Projects

More than 30 teams have made it to this stage of the Campus of the Future competition, a bicentennial program challenging U-M students to reimagine methods and spaces for teaching and learning in the 21st century. Which teams will emerge as victors? Explore the list of qualifying finalists below, and make your best guess.

Then come meet the competitors at the Project Showcase and Finale on October 26, where a panel of nationally recognized thought leaders will judge the teams’ efforts and award $25,000 to the best entries.

  • 1Cademy

    The top-down delivery of knowledge, from instructor to student, is a classic form of teaching. But it doesn’t work for every learner, especially when it comes to understanding difficult concepts. To address this problem, an instructor-guided, collaborative learning technology is being developed. It will encourage the generation of multiple explanations of each concept—by students and for students. ​Both groups will benefit from the experience: a true peer-to-peer process. This learning technology fits into the campus scale. A demonstration application will be built during Fall 2017, with a goal of testing the system in three large undergraduate courses at U-M in Winter 2018.

  • Adjacent

    The Campus of the Future is dependent upon greater capacity to build and scale entrepreneurial efforts across its campus. To realize this vision, this project has created a mobile app called Adjacent: a virtual incubator to help student entrepreneurs from different disciplines meet and collaborate while providing alumni entrepreneurs continued access to the valuable guidance and network of the university. Using location-based technology, Adjacent allows people to see what ideas, skills and resources are right around them. Gamification and an intuitive user experience make the process of starting a company more approachable, lowering the barrier to entry for non-traditionalists. On the back end, Adjacent gives the university valuable data into how and where innovations are happening, which allows them to better target valuable resources.

  • Beyster Bluepath

    About 285 million people are estimated to be visually challenged worldwide. Yet buildings, cities and maps are designed with sighted users in mind, making navigation challenging at best and dangerous at worst. This project is building a mobile application that can provide audio navigation instructions. The application—currently being tested in the Beyster Building on North Campus—would elicit user input via voice commands in natural language, locate the user within a building and then provide turn-by-turn instructions to the destination. This solution currently fits into the room and building scales, but the prototype could be scaled further to cover every U-M building, ensuring campus-wide impact in the near future.

  • C2D Hub

    The C2D Hub project is dedicated to developing a private dental clinic model that is ecologically sustainable, can be built in any environment and serves as a multi-purpose learning space for its community. This team is currently conducting interviews with faculty, staff and students of the U-M School of Dentistry, practicing dentists and members of the community to determine the must-have elements of the model. After a visit to the Earthship community in Taos, NM, this project will confer with the architecture firm SmithGroup JJR to help shape the clinic’s blueprints. Deliverables will also include a syllabus for a mini course on sustainable dental buildings and practices and a toolkit for developing the clinic of the future, to be distributed to incoming dentistry students at orientation.

  • Detroit City Study

    Detroit City Study positions itself as a campus-wide design initiative, exploring the possibilities of developing an enhanced educational environment in the city of U-M’s birth through the creation of communal work spaces. In 2016, a DCS pilot focused on entities that are usually separated by space, like Detroit and Ann Arbor, but also U-M’s School of Education and College of LSA. It incubated interdisciplinary research clusters in urban education, placemaking and sustainable humanities, then shared this knowledge through conversations that brought everyone’s voice in. The deliverable for this project would be a written report on the pilot that explores the possibilities of sharing across different academic spatial divisions, and offers new visions for how educational campuses could be structured in the future.

  • Developing a MOOC through Engaged Learning: Students Creating for Students

    An interdisciplinary group of upper-division undergraduate, master’s and PhD students from five different schools recently worked under the guidance of Dr. Michaela Zint, and in collaboration with the Office of Academic Innovation and the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, to develop the first iteration of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) designed to help national and international learners engage in individual, community and political behaviors to “Act on Climate.” This project is considered to be one of the first original MOOCs developed collaboratively between a professor and students, and can now be used as a model of student-led digital curriculum development for others at U-M and academic institutions around the world.

  • DoIIIT: Living Technology Exhibition Space

    In 2014, the DoIIIT Studio (Designers of Interactive, Intelligent, Internet of Things) was launched at U-M School of Information to support research and design exploring how people can better create and interact with technologies—from augmented reality displays to robots to “enchanted” objects. Some temporary exhibitions have been launched in the studio, but they were limited by space, funding and time. This group proposes to build a permanent exhibition space which would provide more robust demonstrations of technologies, longer-term presentations of novel work and periodic rotation of exhibits, all of which would make the interactive experience available to a wider range of visitors. This proposal is “room-scale,” and will require the renovation of a storage space adjacent to DoIIIT’s workspace.

  • Fathom

    A need exists at U-M for a more conducive, collaborative environment that cultivates good studying and learning habits. Fathom—a crowd-sourced studying tool—can address this need. Users will be encouraged to contribute class notes and practice questions to the platform, and can access the same from others. All information generated will go through a collaborative filtering process to sort out the best content. It is believed that this process will result in a deeper understanding of that content. Future enhancements may implement smart-studying features; integrate artificial intelligence; and provide data to faculty, allowing the university to better align teachings and courses with students’ understanding on a real-time basis.

  • Find Your Ditto

    Almost 20 percent of U-M students have registered some form of chronic physical condition or mental challenge with the university. Such illnesses often take their emotional toll, causing sufferers to experience anxiety and depression at rates 50 percent higher than the general population. And those feelings can lead to isolation. To combat this situation, this project proposes Find Your Ditto: a mobile platform that helps these students connect with on-demand, in-person peer support from “dittos” fighting the same battle.This network of peers can provide relief—e.g., a simple “me too” over coffee at the union—at the touch of a button and serve as an adjunct to the university’s existing counseling and psychological services system.

  • Guardian: Office Wall of the Future

    Guardian has developed large-area, transparent touch-enabled (LATTE) glass. The focus for this project will be to develop a functional prototype of LATTE that can be incorporated into a conference or classroom.

  • Guide to the Future: A Manual of Campus Civil Spaces

    U-M’s North Campus is a truncated world that distances itself from Ann Arbor, with dispersed buildings that discourage pedestrian traffic and limit the development of civic space. To remedy this, this project looks to the past: to 1952, when the original plan for North Campus was developed. The preliminary work of this bicentennial project, set as a 1952 narrative projection into the future, imagines a divergent course of historical campus development, one in which postwar U-M expanded along the Huron River rather than on the heights north of it. This will reveal the current weaknesses of civic space on North Campus, and also allow U-M to address those weaknesses by envisioning alternative spatial configurations and radically innovative planning solutions.

    Categories: Physical Space

  • Gwdyion

    No adequate medium currently exists to facilitate the study three-dimensional academic material. This project’s solution is to develop an augmented reality platform that allows users to project and interact with such content, as if it were occupying the real world with them. Students and professors will be able to easily upload, view and share 3-D content. It can be sorted by course, section or any other relevant grouping, and accessed on any device with an Internet connection. This room-scale project will have university-wide benefits. The platform, which runs smoothly on common smartphones (IOS and Android), can also integrate seamlessly with current teaching strategies.

  • Honors Leadership Capstone

    In partnership with the Honors Program, Central Student Government proposes the creation of an Honors Leadership Capstone which would serve students interested in purposefully connecting knowledge learned in the classroom with skills learned outside of it. Capstones could be defined as an experiment, project, research study or entrepreneurial venture, with a completion date of 1.5 to 2 years. Successful students would graduate with honors, and be able to display or present their capstone results for others to see. In Fall 2017, the Honors Program, in cooperation with CSG, will pilot this program for a small group of students. The HLC goes beyond the framework of rooms and buildings to impact any student enrolled in the College of LSA and, later, any student across campus.

    Categories: Curriculum Pedagogy

  • Initiative for an Inclusive Campus

    A student group in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning is prepared to take on the challenge of studying the relationship between physical space and education through the lens of disability. Preliminary research suggests that the current use of space at U-M–at the room, building and campus levels–contributes to unequal learning opportunities for those who are differently abled. Obvious trouble spots include staircases, narrow doorways and the absence of accessible entryways. But this study will also consider land use, transportation, housing, dining, athletics, Ann Arbor’s infrastructure and how all of these aspects can contribute to creating an equitable education for all. Deliverables will highlight the successful remedies that the university currently employs and also offer suggestions for improvement.

  • Instagram for the Extended Classroom Curriculum

    Teaching is communication: sharing knowledge with the hope of generating a response. As our forms of communication change with the development of new social media, shouldn’t our teaching change, too? A class Instagram project was created as a response to this dilemma, encouraging students to take their class with them as they go about their day and to share some of their world with them by tying it back to the themes of the class. This created a virtual community for students to engage in, learning to learn through their most intuitive forms of engagement. By teaching through technology rather than against it, this project hopes to help students become more thoughtful, engaged and critical media producers and consumers.

  • Knowledge Village

    Knowledge is neither equally distributed nor easily accessible—a situation that supports the development of Knowledge Village, an online community of experts available to learners worldwide. Educators in schools, after-school programs, summer programs and other learning environments will be able to search a database, reach out to speakers and arrange online video visits. While students and faculty at U-M could benefit from using this resource, the university is also uniquely positioned to provide speakers—current and emeritus faculty and alumni—to share with the world. Looking forward, graduating students could also be asked to join the Knowledge Village, creating an ongoing asset to learners and solidifying U-M’s reputation as an educational institution of the first order.

  • Lorch Hall Lives

    Lorch Hall was the finest facility for an architecture program in the country at its completion in 1928. However, it was rapidly outgrown, forcing the architecture program to move to North Campus and jeopardizing the future use of the original Central Campus building. The building’s namesake had hoped that it would expand from an L-shaped structure to a quadrangle. This project, operating in an alternative reality, follows through on that plan by employing advances in digital fabrication as well as bacteria and agricultural waste to create an ever-growing, living lattice framework for new construction. This project operates at the scale of the building, with a keen awareness of its surroundings. Deliverables will include a digitally fabricated mock-up of the design and renderings of it in context.

  • Maestro: The Conductor’s Baton

    The goal of this project is to develop a virtual conducting system that would allow for the refinement of kinesthetic skills that are essential to creating subtle gestures improving conductor performance and confidence on the podium. This project will support the learning of kinesthetic conducting skills while furthering development of essential musical and cognitive skills.

  • Mastering Michigan

    Interdisciplinary, project-based courses are not new. This idea differs from what has come before by bringing together students who do not normally interact and creating an environment of cooperation to tackle contemporary problems. Such courses will be beneficial in helping young students arrive at a choice of major and will enable older students to apply their refined skills in a practical, project-based setting. The final deliverable will be comprised of a written report that details three potential elective courses designed with stakeholder feedback in consideration. The report will specifically lay out the structure of the classes and potential faculty involvement.

    Categories: Curriculum Pedagogy

  • Match.Meet.Master

    Traditionally, an education at U-M has focused on the model of a teacher transferring professional knowledge to students. But what about students seeking to learn something for personal enrichment? For that audience, this project proposes a different delivery method: a website called Match.Meet.Master. M3 will be a student-to-student enterprise executed on a campus-wide scale. Students with a skill to share will create a teaching profile on M3: describing lessons they would offer, pricing and meeting times and locations. Learners will be able to easily “shop” the site for desired lessons. M3 will foster relationships between campus members who rarely interact with each other—for instance, a dental student connecting with a dance student for ballet lessons—while making the most of the abundant talent within the student community.

  • Michigan Aquaponics

    Michigan Dining has made significant strides in increasing the overall sustainability of the dining halls at U-M, but there still remains room for improvement. Our student organization suggests that improvement can be achieved by implementing aquaponics: a combination of conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Preliminary projections estimate that a system of just two 3,750-gallon tanks would be able to consistently supply a dining hall with enough food to serve all of the students who eat there. This project’s proposed campus-scale solution will help educate all students on how we can create a tangible impact and promote a sustainable future, all while dining on wholesome food.

  • Move

    Most students rely on buses or bikes (in good weather) for commuting. But are they the only answers? This project proposes the development of Human Powered Vehicles (trikes) for campus-wide use. The HPV would be a hybrid, with a 500W solar-chargeable motor to negotiate hills as well as straightaways. The body would be an enclosed polycarbonate shell to protect drivers from the weather as well as collisions. A mobile app would locate the nearest trike and enable reservations. After riding, a student could drop it off at the nearest charging station. The advantage of using a trike over a bike is that a trike would be more stable and safer and impervious to the seasons. The final deliverable would be a working prototype.

    Categories: Mobile Apps Mobility

  • Music House

    It is a struggle to find space at U-M where non-SMTD students can express themselves musically and artistically. The goal of this project is to develop a student arts center at U-M, called “Music House.” A space dedicated to the creative and performing arts, Music House will serve the needs of amateur artists in the same way that the Central Campus Recreation Building caters to amateur athletes. Student artists need a diverse space in which they can collaborate, innovate, and cultivate their passion for the performing arts. This will not only further the talents of our student artists but also benefit campus-wide mental health and well-being. The University has provided small practice rooms in most residence halls, but there is not yet a facility that both has the capacity for larger musical events and is open to all University of Michigan students, let alone resources for other artistic expression such as sound and recording equipment and studios for dance. Music House will solve these inconveniences by providing all student artists with a space to pursue their artistic passions.

    To generate support for such a structure, this group will create a monthly series of performances at various venues: the “Music House Sessions.” Each would include a jam session, an open mic period, time for networking and educational presentations and a live performance. Participants will also be encouraged to bring their ideas and needs to the table. This will facilitate the development of an inclusive, student-centered plan of action to achieve our final goal.

  • MyResearchPal

    Today’s students believe that brick-and-mortar libraries are outdated, and even a library’s digital offerings are suspect. Yet these offerings are needed to perform meaningful research. MyResearchPal, a web-based application, can address this campus-wide issue. MyResearchPal enables students to sync assignments through Canvas into a special dashboard. From there, they can connect with university resources, complete an MLibrary research guide and produce an exportable outline containing topics, sources, source notes and citations. MyResearchPal also enables users to “like” a resource or provide a review. Librarians can use this data to gauge the effectiveness of their offerings and better design future resources. Currently in the prototype phase, MyResearchPal requires additional funding for user testing and to develop the code for open source.

    Categories: Learning Technology

  • Sahbi

    Imagine moving to a foreign country, where you are expected to not only get used to a strange culture, but also learn a strange tongue. To ease that process, this project proposes an app called Sahbi (the Arabic word for “friend”). The application’s goal is language development for English as Second Language students. (Sahbi is currently focused on native Arabic speakers, but can be tailored to other languages such as Spanish and Chinese.) It is free, customizable to each student’s needs and provides additional online resources/suggestions for future activities. Sahbi combines writing, oral communication, vocabulary skill building, and promotes cultural assimilation all in one app. It is also available to students outside the classroom, ensuring access to an expert with a click of a button.

  • smallworld

    Despite the opportunities for connectedness that are available through the Internet, we still tend to congregate with those we share a common bond with. This practice flies in the face of research that suggests inclusive communities are happier, more innovative and more productive. smallworld remedies this situation with a digital tool that helps make connections. An administrator creates a personalized invite page and sends it to a group of people: e.g., music students. Recipients use the page to learn about smallworld and sign up. Then smallworld randomly pairs members, who agree to meet in a one-on-one setting. In a pilot program among 100 U-M Medical School students, smallworld facilitated more than 600 pairings–and 100 percent of survey respondents found value in the connections they made.

  • Sustainable Living Complex

    The U-M campus of the future should intentionally connect students to the environment. One way to achieve that goal would be to build a Sustainable Living Complex, comprised of small living units for 30-50 students and shared learning and experimental spaces. The complex could be built on the grounds of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, where the student farm and other resources would provide rich programming opportunities and embed students in an eco-friendly lifestyle. Suggested residents would include sophomores through seniors and a handful of graduate students from a variety of academic backgrounds: all driven to live sustainably and to lead that effort on campus, in the state and in the world. The physical infrastructure—centered around a large, multipurpose, “green” building—would actively support research, inquiry, risk-taking and creativity.

  • System for Course Reflection and Records (SCōRR)

    All too frequently, graduate student instructors find that “legacy” learning materials—-left behind for them by the previous teacher of the course—are lacking in some way. One solution is to spend hours trying to redo them. This group proposes another idea: a software tool that would enable instructors to archive materials and as well as their reflections about their course and any ideas for changes for the benefit of future instructors. This would facilitate continuous course improvement by reducing the learning curve for new instructors and preventing mistakes or inefficiencies from being repeated. The System for Course Reflection and Records (SCōRR) would initially be designed for use on the room (course) scale. Ideally, it would become an enhancement to Canvas, and be implemented across campus.

    Categories: Learning Technology

  • The Virtual Reality Online Campus

    In its mission statement, U-M pledges “to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge.” Developing a Massive Open Online Course enhanced by virtual reality/augmented reality technology will help the university meet this goal and position itself as a leader of emerging trends in education access and availability. VR/AR technology, in the form of hand-held, phone-based headsets, offers unique opportunities for the graphic representation of research findings, making otherwise dry material seem more engaging and relatable. This content can be enhanced through room-scale, in-class enrichment exercises. The proposal will also shape the future of the university on a campus-wide scale, by expanding its reach far beyond the geographic boundaries of the institution.

  • U-M Satellite Campus on Mars

    The University of Michigan Bioastronautics and Life Support Systems (BLiSS) project team believes that if human civilization is to succeed in space, then the University of Michigan must be a leader in the endeavor. This project will develop a design for a U-M campus on Mars, as it might appear during the university’s tricentennial in 2117. This design would include but not be limited to the engineering of buildings; suggested scientific research to be conducted on the planet; curriculum considerations; and student life, health and recreation ideas. Input from students, faculty, staff and alumni (especially those employed at leading space agencies and organizations) will be used so that the widest possible worldview can be incorporated into the Mars campus design.

    Categories: Pedagogy Physical Space

  • The UGLoo

    The vision of this project is to build a temporary, heated structure that can be erected over North Campus’ Gerstacker Grove during the winter, transforming the landscape into a usable “hang-out” space and source of mental well-being for students, faculty, and staff. The proposed structure would be a transparent, cushioned shell without conventional supports. This would minimize disturbance to the natural landscape and maximize usable space inside, while also using as little material as possible. During the spring, summer and fall, the structure would be removed and stored, leaving the grove open for its current use.

  • Underground Campus

    In near the future, U-M will face a problem centered around creating more space for further development. This project’s radical idea for the university of the future is to construct new buildings and environments beneath Central Campus. The relationship between existing public spaces (e.g., the Diag) and educational spaces (e.g., Hill Auditorium, Michigan League, Rackham Graduate School) could be mirrored on the lower level, facilitating wayfinding. Additional structures–like a particle collider, which would take up a great deal of room on the surface–could also find a home underground. To facilitate access, an underground autonomous vehicle system could be developed.

    Categories: Mobility Physical Space

  • University of Michigan Mobile Learning Labs

    The campus of the future must break free of its institutional and geographic barriers to branch out into surrounding communities, create experiential learning options for students, engage individuals with limited access to higher education and provide space for interdisciplinary collaboration to solve local problems. The proposed solution is to create pop-up learning labs. To test this idea, this team proposes to develop a pilot pop-up lab in Ann Arbor with the opportunity to operate at three scales. At the room scale, the lab will take the form of interactive gatherings between town and gown. At the building scale, the lab will function as a live-in learning community. At the campus scale, the lab will serve as an interactive, engaging set of satellite spaces around campus.

  • What If…

    What if U-M had never moved out of Detroit? How would the city and university have shaped each other? And what can the university do now to help shape Michigan’s largest metropolis? One pressing need is to address the glut of abandoned homes. From 2014-16, Detroit demolished 11,000 of these buildings: a necessary process that nonetheless created an enormous amount of construction waste and also a surplus of undeveloped land. In this proposal, this project will illustrate how this construction waste be used to enhance the topography of the land and create a continuous green space in the city benefiting animals and humans.

    Categories: Physical Space