David Chesney Receives 2016 Provost's Teaching Innovation Prize

Chesney facilitating a question and answer session during EECS 481

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Dr. David Chesney has been awarded the 2016 Provost's Teaching Innovation Prize, which recognizes faculty who have developed an innovative project, e.g., new uses of instructional technology, new ways to engage students in the learning process, new approaches to student collaboration, or new methods for replicating the advantages of a small course in a large lecture.

For many years, Chesney has suggested that his students think in terms of social good when developing their projects. Most recently, Chesney teamed up with Prof. Sean Ahlquist to teach EECS 481: Software Engineering, where they required their students to take aim at enabling treatment for autism spectrum disorder by creating touch sensitive coloring books, which was featured at UM’s booth at South by Southwest in March, 2016.

Dr. David Chesney on Tactile Art for Children with Autism

In Fall 2014, Dr. Chesney's software engineering class was chosen as one of ten in North America to use IBM's Watson technology to develop applications that address social needs. Watson is IBM's powerful artificial intelligence system that is designed to process language more like a human than a machine, and to interact with people in ways that seem more natural than other systems. Students developed prototype apps and business plans to bring their ideas out to society.

During Fall semester 2013 through Winter semester 2014, his class developed assistive technologies for a young girl named Grace who has cerebral palsy. The students made a variety of systems. Some attempted to give Grace tools to draw, color and practice math. Others helped her answer questions or convey more information about what she needs, wants or likes. And several groups focused on giving Grace more general language tools.

Through his courses, students are able to learn the fundamentals of programming and software systems, while also seeing the social impact of computer science.

Chesney will be honored on May 2 at 9am in the Michigan League Ballroom.

Dr. Chesney received his PhD in Computer Science from Michigan State University. He joined the faculty at Michigan in 1998 and currently teaches ENG 100, Gaming for the Greater Good and EECS 481, Software Engineering.

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The University Record: Five faculty projects honored for innovative teaching methods

Posted: April 27, 2016