Celebrating Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement!

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

This is the second of a series of blog posts celebrating the launch of the Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMasters program. The aim of the program is to catalyze a world-wide community of professionals committed to engaging educational innovation and improvement as a field of study and a domain of practice.

Led by the University of Michigan School of Education, Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement has been developed in collaboration with individuals and organizations with deep experience in innovation and improvement, and with the support of funders aiming to advance innovation and improvement in educational practice and research. Our collaborators and supporters include:

  • The Microsoft Corporation.
  • The Spencer Foundation.
  • The Office of Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan.
  • The Center for Positive Organizations in the University of Michigan’s
  • Ross School of Business.
  • The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • LearnDBIR and the University of Colorado-Boulder’s School of Education.
  • The Success for All Foundation.
  • The MIST project: Middle-School Mathematics and the Institutional Setting of Teaching.
  • The National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools.
  • The National Implementation Research Network.
  • Researchers from George Washington University, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago Consortium for School Research.
  • And over 30 practicing teachers, school leaders, and system leaders leading educational innovation and improvement in their own contexts.

In the first blog in this series, we introduced a special initiative running from January – April, 2018, in which a cohort of collaborators will participate in the two courses that form the nucleus of Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement:

Existing online resources will be complemented by supplemental instructional guidance, online office hours, guest webinars, and blogging opportunities, all aimed at enriching learners’ experiences and supporting their success through deep engagement with University of Michigan faculty members and learning specialists.

Together, we will be using this experience 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.

We have a remarkable group participating in this initiative.

Our 2018 Winter Cohort launched on January 08, 2018, as a team of 103 collaborators: 23 from the University of Michigan and 80 from other parts of the country and the world. Participants range from undergraduate students to senior professors; from early-career teachers to veteran system-level leaders; and from aspiring reformers to senior developers in leading reform enterprises.

Our US-based learners are joining us from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

Our international collaborators are joining us from Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Qatar, Russia, Syria, South Africa, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

In addition to engaging completing these courses together, members of the Winter 2018 are organizing into four study groups, with the aim of studying and writing about our experiences in this initiative from the perspectives of:

  • Participants in a path-breaking, trans-institutional, trans-national professional development experience.
  • Practice leaders driving educational innovation and improvement in diverse schools, systems, and nations.
  • Faculty members developing courses and programs focused on educational innovation and improvement.
  • Researchers and designers seeking to advance the use of information technologies in support collaborative learning among educational professional around the world.

As our work proceeds through the Winter and into Spring, we will be blogging from each of these perspectives, with two goals: to enrich understandings of other professionals seeking to advance educational innovation and improvement; and to invite them to join our community.

Thank you for joining us in celebrating Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement, and…

Stay tuned!

Join Us in Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement

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

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!

Improving Classrooms, Schools, and Educational Systems: Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMasters

This article was originally posted on 12/8/2016 on the edX Blog

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

James DeVaney, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation
@devaneygoblue

The moment is ripe for renewal and reinvention in public education, in the United States and around the world.

Social, economic, and political dynamics are creating needs and opportunities to pursue new aims for student learning, new approaches to classroom instruction, and new strategies for school and system organization.

Addressing these needs and seizing these opportunities will require transformative innovation that disrupts and re-constructs fundamental understandings, norms, practices, and organizational forms that structure public education.

It will also require continuous improvement, as educational professionals learn to collaborate in new ways within this new normal to realize ambitions for excellence in the educational opportunities and outcomes of all students.

The moment calls for a new generation of educational leaders who can understand, design, and employ evidence-based methods of educational innovation and improvement.

Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMastersThe University of Michigan’s (U-M) Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMasters program heeds that call, by catalyzing a diverse community of impassioned educators, reformers, researchers, and policy makers committed to collaborating to renew and reinvent public education.

We aim to create a new kind of learning community that allows learners to collaborate with other global experts and peers, obtain new knowledge and capabilities, and apply methods of educational innovation and improvement to their work.

We aim to do all of this while also making the program both flexible and affordable in order to meet the needs of our diverse learners.

Indeed, some members of this community are aspiring and early career leaders working within emerging roles as teacher-leaders, instructional and data coaches, evaluators, designers, and implementation specialists. Other members are senior leaders working within established roles as principals, superintendents, political appointees, and elected officials.

Some members of this community work within the formal educational governance structure in schools, local districts, and state agencies and ministries. Others work beyond the formal educational governance structures in non-profit organizations, universities, think tanks, and consulting firms.

What unites members of this diverse community is a commitment to discovering and leveraging innovative solutions for global educational improvement. Working within a community of experts and peers, learners who complete the program will be poised to achieve a depth and scale of innovation and improvement that none could achieve independently.

The Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMasters program was developed by U-M’s School of Education, in collaboration with U-M’s Ross School of Business and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

It is designed as a gathering place for this leadership community: a context in which its diverse members can develop collective identity, common cause, professional relationships, and deep friendships.

It is designed to provide members of this leadership community with a robust professional knowledge base: leading theory, research, and cases to frame, inform, and guide their collaborative efforts to transform classrooms, schools, and systems.

It is also designed to develop capabilities among members to work together in new ways and to greater effect: by mobilizing practices and principals of Positive Organizational Scholarship and Improvement Science to incubate promising approaches, solve persistent problems, and manage for effectiveness and efficiency.

This mix of culture, knowledge, and capabilities will be the glue that binds members of this community together, as they proceed through the Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMasters program, move forward in their leadership roles, and possibly even join us on campus to complete a full Master of Arts degree in U-M’s School of Education.

U-M continues to play a leadership role by working globally to reshape higher education in an information age. This new MicroMasters program represents a clear opportunity to broaden access to leaders in education and ultimately to raise average levels of student performance and reduce achievement gaps between students, in the US and around the world.

We continue to be excited about the potential of the MicroMasters as a portable, modular, and scalable model designed to meet the changing needs of learners around the world. With this new program, we see an opportunity to broaden participation, accelerate learning, and enhance a growing community’s ability to drive positive change.

The first course in the Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement MicroMasters program starts January 24, 2017 and is currently open for enrollment.

UX Research & Design MicroMasters: Developing Great User Experiences from Concept to Prototype

This article was originally posted on 9/29/2016 on edX Blog

Mark Newman, Associate Professor, School of Information, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
@nooom

James DeVaney, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation
@devaneygoblue

Successful products deliver great experiences for their users. Increasingly, businesses across all industries are recognizing that User Experience Research and Design are critical to success, and as a result User Experience is one of the most exciting and rapidly growing fields in the world. There are as many as 150,000 open UX jobs in the US alone, offering a median salary in the range of $90,000. Moreover, demand is projected to continue to grow in the coming years.

UX Researchers and Designers work with product teams to apply proven techniques, knowledge of design principles, and creative insights to ensure that the end-product of the development process addresses critical user needs, meets business goals, and delivers a great experience. UX professionals can help businesses stay on track by avoiding “feature creep,” eliminating usability problems that will require costly fixes later, and keeping project timelines focused.

To steer the product development process in the right direction, UX professionals balance research and design methods to ensure that they “get the design right, and get the right design.” As the UX field grows, some practitioners are specializing in either UX Design or UX Research, while many work to develop their skill in both arenas, switching hats as needed to move projects forward. UX Research focuses on understanding users—who they are, what they do, and what they need—through various techniques including interviews, surveys, and direct observation. UX Research is also concerned with testing and evaluating potential designs to figure out what will actually work for users, and what needs to go back to the drawing board. UX Design is about generating design solutions to address user needs found through Research, and developing them through multiple rounds of increasingly detailed sketching, prototyping, and specification, producing potential solutions that can be evaluated and improved.

Woman presenting user design to co-workersIn the UX Research and Design MicroMasters, learners will dive into the exciting field of UX, learning the principles, process, and techniques to create great user experiences, while also gaining hands-on experience with the techniques UX professionals use every day. The MicroMasters is a great starting point for anyone, from any background, who wants to get started in the field, improve their ability to create great products, enhance a skill set with expertise in UX Design and Research, or learn more about how the products they love or hate came to be the way they are.

We’re excited about the potential of this portable, modular, and scalable model designed to meet the changing needs of learners around the world. With this new program we see an opportunity to broaden participation and accelerate learning through flexible pathways. With the UX MicroMasters we combine our values around inclusive access to high quality higher education, our strengths in UX and human computer interaction, and an undeniable opportunity to address the shifting demand for expertise in this growing field.

U-M continues to play a leadership role in shaping higher education in an information age and to reimagining the role of a great public research university for the 21st century. The UX MicroMasters represents a clear opportunity to extend our reach to provide access and unlock opportunities for personalized, engaged, and lifelong learning for the U-M community and learners around the world.

We look forward to engaging a diverse community of global learners in the UX MicroMasters and to helping learners to accelerate their careers in a rapidly evolving field.

As a leading institution in UX education, the University of Michigan School of Information is very excited to partner with edX to offer our world-class curriculum to a wider audience. We hope that learners from around the globe will choose to be a part of this exciting endeavor.

The first course in the UX Research and Design MicroMasters starts October 4th, enroll today!

In addition to the UX Research and Design MicroMasters, U-M announced new MicroMasters programs in social work and educational leadership that each unlock new personalized pathways to lifelong learning.