Innovation, Growth, Impact: A 2022 Retrospective

Sean Corp, Content Strategist

The Center for Academic Innovation enjoyed tremendous growth in 2022. Growth in online learners, educational technology adoptions, and publications in top educational research journals. While the center saw progress in core initiatives, it also embraced the challenge of building things from the ground up, launching new outreach initiatives, embracing new technologies and building new tools. We are helping U-M prepare for the blended future of education and building courses, conducting research and creating tools that benefit both our University of Michigan community and our global lifelong learners.


Innovation Highlights

EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY

Competency-Based Education In Ed Tech

Spire is our new competency-based learning platform that helps students build professional skills, learn core competencies, identify curricular and co-curricular opportunities, and gather the building blocks they need to tell their story as they seek internships, admission to graduate programs and enter the job market. 

Already, Spire is being used by some of the leading programs at University of Michigan, including Michigan Engineering, Ross School of Business and Michigan Medicine. 

EDUCATIONAL EQUITY

Advancing Undergraduate Education Symposia Series

The Center for Academic Innovation hosted a series of talks in 2022 to begin the conversation on how U-M can work together collectively to improve pathways to and through undergraduate education. Each session featured discussions with experts inside and outside U-M, including leaders from educational nonprofits, researchers and peer institutions.  of the six sessions in the Advancing Undergraduate Education Symposia Series will feature discussions with experts inside and outside U-M, including leaders from educational nonprofits, researchers and peer institutions. 

ONLINE LEARNING

Partnering with Google on In-Demand Professional Education

The U-M Center for Academic Innovation joined faculty in the Ford School of Public Policy and the School of Information to create Data Analytics in the Public Sector with R in a partnership with Google on creating online education targeting the in-demand field of data science. Google offers a foundational Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate, and a dual badge is earned when completing  the Google Career Certificate and this course series. The series is targeted at data science and other professionals interested in how public datasets can drive decision- and policymaking in the public sector.

EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH

Online Learning Data Warehouse

The Online Learning Data Warehouse now available for researchers interested in online learning datasets. The Online Learning Data Warehouse is a single source for engaging with cross-platform MOOC enrollment and completion and currently houses courses, course enrollment, and course completion data on U-M open learning experiences. 

EXTENDED REALITY

Bringing XR to Education

The center continues to bring education to learners in new and innovative ways including the use of extended reality technology. In 2022, 11 extended reality experiences were integrated into residential and online learning opportunities. The center also brought some of the leading educators, innovators, partners and brands to the University of Michigan campus for the second annal XR @ Michigan Summit. At the two-day summit, attendees could demo new technology; explore how virtual, mixed and augmented reality is creating immersive learning in higher education; and attend presentations and panel discussions about the future of XR in teaching and learning.


Growth Milestones 

Online learners

The Center’s portfolio of online learning opportunities created in partnership with faculty across the U-M campus reached several milestones in 2022. These include 10.2 million unique learners, including more than 1 million new learners in 2022 alone. We also have a total of 17.3 million enrollments in our online learning opportunities, a jump of nearly 2 million in 2022.  

In the online degree space, 948 students were enrolled in U-M online degree programs partnered with CAI during the Fall 2022 semester, a record high.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 17 MILLION ENROLLMENTS
  • 10 MILLION LEARNERS
  • 948 STUDENTS IN ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS

Launches and partnerships

The center added 23 new, open online courses to the university’s portfolio, 23 for-credit online courses with U-M program partners, hosted six Teach-Outs, and relaunched 43 courses with refreshed content.

We partnered with industry leaders like Google, Siemens and Microsoft to develop career-ready courses and pursue new learning innovations. Breaking new ground, we launched 11 extended reality experiences used by faculty in residential and online courses.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 23 NEW OPEN ONLINE COURSE, SERIES LAUNCHES
  • 23 FOR-CREDIT COURSE LAUNCHES
  • 43 COURSE RELAUNCHES

Tool adoption

As our entire educational technology portfolio continues to mature and grow, our academic planning platform Atlas reached a significant milestone. Atlas reached 100,000 unique users, including 50,000 users in 2022 alone. 

We spoke with faculty innovator Gus Evrard, CAI software developers and staff, leaders at the Registrar’s Office and academic advisors about their Atlas experiences for our story, “Atlas: Charting a Course to Help Every U-M Student Navigate Their Academic World.” Learn how through 9 million course visits, 1 million instructor views, 250,000 schedules created, 100,000 Users, Atlas always keeps one mission in mind — keeping student needs first.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 100,000 UNIQUE USERS OF ATLAS

Research publications

Research is key to effective innovation. We are committed to conducting rigorous research on our innovation portfolio, and sharing our findings back with the higher education community. We do this through leading research projects ourselves, collaborating with faculty around research projects, and enabling research opportunities for stakeholders across the community. In 2022, we partnered with faculty on 24 presentations and published papers.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 24 RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS AND PAPERS BY CAI STAFF

Our Impact

People Talking About CAI’s Impact

The impact on our learning community and the world is what motivates us in our work to deliver a blended future at the University of Michigan.


Because of this online course series, I’m one step closer to my career.”

Muhammad Saquib, from Pakistan, on taking Python for Everybody

“It’s a great way to organize your schedule because it allows you to look through classes visually and spatially rather than just looking at times. It makes building a balanced schedule much easier.” 

Kate, a fourth-year U-M user experience design major, about her experience with Atlas.

“I’m enjoying improving my skills … from one of the best universities in the world from my laptop at home”

Mohamed Amneh Syrian, from UAE, discusses learning python, web design and improving his leadership and communication skills from U-M online courses

Having recently made such a big career change, working as a fellow at CAI has allowed me to explore different career options within the world of educational technology and see the impact that different technologies have on learners.”

Jessica Browning, Design Management Fellow for Teach-Outs on her experience at CAI

Student Fellowship Experiences

The center’s Student Fellow program continues to connect top students at the University of Michigan to emerging fields in the future of education. In 2022, the center employed 69 student fellows from 11 schools and colleges at U-M in essential roles that gave them professional experience and allowed them to build the the future of education for the next generation of students at U-M and around the world. Roles included software development, to learning experience design, XR audio, media production and copyright policy. The signature event for Student Fellows every year is our Student Showcase, where current Fellows host presentations on the work they did throughout the year and reflect on their Fellowship experiences.

STUDENTS RECEIVE

  • CROSS-FUNCTIONAL EXPERIENCE
  • MENTORSHIP
  • CAREER-DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES
  • FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE IN A PROFESSIONAL SETTING

It was a year of growth for the Center for Academic Innovation, but we never lost sight of the need to focus our work on our mission — designing the future of education and preparing the University of Michigan for its blended future. We are excited for what 2023 will bring, and look forward to sharing exciting developments for what we have planned.

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