April 25, 2016

Two Medical School faculty projects honored for innovative teaching methods

A faculty committee selected winning Teaching Innovation Prize projects — which each receive $5,000 — from 45 nominated by students, staff and faculty peers

Hughes Group
Sapan N. Ambani, M.D.
Sapan N. Ambani, M.D.

Two Medical School projects are among five led by University of Michigan faculty that demonstrate fresh approaches to advance student learning and will be recognized May 2 as winners of the eighth annual Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize (TIP).

The U-M community is invited to meet the innovators at a 9-10 a.m. poster fair (including a light breakfast) in the Michigan League Ballroom. The Office of the Provost, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, and the U-M Library sponsor the award.

“This year’s Teaching Innovation Prize highlights the broad range of educational innovations at U-M, from easily adoptable course interventions, to collaborative models for curriculum reform, to creative uses of technology to solve real-world problems,” says James Hilton, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, professor of information, dean of libraries and vice provost. “The TIP poster session provides a wonderful opportunity for these campus innovators to share their creative approaches with colleagues from across campus. I congratulate all of the faculty, students and staff involved in these exciting projects.”

The TIP awards will be presented at 10 a.m. in the Michigan League Ballroom, on the opening day of Enriching Scholarship 2016, a series of free seminars and workshops on integrating technology into teaching, learning and research. In addition to TIP posters, the fair will feature projects by teams who received CRLT Investigating Student Learning grants and technology projects from Teaching and Technology Collaborative members.

A faculty committee selected the winning TIP projects from 45 nominated by students, staff and faculty peers. The Medical School winners, listed below, will receive $5,000:

Debriefing Students' Clinical Skills with the Minute Feedback System

David Hughes, M.D., clinical assistant professor (far right in picture above), Rishindra M. Reddy, M.D., assistant professor (far left), Gurjit Sandhu, Ph.D., assistant professor (second from right), and Susan Ryszawa, surgical clerkship coordinator (not pictured), all from the Department of Surgery; and Lisa Leininger, administrative assistant in the Medical School (second from left)

To rise to the challenge of engaging students in a large engineering class, Wen acted on a colleague's suggestion and showed students a MythBusters video, “Dip your hand in molten lead without being burned,” to demonstrate different regimes of boiling. This sparked spirited student discussions, and the realization that multimedia content could clarify concepts for the digital-native student generation.

The realization was reinforced when two students in her lab made a video of three lab members acting as protein molecules to illustrate a complex engineering idea. The resulting 3.5-minute video was informative, clear and engaging for a ninth-grade target audience.

In time, this led to the creation of a YouTube channel. Titled “The Fun of Mass and Heat Transfer” — a concept many chemical engineering undergraduate students struggle with — it presents ChE342 students' multimedia projects and doubles as a global outreach platform for high school students.

As of Feb. 29, there have been 1,140 views from 68 countries, and STEM educators interested in replicating the video contents in their high school classrooms now subscribe to the YouTube channel.

“I found that the project tested my ability to develop experimental designs, apply my understanding of heat transfer principles to model the results, and most importantly to comprehensibly describe my thought process to others,” wrote undergraduate engineering student Sindhu Madhavan.

Making Every Second Count with Spaced Questioning Technology

Sapan N. Ambani, M.D., clinical lecturer in urology, Medical School

Every physician knows the feeling of learning something before a standardized exam, and forgetting the concept a few days later. Repeating questions or other educational encounters over spaced time intervals can, however, result in more efficient learning and greater learning retention.

In 2015, the urologic surgery resident curriculum transitioned to a two-year cycle. In order to improve knowledge retention for topics covered only once every two years, a spaced education curriculum was developed as an adjunct to the standard didactic curriculum.

Since urology residents reported using questions as their primary mode of studying, Urostream, the Department of Urology's own learning platform, delivers two questions per weekday via email or app. Incorrectly answered questions re-appear after two weeks. A correctly answered question returns after six weeks and, if answered correctly a second time, is withdrawn from the pool of questions.

This spacing protocol has elsewhere shown improvement in long-term retention of up to two years. Residents report that they are very satisfied with the format.

“We are fortunate to have the Urostream Learning Platform. I believe I speak for all residents when I say this has truly made studying more efficient, easier and more fun,” wrote Amy Luckenbaugh, a post-graduate urology resident.