Grant: Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching
Project Title Overview of the Project
Deliberative learning: Connecting urban planning theory and practice using case studies and peer-learning
Lesli Hoey
Harley Etienne

01/01/2014 - 12/31/2015
One of the key challenges for urban planning courses is the difficulty connecting classroom learning to the realities of professional practice. This project combines peer-learning with a rich set of case studies created by planning professionals for use in graduate instruction. The methodology will allow students to apply abstract planning theories and concepts to real scenarios and projects, debate alternative planning approaches with their peers, enable creative and critical group thinking, expand their geographic and institutional knowledge base, and better prepare them for their capstone and professional experiences. For the instructor, the methodology will allow them to connect theory to practice and to quickly identify which concepts students are struggling to understand or put into practice. Our much larger goals are to establish Michigan's Urban and Regional Planning program as an innovator in planning education and to create a library of planning-specific cases that may serve our program and others. Professionals with detailed and long-standing knowledge of planning practice will draft cases studies in collaboration with faculty based on actual scenarios where practitioners faced a difficult planning decision. Ultimately, we hope that the integration of peer-based learning and practice-based case studies throughout urban planning education will foster more insightful professional judgment and bring forth more creative solutions to today's toughest planning challenges.
Course on interdisciplinary approaches to the Mediterranean
Megan Holmes
01/01/2014 - 04/30/2017
This project involves the launching of a co-taught interdisciplinary undergraduate course in Winter 2015 by the four faculty members of the inter-departmental cluster "The Mediterranean Perspective on Global History and Culture." This introductory course on the Mediterranean will be a principal anchor of the cluster that was formed through the President's Interdisciplinary Faculty Initiative Program. The course will be developed over the next year by the cluster Steering Committee and the three cluster faculty recently hired: Paroma Chatterjee (History of Art), Mayte Green-Mercado (Romance Languages and Literatures), and Jessica Marglin (the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies). A fourth new hire will join the team next fall. Offered at the 200 level and aimed at sophomores, the course will reflect the cluster commitment to giving undergraduates an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural experience. The structure of the course will combine group lectures and smaller seminar discussion, with special features designed to enhance the interdisciplinary encounter, including "dialogues" staged between the faculty members, guest lectures by innovative scholars in Mediterranean studies, and a final "faculty panel" to discuss interdisciplinarity and field questions from the students. CRLT will be asked to work with the faculty on effective co-teaching, to provide feedback at mid-semester, and to help assess end-of-term student evaluations as we look forward to the following year.
Developing SecondLook Computer Tablet Applications – Interactive Self Evaluation Tools for Learning the Anatomical Sciences
Michael Hortsch
Kelli Sullivan
John Stribley

01/01/2014 - 12/31/2016
Based on the successful concept of the eHistology SecondLook iPad application our multi-departmental team proposes to generate new computer tablet-based self-evaluation tools that will benefit both University of Michigan and students at other universities. We plan to create one series for Gross Anatomy and one series for Neuroanatomy. The initial step will be the generation of SecondLook PowerPoint files that subsequently in collaboration with the UM Office of Enabling Technologies will be translated into computer tablet apps. The SecondLook resource is based on a very simple concept and can easily be applied to other fields. It represents a quick and easy review tool for students to test their knowledge after studying and before taking quizzes and exams.
Experiential Learning in a Class with Diverse Audience
Victor Li
Kathy Velikov
Daniel Soltan

01/01/2014 - 06/30/2015
This proposal aims at using an action-based learning approach to develop new teaching/learning modules that address the challenges experienced by student groups with widely different backgrounds in a cross-listed Engineering/Architecture course. The ambition is to develop innovative techniques by which to advance high quality interdisciplinary course opportunities for students in both programs. The pedagogical approach developed could be transferred to any interdisciplinary class with disparity in background and preparation among student groups and will contribute to the advancement of interdisciplinary teaching practices at U of M and other institutions.
Increasing and assessing technical argument integration into Mechanical Engineering ME395 laboratory 1 via writing workshops and report review
Kenn Oldham
Thomas Bowden
Kelly Rohan

01/01/2014 - 12/31/2015
This work would assess the impact of changes to the teaching of technical arguments and communication in Mechanical Engineering's core junior laboratory course, ME395. Two primary instructional changes would be incorporated: first, the conversion of a substantial portion of technical communications lectures to a writing workshop format; second, the introduction of laboratory reviews by mechanical engineering technical faculty. The goal of these changes is to improve student's communication skills and argument structure, particularly within the context of interpreting and presenting results in a "big picture" context. The writing workshop format provides greater opportunities for hands-on instruction on technical communications elements, while instructor feedback on dealing with laboratory uncertainty and on reporting progression of technical findings should improve student report structure and coherence. Success of these changes would be assessed through a review of student lab reports from semesters before and after instructional changes were made. The assessment would categorize the type and frequency of errors in student writing and the coherence and completeness of students' technical argument. This would be used to measure changes student writing quality under the new instructional format, and provide an opportunity to evaluate which aspects of student writing are most and least affected by ME395 activities. The proposed work has the potential to impact all undergraduate students in mechanical engineering.
Flipping Foundations
Marianetta Porter
Carl Rodemer

01/01/2014 - 05/31/2015
We propose to create a resource of online video demonstrations/lectures to support a "flipped classroom" approach to the teaching of 1st year Foundations courses in the Stamps School of Art and Design, increasing the quality of instruction across multiple sections and maximizing valuable interaction between instructors and students.
Instructional Technology Tools for Strengthening Listening, Speaking, and Writing Skills in Second-Year Chinese
Haiqing Yin
09/01/2014 - 08/31/2015
Providing each student in Second-year Chinese with adequate speaking opportunities and writing instruction is critical for language acquisition, but the goal is made difficult by the limited in-class time and high teacher-student ratio. The proposed project will dramatically improve students' language skills by using innovative, multimedia technology tools in out-of-class practices. The four components in my proposed project are: • Viddler is a web-based video platform that allows students to upload speaking assignments and instructors to provide text or video feedback directly in student videos at any desired point. These assignments will focus students attention on speak accurately, and develop students' presentation skills. • Chinese Bridge pairs our students with master students of TCFL (Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language) at Xi'an International Studies University (XISU). Tutors and tutees will interact using Skype. Our students will develop one-on-one spontaneous communication skills and receive instant feedback from a native speaker with teaching experience. • Chinese Character Trainer is an interactive mobile app that teaches Chinese character writing skills. The software provides step-by-step instructions on the touchscreen, enabling students to master the correct structure and stroke order of required characters. • Chinese Audiotext Reader is a web-based resource that helps students practice reading and listening skills with assigned texts. It includes dictionary look-up functionality for unfamiliar words, as well as sentence-by-sentence audio playback Each component supplements different aspects of conventional teaching. They also harness our students' familiarity with mobile touchscreen devices and interactive video. The goal is to make learning Chinese efficient and fun.
Incorporating Technology into Advanced Health Assessment Through the use of a Digital Standardized Patient
Nicole Boucher
April Bigelow
Michelle Pardee

01/08/2013 - 08/16/2013
The ultimate goal of this project is to enhance the advanced health assessment skills of nurse practitioner students using innovative simulated patient technology. Tina, the digital standardized patient allows students to practice communication, advanced assessment, diagnostic reasoning, clinical decision-making, and basic procedural skills on complicated patients that better mimic real-world experience. The digital standardized patient allows the faculty to vary the complexity of information to range from common abnormal findings to rare abnormal anomalies. Additionally, the encounters with Tina facilitates students in developing diagnostic reasoning skills over the term by engaging students in a question and answer session focused on clinical assessment problem-solving and diagnostic reasoning. The digital standardized patient also allows the student time for self-reflection about the interaction. The digital standardized patient program tracks each individual student's progress throughout the term. Additionally, the class as a whole is tracked to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the class. These tracking methods will aid faculty in modifying the classroom and laboratory content to help facilitate students learning. Additionally, the tracking methods can be utilized to facilitate small group discussion during the small group clinical time.
Rethinking Media and Communication Research Methods
Amanda Lotz
05/01/2013 - 08/31/2013
The Communication Studies department is preparing for the implementation of a massive undergraduate curriculum revision in the Fall of 2013. The cornerstone of this revision involves the expansion of the existing required course Comm 211 Evaluating Information, which covers the basic features of quantitative social scientific analysis into a two-semester, sequential, team-taught course Comm 121/122 Evaluating Information and Analyzing Media I and II that places quantitative and analytical ways of knowing in conversation. These courses must service roughly 400 students a year and are taught in two 80 minute blocks with a 2 hour weekly lab. This Whitaker Fund application requests the funds to hire a graduate student during the summer of 2013 to work with instructors to develop the labs for the these courses and to aid the instructors in preparing lectures that "flip" the large class dynamic.
Bridging the gap between Biostatistical methods and epidemiologic investigation: A proposal for the development of a new course providing an interdisciplinary educational experience for the modern quantitative epidemiologist
Bhramar Mukherjee
Veronica Berrocal
Carlos Mendes de Leon

01/01/2013 - 12/01/2013
The goal of this proposal is to create an interdisciplinary educational experience for Ph.D. students in Epidemiology (and also available as an optional elective for Masters students in Biostatistics) through a uniquely designed course that contains lectures on advanced biostatistical methods, but places them in the context of applications that fall broadly under four special topics. The present curriculum for doctoral students in epidemiology does not offer the option of in-depth learning of statistical models and methods in these four contemporary topics that arise frequently in the present scientific context. These four topics are: (1) Spatial data analysis; (2) Methods for studies of interaction, in particular gene-environment interaction; (3) Advanced methods for longitudinal data; (4) Modern techniques for model building and variable selection. The course will equip the new generation epidemiologists with state of the art statistical methods in these domains, and teach them the craft of translating a practical problem to mathematical equations. Students will be competent in constructing and describing the assumptions and models at a preliminary level in each of these four topics. However, the entire theoretical learning process will be placed in the context of sophisticated modeling of data from large complex studies. If funded in Stage I, a Stage II proposal on a sequel course on advanced statistical methods for the analysis of high through put data and "omics" data in modern epidemiologic studies will be developed.
Transforming Technical Communication in Large Laboratory Courses: Creating a More Engaging Learning Environment
Mary Northrop
Elaine Wisniewski

02/01/2013 - 12/31/2014
Large engineering laboratory courses, such as the Laboratory I course in Chemical Engineering, offer invaluable hands-on experiences to engineering students at the University of Michigan. Further, the technical communication (TC) component embedded in such courses provides a real-world context to the projects and provides practice in the type of engineering communication typical of professional situations. However, the size of these classes, generally 50 to 90 students, the teamwork aspect of the laboratory work, and the small percentage of the total course devoted to TC (generally 25% or less), creates an environment in which it is easier to lecture to large groups and grade team-written reports and presentations with little time devoted to individual, or team, interactions and even less time available to address communication issues with individuals.
Developing an Integrated Approach to Teaching Legal Writing to Upper-Level Law Students
Vivek Sankaran
Timothy Pinto

01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013
This project is an attempt to improve the teaching of legal writing to upper-level law students. The project involved a new clinic for appellate advocacy, offered in the fall of 2013. The course was scheduled to launch under a single clinical professor, and the grant funds were used to add a second professor from the legal practice program. The two professors co-taught the class. This type of collaboration has never occurred at the law school. The project had three specific goals: 1) to create a new learning experience for students utilizing the skills of professors from two distinct departments; 2) to improve the teaching in the clinical law program by learning new techniques on how to teach legal writing to upper level students and 3) to improve the teaching in the legal practice program by providing legal practice professors evidence of how students research and write in the context of actual case work which will inform future developments of the first year legal research and writing curriculum.
Neuroscience Graduate Program Curriculum: From Fundamental Knowledge & Skills to Integrative, Critical Thinking
Rachael Seidler
Audrey Seasholtz
Edward Stuenkel

01/01/2013 - 12/31/2014
Several years ago we created and charged our curriculum committee with reviewing our existing Neuroscience didactic classroom approach. In addition to other coursework outside of the program, we have students take a "boot camp" laboratory class during two weeks in August (Neurosci 623), followed by a year-long sequence of courses which survey the current state of knowledge in various areas of Neuroscience (Neurosci 601 (fall), 602 (winter)), accompanied by Neuroanatomy lecture and lab (Neurosci 570, 571) in the winter semester. The curriculum committee came up with a specific plan to reorganize this sequence, with the overall vision of: a) Building upon and taking advantage of best teaching practices, such as problem-based and active learning approaches, and becoming a world-wide leader in graduate Neuroscience education (Neurosci 623). b) Providing our students with an initial foundation of knowledge in the broad, multidisciplinary field of Neuroscience (Neurosci 601, 570, 571). c) Promoting transition to integrative and critical thinking skills which will help students to create and evaluate new knowledge in this rapidly expanding field (Neurosci 602). This will leave them well poised to begin their scientific careers as they settle on their home laboratory at the end of their first year in the program. Achieving this vision required our efforts and attention in three areas: curricular reform, faculty development, and assessment of the effectiveness of our changes.
Course Portals and Automated Problem System
Yaoyun Shi
Essl Georg
Don Winsor

01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013
The objective of this project is to develop a set of elearning technologies that are scalable and extensible, together with two integrated applications of those technologies: Course Portals and Automated Assessment System. The initial focus will be on undergraduate computer science courses, for which there is still much room and a great need for developing such technologies. The design seeks to maximize adoptability, through easy-to-use interfaces and building blocks that are easy to customize and extend. The technologies are expected to be scalable to many other courses, with the benefit of substantial financial savings and significant improvement in instruction quality. Some preliminary work has been done through the KnoAtom Project ( led by the Director.
Estill Voice Training and the Musical Theatre Performer:Integrating the Estill Voice Training System Into the Musical Theatre Curriculum
Catherine A. Walker
06/27/2013 - 08/16/2013
This project was designed to offer faculty members, exposure and training in the Estill Voice Training System. The Estill Voice System is an innovative and practical instructional strategy that teaches stage performers how to approach a variety of vocal parameters such as: pitch, diction, and voice quality in both singing and speech. It assists them to more fully inhabit their characters through voice. The Estill Voice System codifies explicit terminology to and helps communicate with singers/actors/public speakers as they embody a variety of vocal styles and unique characters in live performance. The Estill Voice System offers specific and practical tactics to allow singers to exercise maximum flexibility in their vocal performance. This system has been thoroughly researched and is scientifically precise. Using these strategies, allows performers to safely explore a diverse spectrum of vocal colors and styles. As we have begun to integrate the Estill Voice Training System into the Musical Theatre Department curriculum, we are able to offer our students additional skills as they enter this highly competitive, rigorous and diverse field. In addition to facilitating a singer/actor's ability to access an array of vocal styles, these precise skills offer coping strategies, which will support their vocal health throughout their career. This project included both departmental and inter-departmental faculty collaboration. Funding from this grant was also used to purchase the equipment necessary for the students to utilize the Estill Voice Print Plus program.
Competency Assessment Tool (CAT)
Mustapha Beleh
01/01/2011 - 12/31/2012
This project plans to implement and evaluate a Competency Assessment Tool (CAT) that will be used to track individual student's competency level for each of course outcomes. This tool will allow students to self evaluate their competency level for each course outcome and provide evidence and artifacts that support such evaluation. Instructors can then use the tool to support the students' self evaluation or make changes, providing students with a rationale for the changes. This tool allows for constant evaluation of students' progression and provides them with instant feedback as they progress through the course. The tool may serve as an alternative to examinations and other traditional evaluation methods particularly in case of certain skills such as communication or clinical skills and as a learning tool that allows instant and continuous evaluation of students' competency. The project plans to assess the use of the CAT tool in two courses. In the first course, the CAT will be used as part of a remediation plan for struggling students in the course to track their competency level for course outcomes and provide feedback to help them succeed in the course. In the second course, the CAT will serve as an integral teaching and assessment tool, where the instructor will examine students' self evaluation on the competency scales of the CAT and make changes providing feedback to students. This will continue throughout the semester providing an excellent opportunity for constant assessment and interaction between student and instructor. To assess the usefulness of this CAT tool both students and faculty will be surveyed to explore perspectives, perceptions and usefulness of the tool. The study will also compare individual students' scores in the course with the level of achievement of students regarding outcomes as set by the CAT tool. Conclusions from these comparative studies may help in providing evidence for expanding the role of CAT in student assessment and making changes in how graded tasks are designed.
Microsoft Kinect Platform for Game and App Development for Patients with Autism
David Chesney
01/01/2012 - 12/31/2014
The purpose of this proposal is to create an ‘eco-system' in which students can create meaningful computer applications and games for children with autism. Students working on the game and app development are freshman- to senior-level undergraduates in the Computer Science and Engineering Division of the College of Engineering. The overall team for the project is widely collaborative, including the College of Engineering, UM Health Systems, Eastern Michigan University School of Education, and Microsoft Corporation. The underlying objective of this project is to do something meaningful and relevant for children in need, and also to have a significant educational experience while doing so.
Developing a Framework for Hands-On Collaborations between Engineering and Medical Students on Open-Ended Projects
Amy Cohn
Michelle Macy

05/01/2012 - 12/31/2012
We propose to develop and test-pilot a program in which small teams of engineering and medical students, an engineering faculty member, and a clinical member of the medical faculty will work together on hands-on projects within the clinician's practice. The educational goals are to: A) Provide students with improved skills for solving open-ended problems; B) Engage students in learning about the application of engineering tools to improve healthcare delivery; and C) Develop interdisciplinary communication skills between students, with a particular focus on functioning in new environments, reducing barriers caused by technical jargon, and collaborating across fields to identify relevant problems and collectively formulate solution approaches.
Scarlett Middle School Summer Program for ESL Teaching Interns and Adolescent English Language Learners
Debi Khasnabis
Catherine Reischl

02/01/2012 - 01/31/2013
This proposal requested funds to investigate and grow opportunities for learning for graduate students, teacher education faculty, local English as a Second Language teachers, and elementary- and middle-school English Language Learners. Building on a pilot program conducted in summer, 2011, UM faculty worked with Ann Arbor teachers to create an ESL science and social studies curriculum and assessments grounded in culturally relevant pedagogies. The program took place for 4 weeks in July, 2012 and was extended for a second summer in July 2013. Teacher education graduate students who were learning to teach ESL enacted carefully designed practices that support their learning of ESL teaching and completed a performance-based assessment used to evaluate their ability to enact high-leverage ESL teaching practices. Analyses of these efforts have led to refinement of practice-based teacher education pedagogies and have informed larger efforts to reform teacher education.
Revised Elementary French Curriculum
Lori Mc Mann
Kathleen Meyer
Lorrel Sullivan

10/01/2011 - 05/01/2014
The primary goals of this project are 1) to prepare for the implementation of a redesigned curriculum in the elementary French program (French 101-232), including new textbooks, 2) to enact a 2nd year curriculum that will be more easily adaptable to UM study abroad courses, 3) to incorporate newer technological trends and fully exploit the capabilities of the enhanced classrooms, and 4) to improve excellence in teaching practices in these multi-sectioned courses. At present, we are conducting a search for a new textbook for French 101, 102, 103 and another textbook for French 231 and 232, which we will implement in the Fall of 2012 and possibly pilot during a spring or summer term (2012). The steps comprising the project for which we are requesting funding are as follows:• survey students during the Winter term of 2012 to establish a point of reference to assess the effectiveness of the revised curriculum at a later date.• redesign course curriculum in the Fall 2012 and Winter 2013 terms.• restructure /reform the elementary French review course, French 103, so that it responds better to students' needs for review. • incorporate and adapt multimedia activities for each course.• offer workshops / training to instructors for the use of new materials and technology.• offer opportunities each term for cultural hands-on, interactive events (food tasting, French games, music, film, etc. ) in order to create excitement about these cultures and to build a greater community of undergraduate learners of French. • survey students again after having used new materials for at least one year to assess results and determine further improvements to be made.
Faculty Seminar on Critical Issues in the Translation Classroom
Christi Merrill
03/01/2012 - 02/28/2013
Christi Merrill from the Department of Comparative Literature led a collaborative seminar of 11 UM faculty, 9 of whom taught a translation course in conjunction with the Fall 2012 LSA Theme Semester on Translation ( and expressed interest building a vibrant interdisciplinary undergraduate program in translation. Seminar participants were chosen in university-wide competition; they were asked to meet regularly over the course of the theme semester and to contribute to an online toolkit of materials to be used in the translation classroom. Whitaker funds were used to award research funds of $1000 to each seminar participant.
Longitudinal Musculoskeletal Education for Medical Students
Seetha Monrad
Lisa DiPonio

01/01/2012 - 12/31/2014
The goal of this project is to:1.Develop and maintain multidisciplinary, interactive musculoskeletal educational activities for 3rd and 4th year University of Michigan medical students that provide opportunities for formative assessment and feedback2. Create and administer a validated, reliable musculoskeletal skills assessment for 4th year medical students3. Increase medical students' confidence in their ability to examine and diagnose patients with musculoskeletal disorders.
Enriching Undergraduate Environmental Science Education in the Rockies
Chris Poulsen
Gregory Dick

05/01/2012 - 07/01/2012
Introduction to Environmental Science in the Rockies (EARTH 202) is a new interdisciplinary field course taught for the first time at the Camp Davis Rocky Mountain Field Station in Wyoming in the spring of 2011. This proposal requests support from the Gilbert Whitaker Fund for the Improvement of Teaching to broaden and enrich the curriculum and student participation in EARTH 202 through the acquisition of scientific equipment and media technology for use in team research projects and production of video logs.
Leveraging Technology to Develop Collaborative Communities of Inquiry in Social Work Education
Mary Ruffolo
Elizabeth Voshel

05/01/2012 - 08/31/2012
This innovative initiative will use a range of technologies to offer blended learning opportunities that combine web-based e-learning with periodic in-person class sessions to assess student attainment of professional social work practice behaviors over the course of their program. Using as a guide the Anderson (2008) model of online learning, the initiative will facilitate the development of a community of inquiry that involves students, field instructors and classroom instructors learning together, and will incorporate communication (asynchronous and synchronous), paced collaborative learning, independent development of products and structured learning resources. The innovative initiative builds on the integrative learning and e-portfolio activities already in place at the School of Social Work (SSW). Since 2004, the SSW has piloted optional courses that involved developing e-portfolios focusing on integrative learning (combining classroom learning and field internship learning). In the preliminary evaluations of these courses, it is clear that students who engage in developing e-portfolios that integrate classroom learning with field internship learning are better able to articulate what skills they have demonstrated and how these skills will continue to be enhanced in their emerging professional career. Instructors can view artifacts that students have developed in their portfolios to assess the degree to which students have met core professional practice behaviors. To date, this pilot work has been limited to approximately 60 students a year. The mechanism to assess demonstration of professional practice behaviors and to link these to student-centered outcomes-based program assessments has not been adequately developed yet. The current format for integrative learning requires significant instructor feedback and peer interactions. With the emergence of a range of technologies that can help bring to scale integrative learning and outcome based assessments, the SSW in this proposal is seeking to develop web-based learning tools to help us expand our pilot work and bring integrative learning methods using e-portfolios to scale. To meet this demand, we want to develop and evaluate a blended learning program that guides students through the process of portfolio development using technology to support this initiative. We need to adapt our current classroom-based portfolio pedagogy to a model that leverages new technologies and expands the activities, contexts, and processes in which students engage. Students in the MSW program spend more time out of the classroom than in one, and would benefit from technological tools that allow them to capture learning in the moment and context in which it happens. This program must also facilitate the participation of instructional staff guiding students through this process, including faculty, lecturers and staff in SSW, field instructors in several hundred sites across Southeast Michigan, SSW alumni, and members of the community at large. Technological tools will allow us to connect all of the educators that guide MSW students through the program, and will allow students to connect their field and classroom experiences to each other.
Teaching Design Heuristics for Creative and Diverse Concept Generation
Harvey Bell
06/01/2011 - 12/31/2012
The project will survey the students of various Engineering 100 sections to understand the specific course instruction on the students' creative engineering opportunities. The analysis of this data will allow an understanding of the techniques which best allow to students to experience creativity and develop an understanding of the students' attitude toward the creative engineering process. Importantly, the methodology which is developed by this proposal can be used for assessment of the creative learning opportunities in other engineering courses.