 4-6 sections per academic year to 10-12. This growth has come hand in hand with a variety of topics and a diversity in teaching approaches that make it very rich in terms of content. However, it has come at the expense of consistency across sections particularly when it comes to the primary reason why the class was created: to improve the level of oral competency of our students. Having already identified the level of oral competency that, on average, students enrolling in Spanish 280 have as Intermediate High according to the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages, this project aims to address the need to create materials that will push our students to the next level of competency, Advanced Low. I am requesting funds to hire 1-2 GSIs who have recently taught the course to help establish linguist goals and develop material that can be used in all sections to standardize language instruction in Spanish 280. This material would then become the skeleton around which each one of the 280 sections is built and filled with content. We would create a sort of textbook for the course that would emphasize the linguistic objectives of the class and define ways in which each instructor can work with their group to achieve those goals
Evaluating a New Undergraduate Curriculum
Bonnie Hagerty
04/15/2018 - 01/30/2019
The purpose of this project is to develop an evaluation plan for a new, innovative School of Nursing undergraduate curriculum. This curriculum will shape the education and professional competence of over 150 students who graduate each year. This curriculum represents a risk in that it is an entire departure from our history that focused primarily on specialty-driven teaching. This is unique, based on an ecologically organized, concept-driven structure that will guide teaching and learning. The structure and courses are organized based on our model and will propel significant changes in concepts, teaching methods and activities, student learning, student evaluation methods for students in both lecture and the clinical practicum, and outcome expectations. The School of Nursing needs to develop proactively a comprehensive evaluation plan for the new curriculum in order to: a) determine the quality of the new curriculum using multiple metrics, b) establish benchmarking for continuous quality improvement, and c) provide solid evaluation data for the Commission on College Nursing Education (CCNE) program accreditation in 2021, for which standards have changed. This project is urgent given that evaluation processes need to begin with the freshmen cohort of 2018. The plan is to create an evaluation task force; engage a consultant with expertise in nursing curriculum evaluation; develop a comprehensive evaluation plan including expected outcomes, quality indicators, and evaluation metrics; and create a sustainability plan to integrate on-going evaluation into curriculum implementation.
The Design and Implementation of Case Studies for Marketing for Social Change
P. Sol Hart
05/01/2018 - 08/31/2019
I propose the development of a series of hands-on, problem based case studies that will be implemented in COMM 417 / ENVIRON 417 - Marketing for Social Change. The case studies will be developed to promote the following course goals: 1) Mastery of course material - theory and application 2) Collaborative team learning 3) Skills in iterative problem solving for real world problems. Funds are requested to support time to research relevant case studies and convert real world cases into classroom projects that will guide students through case-based problem solving class activities utilizing relevant class theory and content.
Improvement of Teaching: Fostering Graduate and Faculty Development Through an Instructional Incubator and Teaching Apprenticeship Model
Aileen Huang-Saad
08/01/2018 - 07/31/2020
Our project proposes to develop an iterative model for graduate and faculty development which engages the entire Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department in sustainably transforming BME education at the University of Michigan. Our model is a 2-semester Incubator/Apprenticeship sequence. During the first semester (Incubator), graduate students and post docs work with BME faculty to research rapidly changing BME workforce trends, while learning about evidence-based best teaching practices, to conceptualize 1-credit undergraduate BME courses. During the second semester (Apprenticeship), graduate students are mentored in executing their 1-credit courses. The 1-credit courses were designed in response to BME student demand for more early stage BME classes that address industry needs while the graduate student engagement was designed in response to increasing demands to expose graduate students to alternative postgraduate opportunities. Immersing faculty and graduate students in creating courses informed by evidence-based teaching practices will transform how BME is taught in higher education. Finally, cross-departmental involvement will address the department-wide call for a more integrated community. Development of the model is informed by social constructivist theory and situated learning theories, instructional beliefs, and organizational change theory. Monitoring of the progress of the course design will be done through qualitative analysis of pre- and post-course surveys, end of course University evaluations, and focus groups conducted at various points in the sequence. Dissemination will focus on academic research and practitioners with plans to report to appropriate academic communities and utilize social media and the laboratory web page (Transforming Engineering Education co-Laboratory) to reach practitioners.
e-Book Widgets for Experimenting with Materials Processes, Functionality, and Fundamental Concepts
John Kieffer
05/01/2018 - 04/30/2020
The principal objective of this project is to create the next-generation study resources for Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) students and professionals. MSE is a very diverse and rapidly evolving field of study, and requires its practitioners to be educated in a broad spectrum of knowledge and skills. For the last two years, I have been working to develop a framework for the rapid preparation, testing, and implementation of effective instructional content. This framework consists of e-books authoring software, a JavaScript (JS) programming environment, and a web server. The products we generate are a series of tablet-based interactive knowledge exploration modules and accompanying web content. The key innovation of these e-books is that they have apps embedded, designed to simulate processes and phenomena that are at the heart of materials behaviors, properties, and processing techniques. These apps are essentially virtual experiments that allow the reader to interactively explore materials behaviors at the atomistic level and fundamental concepts that form the basis for materials theory. Learning takes place by swiping a finger on a tablet to manipulate parameters settings via slider positions or by dragging a curve to change its shape, and then observe the effect that these actions have on the depicted phenomenon or materials response. The interactivity with the learning resource provides a fully immersive and unconventional learning experience. With this request we seek funds to support for student programmers to help develop these apps.
Inclusion and Understanding: Assessment and Quantification of Mathematics Exam Problem Characteristics
Gavin LaRose
Elaine Lande
Hanna Bennett
Fernando Carreon
Paul Kessenich

04/01/2018 - 08/31/2019
The primary goal of this project is to understand and develop measures of how accessible exam problems are to different students in introductory mathematics courses, especially to underrepresented groups in mathematics and STEM courses. Additional goals are to determine measures by which course coordinators can quantify the difficulty of exam problems and exams as a whole, and to better understand how to present past exam problems so that students will learn more when using them as a study aid. In sum, these will allow course coordinators in the Mathematics Introductory Program to improve the inclusiveness of their courses, write exams that are more consistent in difficulty and learning objective, and improve student's learning. We will accomplish these goals by analyzing existing data about student performance on past exams. We expect to be able to isolate a relatively small set of such characteristics that are correlated with significantly worse performance by certain student groups, and heuristic measures that will allow coordinators to understand when problems are likely to be less accessible to these students. We will describe the difficulty of exam problems by determining measures to quantify that difficulty, which we expect to include cognitive demand, problem presentation, and the type of work required of students to successfully solve the problem. Finally, we will use the insights gained from the work on the project to improve the presentation and supporting information students have when using old exam problems to study, with the goal of improving student learning overall.