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The Academic Innovation Team Looks Ahead to Innovation in 2017

Eric Joyce, Marketing Specialist

2017 has finally arrived, bringing with it the University of Michigan’s Bicentennial Year.

At the epoch of Michigan’s third-century, the Office of Academic Innovation continues to champion new ways to enhance learning experiences with digital tools while also expanding the reach of world-class educational opportunities to a globally diverse population of lifelong learners through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). We are also excited to facilitate ongoing community discussions in the new year connecting our commitments to academic excellence, inclusion and innovation as we continue to steward the Academic Innovation Initiative. The Office of Academic Innovation is charged by President Schlissel and Provost Pollack  “to consider how U-M will lead the way for higher education through the information age and further strengthen our impact on society.”

We invite the U-M community to participate in this engaging and collaborative discussion exploring the role Michigan plays in defining how the world learns from and with a great public research university by submitting an idea, recommendation or experience to the Ideas2017 Challenge. Help us collect more than 2,017 responses from the U-M community by September of this year.

In anticipation of an exciting new year of innovation, team members from the Office of Academic Innovation shared their insight into what they personally plan to achieve, how they see digital tools expanding and the changes they expect in higher education throughout 2017.

Read what they had to say about the future of innovation in the new year!

“I expect that in the bicentennial year we will see more faculty getting experience teaching to and thinking about diversity in curriculum based on our MOOC offerings, and this will have spillover benefits into residential courses. We’ll also see predictive educational models become more mainstream, both within research conferences as well as deployments on campuses around the US. Finally, we’ll see an increase in the interest of using analytic methods to tap into new domains, such as student text, student life, and directly in the classroom.”

Christopher Brooks, Director of Learning Analytics and Research


“In 2017, I’m excited for the incredible impact that I think MicroMasters programs will have on the world. They will make our amazing residential programs even more accessible to learners around the world, and help the schools of Education, Social Work, and Information connect with new audiences and provide learning experiences in new ways.”

Lauren Atkins Budde, Project Manager, Digital Learning Initiatives


“In my role as Operational Director of the Digital Innovation Greenhouse (DIG) within the Office of Academic Innovation, I am fortunate to help facilitate the design and development of a robust and ever growing portfolio of educational technology tools supported by the DIG Team. In 2017 the DIG Team will be helping drive the reach of these tools to thousands of new users (both within the University of Michigan and beyond) in an effort to maximize impact on teaching and learning within higher education. In addition, for the first time in 2017 tools being supported by DIG will likely begin returning external revenue generated from licensing arrangements with outside higher ed institutions, helping sustain DIG as an ongoing source of homegrown Ed Tech software innovation for the U-M community.”

Mike Daniel, Director, Policy and Operations


“We’re growing at a rapid rate, and I’m excited to bring new capacity and new perspectives to the team. In particular, the ECoach team is doubling in size, and I look forward to adding more innovative features and helping even more students improve their performance.”

Holly Derry, Lead Behavioral Scientist


“Our bicentennial year will provide many occasions to celebrate U-M’s longstanding contributions to the state of Michigan and the world as a force of progressive change in higher education and a powerful engine of innovation. As we look ahead to the future, we have an opportunity to reimagine the experience that learners can enjoy through lifelong engagement with U-M. 2017 provides a special opportunity to more fully harness the power of our academic excellence and breadth to challenge an increasingly global U-M community to rewrite our social contract with the world.”

James DeVaney, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation


“I’m excited by the opportunity to explore and expand into new innovative spaces during the year ahead. As ECoach grows to support more students, courses and universities we’re able to identify unique synergistic and crowd sourcing opportunities across the platform to power its growth. With PolicyMaker we’re able to leverage our experience within the Public Policy space and expand the platform to serve a wide range of simulation contexts and simulation-based learning activities.”

Ben Hayward, Lead Developer


“I’m excited to see what new innovations will spring out of U-M during our bicentennial year and I’m thrilled that the Digital Education and Innovation Lab is contributing to the evolution of higher education. The lab team is growing and some of that is in the area of community engagement. I look forward to hearing more from our learners, both directly and through data analytics, both here and globally, and this year I predict we’ll start not only seeing growth in areas where we’ve planted digital education seeds, but also start harvesting meaningful results.”

Noni Korf, Director, Digital Education & Innovation Lab


“My hope for Michigan’s bicentennial year is to see more faculty embrace a philosophy of experimentation and find joy in innovating in service of our students’ learning. Because innovation has become an explicit goal of many higher education institutions, I am really excited to see multi-institutional conversations about the different ways higher education can best serve our increasingly diverse student populations. Michigan has taken a leadership role in facilitating a conversation about how transcripts can best serve the needs of students, and I anticipate there will be additional events where Michigan can both lead and learn about how best to foster a culture of innovation.”

Rachel Niemer, Director of the Gameful Learning Lab


“I am looking forward to collaborating with my Academic Innovation colleagues to create new tools and integrations to enhance our MOOCs. It’s an exciting time for education technology and the new year promises interesting challenges and opportunities for us to innovate.”

Kris Steinhoff, Lead Developer


“My work in the Digital Innovation Greenhouse will push the envelope in terms of inventing, building, and scaling up novel solutions in the educational technology space. With increased capacity to take on new projects, DIG is well-positioned to grow its ability to support the Academic Innovation Initiative in the year ahead.”

Chris Teplovs, Lead Developer

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