The Shultz group uses data science methods in two primary ways 1) to investigate student placement in introductory chemistry courses and 2) to analyze student texts to provide instructors actionable intelligence about student learning. Using regression discontinuity we investigated the impact of taking general chemistry prior to organic chemistry on student performance and persistence in later chemistry courses and found that students who took general chemistry first benefitted by 1/4 of a letter grade but were no more likely to persist. A continued investigation using survey and interview methods indicated that this was related to academic skills rather than content preparation. Through the MWrite project we have collected a large corpus of student texts and are developing automated text analysis methods to glean information about student learning across disciplines, with specific focus on scientific reasoning.
The Schloss lab is broadly interested in beneficial and pathogenic host-microbiome interactions with the goal of improving our understanding of how the microbiome can be used to reach translational outcomes in the prevention, detection, and treatment of colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, and Clostridium difficile infection. To address these questions, we test traditional ecological theory in the microbial context using a systems biology approach. Specifically, the laboratory specializes in using studies involving human subjects and animal models to understand how biological diversity affects community function using a variety of culture-independent genomics techniques including sequencing 16S rRNA gene fragments, metagenomics, and metatranscriptomics. In addition, they use metabolomics to understand the functional role of the gut microbiota in states of health and disease. To support these efforts, they develop and apply bioinformatic tools to facilitate their analysis. Most notable is the development of the mothur software package (https://www.mothur.org), which is one of the most widely used tools for analyzing microbiome data and has been cited more than 7,300 times since it was initially published in 2009. The Schloss lab deftly merges the ability to collect data to answer important biological questions using cutting edge wet-lab techniques and computational tools to synthesize these data to answer their biological questions.
Given the explosion in microbiome research over the past 15 years, the Schloss lab has also stood at the center of a major effort to train interdisciplinary scientists in applying computational tools to study complex biological systems. These efforts have centered around developing reproducible research skills and applying modern data visualization techniques. An outgrowth of these efforts at the University of Michigan has been the institutionalization of The Carpentries organization on campus (https://carpentries.org), which specializes in peer-to-peer instruction of programming tools and techniques to foster better reproducibility and build a community of practitioners.
S. Sriram, PhD, is Associate Professor of Marketing in the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Ann Arbor.
Prof. Sriram’s research interests are in the areas of brand and product portfolio management, multi-sided platforms, healthcare policy, and online education. His research uses state of the art econometric methods to answer important managerial and policy-relevant questions. He has studied topics such as measuring and tracking brand equity and optimal allocation of resources to maintain long-term brand profitability, cannibalization, consumer adoption of technology products, and strategies for multi-sided platforms. Substantively, his research has spanned several industries including consumer packaged goods, technology products and services, retailing, news media, the interface of healthcare and marketing, and MOOCs.
My interests are in the areas of labor economics, program evaluation, and the economics of education. Currently my research focuses on college student debt accumulation and the subsequent risk of default, the effect of tuition subsidies on college attendance, the influence of family wealth on college attendance and completion, the effect of financial aid packages on college attendance, completion and subsequent labor market earnings, the influence of education on job displacement and subsequent earnings, the impact of unemployment insurance rules on unemployment durations and re-employment wages, and the determinants and consequences of repeat use of the unemployment insurance system.
Dr. Aebersold’s professional and academic career is focused on advancing the science of learning applied in simulation to align clinician and student practice behaviors with research evidence to improve learner and health outcomes. She focuses her scholarship in both high fidelity and virtual reality simulation and is a national leader and expert in simulation. Her scholarship has culminated in developing the Simulation Model to Improve Learner and Health Outcomes (SMILHO).
Current Research Grants and Programs:
- Closing the loop: new data tools for measuring change in the quality for nursing education and the value of new approaches to instruction (PI) University of Michigan School of Nursing.
- Interactive anatomy-augmented virtual simulation training (PI with Voepel-Lewis) Archie MD Award Number 045889
Profile: Building a Better Nurse
By Dan Meisler
Communications Manager, ARC
Michelle Aebersold has spent her career trying to “build a better nurse,” through training development, virtual clinical environments, and patient simulations.
As Director of Simulation and Educational Innovation at the U-M School of Nursing, Aebersold is focused on creating realistic learning environments for nursing students.
But it wasn’t until relatively recently that she realized she had an under-utilized but powerful tool at her disposal — data.
For years, Aebersold has been collecting data on how student performance is affected by participation in various simulations, but it wasn’t until speaking to faculty from the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) that she realized the potential insights all of her historical datasets might have hidden inside.
“We’re trying to pull them all together to create a common thread, so that as we collect data on our students, we can follow them to say how they progressed. How many simulations and what type of simulations did they get and how did that impact their learning?” Aebersold said. “We hit students with a lot of simulations while they’re in school, but we don’t necessarily know which ones are better for certain things.”
Now, as MIDAS core faculty member, Aebersold will be able to easily collaborate with other MIDAS researchers to refine and analyze her data.
Eventually, she said, she’d like to be able to track nursing students as they enter their first jobs to see how their training translates to real-world performance. And a further goal for Aebersold is to help the practice of nursing education become similar to the training world-class athletes receive, in which, for example, subjects review videos of their performance to identify what works and what doesn’t.
“We’re going to introduce some things, like what can we do with virtual simulations, or what can we do with eye-tracking,” she said. “We really want to try to dive deeper, by being able to put all this information together using a lot of these data science methods.”
Aebersold has been at U-M since the mid-1980s, serving in a variety of clinical and administrative roles. She earned a Ph.D in Nursing from the University in 2008, and served as Director of the Clinical Learning Center in the School of Nursing for eight years thereafter. Since 2016, she’s been Director of Simulation and Educational Innovation.
One of Aebersold’s recent projects, “Closing the Loop: New Data Tools for measuring Changes in the Quality of Nursing Education,” applies modern data-science tools to help understand the correlation between traditional tests and student skills and competence when they enter the workforce, and whether simulations coupled with debriefing sessions translate into improvements in skills and in test outcomes.
Another potential project will focus on comparing the eye movements of novice nurses to expert nurses. Aebersold said initial findings have shown that nurses with more experience tend to focus their eyes on one thing for longer periods of time than those with less.
She said she’s enlisting help on that work from professors in the School of Information at U-M.
“By really understanding the difference between how experts do things and novices do things, you can help develop simulations that help novices get better,” Aebersold said.
She credits her father with starting her on the path to becoming a nurse; he was a police officer, and would sometimes take her to the local emergency room.
“I loved the fast pace,” she recalled, and the chance to have a real, positive impact on people’s lives.
After earning a nursing degree from Madonna University, she became a critical care nurse. She then gravitated toward supervision and administration, gaining a masters in business administration, also from Madonna University. She earned her Ph.D. from U-M while working as a nurse manager at the U-M health System.
She said all the technology, data, and innovative modes of study she’s brought together are all in service of one goal.
“For me, it all comes down to how can we make the patient care environment safer for our patients,” she said.
Kai S. Cortina, PhD, is Professor of Psychology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Prof. Cortina’s major research revolves around the understanding of children’s and adolescents’ pathways into adulthood and the role of the educational system in this process. The academic and psycho-social development is analyzed from a life-span perspective exclusively analyzing longitudinal data over longer periods of time (e.g., from middle school to young adulthood). The hierarchical structure of the school system (student/classroom/school/district/state/nations) requires the use of statistical tools that can handle these kind of nested data.
Dr. Suzuki is a behavioral scientist and has major research interests in examining and intervening mediational social determinants factors of health behaviors and health outcomes across lifespan. She analyzes the National Health Interview Survey, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey as well as the Flint regional medical records to understand the factors associating with poor health outcomes among people with disabilities including children and aging.
My research spans security, privacy, and optimization of data collection particularly as applied to the Smart Grid, an augmented and enhanced paradigm for the conventional power grid. I am particularly interested in optimization approaches that take a notion of security and/or privacy into the modeling explicitly. At the intersection of the Intelligent Transportation Systems, Smart Grid, and Smart Cities, I am interested in data privacy and energy usage in smart parking lots. Protection of data and availability, especially under assault through a Denial-of-Service attacks, represents another dimension of my area of research interests. I am working on developing data privacy-aware bidding applications for the Smart Grid Demand Response systems without relying on trusted third parties. Finally, I am interested in educational and pedagogical research about teaching computer science, Smart Grid, cyber security, and data privacy.
Dr. Teasley’s research has focused on issues of collaboration and learning, looking specifically at how sociotechnical systems can be used to support effective collaborative processes and successful learning outcomes. As Director of the LED lab, she leads learning analytics-based research to investigate how instructional technologies and digital media are used to innovate teaching, learning, and collaboration. The LED Lab is committed to providing a significant contribution to scholarship about learning at Michigan and in the broader field as well, by building an empirical evidentiary base for the design and support of technology rich learning environments.