Michigan Education through Learning Objects


Image courtesy of MELO3D@Michigan under a Creative Commons license: BY-SA

Published: June 13, 2012
Revised: June 5, 2015

The Michigan Education through Learning Objects (MELO) project is a cross-disciplinary collaborative effort that has worked over the past three years to facilitate the integration of curriculum-based sequences of online learning objects (LOs) that complement classroom pedagogy in large enrollment gateway courses. MELO's goal is to enhance student learning, engagement, and persistence in college through the use of these learning objects. The materials represented in this collection are from the third year (MELO 3D) of the project. This project is funded by a New Initiatives/ New Infrastructure (NINI) grant from the Instructional Technology Committee in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA). 

This award-winning project takes a unique approach to overcoming barriers to technology-enriched instruction by involving students (undergraduate and graduate) in addition to select faculty and staff from across different disciplines as key collaborators. By training select students and faculty to find, evaluate, adapt, create, and integrate LOs, the project facilitates the incorporation of high quality interdisciplinary and discipline-specific LOs into the curricula.

The Open.Michigan collection serves as a central repository for materials created in association with the Michigan Education through Learning Objects project. The Materials tab contains training materials from the start of the projects, learning objects, survey instruments and conference abstracts from the project.

About the Creators

Faculty contributors

Nancy Kerner (Chemistry) is Lecturer IV and Coordinator, General Chemistry Lab Program in the Chemistry department. She is chemistry co-editor of MERLOT where one of her roles has been the establishment of evaluation criteria for online learning objects. She is a co-leader in the MELO 3D project.

Brenda Gunderson (Statistics) is a Senior Lecturer in the Statistics department. She is Co-Undergraduate Advisor for the department and recently won a Teaching Innovation Prize (2011). She is a co-leader in the MELO 3D project.

Tatiana Calixto (Romance Languages) is a Lecturer in Spanish, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. She teaches introductory Spanish courses as well as special topics courses focusing on cultural traditions in the Andes region.

Brian Malley (Psychology) is a Lecturer II in the Psychology department. His research focuses on the cognitive science of religion, in particular the ways in which scriptures are conceived, used, interpreted, and deployed socially.

Christine Modey (Writing) is a lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature and in the Sweetland Writing Center, where she teaches Transition to College Writing, Writing Workshop, and New Media Writing.

Ginger Shultz (Organic Chemistry) is a postdoctoral teaching fellow in the department of Chemistry.

Michael Witgen (History) is Associate Professor and Director of Native American Studies in the History department. He specializes in American Indian and early American history, the North American West, borderlands history, and pre-confederation Canada.

Graduate Student Instructor contributors

Russell Bornschein (Chemistry)

Kevin Hartman (Chemistry)

Akiko Kochi (Chemistry)

Michelle Cassidy (History)

Frank Kelderman (History)

Grace Winschel (Organic Chemistry)

Renata Everett (Organic Chemistry)

Adena Rottenstein (Psychology)

Emily Bonem (Psychology)

Marcelino Viera (Romance Languages)

Maria Robles (Romance Languages)

Martin Vega (Romance Languages)

Josh Errickson (Statistics)

James Henderson (Statistics)

Karen Nielsen (Statistics)

Elizabeth Homan (Writing)

Annah Mackenzie (History)

Sophia Hunt (History)

Staff advisors

Lynne Crandall (ISS) is the Manager for Instructional Technology Consulting and Faculty Projects in the Instructional Support Services department of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. She supports the technical and logistic needs of the MELO 3D project, supervising the graduate assistants.

Chase Masters (ISS) is an Instructional Technology Consultant in the Instructional Support Services department of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. He supports the technical and logistic needs of the MELO 3D project.

Chad Hershock (CRLT) is the Assistant Director and Coordinator of Science Initiatives at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. He coordinates CRLT's sciences and health sciences projects and works on instructional technology initiative, among other projects. He supports the development of evaluation strategies for the MELO 3D project.

John Leasia (MLibrary) is the Director of the CTools Implementation Group in the University of Michigan Library.

Steve Lonn (USE Lab) is a Research Fellow in the USE Lab, a part of the Digital Media Commons in the University of Michigan Library. He specializes in gathering and using analytics for Learning Object assessment for the MELO 3D project.

Emily Puckett Rodgers (Open.Michigan, Medical School) is the Open Education Coordinator for the Open.Michigan initiative, in the Office of Enabling Technologies at the Medical School. She supports the development and use of open educational resources in the MELO 3D project.

What is a Learning Object?

Learning objects (LOs) are interactive web resources designed to support a learning objective and include such things as animations, simulations, tutorials, case studies and games. In this project, we work primarily with openly licensed and adaptable LOs, including those created by graduate students and instructors at UM as well as those freely available on the web and through MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, www.merlot.org). A distinctive aspect of MERLOT is that their LOs have been triaged and peer reviewed by a nationwide community of scholars committed to enhancing education through this method of curricula resource development.

Research into the efficacy of online learning objects has demonstrated that, by offering students a sense of control and ownership of the learning process, students’ educational achievement improves, compared to a control group (Windle, McCormick, Dandrea, & Wharrad, 2010). Other research suggests that educational strategies that improve understanding and provide learning feedback have a positive impact on student retention (Hershock & O’Neal, 2008; O’Neal et al., 2007; Seymour & Hewitt, 1997).

LOs can be used to enhance student engagement and understanding by offering interactive instruction and peer-to-peer learning that extends beyond the classroom. LOs can develop or reinforce important relationships and/or concepts, model dynamic relations in a way that print or other static demonstrations cannot. LOs can provide students with immediate feedback, and encourage them to apply their understanding to new situations. The application of LOs to deepen learning and engagement depends upon their thoughtful integration into curricula and on the technological awareness and pedagogical skills of faculty. The efforts of our project are therefore targeted at helping instructors identify, adapt, and integrate quality LOs into their own curricula to impact student engagement, retention, and persistence.

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This Work, Michigan Education through Learning Objects, by MELO 3D Project Team is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.