- Classroom & Event Support
- Funding and Grants
- Learning Technologies and Consulting
- Technician Support for Classes & Events
- Video Services
- Exam Scan Service
Though I have been teaching this lecture course in various incarnations for decades, well before I came to Michigan in 1994, the purpose of this grant application is give me time and resources to accomplish a major overhaul, which will concentrate primarily on improving student learning through the use of technology. The subject matter of the course offers a range of challenges. Many students sign up to learn about the American family because they assume it will be an “easy ‘A’”. They grew up in a family, after all, how hard could a course on the family be? They are immediately disabused of this assumption, but many become intrigued in spite of themselves with the content, because in many ways they learn a history that offers them insight into their own subject positions as family members: sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, possible future parents, same sex partners, etc. Only a few understand how the public and private spheres are mutually constructed. I began teaching this course at Michigan when I arrived in 1994. For reasons detailed below I applied and received a CRLT grant in 2001-2, which enabled me to completely reconstruct the syllabus, and rewrite new lectures from scratch. At that time, I also explored ways to utilizing film and, recognizing, as many of my younger colleagues already had, the potential power of images as a teaching tool in history, I used much of the grant money to hire a graduate student who helped me search for images (both scanning and using the web) and powerpoint all the new lectures. In many ways the result was a new course with the same title. I became proficient in the technology relatively quickly, and have since utilized it successfully in my other courses. Since then, I have spent a great deal of my time trying to stay up-to-date with teaching technologies and continuing to introduce and revise content, but I feel strongly that I am falling behind, and it is time to step back once again and review, rethink, and innovate. With this grant, I plan to hire a graduate student who taught this course as a GSI and has become intimately familiar with its goals and content to collaborate with me on another radical revision of the course. The student I have in mind, Laura Ferguson, who is already eager to work with me, has been helping me informally in the last several years with downloading and transforming web content—including news reports, podcasts, etc. for easy use in my classroom. She has also offered technological expertise, and taught me how to more effectively using Ctools. I plan to use the entire range of her skills to assist me in implementing the overhaul of this course. I plan to expand and rationalize student access to new content by experimenting with and evaluating the effectiveness of new teaching tools that have become available in the last decade. With a graduate assistant who can explore technology with a mind to specific applications in the course, my plan is to improve student learning with an emphasis on critical thinking. Finally, I plan to become more proficient in as many of the technologies we utilize as quickly and as efficiently as possible, so that by the end of the grant period I’m less dependent on others.