December 2021 Director Update

Dear Center for Academic Innovation Community,

We have almost reached the finish line of 2021, classes are wrapping up, students are studying for their finals and meetings are a little less frequent as people disconnect for valuable time with friends and family as the holidays approach. When things slow down, inevitably you take stock of where you are, where you’ve been and where you are heading next. 

At the Center for Academic Innovation 2021 was all about building. We built on our previous success, we built new relationships, new products and new tools for learners at U-M and around the world. 

Some of those students are right here in Michigan at one of our three campuses, with more than 50,000 unique students using Atlas to help research potential courses and instructors. In 2021, Atlas saw more than 6.2 million page views as students explored courses, instructors and potential majors. 

Those same students used tools to help guide their course work and test preparation including Problem Roulette. This exam preparation tool enabled students to answer 1.4 million practice questions taken from previous exams of actual U-M courses. Problem Roulette and Atlas are just examples of our robust educational technology portfolio, which has seen nearly 250 external licenses granted to institutions and organizations. 

We saw 1.2 million unique new learners and 2 million course enrollments in 2021 alone. In total, the U-M online learning catalog has 9.4 million unique learners and 16.25 million enrollments in our massive online learning opportunities on platforms including Coursera, FutureLearn and EdX. 

Those learners, who come from every country on Earth and who represent countless backgrounds and unique learning journeys, enrich our courses with their unique lived experiences, and 2021 saw more than half a million discussion forum posts related to course content. 

I look forward to keeping that conversation going in 2022. Our Academic Innovation Fund gave out 52 new awards in 2021 to 67 faculty from 12 schools and colleges at U-M. We are working with those faculty now and into 2022 to launch more unique perspectives, a diverse selection of new learning opportunities. We will also continue growing in the new year, having important conversations with internal and external stakeholders on how we can all work together to shape the future of education. 

I can’t wait to get started. 

Go Blue!

James DeVaney

Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation

Founding Executive Director of the Center for Academic Innovation

screencap of Sean Swider using ViewPoint tool