Tim McKay


Fields of Study: Data Science Learning Analytics Physics and Astronomy Education Observational Cosmology Galaxy Clusters I am currently an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Physics, Astronomy, and Education at the University of Michigan. I am also the Director of the Honors Program within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. My scientific research focuses on fundamental questions of observational astrophysics and cosmology. What is the nature and distribution of dark and luminous matter in the Universe? What processes drive the formation and evolution of structure? How has the global expansion of the universe changed with time? We explore these questions through several lines of research, but especially through observations of galaxy clusters. In addition to astrophysics research, I am heavily engaged in the teaching of physics and I maintain a parallel group of students involved in education activities. Since 2006, I have been teaching and developing a new "Physics for the Life Sciences" introductory sequence (Physics 135 and 235). I am writing a textbook for this course, which is expected to be published by Pearson. In 2014, I helped launch the NSF funded REBUILD project, a collaboration of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, and Astronomy aimed at increasing the use of evidence-based methods in foundational STEM education. You can read more about REBUILD at this website: https://rebuild.lsa.umich.edu/ More recently, we have begun a project to adapt expert coaching software developed in the UM School of Public Health for physics education. We are developing a new tool called, ECoach, which will provide individualized coaching to students taking introductory physics courses and advice which is aware of each student's individual background, goals, and current standing in the course. This project is supported by a Next Generation Learning Challenge grant from EDUCAUSE. You can read about it in a recent PBS Newshour article here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/can-just-time-advice-keep-college-students-track/ I also organize a biweekly seminar series called SLAM (Symposium on Learning Analytics at Michigan) which you can read about here: http://crlt.umich.edu/slam. I am also the Chair of the University of Michigan Provost's Learning Analytics Task Force, a group of faculty working to ensure that Michigan makes the best possible use of data in support of teaching and learning at Michigan. Some of the activities of LATF are described at https://sites.google.com/a/umich.edu/um-latf/. During the summer of 2015, I worked with Michigan's Office of Digital Education and Innovation to create our Digital Innovation Greenhouse, an on-campus Ed-Tech accelerator designed to grow digital engagement tools invented on campus from innovations to infrastructure. Read more about DIG here: http://digitaleducation.umich.edu/about/dig-digital-innovation-greenhouse/

EDUCAUSE Publications

  • Architecting for Learning Analytics: Innovating for Sustainable Impact
    • Article

    In light of the significant investments that some colleges and universities are making in their analytics infrastructures, how can an institution architect itself to tackle substantial, strategically important teaching and learning challenges? How can an institution innovate learning analytics for sustainable impact?

EDUCAUSE Presentations