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U-M pioneers hybrid online, on-campus class in survey methods

ANN ARBOR—This June, the University of Michigan Summer Institute in Survey Research Techniques will offer an innovative class combining online education with traditional classroom instruction.

The class—Introduction to Survey Methodology—is designed for busy professionals and students who cannot spend eight weeks in Ann Arbor but need to develop practical competence in the thriving field of survey research.

"We're excited about this new offering," said Jim Lepkowski, director of the Summer Institute, which is the world's oldest and largest teaching program in survey methods.

The program has been offered every summer since 1948 by the U-M Survey Research Center, part of the U-M Institute for Social Research.

"This course combines the best of face-to-face and online instruction," said instructor Palmer Morrel-Samuels, who proposed the new format as a way of expanding the reach of the introductory course and addressing some of the issues surrounding MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in higher education.

According to Lepkowski, the Summer Institute has long been at the forefront of remote learning. Each summer, the institute partners with the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland to share courses electronically at both locations using simultaneous video transmission between the two campuses.

The new hybrid class will use the same web technology to offer live, online course participation. Students have the option of registering either for traditional in-classroom instruction or for a hybrid experience in which they will travel to Ann Arbor for three days at the beginning and end of the course, and participate remotely through an interactive online webinar in between.

The online format—called Optimized Web-based Learning, or OWL—has two components to strengthen the connection between students, peers and instructor: students will be able to participate in online office hours with the instructor and other interested students, and they will have the option of participating asynchronously if their work schedules make it impossible to participate during the live two-hour lectures and lab sessions.

"Our aim is to provide the convenience and immediacy of online distance learning along with the personal relationship that makes effective teaching so rewarding for students and teachers alike," Morrel-Samuels said.

For information about the class, including how to register, see http://si.isr.umich.edu

 

Established in 1949, the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research is the world's largest academic social science survey and research organization, and a world leader in developing and applying social science methodology, and in educating researchers and students from around the world. ISR conducts some of the most widely cited studies in the nation, including the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, the American National Election Studies, the Monitoring the Future Study, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the Health and Retirement Study, the Columbia County Longitudinal Study and the National Survey of Black Americans. ISR researchers also collaborate with social scientists in more than 60 nations on the World Values Surveys and other projects, and the institute has established formal ties with universities in Poland, China and South Africa. ISR is also home to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, the world's largest digital social science data archive. For more information, visit the ISR website at www.isr.umich.edu.