Teaching Strategies and Techniques

Teaching Strategies and Techniques resources.

Small Things, Big Impact: Setting the Stage for the Semester

Assistant Professor Seth Polsley holds class outdoors of the Kauffman Academic Residential Center.

May 3 | Learn pedagogical strategies and Canvas design features which can be implemented by instructors before and during the first week of class.

Supporting International Students’ Academic Success Spring 2024

Herbie Husker and UNL international students fly the flags of various countries.

Feb. 6, Mar. 5, Apr. 2 | Learn how instructors can best utilize the strengths of international students and help them be successful in the classroom.

Becoming a Reflective Teacher

As an instructor, you never teach the exact same class twice. Different students bring different interests, values, expectations, and abilities that require you to adjust what you do and how you do it. Over time, you also adjust as you learn more about what makes for an effective and engaging educational experience. Adding an intentional reflective component to the changes you make can be a powerful way of helping you understand the impact of what you do in the classroom.

2024 UNL Playposium

Higher education is rapidly evolving, and the incorporation of gamification and play in the college classroom has emerged as an exciting and effective approach to enhance student engagement, motivation, and learning outcomes.

Learning Analytics: Course Insights

ODI at the Union Plaza with activities, treats, and to learn more about the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Mar 8 | Join the Learning Analytics: Course Insights workshop for an opportunity to dive into the data provided in the Course Insights dashboards to better identify and understand equity gaps in your courses. A brief, asynchronous pre-workshop module will be offered in Bridge that covers learning analytics and Course Insights.

Sarah Rose Cavanagh: Hope in a Time of Monsters

March 1, 2024

Dr. Sarah Rose Cavanagh, author of the book Mind Over Monsters: Supporting Youth Mental Health With Compassionate Challenge spoke with a group of instructors as part of the CASNR Teaching & Learning Improvement Council's Spring Symposium, co-sponsored by the Center for Transformative Teaching. Below you can view the recording of her session and explore the supplemental materials that were shared.

Alternative Grading: Focus on Competencies

Isabel Safarik teaches asection of Math 106, Calculus 1.

Feb. 26 | Explore the possibilities of a competency-based grading system with examples Anna Hiatt.

Linguistic Justice and You

Honor’s Program learning assistant story in Knoll Residence Hall.

Feb. 13, 27 | Learn about Linguistic Justice and how you can use it in your classes to support diverse learners.

Learning Communities

Philosophies, strategies, and technologies involved in teaching & learning can all evolve over time. We love to share well-established findings through workshops, but sometimes a space to discuss and interrogate ideas without the pressure of needing to already have the answers can provide a fresh perspective on the challenges of teaching. Instructor learning communities provide an avenue to explore and discuss these timely topics.

Designing Effective Discussions about Diversity

These strategies help conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion be more effective.

Supporting International Students’ Academic Success Fall 2023

Herbie Husker and UNL international students fly the flags of various countries.

Learn how instructors can best utilize the strengths of international students and help them be successful in the classroom.

Flexibility: What to consider in late work policies

Late work policies depend on factors such as the discipline, course level, enrollment size, and instructor educational philosophy.

Use What-Why-How Prompts to Increase Assignment Clarity

Creating assignments that clearly convey what students should do, why they should do it, and how they should do it improves the quality of work and reduces student questions.

At Scale: Use Engaging Activities

In the stereotypical high-enrollment class, one finds disengaged, bored, unmotivated students who feel lost in a crowd. This is because it is more difficult to create connections with students, and to keep them engaged, in this type of setting. But it is by no means impossible. Indeed, some high-enrollment classrooms are far more lively and engaged than a smaller class could ever be. But that is not the default experience - instructors plan carefully to create that type of experience.

At Scale: Support Students and Treat them with Respect

Because of the high student-to-instructor ratio, it is easy for students in large courses to feel under-valued. This is not always just a perception: very often, the instructor will not, in fact, know a given student's name or notice if the student exhibits signs of struggling. Likewise, because the students often do not get to know the instructor, it is easy for them to dismiss the instructor as harsh or uncaring.

At Scale: Create Practical and Effective Assessments

Common assessment and feedback challenges faced in large-enrollment classrooms include the following:

At Scale: Use Technology Intentionally

Using new, or different technologies in your class may bring a learning curve for you and your students, the potential for additional financial costs, and a variety of other challenges. However, when selected with care and purpose and implemented throughtfully, technology can help you with the heavy lifting involved with teaching a large group of students; it might help get students more engaged with lessons; and it might help you provide better support to students who need it.

At Scale: Inclusive Practices and Equitable Policies

Despite the importance of putting equitable policies in place, it is not always easy. For example, if it is seen as too difficult logistically to offer make-up exams for a large class of students, then one might implement a policy of no make-up exams: show for the scheduled exam or take a zero. Even a more moderate policy of requiring a doctor's note before one may make up a high-stakes exam, is inequitable because not all problems preventing students from attending class come with a doctor's note.

At Scale: Leverage Teaching Support

Sometimes things you want to do for pedagogical reasons can be infeasible for practical ones - very often because you cannot supply the amount of labor that would be required to complete the corresponding work. Consider one-on-one meetings. These can be a great way to get to know your students, to help them feel connected and supported, and to provide assistance tailored to exactly what each student needs.

At Scale: Organize Content Well

Over the course of a full semester, the quantity of course materials students must navigate is significant and students often struggle to find important information, even when it seems obvious to their instructor. In fact, even instructors familiar with their naming and organizing conventions lose track of where things are from time to time.

Peer Review of Teaching

In academia, peer review is the standard for evaluating research to ensure that only high-quality research is published. Similarly, instructors give students feedback in classes because they recognize the value of students receiving feedback from an expert in the field to foster learning and skill development. With appropriate structure and intentionality, peer review of teaching allows instructors to benefit from expert feedback in the same way as students and researchers.

Timely Tools for Student Success

Key ways to support student success at points of time during the term.

CTT-Recommended Peer Observation Process

The CTT recommends using a peer observation process to expand reviews of one's teaching beyond student course evaluations.

Experiential Education

Experiential learning encompasses a variety of activities to engage students with course content.

Reviewing and Comparing Lecture Notes

When students are given time to review and compare notes, students make significant learning gains by constructing context through collaboration.

Practice/Application Problems

Practice or application problems can help students understand and retain information on a topic longer than passively listening to a lecture.

Lecture Reaction

Lecture reaction is a strategy used to elicit deeper learning on a topic just covered in a lecture and is divided into four sections.

Backchannel Discussion

A backchannel discussion includes any conversation between students or between the students and instructor that are not the primary lecture.

Illustrative Quotations

Students are tasked with finding one or more quotes from a text or similar material that supports a specific claim about the reading.

Muddiest Point

Muddiest Point is a technique used to determine which topic is the most unclear to students at the end of a presentation or lecture. The students are usually given the prompt: “What aspect of the lecture material is still unclear or confusing?”.

Pause Principle

A simple method of making traditional lectures into more efficient learning opportunities by incorporating well timed pauses in the lecture.

Wait Time

Wait time is characterized by short pauses (10-30 seconds) when asking students to respond to questions or similar prompts given by the instructor.


Think-Pair-Share strategy allows students time to think about a topic, discuss their ideas with the person next to them, and share with the class.

Response technology (Clicker Questions)

Classroom response systems are designed to have students use specific devices to send responses to questions posed by the instructor during a lecture.

Interactive Lecture Demonstrations using PODS

Interactive lecture demonstrations incorporate student participation in the demonstration using the active learning technique PODS.

Interactive Lecture: Small Changes for Improved Engagement and Learning

Educational research has shown that students retain more course content when active learning techniques are correctly implemented in college courses.

Place-Based Learning and Outdoor Experiences

Place-based learning is an instructional approach that focuses on developing students’ sense of place and learning through exploring their environment.

Faculty to receive grant funding through CTT

Over a dozen faculty members are recent recipients of Teaching Grants which are offered to create transformative learning experiences that engage students.

Engaging Environmental Justice through Art Objects

8-16-21 This interactive workshop invites faculty to broaden class discussion strategies by looking at ecology and sustainability through the lens of art.

Using creativity and humor to enhance learning

Injecting creativity into education has been a persistent challenge but Justine LaViolette found that a puppet can teach entomology.

Aspirational Teaching: Fostering Co-Creation in Our Classrooms

5-10-21 This workshop gave instructors examples of different approaches for implementing co-creation within their classrooms.

Scaffold final projects to improve learning

Learned from featured instructor Leah Sandall about how to use the scaffolding technique in teaching

Developing an Undergraduate Learning Assistant Program

3-29-21 Participants learned how to establish and manage an undergraduate teaching assistant program to support the needs of their course or program.

Spring 2021 Teaching and Learning Symposium

Keynote Bryan Dewsbury discussed the unassailable connection between inclusive teaching practices and education as a general practice of freedom.

Implementing Student Choice within an Assignment

Potential benefits of offering student choice include enhancing student engagement and encouraging students to approach assignments as a process of discovery.

How to Help Your First-Generation Students Succeed

First-generation students often lack the parental guidance and prior knowledge about how to succeed in college that many of their peers enjoy.

10/11 News features UNL teaching innovation

Instructors at the university got an idea of what the fall semester may look like as many courses will be taught in a flexible hybrid format

Brassil uses new methods and tools for teaching students online

Chad Brassil is rising to the occasion when it comes to remote instruction with a little help from YouTube, the CTT and a learning glass.

Give Light Board a Try

The Learning and Emerging Technologies team designed and built a Light Board to make a face-to-face presentation platform to use for recordings and lectures

ChatGPT: a game changer for managing discussions

In this article, I share how ChatGPT helps me stay on top of lively discussions, respond quickly to problematic posts, and personalize feedback.