I’m incredibly excited to share this year’s annual report for Learning Innovation and Faculty Engagement at the University of Miami, which chronicles some of the team’s accomplishments and successes across the university during the 2018-2019 academic year. Since it’s impossible to capture all of our day-to-day achievements, this brief report focuses on highlights and snapshots that exemplify and characterize the kind of impactful work that we do alongside faculty members and other university partners. I’m particularly proud of the work we did that meaningfully engaged new collaborators and partners, such as our involvement with the new Graduate School Teaching Academy; our inter-institutional collaborative efforts with FIU and Miami Dade College as part of the Miami Teaching, Learning, and Technology Collective; the Faculty Showcase, the university’s own teaching and learning conference, which grows bigger and more exciting with each passing year; and our Faculty Learning Communities, which support cutting edge educational innovation as well as the university's quality enhancement and accreditation efforts. I’d like to humbly thank the readers of this report for your interest in our work in promoting a culture of teaching and learning at the University of Miami. If you’re interested in exploring new ways to engage your students, whether through student-centered and active learning pedagogies or through innovative new technologies, I hope that you’ll consider collaborating with us!
Matt Acevedo, Ph.D.
Director, Learning Innovation and Faculty Engagement
Aaron Royer, Senior Instructional Designer, oversees faculty development initiatives related to the goals laid out in UM's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). In the fall of 2019, he will be facilitating two faculty learning communities focused on Flipped Classrooms and Discussion-Based Teaching – both priorities in the QEP. Prior to joining the team, Aaron spent two years at Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas (Brazil) as a U.S. State Department English Language Fellow.
Senior Instructional Designer
Amanda Valdespino, Instructional Designer, works with faculty across the university to enrich courses using student-centered, active learning pedagogies and innovative educational technologies. She provides instructional design support and guidance to faculty members in workshops and one-on-one consultations. Prior to joining the team, Amanda worked for the Miami-Dade County Public Library System, where she oversaw the adult literacy program.
Faculty Learning Communities
Amy Agramonte, Marketing
Robert Stephen Cantrel, Math
Paul Driscoll, Communications
Michael Gaines, Biology
Bill Green, Religious Studies
Allan Gyorke, Educational Innovation
Denis Hector, Architecture
Miriam Lipsky, Intergroup Dialogue
Danielle McDonald, Marine Science
Andrew Porter, Health Studies
Subramanian Ramakrishnan, Math
To support the growing number of faculty who will be teaching discussion-based courses as part of the QEP, we have brought onboard Senior Instructional Designer Aaron Royer. Aaron will oversee ongoing QEP-related faculty development efforts, including next year’s FLCs on Harkness and Flipped Learning.
Information about the University's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is available at the website of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Hammam Alsafrjalani, Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Diana Arboleda, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering,
Brendan Balcerak-Jackson, Philosophy
Magdalena Balcerak-Jackson, Philosophy
Germane Barnes, Architecture
Jennifer Britton, Psychology
Victor Milenkovic, Computer Science
Larissa Ramos, English Composition
Weizhao Zhao, Biomedical Engineering
Due to the ambiguous and ill-defined nature of augmented reality, particularly within education, the concept of design thinking and its methodologies were employed during sessions. Faculty surveyed their students beliefs on AR, engaged with other university stakeholders employing augmented reality, tested out augmented, virtual and mixed reality devices, tried out example lesson plans, and reflected on their existing teaching strategies. Some fellows prototyped and piloted existing techniques within their classes resulting in visits from undergraduate students sharing their AR and VR projects.
Ivan Albreht, Art and Art History (Spring 2019: ART 361 Hand Built Ceramics II, ART 362 Wheel Thrown Ceramics II)
Students learned about basic possibilities of designing, modeling and fabricating 3D printed tools for use within in a studio setting. Student created at least three tools (6-sided stamp, tessellating texture roller, extruder dies), as part of the final project executed in clay, framed around relationship between form and surface.
Emrah Celik, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Fall 2018: MAE341 Mechanical Design I)
During Fall 2018, Emrah piloted a revised design project structured around the NASA Robotic Mining Competition, and the NASA Human Rover Competition. Focusing on an individual system in relation to the mining robot or human rover, student teams designed and prototyped a system in addition to submitting an initial proposal, midterm-report and presentation, a final presentation and report. Each project was connected to an engineering student organization (UMaker and ASME) who consulted on the project designs.
Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, Geography and Regional Studies (Fall 2018, GEG 315/685Digital Cartography
To learn how to create, edit, interpret and critique maps, students worked on a multi-dimensional map project during the semester, using 2D and 3D printed components. Students acquired and analyzed data, presented their maps using GIS applications and Adobe Illustrator, designing and 3D printing components to visualize data that is materially present or invisible.
Zevensuy Rodriguez, Cinema and Interactive Media (Spring 2019, CIM 542/642-1C: Physical Computing)
The Spring 2019 Physical Computing class involved multiple course changes around embedding UI/UX concepts of ideation, prototyping and fabrication into assignments earlier on within the semester, aiding in the student creation of midterm and final projects. Students were provided further opportunities to document their design process, learn about 3D design and utilize higher quality equipment and materials to create projects that were presented at the Interactive Media End of Year Show.
Fiorella Cotrina, Modern Languages and Literatures (Fall 2018, SPA 203: Advanced Spanish focus on the field of Communication Studies)
Through the course, students had the opportunity to become producers and editors of several Spanish podcast assignments, including one assignment that involved leveraging partnerships with Latin American universities as native-Spanish speaking interview subjects.
James Giancaspro, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (Fall 2018, CAE 520. Advanced Design of Concrete Structures
As part of a comprehensive design project, students were required to create a 2-page brochure of their project using Adobe InDesign within an upper level undergraduate course, Advanced Design of Concrete Structures.
Danielle K Houck, English Composition (Fall 2019, ENG 230-Advanced Professional Communication)
Within this course, students developed evidence of professional experience through the creation of resumes, cover letters, and a professional digital portfolio hosted on third party building platform of their choosing.
Ana Maria Menda, Teaching and Learning (Fall 2018, Issues and Strategies for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Summer 2018, Fall 2018)
Within groups, students recorded podcast episodes for a reflective class project in which they described a positive or negative experience they had as a learner, building upon sections of the recordings throughout the semester. Students presented their podcast episode to the class at the end of the semester.
Rechna Varma, Cinema and Interactive Media (Fall 2018, CIM465/670: Producing Motion Pictures)
To build their own brand as filmmakers, students were assigned to design and publish a website for a project of their own choice (feature film, short film, TV series etc.) situated according to their professional branding. During the semester, students leveraged design software offered by Adobe for portfolio-related projects to publish on third party web building platforms, and prepare them in their career for when they graduate.
Faculty Development at the College of Engineering
In Spring 2019, a new series of professional development workshops was launched at the College of Engineering. The series invited engineering faculty and teaching assistants to explore topics such as project-based learning, open educational resources and designing a learner centered syllabus. A total of ten (10) sessions were offered to trained faculty in various teaching strategies and tools for teaching and support the college’s active learning initiative which was launched in 2017.
As a way of closing off the semester, the College of Engineering faculty were invited to attend a special session on May 13, entitled ‘Everyone Belongs: Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Learning Environment’ with guest facilitators Dr. Miriam Lipsky, assistant provost for the Office of Institutional Culture, Dr. Renee Dickens Callan, director of programs for the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Christopher Hartnett, senior learning and facilitation specialist.
One Friday out of every month during the 2019 Spring semester faculty from the College of Engineering were invited to engage and participate in a series of seminars on various topics related to active learning. The sessions provided faculty with an opportunity to explore how various active learning techniques can be used in their teaching. The seminars were facilitated by specially chosen guest speakers who are doing tremendous work in the area of active learning.
The speakers included Dr. Yunqiu (Daniel) Wang, senior lecturer in the department of biology, Dr. Walter Secada, vice dean of the school of education and Dr. Aaron Heller, assistant professor of psychology. The topics covered included: how to access our teaching, identifying student stressors to improve well-being of our students and deeper learning for the transfer of knowledge.
The IBISOUND is a portable dodecahedral Bluetooth speaker on a rotating platform. The device asks to pair automatically to your device when turned on, and all music controls including play/pause, skip/previous and volume is controlled from the paired device. The product works excellently with a range of more than 40 feet; the maximum range for best music quality is 15-20 feet.
The U-Tensil is a fully refillable and rechargeable pen, pencil, and powerbank in one. This product eliminates the need for students to carry around multiple pens, pencils, and a bulky power bank. It also serves as a safety product for the consumers’ parents considering the device can charge their child’s phone up to 80% of its original battery in an emergency.
U-Knight is an action figure with many independent parts, all connected by a uniform ball-and-socket joint. The parts consist of the following: a head, an upper torso, a lower torso, two upper arms, two forearms, two hands, two upper legs, two shins, and two feet. Currently, each of these parts are available in size options of small, medium, and large. Every part in every size is compatible with every other part, so our customers are free to create whatever they desire. The joints allow for a wide range of motion, so the action figure can be posed in almost any conceivable position.
The Roller Case turns a phone case into a fun remote -controlled car and provides an alternative to screen time. Kids can use the roller case to drive their phones in races, shoot videos on their phones while it is being driven, and use it in many other fun ways that do not involve looking at a screen.
Partnerships & Projects
The Miami Teaching, Learning, and Technology Collective is an inter-institutional initiative comprising faculty developers, instructional designers, and educational technology experts from the University of Miami (represented by LIFE), Florida International University (Center for the Advancement of Teaching), and Miami Dade College (Center for Institutional and Organizational Learning). The goal of the MTLTC is to promote collaboration and information sharing among the three participating institutions.
The second annual MTLTC gathering took place at FIU in December of 2018 and featured presentations from each member institution about their respective innovations, challenges, and successes. As a result of the MTLTC collaboration, members of the LIFE team attended MDC’s professional development conference in March, and a group from FIU’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching attended the Faculty Showcase. This past year also saw the formation of a permanent MTLTC planning committee with representatives from each institution to further explore opportunities for partnership and collaboration.
Led by Vanessa Rodriguez, Head of the Creative Studio, LIFE continues to serve as a founding member of the UM Makerspaces Working Group.
The working group expanded to include faculty and staff from the College of Arts and Sciences in addition to existing members from University of Miami Libraries, Academic Technologies, School of Architecture, College of Engineering and the School of Communication.
Members from the working group attended a SEEDS funded event on campus ‘Current Status of 3D Printing on Campus - Applications in Academic Technologies, Architecture, Art, Constructions, Health and Manufacturing.’ This event brought together speakers from architecture, art, engineering, history, communication, medicine, and teaching to increase awareness of 3D Printing on campus, increase 3D Printing interdisciplinary awareness and to foster diversity and interdisciplinary work in this broad area. Due to the UM’s partnership with Magic Leap, the working group has expanded its discussions to communicate resources to each other in logistics and development.
Our Intelligent Grading Platforms report looked into tools such as Gradescope, Crowdmark, and Akindi that digitize and process paper-based assessments, allowing for a faster grading process for instructors to focus on providing richer feedback.
Our Flipped Learning report called to attention some of the key initiatives going on at UM to incorporate flipped learning, as well as diving deeper into how this active learning technique changes the roles of students and instructors in the classroom.
During Spring 2019, the Google for Education team hosted a free, 2-hour product session at the University of Miami that aimed to provide professional development around augmented and virtual reality tools, with an emphasis on practical use cases in higher education. During the session, Google representatives and attendees spent time exploring Tour Creator and Expeditions, participating in hands-on demos of each platform, as well as discussing other AR/VR products such as Labster, Tiltbrush, Jamboard. Over thirty participants including faculty, staff and students from across the University attended the event and are now able to apply the resources to their respective fields of study.
View the full articile and resources
Led by Adina Sandchez-Garcia and April Mann, the Summer Writing Institute (SWI) invites fellows from across disciplines to participate in a 5-day workshop designed to provide tools and strategies for weaving meaningful writing tasks in content-based College of Arts and Sciences courses. This year, we continued our partnership with the SWI and led a workshop on writing related technologies to support multimodal assessments, including concept-mapping, web-based stories and peer-assessment. Faculty members from Psychology, Political Science, Chemistry, Art and Art History, Modern Languages and Literature, Geography and Regional Studies, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physical Therapy explored ways to structure, create and share a visual narrative.
Acevedo. M. (in press). The autopsy of quality in online higher education. Philosophy and Theory in Higher Education, 1(2).
Acevedo, M. (2019). Auditing Quality: A Critical Exploration of Faculty Members’ Experiences with Quality Matters (Doctoral dissertation). Florida International University, Miami, FL.
Acevedo, M. & Roque, G. (2019). Resisting the deprofessionalization of instructional design. In Y. Vovides & L.R. Lemus (Ed.), Optimizing instructional design methods in higher education. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Henderson, G., Kendall, M. R., Basalo, I., & Strong, A. C. (2019, June 15). Co-Designed Research Agenda to Foster Educational Innovation Efforts Within Undergraduate Engineering at HSIs. Presented at the 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. Retrieved from https://peer.asee.org/co-designed-research-agenda-to-foster-educational-innovation-efforts-within-undergraduate-engineering-at-hsis
Kendall, M. R., Strong, A. C., Basalo, I., & Henderson, G. (2019, April 14). Exploring Faculty Perceptions of Students’ Characteristics at Hispanic-serving Institutions. Presented at the 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity. Retrieved from https://peer.asee.org/exploring-faculty-perceptions-of-students-characteristics-at-hispanic-serving-institutions
Strong, A. C., Kendall, M. R., Henderson, G., & Basalo, I. (2019, June 15). Impact of Faculty Development Workshops on Instructional Faculty at Hispanic-serving Institutions. Presented at the 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. Retrieved from https://peer.asee.org/impact-of-faculty-development-workshops-on-instructional-faculty-at-hispanic-serving-institutions
Kendall, M. R., Strong, A. C., Basalo, I., & Henderson, G. (2019). Co-Designing an Engineering Education Research Agenda—Public Report. Retrieved from http://eel.utep.edu/HSI/docs/Co-Designing-an-Engineering-Education-Research-Agenda-Public-Report-2019.pdf
Invited Talks and Workshops
Henderson, G. (2019) Making Ideas Real: Introducing 3D Printing into the Classroom. Presentation at SEEDS You Choose Awards & the College of Engineering Present 3D PRINTING AWARENESS; February 20th; Miami.
Kendall, M. R., Strong, A. C., Basalo, I., Henderson, G., & Ural, D. (2018, June 24). Sunday Workshop: Co-designing a Research Agenda to Amplify Engineering Education Efforts at HSIs. Workshop conducted at the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, Salt Lake City, Utah. Retrieved from https://www.asee.org/public/conferences/106/registration/view_session?session_id=9911
Mathews, K., & Henderson, G. (2019, July 31). Sketchfab Community Blog—Art History in 3D at the University of Miami. Retrieved August 18, 2019, from Sketchfab Community Blog website: https://sketchfab.com/blogs/community/art-history-in-3d-at-the-university-of-miami/