UMath: A Better Future for the Math Department

We are excited to finally share our ultimate proposal with you to hopefully gain your support in approaching the University of Michigan Math Department about the implementation of the “UMath” website.  After the last two meetings we had with the edUMize staff, we took many of comments and concerns into consideration to come up with a better version of the website. The “UMath” website will enhance the math department by making the entire system more efficient through the use of scheduling, reserving time slots and checking availabilities in the mathlab and in office hours.

Students at the University of Michigan are involved in everything from clubs to sports to community service.  The majority of the students have a very difficult time making it to their GSI’s office hours.  Even if students can make it to their GSI’s office hours, they often have to wait a long time which is not only a burden but sometimes impossible due to their hectic days. So, when a student cannot make it to office hours or cannot wait for their GSI to be available, what is he or she supposed to do? This is where “UMath” comes in.

The “UMath” website is a page for students and instructors to visit to help use their time more efficient and to ensure an adequate amount of time for assistance.   On the website, there is a location for students to reserve twenty-minute time slots with their GSI during his or her office hours.  There is also a location for students to see how occupied the mathlab is.  Thus, based on the current occupancy of the mathlab, students can decide whether to go there now or wait until it is less crowded.  This helps students manage their time and ensure that they are not wasting any valuable studying time. The “UMath” website also has a page called “OTS” (Online Tutoring Service) which gives students a place to ask math questions or concepts and they will receive an answer from a GSI or upper-level math student within twenty-four hours.  This also solves the problem of students not being able to make it to office hours or to the mathlab.

The UMath website is a quick, more efficient way for students to manage their time and ensure that they get the math help that they need. Check it out at http://www.wix.com/kirbyjac/umath.


UM Study Buddy… Finalized!

edUMize staff are proud to announce the final design of UM Study Buddy, a collection of student resources designed to assist students in locating and reserving campus study spaces. In its final form, UM Study Buddy utilizes the website & mobile application formats to accomplish these goals & encourage students to study on campus.

Although the University of Michigan campus has steadily increased throughout the years, nearly half of students feel that the amount of study space on campus is inadequate. To assist the University of Michigan officials in addressing student opinion, edUMize staff contemplated the utility of several options: build new buildings, renovate existing buildings, or utilize study space in its current form more efficiently. As an attractive, low-cost solution, utilizing existing study space requires two things: educating students about the availability of campus space, and assisting them in attaining that study space.

To address these concerns, edUMize staff have compiled detailed information about the University of Michigan and packaged these resources in easy-to-use website & mobile application format. These formats enable students to locate campus study space in terms of location, time, and study space type. Additionally, edUMize staff have incorporated the University’s pre-existing room access technologies into scheduling of these study spaces. As a result, UM Study Buddy allows University of Michigan students to reserve computing sites & group study spaces up to three weeks in advance.

Employee feedback was useful in establishing other specifics regarding the ins & outs of the UM Study Buddy service. As a result, we are confident that UM Study Buddy will be perceived intuitive & useful. Once equipped with UM Study Buddy functionality, University of Michigan students will have little reason to perceive a ‘lack of study space’ on campus. UM Study Buddy functionality will also encourage students to study on campus, completing coursework more efficiently with fewer distractions.

Any feedback is appreciated.


New and improved solution to the lack of healthy food options between classes

EdUMize proposes that the University Of Michigan Division Of Student Affairs improves the availability of healthy food options between classes, especially during meal times, because it encourages healthy eating which has been linked to higher academic achievement and productivity. It’s time to take a healthy initiative.

Our proposal is for the University of Michigan Division of Student Affairs to improve the availability of healthy food options between classes by signing a contract with local vendors such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, which would allow them to set up booths in Mason Hall and the Chemistry Building where they can sell healthy, fresh food options to students in a rush between classes.

By providing healthier alternatives on campus, the University will be promoting healthier lifestyles of students leading to overall better academic performance. With greater academic success among students, the University directly benefits from the reputation that their students uphold. There is a reason that the University of Michigan is among the top public universities in the country. By even further improving the academic achievement of their students, the University will continue to gain respect and prestige as a highly ranked university. It is also important for the University to care about the overall well-being of its students because that leads to the contribution that each student can make to the University’s community and beyond.

We think it is crucial that edUMize and the Division of Student Affairs partners together to provide healthy food alternatives to students in between classes. All the benefits that the University will receive will far surpass any initial costs. A student’s health directly affects their productivity, and their productivity and success aligns with the values of the Division of Student Affairs.

Keep checking the blog for updates.

-Group 6


New and Improved Course Guide!

EdUMize’s Proposed Course Guide update will provide University of Michigan students with the necessary information to make informed decisions while registering for courses.  This will help students have knowledge about a course before the first day of classes begin, which will in turn diminish the number of students dropping or withdrawing from courses in the beginning of the semester.

The proposed changes to the Course Guide were selected based on a survey given to current University of Michigan students as well as using successful examples of other universities who have implemented a similar structure in their course selection and evaluation process.  These updates are easily added onto the current Course Guide website and will provide students with the necessary information they need to select courses.

The Course Guide already includes some basic information about courses, but it is lacking information regarding course and teacher evaluations and syllabus information.  We propose including a link on the Course Guide website which includes this information.  It will be readily accessible to students and available while they are backpacking and registering for classes.

By implementing these updates to the Course Guide, the University will see benefits in the registration process of students.  Students will be able to select and enroll in classes that meet their expectations, which will diminish the amount of students who drop classes because the class is not what they had expected.  Before registering, students will have a wealth of information available to them in order to make the most informed decisions about courses.

Check it out here: http://www.wix.com/winstongoan/courseguide


Problem: Conflicting GSI Office Hour and student schedules, as well as overcrowding in the Math Lab. Solution: UMath

Hello edUMize staff. Last time group 3 posted to the blog, we discussed a similar problem in that students have busy schedules, and often cannot make their GSI scheduled office hours. Our problem has widened, and the solution has changed. Not only are we addressing the issue of uncoordinated instructor and student schedules, we are also addressing the issue of overcrowding within the Math Lab. Students go to the Lab seeking help, but can end up waiting for a long time before they actually receive help. So, the our solution is to create a website, called UMath, that is connected to Ctools. This site will allow students to schedule 20-minute blocks of time with their GSI for any quick questions or concept discussion, will let students see how many students are currently in the Math Lab and which GSIs or tutors are occupied, and will also let students post questions they have to the site. These questions will then be answered by GSIs, tutors, or volunteer upper-level math students within 4 hours. The GSIs will not have to do anything extra, or hold office hours for any longer. We think this will increase efficiency within the math department, and will grant students who have busy schedules and very little time to waste an opportunity to receive help in their math courses without having to severely alter their schedules. This idea is being tested within the math department after we propose it to Mel Hochster, the Chair of the department, and if it is successful, we will try to implement it within other departments here at U of M. Any feedback or insight on our problem or solution will be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.


Creating a Comprehensive Course Guide for Students

Every semester, students at the University of Michigan must decide what classes they want to take and register for these classes online. Often times, students have to pick classes based solely on the name of the class without any additional information about the details of the course or its instructor. As it is, the course guide offered by the University of Michigan provides a very broad and general description of each class with no details about the course syllabus or instructor. Students may try and use outside resources such as http://www.ratemyprofessor.com to get a better idea of who will be teaching them, but these websites often contain biased and subjective reviews. As a result, many students discover that the classes they signed up for were nothing like what they had imagined and are forced to drop these classes from their schedule after the initial registration period has ended. When this happens, it is very difficult for a student to add another class of interest to their schedule because of scheduling conflicts or the lack of available seats in a class.

At edUMize, we believe there is a simple and effective solution to this problem: consolidate all of the course information, course reviews, and instructor evaluations into one online database that is linked directly to the student registration webpage. As of right now, the resources that students need to make educated decisions about the classes they want to take certainly exist; however, they are just difficult for students to find and access. After every semester, the University of Michigan sends out evaluation forms for students to rate the quality of their courses and instructors. These evaluations tend to provide quality evaluations of classes and professors without much bias, and they would be a valuable tool for students to have when trying to schedule classes. Furthermore, every class has a syllabus that is released to the students after the students have already registered for that class. These syllabi provide a lot of insight about the structure and content that will be covered in a course, and they would be very useful for students to see before they registered for classes.

Our solution is simple: when it comes time for students to register for classes, have each instructor for every class upload the class syllabus directly to the registration website for students to see. In addition, have the course evaluations for each class and professor linked directly to the registration page as well. With all of these resources made readily available, we believe students will have much more success choosing classes, and we think this will alleviate a lot of the problems that occur when students have to drop classes in the middle of a semester.

Please post any thoughts or ideas that you have to the comments.


Hungry between classes but don’t know where to go?

On campus, when in a rush in between classes and looking for food your options are often limited to vending machines, fast food, or just not eating. On top of that, the vending machines are the only convenient in-transit options when you’re on the go. Unfortunately, vending machines as well as fast food options are mainly unhealthy and high in fat, high in sugar, and high in calories.

EdUMize can tackle this problem with a couple of possible solutions. If we have a limited budget we can swap out the unhealthy options in vending machines, creating healthy, convenient, and fast options for when you’re on the go. If we have a more extensive budget, we can build another cafe similar to Bert’s cafe in the Undergraduate Library in centrally located areas like the Chemistry building and Mason hall where students can find healthy, fast alternatives to fast food restaurants.

Please leave your feedback with the option you prefer or any other alternatives you can think of.

~Group 6