Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, April 9, 2010

Provost honors five faculty projects with Teaching Innovation Prize

Five U-M faculty projects will be honored May 3 with the second annual U-M Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, and the U-M Library.

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“The faculty projects nominated this year were especially impressive,’’ says CRLT Executive Director Constance Cook, who also is associate provost for academic affairs. “These are wonderful examples of innovation starting in U-M classrooms.’’

A faculty committee selected the winning projects from 58 submitted by students, staff and faculty peers. The winners will receive $5,000 and be honored on the opening day of the Enriching Scholarship program.

The winning projects are:

• Patient Safety Learning Program — Dr. John Del Valle, Dr. Michael Lukela, Dr. Rajesh Mangrulkar and Dr. Vikas Parekh, Medical School.

This program pursues a three-pronged curricular approach to improving the medical culture with respect to patient safety. A foundational seminar series introduces conceptual models for analyzing and addressing adverse events.

Medical residents use e-portfolios to reflect on and analyze their own experiences and near misses. Teams of residents participate in Patient Safety Improvement Projects by diagramming causes and effects of actual adverse events and designing solutions that can be implemented immediately. Residents praise the program for effectively addressing a topic that is not discussed in most training hospitals; residents believe that it will save lives and make them better clinicians.

• Using Collaboration and Communication Technologies to Transform Large Lectures into Small Seminars — Barry Fishman, associate professor, School of Education (SOE) and School of Information (SI).

Large classes feel more like a small learning community when students have multiple avenues for active participation. Fishman draws on multiple technologies, which can be used alone or in combination. One is a Web- or cellphone-based tool that replicates “clicker” functionality. Another is a Web-based tool providing a “back channel” that invites, ranks and refines questions from students. Deployed in combination, these tools support a powerful set of pedagogical practices that leverage the devices students already have with them — cell phones and laptop computers — to increase engagement and learning.

• BiblioBouts: A Library Research Game Professors Can Integrate Directly in Their Classes — Karen Markey, professor, SI.

BiblioBouts is an online game designed to help students acquire some of the skills they need to perform library research. The game systematically models the process of researching a paper and tracks the activities that students perform.

Students compete with each other, earning points by gathering and assessing sources relevant to a given research topic. Students evaluate the quality of the pooled articles and sort the sources into subcategories in preparation for outlining and writing their research papers. At the end of the game, they have a high-quality bibliography for a particular assignment, along with new research skills that they can apply with confidence to other college coursework.

• Learning and Teaching the Disciplines through Clinical Rounds (The Rounds Project) — Elizabeth Moje, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, SOE; and Robert Bain, associate professor, SOE.

The Rounds Project integrates literacy teaching and learning into history/social science instruction, helps deepen prospective teachers’ knowledge of disciplinary literacy teaching and assessment practices, and reduces the fragmentation pre-service teachers typically face in a professional program situated in multiple sites (LSA, SOE and K-12 schools).

The Rounds Project now includes a system of assessment and curriculum coordination involving five SOE courses, one LSA course, three cohorts of pre-service teachers, 10 practicing teachers, seven area high schools and seven graduate student instructors.

• Essential Scientific Computation Applied to Physics Education — Brad Orr, professor of physics, LSA.

Scientific computation refers to a technological breakthrough — programming languages that are easy to learn, yet allow sophisticated simulation of conceptually rich, “real” physics problems. Orr’s project demonstrates the potential for revolutionizing undergraduate science education by introducing numerical computation tools.

Physics 160 students are exhilarated to find themselves writing computer programs describing the trajectory of a bouncing ball by the end of the third class and, by the fifth or sixth week, using higher-order thinking skills of modeling and approximation to generate solutions to problems that would challenge physics majors and graduate students.