Home » Meet the Innovation Fellows » Justin Fermann

Justin Fermann

Senior Lecturer, Chemistry

May 2016 Innovation Fellow

Fellow Project & Instructional Interests

My Innovate@UMass projects seek to improve student learning in three distinct student populations.

  • In content-heavy Honors General Chemistry, students can focus so intently on the details that they lose sight of the broad context in which chemical principles are used.  To improve student appreciation of the context, I will use social media tools to have students submit observations from outside of class time to motivate discussion about how a course topic gives them a deeper understanding of that observation.
  • In the context-rich GenEd “The Science of Craft,” students have trouble presenting data in ways that help them draw valid conclusions and communicate those to peers.  To focus student effort on the interpretation rather then the presentation of data, I will introduce the use of simple on-line data visualization tools to remove the technical barrier to using data like a scientist.
  • In the 4-year iCons program, students work and think deeply in each course but have difficulty connecting their progress from year to year, building on work in previous courses.  To better integrate the sequential courses in the iCons program, I will introduce the use of e-Portfolios through the blogs@umass facility to allow students to catalogue their work and growth through the program and preserve the best examples to build upon in later courses.