Category Archives: Academic

Terrific Teaching at Tech

Dillman HallThe Engineering Fundamentals department is teaching in a new space and using some new methods this fall. It’s interesting stuff, pushing technological boundaries and using near-peer learning assistants.

They’ll have great information to share with a bit more experience. But they are also generating ideas that could be implemented anywhere, by any instructor.

This week, one of the instructors involved stopped into the CTL for other reasons and described some of the ill-posed, real-world problems they’re pushing students to try to solve. The problems force students to research, estimate and model, unavoidably “embracing the ambiguity” of the situation.

That phrase “embracing ambiguity” really resonated for me, in terms of pushing our students and ourselves toward better learning. In my own classes, I routinely see students who “freeze” when faced with a problem for which they can’t see the solution from start to finish.

We have to work on getting comfortable with not knowing exactly what to do, but doing something that’s likely to be productive anyway. “Wandering into the woods” this way is often the only way to eventually see the other side, and it often involves several false starts before a path is found.

But that’s the easy part of this. As our classrooms move toward more learning-centered teaching, instructors, too, are challenged to “embrace ambiguity.” It’s relatively easy to plan out a lecture where we control the content and pace and perform virtually all of the activity.

There is substantial uncertainty in allowing students to direct class by choosing examples, asking questions or injecting their own ideas. There is lots of ambiguity in getting students active, because we don’t really know exactly where things are going to go.

I’m convinced that there is increasing value in finding ways to making at least parts of class time responsive to student needs.

In my own class, I’ve discovered that using a tool called Strawpoll to let students pick which homework problems to review is very effective. Using response systems, pre-class assignments, exit tickets, student whiteboards or group quizzes are other ways to give students a voice in the classroom. The biggest challenge is still to set aside my own agenda to do what they need when they use it.

If you’d like to talk more about ways to embrace ambiguity in your classroom, stop into the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning.

By Mike Meyer, William G. Jackson CTL


First-Year Engineering Curriculum Development Grant from VentureWell

Mary Raber, Pavlis Honor College, has received a $5,000 grant from VentureWell for the research project Incorporating Design Thinking and Lean Start-up into the First-Year Engineering Curriculum.

The project constitutes an initiative to evaluate best practices in I&E education for first-year engineering programs, and to develop new curricula that will fit within the existing required freshman engineering course sequence. The goal is to broaden impact across campus and foster a culture that encourages and supports innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mary Fraley and Amber Kemppainen are also involved in this nine-month project.

Mary Raber
Mary Raber
Mary Fraley
Mary Fraley
Amber Kemppainen
Amber Kemppainen

Do you need to Late Drop a class?

After the last day to drop a class (Friday, Week 10), students who have extenuating circumstances must appeal to the Student Affairs office for a Late Drop.
Late drops are NOT given because:
1. You forgot to drop the course, or you were not aware of the policy;
2. You spent too much time on University extracurricular activities;
3. You wish to avoid a poor grade;
4. You are changing your major or transferring to another school; or
5. You do not need the course to graduate.
The instructions for requesting a Late Drop can be found at: www.admin.mtu.edu/dos/latedrop.htm.


Taking Summer Classes

Some students take summer classes at Michigan Tech to replace a grade, to lighten the credits of a future semester(s), or for a great excuse to enjoy the Copper Country summers. Summer 2016 course offerings at Michigan Tech are now available at: www.mtu.edu/registrar/students/registration/prepare.
When you are scheduling, please note that some courses run the full summer semester and some run the first or second half of the semester. The dates the course will run are listed on-line when you register. Keep in mind a half-semester course requires the full amount of work in half the time (i.e., the course is taught at an accelerated pace).

If you do not want to stay at Michigan Tech for the summer, but would like to take courses, there are two other options. You can take Michigan Tech courses on-line, or you can take classes at another college and transfer them back to Michigan Tech (see transfer information below). Before taking a class at another college or university, you should check with the Michigan Tech Transfer Office to be sure that it will transfer as the course you need.

Transfer Information:

If you are going to take classes elsewhere, make sure that the course(s) will transfer to Michigan Tech as the course(s) you need BEFORE you take the class.

1) Check for the course on the Transfer Equivalency System.

2) If the course you want is NOT on the Transfer Credit Equivalency list, you may request to have it evaluated by sending information to the Michigan Tech Transfer Services Office.

Required Information for Transfer Evaluation

  • University or college name
  • Course ID and title
  • Course Catalog Description

Additional information may be required

  • Syllabus including
    • Textbook(s) used
    • Detailed Description
    • Course Outline

3) Transferring:

  • a) Register for the course (for other Michigan colleges, use the Guest Application),
  • b) Earn a grade of “C” or better (the grade will not transfer, but the credit will), and
  • c) Have your official transcripts sent to Michigan Tech.
    • Office of Student Records & Registration
    • Admin Bldg 130
    • 1400 Townsend Avenue
    • Houghton, MI 49931-1295

4) Prereqs: If any course you plan to take off campus is a prerequisite for your next semester on campus, you will need to notify Transfer Services (transfer@mtu.edu). They will then enter an IS – in session code which to prevent prerequisite scheduling issues.

5) On-line courses may sound easier since you can approach the class in your own time. Though this is true for some classes, on-line classes also require self-motivation and a time commitment on your part. Before taking the class, check into the course requirements, including internet access, exam proctors, etc.

Michigan Tech – On-line FAQs

6) Other Resources: Michigan Transfer Network – Always double check that the course transfers as your required course by contacting the Transfer Office.


Selecting a Major

If you are still deciding on a major, there are several items you may want to consider.

1. Meet with an academic advisor before you leave for campus for the summer.

– Biomedical Mr. Mike Labeau (344 M&M, malabeau@mtu.edu)
– BSE & Engineering Undecided Ms. Amy Monte (112C Dillman, efadvise@mtu.edu)
– Civil & Environmental Ms. Julie Ross (103 Dillman, jzross@mtu.edu)
– Chemical Ms. Katie Torrey (202M Chem Sci, cmadvise@mtu.edu)
– Computer Mr. Trever Hassell (131 EERC, tjhassel@mtu.edu)
– Electrical Ms. Judy Donahue (131 EERC, eceadvise@mtu.edu)
– Geological Ms. Kelly McLean (627 DOW, kelly@mtu.edu)
– Materials Dr. Daniel Seguin (U-101 M&M, mseadvise@mtu.edu)
– Mechanical Mr. Ryan Towles (205A MEEM, ratowles@mtu.edu) & Mr. Pete Chosa (204B MEEM, pgchosa@mtu.edu)

2. Take an engineering seminar course Fall 2017 to see if a particular major is right for you. The courses that are offered are listed below.

– Biomedical BE2100
Chemical CM1000
Civil CE1000
Computer EE1111 (Track B, go to 131 for registration waiver)
Electrical EE1111 (Track B, go to 131 for registration waiver)
Environmental ENVE1501
– Geological GE1100
Exploring Majors at Michigan Tech – Sciences and Arts Undecided SA1000
– Career Development Foundations UN2525

3. Meet with Career Services for career guidance, discuss your MyPlan results, or gain career development strategies.

4. Check out the information about different engineering fields at the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 


Mid-Term Grades for First-Year Students

All first-year students will receive mid-term grades for their classes; mid-term grades are viewable on Banweb at 5pm, February 27, 2017.

The purpose of mid-term grades is to help first-year students see how they are performing in their classes. If a student has questions regarding a mid-term grade for a class, they should meet with the instructor. Mid-term grades are defined as satisfactory (SA), unsatisfactory (UN), not applicable (NA), and missing (M). NA is used for courses where credit is not earned. M is used when an instructor does not submit a grade. Mid-term grades are temporary grades and will be replaced when the student has earned the final grade for the class. Therefore, no permanent record of the mid-term grade is kept.


MEEM2110 (Statics) Registration Requirements

If you are planning to take MEEM2110 (Statics) Fall 2017, there are several registration requirements that you will need to know.

  • You must earn a C or better in MA2160 (Calculus II) to remain in MEEM2110.
  • Registration is only open to required majors during initial registration:
    • Civil, Material Science, & Mechanical.
    • A change of Major form must be signed by your new advisor; your new advisor must contact MEEM for a waiver so you can register during initial registration.
      • It is best if you get the waiver before your registration time.
    • MEEM2110 typically over fills, follow instructions to get on the wait list.
  • Other majors may register after initial registration:
    • Chemical (elective); Electrical (elective); Environmental & Geological (used with MEEM2150 to replace ENG2120); not accepted for Biomed & Computer.

Registration Waivers and Signatures

It is best to check course pre-reqs, co-reqs, and restrictions before registration opens (March 12, 2017). This will allow you time to get appropriate signatures or make other plans for your schedule. You can check the course pre-reqs, co-reqs, and restrictions in the course descriptions listing by clicking the CRN (Course Registration Number) in the Schedule of Classes or by looking at the undergraduate course descriptions.

When registering, if you get an error, read the error. Many times the error is due to a time conflict or lack of a co-requisite course (i.e. MA2160 has a required Recitation and Lab). You can easily correct these errors by selecting a class at another time or adding the co-requisite course. If you still are unable to register, check the course pre-reqs, co-reqs, and restrictions to see if you may need a waiver.

Types of waivers (who to go to for approval):

  1. Grading Option/Credit Change Form
    • To take a class as Pass-Fail or Audit – not used for courses required to graduate (academic advisor and instructor)
    • To take a variable credit course, i.e. independent study (academic advisor and instructor)
  2. Credit Overload Permission Form
    • Students in good standing going over 18 credits (academic advisor)
    • Students on probation going over 16 credits (Student Affairs)
  3. Special Approval/Restriction Waiver Form
    • Major (department offering the course)
    • Level – Undergraduate or Graduate (department offering the course)
    • Special Approval
      • Instructor Approval – i.e. enterprise (instructor)
    • Prerequisite (instructor)
    • Corequisite (instructor)
    • Class Restriction to be Waived – Freshman, Sophomore, etc. (instructor)
  4. Time Conflict/Exam Conflict Permission Form (all instructors of conflicting courses)
  5. Full Section – (department offering the course)
    Check to see if another section would work if you rearranged your schedule. If not, go to department that offers the class for permission to enroll in a filled-section.

To obtain approval for a waiver:

  • Print “waiver form” from the Registrar’s Office website.
  • Complete the form and obtain signature approval from the course instructor or advisor for the department offering the course.
  • Bring completed, signed waivers to Student Services Center in the Admin Building.
  • To check your waivers go to Banweb: Student -> Registration -> Check Registration Status to see Permits and Overrides (aka waivers).

Class Restriction on a UN course:
UN1015 and UN1025 are restricted to Freshman during initial registration. If you are a 1st-year student and have AP or transfer credits that give you Sophomore status, you should already have a waiver. To check and see if you have waivers go to Banweb: Student -> Registration -> Check Registration Status to see Permits and Overrides (aka waivers). If you do not have a waiver, you can get a waiver to get into your correct UN classes. Go to the Student Service Center for a Class Restriction waiver. For students that did not take the appropriate UN course during the restricted year, class restrictions for the UN courses will be removed after the freshmen have scheduled (near the end of the 2nd week of the initial registration period).


Registration Opens March 12, 2017

Fall 2017 registration will be open March 12th, 10:00 pm through March 26th, midnight. If you have questions regarding what classes to take, you should make an appointment to meet with your academic advisor.

Registration typically opens each night at 10:00 pm. Due to the large number of students, some days will have two start times, 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm. To find out what day and time you register go to:

– Banweb: Student -> Registration -> Check Registration Status to see Time/Day and Permits and Overrides (aka waivers)

  • Priority is based on the number of credits earned at the time of registration. This does not include the number of credits the student is currently taking.
  • Students may register anytime on or after their scheduled day.
  • The web will be unavailable for registration from 2:00–2:30 am each day.
  • Registration closes at midnight Sunday, March 26th and reopens later that week.
  • Students with questions or problems should contact the Student Service Center at 487-2319 or e-mail schedule@mtu.edu.

Last Day to Drop With a “W” (Withdrawal)

The last day to drop a class with a withdrawal (W) grade:

  • Track A classes – Friday of Week 5 (February 10, 2017, 5pm)
  • Full semester classes – Friday of Week 10 (March 24, 2017, 5pm)
  • Track B classes – Friday of Week 12 (April 7, 2017, 5pm).

All first-year students must meet with their academic advisor and instructor to drop a class. This allows the student to discuss the ramifications before dropping a class. Therefore, do not wait until Friday to get signatures.

All students must go to the Student Service Center to drop classes after 1st week of classes.

After the last day to drop, students who have extenuating circumstances must appeal to the Student Affairs office for a Late Drop. The instructions for requesting a Late Drop can be found at: www.admin.mtu.edu/dos/latedrop.htm.

“W” Withdrawal Information: When a student drops a full semester class between 1st and 3rd weeks, nothing appears on their transcripts. When a student drops a class between 4th and 10th weeks, a withdraw grade (W) appears on their transcripts. This indicates that the student took the class for a significant amount of time (more than 3 weeks) and then decided to drop the class. One W on a transcript is not a big deal (check with Financial Aid to see a W grade will affect your financial aid, scholarships, or loans). More than a couple of Ws will start to indicate to a potential employer that a student cannot complete what they set out to do.