Accelerating Digital Innovation and Transforming 200 Courses

James DeVaney, Associate Vice Provost for Digital Education & Innovation


Accelerating our Digital Education & Innovation Strategy

The University of Michigan is accelerating its digital education and innovation strategy to shape the future of learning.  Aligned with President Schlissel’s priorities to enhance U-M excellence, we aim to provide U-M’s lifelong learning community with the best and most forward looking education available. By harnessing technology and learning analytics to make the resources of the university available to the broadest possible range of learners we are focused on a vision of equitable and advanced education for all.

At the center of our digital education and innovation strategy is a collaborative partnership model designed to enable faculty-led innovation. This model, which President Schlissel recently described as the ‘best in the academy’ focuses resources on innovative experiments designed to transform residential learning by creating inclusive learning environments and driving toward personalization at scale.

As part of our commitment to shaping the future of learning and redefining residential education, we are pleased to join in the celebration of the University of Michigan’s Bicentennial with a commitment to transform at least 200 courses by 2017 for pre-college, residential, and lifelong learners. We are reimagining what it means to serve the people of Michigan and the world through public residential education at a preeminent research university by harnessing digital learning pedagogy and tools and learning analytics to provide high quality personalization at scale for the 21st century. We invite proposals from faculty across all 19 colleges and schools.

Personalization at scale is a major opportunity of our time. We understand the benefits of the Oxford tutorial method and the reach of massive open online courses. We are beginning to understand the potential of gameful design, learning analytics, blended learning, personalized communication, modularized content, and instruction as a team sport. We know that diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to academic excellence at U-M. We know that the strongest possible connections between research and teaching help our students to think creatively about solving global challenges. To celebrate our Bicentennial, we aim to transform at least 200 courses to create personalized, engaged, and lifelong learning experiences for our growing community.


Unlocking New Opportunities in 2015-16

While there is much to look forward to in our Bicentennial year, the 2015-16 academic year is off to a fast start.  Through support from our DEI Academic Innovation Fund, and leveraging expertise from our three labs, we have increased our scope of experimentation in order to test new methods of harnessing digital learning and learning analytics and find pathways to scaling the most promising innovation.

To date the DEI Academic Innovation Fund has seeded more than 50 faculty-led initiatives in partnership with 16 of our 19 schools and colleges, and those partnerships have helped U-M to reach over 3.7 million global lifelong learners. As a result, we have already produced a wide range of experiments designed to engage pre-college learners, personalize learning for residential learners, and reach and engage lifelong learners including our alumni.

With each new initiative U-M strengthens our understanding of what is possible in a world where personalization at scale is within reach. With a first wave of experimentation and evaluation well underway, we look to give more shape to the future of learning at Michigan. We have launched several new efforts in order to increase the number, range, and impact of faculty-led innovations designed to provide the best and most forward-looking education to pre-college, residential and lifelong learners. In particular, we have:

  1. Set a goal for our Academic Innovation Fund to transform 200 U-M courses by 2017 by harnessing technology and learning analytics to provide high quality personalization at scale.
  2. Launched a faculty-led initiative spearheaded by the Digital Innovation Advisory Group (DIAG) to develop a proposal for a new model for residential learning that leverages all we are learning from experimentation at the intersection of digital learning and learning analytics.
  3. Launched the Academic Innovation at Michigan (AIM) series of discussions and activities to explore, debate, design, and realize a transformed residential experience.
  4. Expanded our experimentation with digital learning and learning analytics by forming a strategic partnership with edX, a global nonprofit online learning destination. Along with our partnerships with Coursera and NovoEd and as a founding member of Unizin, U-M is able to extend its reach and ability to shape the future of higher education.
  5. Accelerated the translation of digital engagement tools from innovation to adoption and infrastructure through the launch of the Digital Innovation Greenhouse.

There are many ways to get involved. Please join us in shaping the future of learning at U-M and beyond.

Recent Posts

Learn the Art of Giving and Receiving High-Quality Feedback

Read More

Learn the Health and Environmental Impacts of the Foods We Eat and Products We Buy

Read More

Higher Ed, Industry Leaders Join the XR at Michigan Summit to Discuss the Future of XR in Education

Read More