November 2016, Issue 4

November 2016, Issue 4

Giving students new options: Using a blended mode and peer review in a large enrollment undergraduate writing course

Amber Messersmith photoLead instructor Amber Messersmith delivers lectures, plans assignments and coordinates a cadre of recitation instructors for BSAD 220 Business Writing, a large enrollment course with 400-500 sophomore students. The course, launched in Fall, 2016, is the foundation for writing across the College of Business Administration curriculum.

Messersmith had several goals for the initial semester of BSAD220. These included: transitioning to a new course format and LMS (Canvas), having clear organization throughout course components, achieving consistency in the facilitation of 13 recitation sections, and developing students’ skills in writing and critical thinking. (Read more...)

Using Tech: Interactive database and map of East Campus plants created by student teams

In Dr. Richard Sutton's HORT212 course, horticulture and landscape architecture students learn to use geo-location, shared Google spreadsheets, and Box to map a database of plants. This fall, the plants were distributed among several groups of students in two different course sections.  Each group located, photographed, and captured the latitude and longitude coordinates of their designated plants. (Read more...)

Canvas is here. Are you ready?

Spring 2017
Use Canvas
or Blackboard
Summer 2017
Use Canvas
or Blackboard
Fall 2017
Canvas is default;
Blackboard by request
Spring 2018
Canvas is default;
Blackboard by request
June 2018
Canvas is only LMS;
Blackboard not available

10 Preparation Tips

  1. Spring 2017 courses are now available in either Blackboard or Canvas
  2. Login to Canvas at:
  3. Both Canvas and Bb will be available via starting January 1, 2017
  4. Get help at
  5. Self-training at
  6. Put an announcement in the LMS you're not using to direct students to the one you are
  7. Direct students to the student-facing Canvas training course:
  8. Consider getting involved in an affinity group in the Canvas Community:
  9. Download and use the Canvas mobile app (iOS, Android)
  10. For training and support contact the Canvas team at or the instructional designer assigned to your college. 

General Purpose Classrooms

In collaboration with Academic Affairs, many General Purpose classrooms received updating beyond our normal technology refresh cycles.  The Bessey Hall 117 and Morrill Hall 141 auditoriums received new teaching stations and fully updated equipment including projectors, microphones, computers, Bluray players, document cameras, and digital (HDMI) laptop connections.  UNL Facilities will be replacing the carpet and seating in both rooms over winter break to completely transform them into attractive, modern teaching spaces.  A total of nine classrooms in the engineering complex received updated technology and other cosmetic improvements.  Six of these rooms were converted to active learning classrooms with moveable tables and chairs and wrap-around whiteboard surfaces. A complete list of the GP classrooms is available at along with information on availability. 

To help you teach effectively, we strive to provide reliable technology in the General Purpose classrooms.  Please take advantage of the Learning Spaces Help Line at (402) 472-5511.  A member of our support staff can be dispatched to your room to help you get up and running as quickly as possible!  

University Libraries

Whether you are teaching a Spring 2017 class for the first time or have taught it for a decade, the University Libraries are here to help you make it the best learning experience possible for your students. Every semester, course reserves must be set up by Libraries staff so please reach out to them at before the end of the Fall semester to place both electronic and print materials on reserve. There are also a variety of instructional opportunities available, from one-shot workshops to fully embedded Subject Specialist Librarians. Please reach out to Toni Anaya, the Libraries’ Instruction Coordinator, at for more information. Speaking of Subject Specialist Librarians, did you know that each of your classes has a Librarian assigned to it to help you with all research and instructional needs? Please go to to find the contact information for your Subject Specialist and reach out! Finally, if you are teaching a fully online course, Andrew Cano, the Virtual Learning Librarian, is eager to provide you with resources for your students to make the most of the Libraries  for their assignments and projects. Please reach out to him at for more information!

Flipped and Blended Instructional Modes
Canvas LMS