Grant: Faculty Development Fund (FDF)
Project Title Overview of the Project
Leveraging online technologies to facilitate intercultural learning with students studying abroad
Timothy Corvidae
$5900.00
05/01/2014 - 04/30/2016
The University of Michigan aspires to send all students on some type of international experience, whether it be study, intern, volunteer, or research abroad. Yet there is a growing concern in the field of international education that the focus on increasing access to study abroad opportunities is not enough. Recent studies have shown that many students who participate in international experiences don't show any significant gains in intercultural learning or if they do, the gains are limited. Many faculty who lead student groups abroad are not trained in the kinds of guided reflection that support integrative intercultural learning. This project will design a course that leverages synchronous and asynchronous, interactive, online platforms to deliver just-in-time intercultural education that facilitates students' sensemaking and growth as they navigate immersive intercultural experiences. This is one of only a few courses using an online critical reflective seminar that brings together students currently studying in a variety of other countries. Once we have a model of how to remotely facilitate intercultural learning on-site, we would invite other Colleges to participate in our courses or consider adapting our best practices. Making a reflective course available to students studying, interning, or volunteering abroad will allow programs to gain from the value of intercultural reflective learning—such as improved efficacy of interactions between students and host site partners—while allowing faculty to maintain focus on their scholarly priorities. This course could significantly contribute to an area that is just beginning to develop in the field of international education.
Action-Based-Learning Redesign: Quantitative Methods of Program Evaluation
Susan Dynarski
$5900.00
08/01/2014 - 04/30/2016
Quantitative Methods for Program Evaluation (Public Policy 639), previously an elective for students with an intense interest in learning advanced quantitative methods, has transitioned to the capstone course required of all Master of Public Policy candidates at the Ford School of Public Policy. The course introduces students to the use and interpretation of multiple regression analysis and program evaluation. The goals of the class are to train students to critically consume and thoughtfully produce empirical, policy-relevant research. The course covers multiple regression, fixed effects, instrumental variables, regression discontinuity, panel data, differences-in-differences and propensity-score matching. This proposal addresses the challenge of maintaining a high level of engagement and learning while reaching a broader set of students. The redesigned course will "flip" instruction to focus on team-based problem solving. Students will watch short, online video lectures prior to class; I will conduct in-class clicker quizzes for immediate feedback on comprehension and then clarify any muddy concepts. The bulk of class time will focus on action-based learning, in which students will solve problems and conduct data analysis in groups. The problems they tackle in class will closely resemble the real-world problems they will encounter in their professional lives. The project evaluation plan includes ongoing testing of new resources (videos, problems, quizzes), and feedback in the form of student academic engagement (accessing the online materials, ability to respond to quizzes, in-class participation, completion of assignments), CRLT midterm evaluation, and end-of-term assessment. Through CRLT I will share my experience with interested faculty.
Muscle Function as Thread: Stitching Together the Kinesiology Curriculum Using Shared Digital Resources in Required Core Courses
Melissa Gross
Pete Bodary
Scott McLean

$6000.00
05/01/2014 - 05/31/2015
Muscle function is a fundamental concept in Kinesiology that students need to master for advanced courses and professional applications. Muscle function is taught in several required core courses across the curriculum, but faculty tend to focus on only their own courses, resulting in curricular redundancy and missed opportunities for sharing best practices related to teaching and learning concepts of muscle function. The purpose of this project is to examine curricular design related to muscle function in the School of Kinesiology and to develop new digital learning resources for teaching and learning that can be shared across several courses in the curriculum. Specifically, the faculty team will describe specific learning objectives and outcomes related to muscle function and map them to the core classes, create new digital learning resources to deliver course content before and during class and engage students in learning, and flip at least one class session in related to muscle function in each of the core courses. The project will address weaknesses in the Movement Science program that were identified in a curriculum evaluation conducted by CRLT. The project will also improve existing practice by establishing a new way for faculty teams to work together to improve teaching and learning in Kinesiology. By focusing on implementation of one curriculum objective (muscle function), we hope to improve learning outcomes for students but also to establish a viable new approach to course design and curriculum implementation in Kinesiology.
Building Active and Multicultural Teaching Strength for Student Learning Today and Future Faculty Tomorrow
Judy Lawson
Eric Cook

$7700.00
07/01/2014 - 05/30/2015
We are interested in "raising the game" of our GSIs and Intermittent lecturers in terms of their confidence and skills to infuse class sessions, group or lab sessions, tutoring sessions, and office hours interactions with intentional use of active and multicultural teaching strategies. To accomplish this, we aim to further develop the training and mentorship provided to GSIs and Intermittent Lecturers at UMSI. The primary goal is to improve the student learning experience through use of active and multicultural learning pedagogies. We hope our investment in the professional development of GSIs and Intermittent Lecturers will strengthen their teaching and learning capabilities, not only for their work at UMSI, but for their work as instructors throughout their careers. Thus our overall purpose is to have short term, internal impact as well as long term, external impact on the teaching and learning environment at UM and beyond.
Creation of Integrated Surgical & Neurophysiologic Video Data Streams to Enhance Student Visual Learning
Joshua Mergos
$6000.00
04/14/2014 - 04/15/2016
The outcome of this project will be the creation of cutting-edge lecture materials that integrate both screen-captured neurophysiologic video and microscope-recorded surgical video. The materials created will be used in courses developed for the Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring (IONM) program in the Movement Science major, which is the first academic program of its kind in the nation. The content created will far surpass any educational materials currently available to field of IONM. Furthermore, the materials created have a strong potential to impact other programs of study that lack education in the field of IONM as well as those that could benefit from well-edited high-resolution surgical video. A few of these schools of study include the School of Nursing, Engineering, and Medicine. This project will demonstrate the effectiveness of surgical and neurophysiologic video in the enhancement of education for allied health students. As a multi-phase project, screen-captured video from neurophysiologic monitoring equipment integrated with high-resolution surgical video will be used to create learning materials which allow the student to see how structural maneuvers effect functional neurophysiology. Improvements in student comprehension will be assessed compared to performance of prior course cohorts. Used during courses which are pre-requisite to a clinical rotation experience in the operating room, the improvements made will better prepare the student for his or her field experience.
Ross - Integrative Core Course Semester
Dana Muir
$9990.00
05/01/2014 - 04/30/2016
The Ross School of Business (Ross) has completely redesigned its Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program. Beginning in Fall 2015, BBA students (~500/year) will be required to take newly integrated core courses during Fall semester of their junior year. The curriculum will comprise four courses: Behavioral Theory in Management, Business Communication, Business Law and Ethics, and Operations Management. One of the four pillars of the Ross philosophy is that business issues are boundaryless (e.g. that they cross business disciplines and cultures). The integrative semester is the second of three curricular efforts to develop students' abilities to evaluate and address issues from a boundaryless perspective. In the Fall sophomore semester students will take an introductory course that integrates business with the liberal arts and students' life and career goals. The junior Fall curriculum will encourage integrated learning across functional business areas. Third, each senior will complete a capstone project that integrates students' university experiences in an action-based learning project. This proposal seeks funding to develop and assess the integrative components of the Fall junior curriculum. The project will challenge faculty to collaborate on integrated learning goals, appropriate course materials, and new teaching methodologies. An important part of the planned project is a two-part assessment to determine the success of the integrated approach and refine it for the future.
Observed Structured Teaching Encounters (OSTEs) to Improve Pediatric Cardiology Faculty and Fellow Teaching Skills
Sonal Owens
David Werho

$6000.00
04/01/2014 - 12/31/2016
OSTEs are a tool in which a teacher interacts with a "standardized learner" in a scripted scenario to assess their teaching skills broadly and within a specific difficult situation as well as to improve their teaching skills by providing clear, immediate, and structured feedback. Initially, we will implement an OSTE program within the Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Program at The University of Michigan. Using this program, we will assess and improve the teaching skills of first-year fellows, with the immediate goal of improving medical student and resident education. In addition, we will assess the role that OSTEs have in improving the education of these residents and students. Finally, we aim to more broadly implement this program as a part of the faculty development program for pediatric cardiology faculty.
Integrating Case Studies into the Dental School
Petros Papagerakis
$6000.00
05/01/2014 - 04/30/2016
The goal of this project is to enhance the learning experience for pediatric dentistry students at the UM School of Dentistry. The specific aims of this proposal are (1) to learn designing and constructing relevant subject-specific cases to replace the current teaching material taught to dental residents and dental undergraduate students; (2) to evaluate if the use of clinical cases improves student learning; (3) to encourage, mentor and guide young faculty members to increase interactive teaching by including cases in their lectures. Dr. Papagerakis will attend the Workshop of the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science to be trained in writing and implementing case studies. In addition to learning how to design relevant cases in this unique workshop all participants are required to teach a case before a student audience using a case they have developed during the workshop. Furthermore, workshop participants are expected to produce a case study within six months of the workshop for our national, peer-reviewed case collection. After the workshop Dr. Papagerakis will design case studies for the 596 graduate course that he directs and it is addressed to Pediatric Dentistry residents. He will use also similar cases for undergraduate teaching to reduce the amount of power point material and to increase critical thinking and student participation. Cases would also be available to the class in the piazza platform to encourage larger participation of students. Piazza allows communication between faculty and students on line and students could remain anonymous when post a comment or a question. Evaluation of this novel method of teaching in these courses will be performed by using polls into the ctools site and also by comparing student grades before and after the implementation of the cases into the course material. It is anticipate that case introduction into the pediatric dentistry curriculum will increase critical thinking and will enhance assimilation of the teaching material. Dr. Papagerakis will also serve as a role model faculty and mentor in the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry. This project will also help addressing key issues and help our school in preparing the incoming accreditation scheduled for 2015.
Advanced Modeling of Electronic Devices to Enhance Student Learning in EECS
Becky Peterson
Fred Terry

$6000.00
05/01/2014 - 08/31/2016
We propose the preparation of electronic device models to enhance in-class interactive learning and independent student work, using the industry-standard Synopsys TCAD software, for two graduate courses and one undergraduate course in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department (EECS). The simulations, which have not been used before in these courses, will provide direct illustration of concepts that cannot be solved analytically, and will deepen student engagement through experimental design. Simulations will also provide important "real world," up-to-date training to help retain a diverse student body. The average annual enrollment in the courses impacted is 35-40 graduate and 180 undergraduate students. Funding is proposed for four months support of a graduate student to develop these materials during Spring/Summer 2014, who will be co-supervised by the two PIs. The required Synopsys software is already available via the College of Engineering's Computer Aided Engineering Network (CAEN).
Interactive Web-Based Module Creation to Improve the Social Work Evaluation Course
Janet Ray
Maureen Okasinski

$8115.00
04/01/2014 - 08/31/2015
The project lead by three LEO Lecturers called Interactive Web-based Module Creation to Improve the Social Work Evaluation Course will create six interactive educational web-based modules that increase in difficulty so that even with no prior knowledge of evaluation, students will have the scaffolding supports to practice the skills needed until they can demonstrate mastery of the competency area. Project will benefit 668 graduate students and cost $8115. An additional $3547 will be leverage as matched funds by the School of Social Work. The cost per student would be $12.15. The module topics correspond with the course objectives and Council on Social Work Education Commission on Accreditation are: choosing evaluation design, developing a hypothesis/evaluation question, determining degree of rigor, data collection methods/sampling, instrumentation and type of variables, and selecting the appropriate statistical test. This is an improvement since it adds a progressive level of difficulty for students, as well as, a different learning style method. Using web-based software with personal feedback from classroom professors responds to new generation learning medium, through the internet, handheld devices and mobile tablets. Our Evaluation in Social Work course will intentionally include discussions of privilege/oppression and real world relevant case studies based on the interest of the students.
Concept or technology-based learning in applied pharmacology: best practices in clinical nursing education
Esther Bay
$10000.00
04/01/2013 - 04/30/2015
The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether concept-based (CB) or technology-based (TB) teaching strategies compared to "teaching as usual (TAU)" increases the USN competency in applied nursing pharmacology. The CB approach involves the integration of concepts gained from prior courses to the patient for whom the student is providing care [5, 7]. The TB teaching approach involves the use of a point-of-care computer-assisted pharmacology (CAP) nursing resource in order to apply pharmacological knowledge specific to the patient for whom the student is providing care. Both of these approaches are expected to be superior to TAU and result in improved pharmacology competency, determined with a lab-simulated pharmacology evaluation (safety) and a customized applied pharmacology exam (knowledge). For sophomores enrolled in NUR 256 (N=140), the first nursing course that provides classroom application of pharmacological concepts learned in the lecture-formatted biological sciences, the following aims and hypotheses will be tested: 1. Evaluate two approaches (CB versus TB) on pharmacology competency determined with a customized pharmacology exam and a lab-simulated pharmacology evaluation. 1a. The CB compared to TB intervention group will have greater pharmacology competency 2. Compare pharmacology competency for beginning junior level USNs (N=140) who received TAU with NUR 256 sophomores who received the CB or TB intervention. 2a. NUR 256 sophomores exposed to CB or TB interventions will have greater pharmacology competency compared to beginning junior USNs who received TAU. The overall long-range goal of this project is to systematically improve applied pharmacology competency for our undergraduate nursing students.
Connecting the World: Making Global Health Classes Truly Global
Diana Bowman
Holly Jarman

$6000.00
07/01/2013 - 06/30/2014
Faculty at the University of Michigan School of Public Health (SPH) have long recognized the importance of balancing first-hand knowledge and critical thinking in enabling our graduates to develop innovative solutions to pressing public health issues. But the increasing internationalization of commerce, travel, public health funding, and health education, combined with the increasing prominence of global institutions which govern public health issues, have produced a growing need for public health professionals to think, and act, globally. Our project would use emerging technologies to connect students with experts in public health law and policy around the world through a new class on ‘Global Health Law and Governance' taught at several levels and online. Students would engage in real-world problem solving in order to enhance their learning about global health law and governance. Materials from the course would be made available to others on an open access basis, creating a virtual classroom that can have a lasting impact.
Clinical Oral Pathology: Teaching decision-making during dental school and beyond
Theodora Danciu
Peter Polverini

$8325.00
04/01/2013 - 04/01/2015
The goals of this project are to increase the clinical decision-making skills of dental and dental hygiene students through the application of scientific evidence to patient cases, and to build a culture of contributing to dentistry by sharing professional experiences and information. We propose to develop a website containing patient cases and references including summaries of emerging research to be used by students throughout their training and during the diagnostic sciences fall course DENT711: Selected topics in oral pathology. This website will provide students with opportunities to participate in active learning, knowledge creation and sharing. This project has the potential to benefit approximately 540 dental students and 120 dental hygiene students annually.
Evaluation for Arts and Community Change
Lorraine Gutierrez
$6000.00
05/01/2013 - 08/31/2016
We propose to bring together a small group of faculty in the School of Social Work (SSW) and the School of Arts and Design (SOAD) to create an innovative course that engages students in active learning on the topic of the Arts for Community change. This course will engage graduate and advanced undergraduate students in exploring how direct engagement in arts and design activities can enhance learning about methods for positive community change that address significant issues and priorities in our society. A significant portion of the course will engage students in a design studio activity with community members to develop and implementation a community art and design activity in Detroit. This course designed and be co-taught by faculty members from each school. When the project was complete, they would then engage in active, collaborative, assessment and evaluation of the effort. This project will strengthen and build scholarly and educational partnerships between the schools of Social Work and Art and Design. If successful, this course could be continued as a joint offering between the two schools. It could meet the distribution requirements in the Community Action and Social Change minor in the SSW and elective requirement in the MSW program and in the SOAD.
Soft Bricks: Experiential Design of Structural Systems for Introductory Architectural Studios
Andrew Holder
$5990.00
06/01/2013 - 10/31/2013
The project will create a workshop for the introductory undergraduate architecture studio that teaches basic structural principals of design through an experiential series of form-finding exercises. Although an understanding of structures is an essential component of any architectural design, formal instruction in the mathematics and physics of structural systems occurs outside the studio environment. The proposed workshop would introduce students to basic structural concepts from the very beginning of their design education through hands-on experimentation in studio with "Soft Bricks," a system of pliable, stacking units that encourage students to deduce principals of structure by observing the behavior of materials under load. The outcome of this project will be twofold: an installation in the Taubman College gallery illustrating the possible outcomes and teaching potential of the Soft Brick structural form-finding method; and a manual offered to instructors to guide implementation of the workshop.
High-Quality Video Modules for Materials Science Instruction
John Kieffer
$5972.00
05/01/2013 - 04/30/2016
The purpose of this project is to identify the pedagogical value of Materials Science video lecture modules and their threshold production quality needed to achieve adequate distribution and implementation. This will be accomplished by creating a series of video podcasts with variable production value on MSE topics. The modules will be disseminated among students and colleagues at UM and beyond, and their impact will be evaluated.
From Impairment to Empowerment: a Longitudinal Medical School Curriculum on Disabilities
Arno Kumagai
$6000.00
04/01/2013 - 04/30/2016
Despite the fact that one of the core responsibilities of physicians is working with individuals with disabilities, formal training development in this area is almost non-existent. For example, there is currently no curriculum on disabilities at the University of Michigan Medical School that takes into account the perspectives, experiences, and voices of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, the prevailing approach to disabilities in general is the medical model, i.e., the disability is seen only in the context of a disease process and as an impairment in function that must be cured or "normalized." This approach is in contrast with the social model of disabilities in which disability is seen as a social process in which individuals with disabilities encounter obstacles (physical, professional, psychological, and social) to living fully and meaningfully in society. The current proposal is a mentored project in curricular design focused specifically on enhancing medical students' awareness of disabilities in a way that incorporates disabled individuals' perspectives and social contexts into their understanding. The overall approach is meant to emphasize a major tenet of disabilities communities, "Nothing about me without me," by engaging in ongoing collaborations between educators, a medical student, and community disability advocates to produce specific educational experiences for medical students exploring living with disabilities. A second goal of the project is to train a medical student in curricular design and implementation, as well as methods to assess effectiveness in teaching this subject to medical students.
FACULTY DEVELOPMENT IN INTERPROFESSIONAL EDUCATION IN HEALTH SCIENCE COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Monica Lypson
$9948.00
04/01/2013 - 06/30/2014
Patient-centered communication is critical to improving healthcare outcomes. Working collaboratively will enable us to create a standardized model that could be used across health professional schools on campus. The World Health Organization defines interprofessional education as "When students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes". Interprofessional communication has also been identified as one of three core interprofessional education competency domains by the IPE Collaborative Expert Panel. To this end, health sciences education is rapidly moving toward interprofessional learning to ensure all trainees are prepared to work collaboratively to provide optimal care. Despite the call for IPE competency, few faculty receive formal training across interprofessional lines which has been found to enhance true collaboration and promote positive attitudes toward members of other disciplines (Silver & Leslie, 2009). Currently the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry all utilize the Standardized Patient Program as part of their clinical skills education. While there is modest standardization through the usage of training, personal, and facilities, there is no consensus across these fields on best-practices for patient-centered communication skills. One way to enhance our educational effectiveness as a University using standardized patients and improve the skills of faculty on IPE principals is to undergo a joint faculty development that improves the standardized patient training and student assessment process on campus.
Communicating with Families of Patients with Dementia: Enhancing Learners’ Skills through an Interdisciplinary Approach
Erika Manu
$6000.00
01/05/2013 - 06/30/2016
In an effort to improve the care of patients with advanced dementia, we intend to create a new educational module for medical students and house staff. This training module will consist of a small group workshop using a trigger video illustrating the myriad of care needs and caregiver concerns that commonly arise in patients with advanced dementia. The module will focus on how best to communicate with and advise the families about care needs and nutritional concerns that arise in the late stages of dementia. We know from research that this area is one that many house staff that is training in Internal Medicine and Family Medicine feels unprepared. Specifically, eating and swallowing difficulties are common complications in advanced stages of dementia and are common sources of concern among families of patients with advanced dementia. It is paramount that medical students and house staff develop excellent communication skills and become comfortable discussing the expected course of advanced dementia with family members. Providers' unfamiliarity with the progressive course of dementia is cited as the most important barrier in providing optimal care to these patients. The video will be used both to elicit learners' knowledge of evidence-based approaches to eating problems and to provide evidence-based interdisciplinary expert opinion on the topic. Our intervention is innovative because we use an interactive small group seminar format to illustrate a true interdisciplinary approach to a problem that needs involvement of a team of healthcare providers to be successful.
Utilization of Touchscreen Technologies within a Weather Laboratory Classroom
Frank Marsik
$5970.00
05/01/2013 - 04/30/2014
Research has shown that the introduction of new information technology into the classroom or workplace can be unsuccessful if the targeted users are not comfortable with the new technology and if a clear task-technology fit is not readily apparent to the users. During the Fall Term 2012, the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences (AOSS) introduced two new touchscreen monitors into its computerized weather analysis laboratory classroom to aid students in the integration of a large number of meteorological data sets used in the preparation of weather forecasts and as part of student lead, peer weather forecast discussions. Such peer discussions are a critical learning tool for students in AOSS 414 and AOSS 440. Despite the educational potential of the touchscreen monitors, students preferred to use personal laptops and laboratory desktop computers, citing a lack of familiarity with touchscreens and lack of a unique task-technology fit for reasons as to why they did not use the touchscreen monitors. The principal goal of this research will be to develop specific activities to familiarize students with the use of touchscreen monitors, to develop an HTML5-based interface to improve the ease of use of the touchscreen monitors for course specific work, and to work with the UM Center for Research on Learning and Teaching to develop focus-group assessments to determine if activities associated with this project have improved the student's comfort level with, and utilization of, the touchscreen monitors within the AOSS weather analysis laboratory classroom.
A Flipped Course in Partial Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems
Robert Megginson
$6000.00
06/01/2013 - 08/31/2013
The goal of this project is to develop an enhanced version of an existing course, Math 454, Boundary Value Problems for Partial Differential Equations, that is "flipped": students will spend much of their time outside class learning course material through supplementary instruction designed to replace the core of the standard classroom lectures, leaving the majority of time in class for active learning, primarily through collaborative work in teams that solve problems based on the material and then present their solutions. The target group is advanced undergraduate Engineering students, with a few graduate students also, who take a special section of this course taught on North Campus. The students will be divided into teams of size three or four for interactive learning in class and preparation of homework outside of class, with team assignments changed twice during the term. Assigned reading outside of class will be enhanced by supplementary explanatory materials prepared by the instructor, and existing materials already used by the instructor for in-class interactive team work will be upgraded for better learning and more efficient use of time. Lecture was de-emphasized in a preliminary experiment with this format in this class, and an experiment with podcasting is planned to see whether further de-emphasis is possible and helpful.
'Flipping' the Big Bang - Implementing active and blended learning in an introductory level cosmology course
Eric Bell
$5905.00
05/01/2012 - 04/30/2013
Astronomy 142 – entitled ‘From the Big Bang to the Milky Way' – is run Fall and Winter semesters, and attracts typically 100 primarily non-science majors interested in learning about the evolution of the Universe from the time of the Big Bang to the present day, following the development of galaxies and stars. The main goal of this proposal was to revise the course design of Astronomy 142 to make as its centerpiece active learning during class sessions. As a result of the work supported by this award, the class is now partially 'flipped', where initial exposure to concepts happens before class (largely via a textbook, and occasional podcasts), and a variety of active learning techniques are now incorporated:. Active learning --- e.g., think-pair-share interactive questions, lecture tutorials, minute papers, concept maps --- now takes up ~30-40% of the class time. The majority of students have reacted positively to these changes, and learning gains (measured using a concept inventory pre and post-test) increased to 0.53+/-0.03 from 0.36+/-0.06 in a previous semester (with a different instructor).
Secondary MAC Program Educative Mentoring Professional Development for Field Instructors and Mentor Teachers
Charles Dershimer
$9982.00
06/20/2012 - 04/30/2014
This project proposes to develop an educative mentoring professional development model to build on and strengthen the current support that is provided for the instructors in the clinical instruction component of the Secondary Masters and Certification program (MAC) in the School of Education. We intend to provide professional development in the form a learning community that uses a co-teaching model connecting the university course faculty with our mentor teachers and field instructors who act the "faculty in the field" for the clinical program.
Race and Racism in Post-Racial America
Helen Fox
$6000.00
04/30/2012 - 04/30/2014
This grant proposes the development of a new, upper-division course, "Race and Racism in Post-Racial America," to be launched at the Residential College (and open to all LSA students) in Winter 2013 in conjunction with the "Race" Theme Semester.
Physical Computing for the Performing Arts
Michael Gurevich
$6000.00
05/01/2012 - 05/31/2013
In the past 10 years, the falling cost and increasing ubiquity of embedded sensing and computing systems have enabled a dramatic rise in artists' ability to design and create exciting new physical means for interacting with computers. In electronic music, for example, audiences do not appreciate watching a performer sitting behind a laptop with their head buried in a screen and gestures restricted to typing and mousing. Consequently, we have seen a recent explosion of new electronic musical instruments incorporating small microcontrollers and sensors that can translate human actions into electronic signals to manipulate sound and graphics. Some of these new devices sometimes take the form of traditional musical instruments, while others, like the Monome and the Yamaha Tenori-on look like futuristic interfaces with touch screens and illuminated button displays. The common underlying goal is to restore the physicality and refined skill to artistic performances with digital systems. Such devices are associated with the burgeoning "Maker" community and the field of "New Interfaces for Musical Expression," whose 2012 international conference is being hosted at the University of Michigan. These technologies and practices have not gone unnoticed by our students, but are not presently represented in the Performing Arts Technology curriculum. The proposed project will facilitate revisions to two courses in the Department of Performing Arts Technology in order to introduce physical computing for the performing arts through an active, experiential approach.