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April 2022 Director’s Update

Dear Center for Academic Innovation Community,

The end of the semester on a college campus is always an exciting milestone. A time for graduates, families and friends to gather to celebrate the past and future. It is full of endings, beginnings and sharing a continued journey as Wolverines. It is a time to be inspired by the brilliant people you connect with daily, celebrate milestones, and think about what is needed to advance education as we move toward a blended future. 

One group that is a consistent source of inspiration is the Student Fellows at the Center for Academic Innovation. Nearly 200 Student Fellows have collaborated with CAI over the years to explore new modalities of learning. Our Student Fellows help us leverage the power of novel educational technology and translational research that allow us to strengthen education for University of Michigan students and online learners around the world. 

We recently held our sixth annual Student Showcase, where our continuing and graduating Student Fellows spotlighted their work at the center and what they learned during their time with us. It was a chance to see true creativity, ingenuity, problem-solving and enthusiasm in action in various disciplines. The event featured Student Fellows who contributed to the success of our Teach-Outs, helped shape how onboarding for our Online & Hybrid Programs, explained the nuances of copyright law and helped build a virtual nuclear reactor from a visual and audio perspective. 

In looking toward the future of education, we also recently announced an exciting new partnership with Coursera to create courses focused on the future of work. In these courses, we will utilize extended reality technologies to develop immersive learning and storytelling opportunities. These XR-enhanced courses allow us to combine our expertise in open online learning and extended reality technologies to create courses that help people understand, shape, and prepare for a new professional future. The future of work and the future of learning are converging and we see an opportunity to support learners and learning organizations through this transformation with a new set of courses enhanced by XR technologies.

Coursera has been a trusted partner for 10 years. I look forward to spending another decade working with them, tackling the grand challenges in open online learning and creating a new kind of immersive learning and storytelling. 

Commencement is not the end of the road for U-M and these recent graduates. It is a new beginning. We support Wolverines on campus and off as they continue their journey as lifelong learners. We believe in the message Learn for Your Future and have designed a series of courses and learning opportunities focused on career building and professional skill development. 

These are essential reskilling and upskilling opportunities designed to appeal to recent graduates and seasoned professionals. They are also available at no cost to U-M alumni, current students, faculty and staff. 

The steps these graduates take at Michigan Stadium to receive their diplomas are some of the most important in their lives. But we know that there are many more steps ahead, because learning never ends. 

Explore our Learn for Your Future page to get connected to the 200 courses, collections, Teach-Outs, MasterTrack Certificates and degrees and find the ones that are right for you.   

Go Blue!

James DeVaney
Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation
Founding Executive Director of the Center for Academic Innovation