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Innovative courses offer U-M students unique learning experiences

Innovative courses offer U-M students unique learning experiences

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From understanding our fascination with the Kardashians and cars, to rolling up sleeves to teach art to students in Detroit and create exhibition pieces for U-M’s upcoming Bicentennial, University of Michigan students have the opportunity to take several unique courses this semester.

With themes that include entrepreneurship, service learning and multidisciplinary education, the following courses are but a few of what students who return to campus this week will have the opportunity to take.
It’s not just traditional students who’ll find interesting new options. The Office of Academic Innovation at Michigan has a number of MOOCs set for online learners that will launch this fall.

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Lessons from our past through today
From Kennedys to Kardashians
This sociology course analyzes the manner in which the relationship between culture and consumption has transformed in the United States in the aftermath of World War II to the present.
Motor Nation
This American cultures class explores the history and evolution of cars and car cultures in the United States and its influence in Michigan. It uses the intersections of gender, class, race and historicity as points of departure to understand the unique relationship that America has with cars, the car industry and its developments.
Mafia and Film
This class examines the historical convergence of cinema and organized crime, two historical phenomena that emerged in the late 19th century in very different parts of the world—metropolitan Europe and the U.S. vs. the coastline of Western Sicily. The course will focus on film and televisual traditions and on their historical/cultural differences in terms of immigration, industrial development, government role, racial culture and national aspirations (i.e., the American dream).
Local Food Producers
The topics in archaeology course focuses on origins of the food we eat from the earliest farmers to the local food movement. The class will include field trips, guest lecturers, service learning and teamwork.
The Art of Yoga
As the ancient Indian discipline of yoga becomes increasingly popular worldwide it is important to query its early development, transformation over the centuries, and the possibilities that it holds forth to its practitioners. This history course is an introduction to the visual, literary and religious cultures of South Asia. Students will take field trips to art museums and yoga studios in the Ann Arbor area.
Outta this world
SciFi Prototype
With a focus on creation of functional prototypes this art and design class combines the analysis of classic and modern science fiction texts and films with physical fabrication or code-based interpretations of the technologies they depict. Topics: virtual/augmented reality; networks; artificial intelligence; nanotechnology; humanism and transhumanism; cyborgs and robotics; environmental issues; biology; utopias and dystopias; surveillance; music and art; interfaces; wearables; and/or religion, culture and society.
Apocalyptic Media
Many films and television programs have dramatized end-of-the-world scenarios. This English course will examine how mass media have represented the end of the world. What have cinema and television told us about global destruction? What is the relationship between the end of the world and the death of the individual?
Art, science and digital
Creating Innovative Digital Learning and Teaching Opportunities to Foster Climate Literacy (MOOC)
This new two-semester seminar series on digital learning and teaching is a unique collaboration between the School of Natural Resources & Environment, Office of Academic Innovation, and the Center for Research on Learning & Teaching. During Fall 2016, students will learn how to design innovative digital education products including massive open online courses (MOOCs) based on experience and research-based best practices. During Winter 2017, students will work in collaboration with seminar instructors to develop a set of digital education materials (e.g., a video series, short MOOC, etc.) on a jointly agreed upon climate change topic. Emphasis will be placed on gaining tangible and marketable skills, and students are expected to take on leadership roles.
Data Science Ethics (MOOC)
This course focuses on ethics specifically related to data science and provides learners with the framework to analyze questions including who owns data, how we value different aspects of privacy, how we get informed consent, and what it means to be fair.
AIDS: Fear and Hope (MOOC)
This course examines the basic biology of HIV and AIDS, as well as the economic, the progress of scientific research and medical treatments, as well as the social and political factors that determine who gets sick and who remains healthy, who lives and who dies.
Social Work Practice: Advocating Social Justice and Change (MOOC)
Learners will explore how social workers in the United States engage in creating change and supporting the resilience of individuals, families and communities in this new era. This course provides an opportunity to explore the social worker profession, the different roles of social workers in a range of settings, the cross cutting themes that guide social work practice, the history of social work, and current challenges. Using a social justice lens, learners will reflect on current challenges facing the lives of individuals, families and communities and examine ways to advocate for needed changes.
DNA Origami
This hands-on biophysics course explores the theory and methods behind synthetic biology, focusing on the technology called DNA origami, which uses folded DNA as building blocks to construct nanoscale objects. Students learn the theory and work in groups to design, construct and characterize DNA origami objects.
Science Outreach for Biology
Students in the molecular, cellular and developmental biology class will go through a streamlined version of docent training to learn many of the features of public engagement in biological science. They will then put this into action by running an investigate activity with the public at the Museum of Natural History.
Preparing to celebrate 200 years of educational excellence
Note: U-M celebrates its Bicentennial in 2017. Leading up to the celebration, students have been able to participate in a number of courses related to the event.
UM in the D: The Less Visible Footprint
Students will interview U-M graduates who have chosen to live and work in Detroit, seeking to understand what motivated different generations or cohorts to make these choices; how they reflect on their careers and measure their impact; and how they assess U-M’s relationship with the city. The aim is to develop a rough profile of how Michigan graduates have made a difference in Detroit and how Detroit has shaped their outlook and made them who they are.
Developing Exhibitions for the U-M Bicentennial
Students will research, develop and design museum exhibits for the University of Michigan Bicentennial exhibitions.
Partnering with Detroit, Ann Arbor and beyond
Teaching with Digital Technologies K-8
This education course covers current trends and research around digital technologies and how these studies can be put into practical use for learning across K-8 academic subjects: mathematics, science, language arts, literacy, social studies and the arts. Students assess potential technology benefits and challenges to different audiences. They work with students at an Ann Arbor middle school.
The Stamps School of Art & Design partners with a group in Detroit called Neighbors Building Brightmoor, which is responsible for a series of community gardens. Students in the course will help to design and build structures that support and expand the local food system.
Detroit connections
Art and design students teach an art class to elementary age children in a Detroit public school. U-M students learn first about issues of urban education and the perceptual and artistic developments that occur in childhood.
Change by Design
Change by Design works to co-create social impact through design and entrepreneurship. Working with Detroit Community Schools, the Art and Design students will design the Brightmoor Maker Space, looking to launch projects around hands-on building and incubate an emergent music industry.
The Michigan Artist Citizen program builds on the School of Music, Theatre & Dance music education collaboration with Ann Arbor Public Schools. U-M students provide music opportunities to high schoolers.
Encouraging entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurial Creativity
This university course explores the relation between creativity, innovation and problem-solving processes. Is creative thinking somehow different from “normal” thinking? How do innovators frame problems and generate solutions? What is the relation between idea generation and collaborative teamwork? How do entrepreneurs in business, social goods and technology develop and employ vital skills in persuasion, cooperation and communication as they bring ideas to life in the form of enterprises?
First-Year Seminar in Psychology as a Social Science—Designing Your Life with Purpose: Insights from Psychology and the Startup World
The goal for this psychology course is to give students conceptual tools and experiences to better understand their lives, but also varied opportunities to practice and hone these tools to help them achieve a sense of direction and purpose in college and beyond.
Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Career Empowerment & Leadership program EXCEL (Video)
EXCEL courses in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance allow students to learn new skills and strategies that will amplify their artistry. This program reflects the changing environment in which artists have to market themselves and manage their own careers.
Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making (MOOC)
Starting with time value of money, this course enables learners to understand and analyze many personal and professional decisions we confront on a daily basis. Learners will understand stocks and bonds, learn to allocate scarce resources in a value-add way, and adopt smart tools for making every day decisions.

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