Day: January 23, 2015

Jackson Grant Recipients Announced

Due to a generous gift from William G. Jackson, the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is pleased to announce the 2015 grant recipients.  Nearly $55,000 in grants were awarded to instructors and teams of instructors at $1000, $5000, and $10000 levels. These grants will support course/program reform or expansion projects using blended and online learning.
This year’s solicitation placed special emphasis on mentoring of instructors new to blended learning, interdisciplinary collaboration, shared content, matching support, testing, and assessment. A committee, assembled by the Provost and the CTL Director, reviewed many compelling grant proposals in order to select this year’s grant recipients:

$10,000 Level

  • Composition in Digital Environments ($9,846) — Lauren Bowen, Humanities
  • “Flipping KIP”: A Blended Learning Approach for Kinesiology Laboratories ($7,567) — Steven Elmer, Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology
  • Extension of Blended Learning across the Calculus Sequence — Todd King, Mathematical Sciences
  • Global Issues Blended Learning Initiative — Jonathan Robins, Social Sciences

$5,000 Level

  • Integrative Statistics for Social, Behavioral, and Biological Sciences Using Blended Learning ($3,000) — Susan Amato-Henderson, Cognitive and Learning Sciences
  • Development of Blended Learning Course for more Flexible, Online Course Options and Community College ($3,000) — Tara Bal, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
  • Shared, Organized Resources for Teaching (SORT) — Amy Hamlin, Engineering Fundamentals
  • Blended and Active Learning for Health Sciences at Michigan Tech — Brigitte Morin, Biological Sciences

$1,000 Level

  • “Starting from Scratch”: Chemical Engineering Laboratory Exercises for \Online Courses — Tim Eisele, Chemical Engineering
  • Creating Interactive E-Reading Assignments for Blended Learning — Chunming Gao, School of Technology
  • Computational Science Models — Ben Ong, Mathematics

Jackson Grant recipients will be working on their projects through spring and summer of 2015, with changes ready for implementation and presentation in the fall.


Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Gordon Parker

The Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominee for this week comes from the College of Engineering. Dean Wayne Pennington has chosen to recognize Gordon Parker, the John and Cathi Drake Professor in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department. Both Pennington and MEEM chair Bill Predebon praised Parker as “a great success story of the flipped classroom approach.” Gordon has effectively implemented the flipped classroom model in both a senior level and graduate level controls course, and now has more than 30 video clips that are being used world-wide.

Parker attributes his success to his ability to “borrow techniques from my colleagues, add some of my own ideas, mix them into my teaching style and serve them up to willing students.” He acknowledges that some of his innovations didn’t work, but believes teaching innovation is “encouraged by the Tech culture.” He especially appreciates regular faculty presentations on teaching methods sponsored by the MEEM department, as well as “random conversations in the elevator” which help him improve his teaching.

He has found the flipped classroom to be most effective because it lets him “use class time to exercise what students have prepared in advance.” This allows high expectations and accountability, but seems to work well for most students. Parker enjoys the real-time feedback of the more interactive classroom, and finds the higher level of spontaneity exciting, since “every class is different.”

Parker is also credits his department for working on a new undergraduate curriculum, which is “requiring a high level of communication and coordination between numerous instructors” and is “nothing like my previous experiences of developing courses in my closed-door office.” He appreciates the challenges and imperfections in both teaching and joint curricular changes, but believes the changes are “well worth it.”

Gordon will be formally recognized with the 11 other Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominees at a luncheon near the end of spring term. Please join Dean Pennington, Chair Predebon and the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in thanking Gordon for his outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the College of Engineering.