Category: Level II

  • Experiential Learning in Asian Food Studies

    ASIAN 258 (Food and Drink of Asia) examine the past and present of Asian food and drink. It begins with an examination of the foods and drinks that have united various peoples both within Asia and across Eurasia, including tea, pancakes, flatbreads, dumplings, soy products, cheese, and noodles. It then moves to foods and drinks that have historically divided peoples along ethnic, class, and religious lines: dog meat, pork, beef, and MSG. The final part of the class will investigate foods that define people as members of national or ethnic groups: dim sum, curry, sushi, pad thai, and spring rolls. Class assignments will require students to energetically execute the required readings, to reconstruct the histories of various recipes, and to get their hands dirty with food preparation and etiquette training. No prior knowledge of Asian history, language, or cooking required. All welcome. The goals of the class are threefold ● To provide a holistic study of the historical, economic, and cultural connections between regions of Asia, on the one hand, and Asia and the world, on the other ● To supply students with a rudimentary understanding of food studies, an emerging field in cultural studies and historical scholarship. ● To give students an introduction to regions of Asia that are less well known, particularly Southeast Asia Please find the syllabus here:

  • The birth of the Spanish Language in 3D

    Spanish 450: "Inventing Spanish. The Cultural World of Alfonso X" and other sections. Spanish is today one of the world's most spoken languages, but in its early stages of development in the late Middle Ages, it was only one among various local dialects. How did this remarkable transformation take place in the case of Castilian, while the other dialects of Spain remain today only regional languages? This course studies the "invention" of the Spanish language during the reign of one of Iberia’s greatest kings — Alfonso X, “The Wise,” who reigned in Castile from 1252-1284. We trace Alfonso’s ambitious translating project that transformed Castilian into a written language of prose expression, taking the place of Latin in Castilian courts. We will learn how Alfonso, working in the city of Seville, ordered translations of Arabic writing into his local dialect, thus using Castilian (which later became modern-day Spanish) for the first time for science, law, history, fictional prose, and religion. Students will see how this use of Castilian was put on display not only in books, but also on the walls of the palaces and monuments taken over by Alfonso in the conquest of Muslim Iberia. Students will also gain first-hand experience working with early forms of Spanish in manuscripts and in inscriptions and monuments, including the Alcazar fortress of Seville and the Cathedral of Seville, which includes sections of the Muslim mosque where Alfonso and his descendants made their royal tombs and decorated them in Arabic, Castilian, Hebrew, and Latin. By reading the literature and studying the monuments of medieval Iberia--specifically those projects realized by Alfonso X and his descendants in the earliest moments of the use of Castilian for both literary and political purposes--student will trace the birth of the Spanish language. They will learn how translation from Arabic transformed one unremarkable local Romance dialect of a small European kingdom into one of the world's three most-spoken languages.

  • Fossils in the age of big data: virtual specimens for interactive learning in large-format paleontology courses

    This proposal targets a pair of paleontology courses in the 2018-2019 academic year, although we anticipate that our work will impact paleontological learning throughout U-M (see faculty letters associated with this proposal). First, we will use EARTH 437 (Evolution of Vertebrates; F18), an upper-level course with lower enrollment (15-20 students) as a partial roll-out of virtual specimens to guide best practice in terms of student engagement and benefit. This course explores the history of backboned animals through a combination of weekly lectures (3 x 1 hour) and laboratories (3 hours) involving original fossil material. The smaller course size, more experienced student body, and regular and extensive student/GSI/faculty interaction will permit rapid assessment of the effectiveness of different uses of virtual models to ‘tune’ the approach applied to larger courses. The initial trial in EARTH 437 will inform use of these models in EARTH 103 (Dinosaurs and Other Failures: W19). This is a popular mini-course with enrollment typically around 400 and which is often given several times a year. At present, this course is entirely lecture-driven, with minimal interactive component and no direct examination of fossils apart from still images presented in slides. EARTH 103 introduces a range of concepts in the earth and biological sciences using dinosaurs and other extinct organisms as examples. The course emphasizes how careful observation is the key to understanding major features of the natural world, but at present students do not have the opportunity to make such observations for themselves due to the logistical challenges of the large-course format. Virtual fossils will provide a wide range of U-M undergraduates with a unique learning experience where they can actively apply scientific principles rather than recite them.

  • Gameful Pedagogy in Second Language Courses

    Gameful learning is a pedagogical approach that takes inspiration from how well-designed games function, and applies those choices to course design. Gameful design operates in a self-deterministic framework–we want to apply what self-determination theory says about how intrinsic motivation works to build motivating classroom experiences. ( For second language classrooms, which is proficiency-based and where success is contingent upon students forming a connection with the language, self-motivation, failure, and student efficacy can all foster better outcomes. Another aspect of gameful learning pedagogies that we believe will increase student engagement is the close ties that it has toward the dual trends of service based learning as well as the increased pull of commercialism on higher education. By redesigning these courses and implementing Gradecraft, we will be able to fully incorporate the interdisciplinary nature of gameful learning, affording students the ability to focus their studies on “real world” topics, as well as the language proficiencies that most interest them. Despite the aforementioned benefits to the second language acquisition, this has, to our knowledge, not been implemented in French, Italian, or Chinese language courses. Our further reaching goals include the reinvigoration of language courses, and language course enrollment at a national scale, through the novel approach to second language learning that gameful design affords.

  • Reaching Publics with Storytelling: Podcasting in the History Classroom

    How do our family histories help us tell stories about who we are and where we have come from? Companies such as promise to unlock personal pasts and make sense of our future through the use of genealogy and DNA testing. Television shows like Finding Your Roots and Who Do You Think You Are? use DNA testing and historical research to show how family history also “shapes our national identity.” This course critically engages with and family history TV shows by telling the story of the science of DNA testing and the history of the idea of “family” in America. In this project-based course, we will weave together histories of America’s past with ideas about identity, home, belonging, and intimacy. We will use primary source documents from local archives, and genealogy research to tell a "history of the family" for public audiences by writing and producing a podcast, “History of the Family from University of Michigan”. Major themes of the semester include racial identity, ethnicity, migration, sexuality, queer kinship, non-traditional and chosen families, and science & technology.