A Mentor Academy

Christopher Brooks, Director of Learning Analytics and Research, Office of Academic Innovation and Research Assistant Professor, School of Information

Rebecca Quintana, Learning Experience Designer

MOOC learners have an insatiable desire for more content, more examples, and more problems to try. This is particularly true in MOOCs where learners are developing new skills, such as creating data visualizations using Python. Learners require multiple opportunities to practice their emerging skills in order to become more proficient in a domain. Instructors and course staff may be hard-pressed to find the time to create the volume of examples and problems that would satisfy the appetite of MOOC learners. Further, because we operate in a global classroom (Kizelcic, Saltarelli, Reich, & Cohen, 2017), instructors want to provide diverse examples and authentically situated problems in an effort to cultivate an inclusive learning environment.

An instructional team from the University of Michigan (U-M) developed a Mentor Academy to address these challenges. Christopher Brooks (Research Assistant Professor at U-M’s School of Information) and Rebecca Quintana (Learning Experience Designer at U-M’s Office of Academic Innovation), along with an educational technology professor, two graduate students, and a community engagement specialist, developed and supported a two-week instructional program to guide mentors in the creation of authentic programming problems. We invited learners who had completed the Introduction to Data Science with Python course to help the course team generate new content, by engaging them in the creation of problems that will be used in future versions of the course. Our program is based on the concept of learner-sourcing, where learners contribute novel content for future learners, while engaging in a meaningful learning experience themselves (Kim, 2015). We wanted to create an apprentice-like experience, where mentors could interact with each other and with university professors and instructors, providing them a “higher touch” experience in which they could both learn and give back. The program included video lectures about how to locate open data sets, how to write authentic problems, instructor-moderated discussions, and live video chats with mentors and instructors.


Python code on the left of the image with a chat window on the right with two students on a webcam and a chat box

Left: The Jupyter notebook environment. Right: Live video chats.


120 mentors participated, joining us from a variety of countries including Brazil, Canada, China, India, and the US. We ran four sessions of the program, and mentors worked in smaller cohorts of about 30. Mentors located local datasets and wrote authentic problems that leveraged these datasets. The problems were written in the Python programming language, using the Jupyter notebook environment. Mentors shared their problems on the programs’ discussion boards, and improved their problems through feedback from fellow mentors and the instructional team. Mentors created a number of high quality problems, equivalent to the ones that the instructor was creating. The problems were diverse and covered a wide range of topics, skill sets, and interests. For example, a mentor from Germany created a problem about beer prices in Germany, while a mentor from the US created a problem about the California wildfires. The problems are going to be deployed in Introduction to Data Science with Python in February 2018 for new learners in the course.

This exploration was just stage one of the Mentor Academy. With the success we have seen here we are planning to turn this into a permanent fixture for us to experiment with how lifelong learners can be lifelong mentors — giving back to global learners while continuing to “level up” their own skills. Plans for 2018 include involving these mentors in new course design (for agile just-in-time review of new course material as it is created), as well as connecting mentors with learners in peer help networks, bringing on-demand collaborative problem solving to data science learning environments.

The Importance of User Feedback at Academic Innovation

Mike Wojan, User Experience Designer

Why feedback is so important to us

At the Office of Academic Innovation, we are committed to creating technologies that make learning more personalized and engaging. Our team consists of uniquely talented researchers, designers, and developers who continue to raise the bar with innovative educational technology tools. But for us to practice what we preach and deliver on our commitment, it’s important to speak with learners regularly and ensure that we’re designing for them – rather than ourselves. Everyone at Academic Innovation appreciates and values the importance of user feedback, so we’ve incorporated it as a fundamental part of our design process.

Our usability testing process

As a UX Designer with a background in Human-Computer Interaction, engaging with learners has been the most exciting part of my role at Academic Innovation. I feel fortunate that my primary responsibility at work is doing what I love: sitting down with customers to understand their needs and translating those requirements into interface designs. I’m also grateful to have such driven coworkers that help me do it. Amy Homkes-Hayes, our Lead Innovation Advocate, worked with me over the past semester on ramping up our usability testing procedures and creating new strategies for reaching our learners. I also mentored several of our interns on planning and facilitating user interviews.

We recently set a new goal for each of our core projects to receive at least one round of user feedback per semester. Project Leads come to me with a list of features or ideas they’d like to test and I put together a plan for getting that information in front of students. Depending on what we’re testing, we can employ focus groups, A/B tests, one-on-one user interviews, and moderated task analysis. Even on weeks that we don’t schedule usability tests, I try to collect feedback on my designs by posting them on the office refrigerator for colleagues to respond to.

A printed photo of two proposed mobile designs posted to a refrigerator door with sticky notes and a pen asking individuals to select a preferred design

Conducting an informal A/B test on the office refrigerator. I presented two possible designs for a Problem Roulette interface and asked my coworkers to vote for their favorite via sticky note ballot.


So how do we get our users to participate?

We defined a new multi-faceted incentive strategy this term, which includes gift cards for individual tests and entries into a drawing at the end of the term for larger prizes. As a new addition to our suite of testing procedures this term, we also partnered with a School of Information course about user research, SI 422, where students were given the option to participate in a usability test for class credit. We also created a new form of usability “pop-up” testing, during which we set up an A/B testing table on campus and reward students for a few minutes of their time as they’re passing by.

A pile of sunflower seeds on a clipboard on top of a table between two empty glass jugs with students walking by

A campus pop-up test for ECoach where students chose their favorite design by casting votes with sunflower seeds (playing off our department’s metaphor as a greenhouse for innovation).


Our Innovation Advocacy intern Ning Wang led the pop-up testing effort and found the experience very rewarding. “Working on various projects at (Academic Innovation) allows me to acquire several different skills along the way, from planning the content for usability evaluations to actually conducting the tests themselves. There are times that I doubt if I can really do it, but my mentor and (Academic Innovation) coworkers offered me the guidance, necessary tools, and most importantly, the trust and freedom to let me take the initiative.”

A table covered by an Academic Innovation tablecloth with a laptop on other materials on top and an Academic Innovation banner standing next to the table

A pop-up test in the Student Union for the ART 2.0 project. We asked students to experiment with the new Major Metrics functionality and share ideas about ways we could improve the feature.


We tested several new applications over the past 4 months, including a tool for researching majors in ART 2.0, the tailored content inside ECoach, and a group study feature for Problem Roulette. In total, we spoke to 48 students in individual usability sessions and over 70 individuals at our campus pop-up tests. After each round, we summarize our research findings and present them back to the project teams. The next step is to prioritize the takeaways and decide which new features or improvements to tackle in the project’s next development cycle. Sometimes we receive suggestions that are quick wins and we can implement those right away. Students regularly impress us with brilliant ideas and solutions that demonstrate the immediate value of user testing for all of our tools.

Students seated around a table in small groups looking at laptop screens in the Academic Innovation office

Students from SI 422 participate in an interactive focus group to evaluate Problem Roulette’s new group study feature. They enjoyed getting early access to this beta feature not yet released to campus.


Goals for 2018

Moving into the Winter 2018 semester, we aim to continue growing and diversifying our usability testing program. We’ll be partnering with Information Technology Services (ITS) and Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) on improving the accessibility of our products and expanding our community of participants to include more students with disabilities. If you’re interested in learning more, please feel free to email me directly (mtwojan@umich.edu). And of course, if you’d like to participate in one of our usability tests, you can register via this short sign up form.

Introducing the “All Hands on Deck Writing Jam” for Visual Descriptions of Images

Rebecca Quintana, Learning Experience Designer

Yuanru Tan, Learning Design and Accessibility Student Fellow


In the context of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), adding a visual description to images that exist within online course materials is one of the most important aspects of creating an accessible learning experience. For example, faculty members may use images within video lectures, such as bar graphs, scatter plots, and photographs. These images can bring a course to life and help make lecture topics even more engaging and understandable. Faculty often describe the images in their lectures verbally, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Learners who are visually impaired may miss important information that is contained within these images. One solution is to provide visual descriptions of images as part of the downloadable files that we make available to learners (e.g., PowerPoint slides). Learners who use screen readers are able to listen to a visual description of images contained within lectures. Additionally, these visual descriptions are available to all learners, thereby creating opportunities for deeper engagement with course content. For example, a learner who is experiencing difficulty interpreting a graph could benefit from a clearly written, high level summary of the big idea behind the graph.

Yuanru Tan seated at the end of a large conference room tab with a monitor behind her reading "All Hands on Deck, Alt Text Writing Jam @DEIL"

However, course design teams who are tasked with creating and supplying instructional materials for learners face a significant challenge. Writing visual descriptions for images requires not only a lot of time and effort, but also a great deal of subject-specific content knowledge. At the Office of Academic Innovation, course design teams endeavor to include faculty and associated experts in the process of writing visual descriptions throughout the design process. However, sometimes additional effort on the part of Academic Innovation staff is needed to get the job done. Inspired by crowdsourcing approaches that leverage the expertise and time of willing participants, the “All Hands On Deck Alt Text Writing Jam” event series was born.¹

Writing Jam Format

At the writing jams, staff from Academic Innovation and from the University of Michigan (U-M) Library assembled to learn about effective methods for writing high-quality visual descriptions and to get down to the business of writing visual descriptions for U-M MOOCs that contain complex images. Led by Yuanru Tan, Learning Design and Accessibility Student Fellow, participants received instruction on how to write visual descriptions for both simple and complex images, and were given resources and reference materials to make the task easier. Each participant worked through a series of images, creating visual descriptions, and then reviewing the writing of others. To date, Academic Innovation has hosted two writing jams, but our plan is to make this a regularly scheduled event.

In the first writing jam, participants completed visual descriptions for 99 images in one hour for courses within three MOOC specializations, Applied Data Science with Python, Web Applications for Everybody, and Leading People and Teams. Participants worked independently before pairing up to review each other’s work. In the second writing jam, participants completed visual descriptions for 65 images in one hour for six courses within the User Experience (UX) Research and Design MicroMasters Program. Participants worked collaboratively, using a paired-writing approach, and drawing on subject matter expertise from all participants. Areas of expertise included web development, UX design, accessibility, learning design, and publishing. See below for an example of a visual description that was written for a screenshot image used within a course within the UX MicroMasters Program.

This is a screenshot of a Google search and results. It shows “user expe” typed into the search bar and the autofill results as “user experience,” “user experience design,” “user experience designer salary,” and “user experience researcher.”

Visual description of image: This is a screenshot of a Google search and results. It shows “user expe” typed into the search bar and the autofill results as “user experience,” “user experience design,” “user experience designer salary,” and “user experience researcher.”



Feedback from participants regarding the writing jam approach has been overwhelmingly positive. Monica Miklosovic, Iteration Manager at Academic Innovation, reflected , “It was a collaborative experience, at the end of which we had accomplished a meaningful short-term goal.” Ben Howell, Accessibility Specialist within the User Experience Department at the Library Information Technology Department, stated , “The concepts and practice of writing alt-text are challenging for beginners and for experienced accessibility staff. The group activity effectively crowdsourced writing alt-text for [Academic Innovation] courses. It was very helpful to identify, contextualize, and describe various images, infographics, etc.” Molly Maher, Behavioral Scientist at Academic Innovation, commented, “It was great to learn some of the key guidelines for image descriptions, especially through practice.” Stephanie Rosen, Accessibility Specialist at the University of Michigan Library, said, “I was so impressed with the amount of work we were able to do. I think the activities we did are excellent for educating people about alt text and accessibility in general.” Dave Malicke, Operations Lead at Academic Innovation, stated, “I enjoyed the paired writing approach. It was both fun and resulted in higher quality descriptions.”

Participants also had useful suggestions for ways to incorporate the writing jam approach into future activities and events. Ben Howell commented, “I look forward to using this practice where we can with librarians and content creators in the library. We’d also like to participate in more accessibility/design jams in [Academic Innovation].” Dave Malicke reflected, “My number one takeaway is that more of these events are needed in order to build an ever stronger and informed community of accessibility practitioners.”

In 2018, our goal is to host monthly writing jams. These events may focus on specific subject areas (e.g., humanities courses). We intend to invite course design team members including faculty members, instructors, learning experience designers, media specialists, design managers, and mentors, as well as U-M students who are interested in learning how to write visual descriptions. In addition to creating a high number of visual descriptions at our writing jams, we have found this “think aloud” collaborative approach was instrumental in helping Academic Innovation design teams reflect on how to improve our design processes. We learned the process of writing visual descriptions can reveal aspects of images that may be unclear to learners (e.g., an unlabelled y-axis). By adopting the practice of writing visual descriptions early within a design process, there is the potential to improve images (e.g., by labelling the y-axis!) that are included in lecture videos. We see this as an instantiation of the principles of universal design—following good design practices improves the learning experience for all.

Yuanru Tan will present on “Improving MOOC Course Accessibility” at the Web Accessibility Working Group Meeting from 1-2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 9, in the Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery Lab. The event is open to all.


¹Alt text is a short word or phrase that describes images that are used in websites. Visually impaired users who use screen readers will hear an alt attribute that describes the image. We use the term “visual descriptions” in this post, because many of the descriptions that are added to our MOOC course materials are much longer than the typical alt text that is used to make web sites accessible for the visually impaired.

Welcome to Origin Stories. A Podcast Series for Academic Innovation Digital Edtech Tools

Amy Homkes-Hayes, Lead Innovation Advocate

When we started developing digital edtech in the Office of Academic Innovation in 2015, we could only just imagine the tremendous growth we would experience in two and a half years. As the use of our digital tools becomes more profuse throughout (and sometimes even beyond) the University of Michigan’s campuses, the stories we tell about our tools evolve as well. As we take stock of how much we’ve grown, and our motivations for building and scaling “homegrown” digital edtech at U-M, we think the time is ripe to look back at the beginning of our tools by interviewing the faculty, students, and staff who imagined them.

We are excited to announce the launch of our Origin Stories podcast series, which will feature each of Academic Innovation’s digital edtech tools, and examine them in more depth. This series will uncover early motivations for building software for teaching and learning at U-M. We will explore what motivated our faculty to take their burgeoning tools and seek out partnership with Academic Innovation to grow their software, and we will entertain what the future of our tools may look like with the folks who pioneered them.

GradeCraft, origin stories podcast series

Up first, GradeCraft with co-founders Dr. Barry Fishman, Professor of Information and Education and Director of the of Bachelor of Science in Information Program and Caitlin Holman, Lead GradeCraft Developer and PhD candidate in the School of Information. Listen to Barry and Cait talk about how they responded to student feedback in a course on video games by building what is now a learning management system centered on game theory–or the elements that make up great games. Hear from Barry and Cait as they discuss the history of Gradecraft and how far it has come from its first use in Barry’s class to what is now a commercial tool being employed in K-12 and higher education settings.



We are excited to showcase the interesting stories of how our tools came to be. Join us as we learn about the opportunities and implications of building edtech software in a university with a focus on personalization, and in an era when we are committed to scaling smart technology in parallel with effective pedagogy.

Academic Innovation Supports Local Community During Holiday Season

Trevor Parnell, Events and Marketing Specialist

Engaging with and giving back to the local community is a part of the value system that helps guide the Office of Academic Innovation. The University of Michigan’s United Way Campaign, along with the United Way’s Holiday Card Making Program, offered up multiple opportunities for Academic Innovation to get involved around the holidays.

According to the organization’s website, www.uwwashtenaw.org, the United Way of Washtenaw County connects people, resources and organizations together to create a thriving community for everyone. Their values include equity, inclusiveness, community, volunteerism, caring and integrity.

As part of the University of Michigan’s United Way Campaign, Academic Innovation organized an internal event to help generate donations, through which the Academic Innovation team was able to raise $400 to donate to United Way.

Academic Innovation staff members smiling for the camera standing behind a table of handmade holiday cardsAdditionally, a handful of Academic Innovation team members visited the United Way of Washtenaw County on Friday, November 17 to make holiday cards for homebound senior citizens and adults, veterans, families in shelter as well as local families and children. Reflecting on her experience, Megan Taylor, Research Associate for Academic Innovation, stated, “It was such a joy to volunteer with my co-workers at United Way. I appreciated how my co-workers challenged themselves to really think creatively about how to help spread holiday cheer in their cards.”

“This experience gave me both a fun and meaningful opportunity for camaraderie with my co-workers, the joy of the holidays, and giving back to the community I call home,” said Amy Homkes- Hayes, Lead Innovation Advocate for Academic Innovation.

The Office of Academic Innovation is committed to U-M’s United Way Campaign and looks forward to participating again in the future.

Join Us in Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement

Donald Peurach, Associate Professor of Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation in the School of Education

The University of Michigan School of Education invites you to join us in an experiment aimed at catalyzing a world-wide community of professionals committed to engaging educational innovation and improvement as a field of study and a domain of practice.

This initiative celebrates the launch of our Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMasters program,  a series of five massive open online courses on the edX platform that introduce the theory and practice of large-scale, network-based continuous educational improvement. The program was designed in collaboration with the Ross School of Business and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, with contributions from over 40 leading educational professionals, researchers, and reformers across the US. I had the honor of serving as the lead designer of the program.

We are launching Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement at a fascinating moment in the history of US public education. Over the past five years, a new educational reform movement has taken shape, one that has practicing educators, researchers, and reformers collaborating in novel “school improvement networks” to address educational problems, needs, and opportunities using formal methods of continuous improvement. In Fall 2017, school improvement networks became the centerpiece of a $1 billion grant program announced by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to improve academic success, high school graduation, and college placement among black, Hispanic, and poor students in the nation’s most challenged schools.

Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement locates learners at the center of this rapidly evolving “improvement movement”, and supports them in developing the foundational knowledge, capabilities, and dispositions needed to become active members.

Toward that end, we designed Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement not only as a series of massive open online courses. We designed the program as a platform for building a new type of trans-institutional, trans-national educational reform community. All core courses use an instructional approach called “Self-Directed/Community Supported Learning” that combines presentations, enrichment activities, scenario-based team practice exercises, and community-wide discussion, with the aim of drawing diverse learners in the US and around the world into a community of discourse and practice.

From January — April 2018, I will guide a cohort of learners in completing curated versions of the two courses that comprise the core of Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement:

I will be complementing the existing online resources with supplemental instructional guidance, online office hours, guest webinars, and blogging opportunities, all aimed at enriching learners’ experiences and supporting their success.

These special, curated versions of LeadEd502x and LeadEd503x courses are open to practicing educators, graduate students, faculty members, and reformers across the US and around the world. They are also being offered as part of a 3-credit seminar in the School of Education open to all graduate students and upper division undergraduate students:  EDUC 639 — Engaging Educational Innovation and Improvement.

Together, we will use these curated versions of LeadEd502x and LeadEd503x as a laboratory in which to explore new approaches to developing foundational understandings of cutting-edge educational theory and practice, new ways of using open-access instructional resources to support place-based professional development, and new ways of collaborating to accelerate the redesign of graduate programs in response to dynamic policy environments.

Indeed, our aim is to collaborate in a grand experiment using a new, online learning platform to do what world-class public research universities do best:

  • Convene diverse groups of stakeholders around pressing issues of social importance, and rally their passions and wisdom.
  • Inform conversations among them with new insights about theory and practice.
  • Empower them to move forward, together, in making a big difference for many people, especially those who are too often disempowered and disenfranchised.

Stay tuned! We will be using this blog to report on our progress over the winter semester.

If you would like more information about participating in this initiative, please click here for an FAQ about the MicroMasters program that also provides more details about the special, curated versions of LeadEd502x and LeadEd503x.

If you would like to join us for this initiative, please click here to complete a general information form by December 15, 2017. We are using this form to build an email list of potential participants. On 12/16/2017, we will be mailing specific guidance for registering for these courses on the edX platform.

As always, please feel free to email me (dpeurach@umich.edu) for additional information.

We hope you are able to join us in celebrating Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement!

Celebrate Innovation this Giving Blueday

Eric Joyce, Marketing Specialist

Giving Blueday 11-28-17Next week marks the University of Michigan’s fourth annual Giving Blueday, a university wide-day of giving building upon the Giving Tuesday global movement.

This year not only marks U-M’s Bicentennial, but an explosive year of innovation across the University catalyzed by the Academic Innovation Initiative, a charge to the Office of Academic Innovation by the President and Provost’s office “to consider how U-M will lead the way for higher education through the information age and further strengthen our impact on society.”

The U-M community has responded by ushering a new era of faculty public engagement with the launch of the University of Michigan Teach-Out Series. These just-in-time learning experiences have stimulated global conversations on some of the most critical issues facing society such as fake news, the future of the Affordable Care Act, sleep deprivation and more. We hope you will also join us for an examination of the opioid crisis in our next Teach-Out starting Monday, Dec. 4.

Highlights from our office throughout 2017 include the launch of a new community of innovators across higher education with HAILStorm; a re-launch of Problem Roulette, expansion of ECoach, new developments in M-Write, and the addition of Problem Roulette, WILD and Healthy Minds to the Digital Innovation Greenhouse portfolio; the first MOOC co-created by students for students; as well as the first Gameful Learning Summer Institute, the public release of GradeCraft and a new MOOC supporting gameful learning in schools from our Gameful Learning Lab.

Your gift this Giving Blueday will support the Office of Academic Innovation’s work to connect faculty experts from across the university to scale personalized residential learning with digital tools, motivate learners in new ways with gameful pedagogy and expand access to U-M content for lifelong learners around the world through massive open online courses and Teach-Outs. Contributions on this day of giving will also enable multidisciplinary instructional teams of faculty, staff and students to continue to pioneer academic R&D and further Michigan’s reach beyond 6 million global learners.

Gifts may support our top priorities or a specific area of focus:

Engaged Learning – 326407
Gifts will be used to explore innovation in the residential experience to enhance learning for U-M students on campus through new technology-enhanced initiatives fostering broad and enduring participation at U-M.

Give now

Lifelong Learning – 326408
Gifts will be used to support new modes of learning, from flipped classrooms to residential MOOCs to interdisciplinary programs, to accelerate lifelong learning and reach diverse communities of learners around the globe.

Give now

Personalized Learning & Learning Analytics – 326409
Gifts will be used to support faculty and student research to create customized data driven, learner-centric experiences informed by learning analytics to improve student outcomes.

Give now

Teach-Out Series – 329467
Gifts will be used to fund the University of Michigan Teach-Out Series, which provides just-in-time opportunities for learners around the world to come together with our campus community in conversation on a topic of widespread interest.

Give now

Gifts this Giving Blueday will continue to enable faculty, staff and students to experiment with digital learning tools and platforms to enrich the residential experience for U-M students and enable new pathways for continued educational growth for more than a half a million Michigan alumni worldwide. Faculty innovators and Academic Innovation’s creative team of developers, behavioral scientists, media specialists, learning experience designers and more will continue to investigate new learning technologies to enhance and evolve the learning landscape while assessing the impact of these innovations along the way.

Your generous gift, no matter the size, will help unlock new opportunities to further faculty public engagement, support personalized, engaged and lifelong learning for the U-M community, and ultimately shape the future of higher education for the 21st century. Give to Academic Innovation.

Give now

New ART 2.0 Features Just in Time for Course Backpacking

Amy Homkes-Hayes, Lead Innovation Advocate


A Brief History

The ART 2.0 dashboard with a collect of bar graphsAcademic Reporting Tools, known as ART 2.0, was brought into the Digital Innovation Greenhouse (DIG) by faculty champion, Dr. August Evrard, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Physics and Astronomy. ART 2.0 provides the Michigan community with views of the University’s curricular history manifested in several ways. In other words, we like to think of ART 2.0 as housing virtual decks of cards: one for courses, another for instructors, and so on. Since March 2016, CourseProfile has enabled students to view course history on things like enrollment by school or college, majors of students who took the course, pre/concurrent/post course selections, a subset of Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) questions on topics like the perceived workload of the course, and how much the course increased interest in the subject. Starting in November 2016, the InstructorInfo deck has enabled students to view a subset of SET questions on topics like preparedness and clarity.

Since course cards are linked to several school and college course guides, accessible via Wolverine Access, and through the ART 2.0 homepage (art.ai.umich.edu), it makes it easy for students to use ART 2.0 when backpacking and registering for courses. ART 2.0 provides access to information U-M students may use to help explore what kind of courses to take, discover useful data on courses and instructors, and help decide, ultimately, what classes to enroll in based on their academic, personal, and professional goals.

Exciting New ART 2.0 Developments

The ART 2.0 search interfaceAs we continue to iterate on features for ART 2.0, we think about, and seek feedback on, what additional “card decks” would aid student course exploration and decision making. It’s with this frame in mind that we are excited to announce the next iteration in ART 2.0, MajorMetrics. MajorMetrics is a milestone for ART 2.0 by offering undergraduate major and minor information to the U-M community. Each MajorMetrics card includes a timeline of how many students have graduated with a particular degree (referred to as majors for undergraduate students) spanning the past 10 years. We have also included statistics on joint degrees (co-majors) and minors. We hope, like CourseProfile and InstructorInfo, MajorMetrics will enable students to conduct research on majors and minors they are interested in, or have already declared, using a rich data set.

In addition to MajorMetrics, we have substantially improved the search feature for ART 2.0. We now offer separate searching options by course, instructor, or degree, and the results are now presented in a more user-friendly fashion. We know giving students multiple pathways for searching courses, faculty, and majors contributes to their use of the tool, and we expect students will take advantage of these new search features as they backpack and register for Winter 2018 courses and beyond.

Like all our tools in DIG, ART 2.0 continues to evolve. Each production cycle brings fresh and innovative ways for students, faculty, and staff to view and use University data to enhance the experience and informed decision-making of curricular choices here at the University of Michigan.

A Look Inside the Video Production Techniques Behind the University of Michigan Teach-Out Series

Cy Abdelnour, Instructional Media Specialist, shares the importance of production quality for educational courses with this look into the production techniques utilized in the University of Michigan Teach-Out Series.