Author: Jean DeClerck

Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Mari Buche

by Mike Meyer, director, William G. Jackson CTL

The Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominee for this week comes from the School of Business and Economics. Dean Gene Klippel has chosen to recognize Mari Buche, associate professor of management information sciences and the graduate program director for the MS in Data Science.

Dean Klippel simply made a list of what he looks for in a faculty member as it relates to teaching excellence, and then found in Buche a faculty member that embodied the entire list. Klippel’s characteristics include exceptional disciplinary knowledge and skill maintenance through professional development activities as well as a passion for the discipline. Mari demonstrates these through membership and extensive speaking, participation and mentoring in three professional societies—ACM, America’s Conference on Information Systems and the Midwest Association of Information Systems. Klippel also noted exceptional verbal communication skills as something Buche brings to all of her interactions through the School.

But Dean Klippel also looks for some “softer” traits, including genuine caring about the success of students and a willingness to listen to student feedback regarding course materials and structure. He noted that Mari goes beyond the classroom to support the success of students and brings alumni back as guest speakers. Mari’s previous recognition as the 2014 Outstanding Faculty Greek Life Award through the Order of Omega and as a “Props for Profs winner through the Jackson CTL in spring 2014 shows a strong student connection as well.

Mari 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 Klippel and the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in thanking Mari for her outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the School of Business and Economics.


Dean’s Teaching Showcase: Scott Kuhl

by Mike Meyer, director, William G. Jackson CTL

The Dean’s Teaching Showcase nominee for this week comes from the College of Sciences and Arts. Dean Bruce Seely has chosen to recognize Scott Kuhl, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science with an adjunct appointment in Cognitive and Learning Sciences. Dean Seely values “what Scott Kuhl attempts to accomplish as a teacher mainly for the mindset he employs, and less for the specific teaching techniques has adopted.” He notes that Scott “does not differentiate between regular classes, summer youth and support for Enterprise activities as educational venues—but approaches all with the goal of creating a fun and motivating environment.”

In his more traditional courses, Scott does attribute his teaching success to specific techniques, like providing detailed assignment descriptions with numerous tips to “help get students going in the right direction.” He also provides numerous examples, some of which he walks through in class in detail, and encourages students to share additional examples with each other. Finally, he emphasizes prompt feedback for his students. He has accomplished this by creating an automatic grading program which provides a “provides a transparent, well-defined set of expectations for assignments” and a score that can be adjusted by an instructor or grader as necessary. He’s even willing to share this tool with those interested.

Kuhl is also focused on continual improvement. Though the Husky Game Development  (HGD) Enterprise he leads is focused on games, he attributes its dramatic growth under his leadership to a careful cycle of feedback, change and evaluation. He sees the value of interdisciplinary teamwork, communication, development and management for students in HGD, and has led the group in both publishing academic papers and receiving sponsorship from both Chrysler and the Department of Labor.

Scott 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 Seely, computer science chair Min Song and the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning in thanking Scott for his outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the College of Sciences and Arts.


February

The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning schedules events for faculty and instructional staff to provide opportunities to learn new instructional strategies and tools and meet faculty from other departments. 

Balancing Work and Life: Great Teaching and Time for You (2/26): New methods of teaching allow communication with students from virtually any place at any time.  How do you find a balance that meets student needs but leaves time for family and personal needs?   The Michigan Tech Work-Life Advisory Committee and the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning co-hosts this coffee chat in which we’ll explore tips and techniques for balancing the many demands on today’s instructors.  We’ll also brainstorm ways the committee can advocate for the flexibility and resources to keep instructor roles balanced. This coffee chat event is scheduled for Thursday, February 26 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Coffee and light refreshments will be provided to those who register by Monday, February 23. Click here to register.


Group Work: What Do Students Want from Their Teammates?

This Faculty Focus blog post by Maryellen Weimer, PhD, references a study conducted by Crutchfield and Klamon, called “Assessing the dimension and outcomes of an effective teammate” in the Journal of Education for Business. In the study, peer performance assessment activities with over 800 students were used to determine the correlation between student success in key components of teamwork and the team’s willingness to work with their teammates on future projects.

If you have team projects in your courses, in addition to sharing key components of teamwork with your students, also consider tapping resources available through the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).  The CTL hosts the workshop Fostering Group Dynamics in Instruction, led by Sonia Goltz and Roger Woods from SBE, which will be offered again in late August. In addition, two new CTL workshops will be offered this spring to support group work: Google Drive for Collaboration as well as Canvas Group Tools.  The CTL can also help you leverage CATME, Canvas Quizzes and Google Forms technologies to provide students with feedback on their teamwork skills.

Feel free to contact the CTL at 487-3000 for additional information.


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.