Introducing DEI’s New Blog

James DeVaney, Associate Vice Provost for Digital Education & Innovation

A little more than a year ago we created the Office of Digital Education & Innovation to investigate new things, find pathways to scale and institutionalize learning from targeted experimentation. The University of Michigan is a trailblazing institution with a long history of innovation in teaching and learning. It is a community bound together by a shared commitment across disciplines to discovery and to developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.

It is also a community where one of the most commonly heard statements is, “I didn’t realize we were doing that.”

So why are we creating a blog and why now? From the beginning, DEI has sought out answers to the following question: what is only possible at a great public residential research university? We decided early on that part of being a public institution is making a commitment to share our journey as we go. And we already have much to share.

Our Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), created at the Digital Education & Innovation Lab (DEIL), have now reached more than 3M lifelong learners. More than 21K students are impacted by digital engagement tools harvested in the newly created Digital Innovation Greenhouse (DIG). The Learning Education & Design Lab (LED Lab) is conducting leading research in learning analytics, alternative assessment, micro credentials and large-scale online education. In a relatively short amount of time, we have partnered with 15 of our 19 colleges and schools to launch more than 40 initiatives.

DEI partners with innovative faculty and staff across campus to challenge assumptions about teaching and learning. Through targeted experiments we aim to unlock and enable personalized, engaged and lifelong learning through the creative use of technology and targeted experimentation. As we develop these partnerships, we are consistently asked to strengthen knowledge sharing opportunities. We hope that this blog provides a place to showcase innovation taking place within DEI and across U-M.

We’ve had a very exciting academic year in DEI working closely with innovators across campus. We’re now poised for an exhilarating summer. We look forward to growing and enhancing our portfolio of digital learning initiatives, launching three major initiatives in the newly created Digital Innovation Greenhouse, issuing multiple calls for proposals and ideas, and further establishing U-M’s leadership at the intersection of digital learning and learning analytics.

We hope you’ll visit often. We plan to showcase DEI initiatives, discuss trends and issues in digital learning, and help increase faculty awareness and participation. We have asked faculty and staff innovators to contribute to this blog through guest posts in order to share their unique perspectives as they innovate within and beyond the U-M community.

In the coming weeks, we will hear from innovators who are creating MOOCs, remixing and integrating content within blended courses, developing digital engagement tools, and exploring digital badges and alternative credentials. Please join us for a discussion about the future of higher education.

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