Seven projects will tackle undergraduate teaching challenges

Seven faculty teams will share more than $100,000 in grants next year to develop innovative approaches to undergraduate student learning. The 2017-18 academic year marks the 21st year of the Miller Faculty Fellowship program, which now has funded 192 projects involving more than 650 faculty as principal investigators (PI).

All six undergraduate colleges are represented among the projects' PIs. The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching's (CELT) advisory board reviewed 21 proposals and made recommendations to senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert, who gave final approval. The maximum grant is $15,000, and six of the projects received awards at or within about $220 of the maximum.

In addition to the $50,000 provided annually by the president's office, CELT reallocated $52,348 to supplement the grant program. Sara Marcketti, CELT associate director for scholarship of teaching and learning, said past Miller fellowship projects have resulted in significant scholarship, including presentations, publications and books. Faculty also have used the fellowships as seed grants to secure funding from external sources. Because of this impact, she said CELT director Ann Marie VanDerZanden felt it was important to invest additional funds.

Following is a quick summary of the seven funded projects:

A better peer assessment: Designing a peer assessment protocol to maximize fairness

Summary: Identify the extent to which bias affects peer assessment scores in team-based learning and develop peer assessment protocols that maximize fairness.
Award: $15,000
Faculty team: Jane Rongerude, community and regional planning; Cassandra Dorius, human development and family studies; Michael Dorneich, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering; Sandra Gahn, School of Education; Lisa Orgler, horticulture; Kajal Madeka, CELT; Holly Bender, CELT; Craig Ogilvie, physics

Save Us: Online general microbiology students as post-apocalyptic plague survivors

Summary: Design a course to serve 100-plus Microbiology 302 students, who will learn the basics of microbial structure and function, antibiotic resistance, infection, immune response and public health as they develop a cure for a fictional plague.
Award: $12,725
Faculty team: Nancy Boury, plant pathology and microbiology; Lesya Hassall, CELT; Gaylan Scofield, Brenton Center for Agricultural Instruction and Technology Transfer

Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CURE) for industrial engineering students as a model for the College of Engineering

Summary: Implement a pilot that provides 150 undergraduates per year with research experience in the context of a class, as an alternative to research assistantships. A successful model could be expanded to other Engineering departments.
Award: $15,000
Faculty team: Leslie Potter, Richard Stone and Devna Popejoy, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering

Preparing pre-service teachers for makerspace communities in PK-12 education

Summary: Design instructional materials (face-to-face and online) to improve pre-service teachers' understanding of makerspaces and their ability to design makerspace learning activities.
Award: $14,781
Faculty team: Denise Schmidt-Crawford, Yi Jin and Dennis Culver, School of Education

Exploring the potential of augmented reality (AR) applications to teach structural analysis

Summary: Prepare a mobile and interactive AR application to teach structural analysis that incorporates applied mechanics, material science and applied mathematics. Assess the effect of AR on student learning.
Award: $14,971
Faculty team: Aliye Karabulut-Ilgu and An Chen, civil, construction and environmental engineering; Rafael Radkowski, mechanical engineering

Development of new teaching material and visual tools to enhance student learning in the general chemistry laboratory courses

Summary: Develop teaching materials to be used by all teaching assistants in all sections of the general chemistry labs so that about 3,600 students annually receive comparable instruction. Also, develop visual instructional tools such as videos and animations for students' use prior to the labs.
Award: $14,870
Faculty: Sara Pistolesi, chemistry

Engaging students through online testing modules in a high-enrollment engineering economics course

Summary: Design online testing modules that more closely reflect a professional engineering environment and require students to demonstrate proficiency in a subject. In a module, questions are randomly selected and no question is repeated exactly.
Award: $15,000
Faculty: Cameron MacKenzie, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering

The projects must be completed by June 30, 2018. In addition to preparing a final report, Miller fellows share the outcomes of their project during a fall luncheon.

Miller faculty fellowships are named for and partially funded by the estate of F. Wendell Miller, an attorney and farm manager who died in 1995. His will stipulated that the bulk of his estate be used to create the Miller Endowment Trust, with income from the trust to be divided equally between Iowa State and the University of Iowa. Former president Martin Jischke established the fellowship program in 1996.