We are constantly impressed by the ideas that faculty come up with for their classes, and ISS is eager to help brainstorm, plan, and provide support for that process! Instructors should bear in mind that more complex ideas and changes will generally take more time to plan and implement. Two of the most common difficulties faculty find when planning for courses stem from either trying to change the entire course at once (which is both time consuming and difficult) or waiting until the course is about to start—or has even already started! When it comes to timing, the earlier, the better—it's never too early to start! With regards to complexity, we typically recommend instructors start with smaller ideas and then scale them up after they’ve tried them. Here are some general ideas and examples for planning some changes to courses.

Small Projects

Small projects involve changing a single traditional lecture or assignment to an active learning based activity. This can include integrating iClicker or Catchbox questions into a lecture or converting a series of small reflections into multimodal blog posts for discussion in class. This typically takes an instructor a few weeks of planning and usually one to three consultations with ISS.

Many of our classroom podiums have Wacom touch screen monitors. Using the highly accurate stylus to write on slides during lecture discussions can help tailor the content to the students in that specific class or help instructors work through problems. Since the writing can be easily captured, it's easy to pass those notes or examples on to the students afterward! It can be useful in virtually any course—from biology to stats to language courses.


Large Projects

Instructors may want to “flip” a course to make more time during class for active learning. This might include producing videos or other new resources to be viewed outside of class, adapting major assignments, and developing new in-class activities. The course design can take a few months or more, but our support staff will be there throughout the process, helping to develop learning experiences, course materials, and possibly writing grants for equipment and labor.


  • The Contested Spaces Blog was a highly interactive, multi-university, multi-disciplinary course taught between Professors Ana María León of U of M, Tessa Paneth-Pollak of Michigan State, and Olga Touloumi of Bard College.
  • ISS recording video with Anne Berg at the Detroit Incinerator for History/Envinron 223.
  • ISS recording video with Ingrid Hendy in the Wave Pool in West Hall for use in Earth 222.







  • In addition to making lectures more engaging through the use of iClickers, Catchbox, and videos, Professor Matthew Solomon worked with ISS to incorporate Visual Essay assignments.

Now is the time to start making changes to your winter 2018 course. Contact us to start planning!