2004-2005 Project Descriptions
Becca Gercken-Hawkins, Gretchen Minton, Janet Schrunk Ericksen
This project seeks to enhance student learning through the development of a web forum for all English seminars. Our discipline requires all majors to take a research seminar. This course is designed to foster not only written research, but also dialogue regarding primary and secondary readings and student-generated research. Because discussion is such a vital part of the class, enrollment is capped at 12 students. While the small class size does aid in discussion, we believe that a web forum will dramatically enhance the debate and thus the learning that takes place in our research seminars. The primary enhancement will be in the opportunity for students to continue class discussion outside of the seminar. Students will have time to respond to comments made in class, to discuss concepts and texts in greater detail, and in general to expand the conversation beyond class time constraints. In addition, this discussion format benefits those students who feel less comfortable speaking in class and will lead to a more balanced discussion that allows all students an equal opportunity to participate.
We are requesting that two permanent forums be established on the English Discipline Website. Each semester these forums could be tailored to the two Research Seminars offered, giving faculty with little or no experience in web-based teaching practices the opportunity to make IT-supported learning part of their pedagogy.
This project will benefit the entire English discipline and its majors. However, we are including only the names of myself, Gretchen Minton, and Janet Schrunk Ericksen as the core faculty for this project because Gretchen Minton and I are teaching Research Seminars in the fall and Janet Shrunk-Ericksen is the discipline coordinator.
Tammy Berberi, Viktor Berberi, Min Zhou
We propose a foreign language workgroup comprised of the following faculty members: Min Zhou (German), Viktor Berberi (Italian) and Tammy Berberi (French). We are developing different IT projects that would be geared toward exploring different learning styles and priorities. Tammy Berberi is already involved in a MAP with a student to create interactive course materials to supplement instruction in the first-year, required sequence and engage the best practices of Universal Design in Instruction. However, this project was too ambitious for one academic year, and the project will not be complete by the end of this AY. Along with the CSci major and Italian student Michael Anderson, Viktor Berberi proposes to develop the Italian content for a pop-up program that Michael is designing. This program would present users with a vocab word or grammatical structure at regular intervals, and could be adapted for use with any foreign language. Finally, Min Zhou plans to learn how to edit and compress short film clips for previewing activities for a film course she will teach in fall 05. These ideas all deserve further explanation and development, but the best part of this proposal is the opportunity to work with faculty members across languages, to share ideas, resources, and skills.
Elena Machkasova, Nic McPhee
As web technologies have progressed, the possibilities and expectations have increased to the point where simple, static web pages constructed with HTML are no longer sufficient for many applications. Many important applications require the ability to manage significant collections of data and provide users with dynamic, customized access to information as well as the ability to add new content (like posting to a bulletin board). Students are familiar with such applications and are interested in creating their own. This interest can bring a diverse student population to a course that teaches algorithms and problem solving through development of dynamic web pages.
Our goal in this grant would be to create a set of tools we can use to teach a variety of students fundamental programming concepts and algorithm through development and maintenance of dynamic web presences. These tools would be initially used in support of a new course for non-majors that will provide an opportunity for a broad spectrum of students to learn the basics of dynamic web page creation.
Once that course is established, we would also like to explore the possibilities of bringing these ideas into earlier stages of UMM's computing curriculum (e.g.,CSci 1301 and CSci 2101).
Course, Computer-Modeling of Materials" in Spring 2006
We need to se up a software environment on our existing cluster of Macs in the Physics Lab, which has to enable students to do the following:
-visualize and manipulate structures (GopenMol)
-use existing modeling software (Gaussian, self-written programs)
-write, compile and run code (Fortran, C)
The purpose of this project is to revise Mathematica notebook files that are currently being used in some calculus sections in UMM. The project has two main objectives. The first is to update the Mathematica programs so that they support recent additions to the software, such as traditional mathematical symbols, colored graphics, animation, etc. This is long overdue, because our current notebook files did not go through significant update since they were created in 1993.
The second goal is to reorganize the notebooks so that each chapter can be taught and used independently. This will enable all calculus instructors to adopt any part of the notebook files and incorporate them in their teaching, without having to change their curricula and class schedules. The investigator believes that the latter aspect is particularly important. For past 5 years, UMM has been offering at least 13 sections of calculus courses each academic year. Therefore, the incorporation of information technology in majority of those sections, if not all, will contribute substantially to UMM’s effort to enhance students learning through innovative teaching and technology.
Objectives: The purpose of this project is to enhance teaching financial management skills through direct experience. Students will gain insights by applying several investment concepts covered in Investment and Portfolio Analysis course to building and managing a dynamic real-world portfolio over a semester. These concepts include:
1) Portfolio Balance and Diversification: Students will understand how to construct a well-diversified portfolio to minimize risk given the vagaries of the market.
2) Margin Trading: Students will understand the mechanics, risks and requirements when investors borrow money to invest.
3) Trading Orders: Students will learn the mechanics of trading in NYSE, AMEX and NASDAQ and how to use various kinds of trading orders to profit from market declines as well as market increases.
Methodology: Simulation will be done using simulators such as the Online Trading and Investment Simulatorof the Wharton School of Business or the virtualstockexchange.com. Real-world market data will be used in the simulation.
Students will form groups of 3 or 4. Each group will build and manage a $1 million portfolio during the semester. There will be an investment competition among groups
My problem stems from the fact that I teach two constitutional law classes that alternate every other year. Neither course is a prerequisite for the other. Each year, roughly half of the class has previously taken the other constitutional law class, and that group enjoys a large advantage in that they have previously read and interpreted literally hundreds of Supreme Court decisions. In this project, I propose to level the playing field a bit by offering all students the opportunity to collaboratively brief cases prior to class. At this point, I am still uncertain which product I will use to facilitate this process (WebCT's Discussion Board, collaborative online writing functions available through Microsoft Word, etc.) If my proposal is accepted, I will use the Bush Foundation support to examine the available options, be trained on them, and adjust my course so as to incorporate this change. I welcome any assistance from the IT Core group in this process.
The expected benefits include both providing a forum, that rewards student cooperation in studying, as well as reducing the disadvantage that has frequently occurred by students who not taken the other constitutional law courses.
Feeling confident about the content of my courses, I want to integrate technology to support constructivist and collaborative learning experiences within courses in a way that will support the content. I would like to use meaning-making or visualization tools to scaffold and clarify concepts during class instruction, changing delivery from formal lecture formats. I would like to investigate and use technology tools during class presentations to communicate in more effective ways by engaging students with information. I believe students will benefit from the inclusion of visual, audio, and spatial modes into what has been mainly a linguistic framework involving written and spoken language.
Additionally I envision using technology as a collaboration tool to communicate with students more effectively outside of class as well, which may mean access to and use of the visualization tools used within class sessions on course web pages along with tools to react to, reflect on, and share understandings about course content.