Teacher Stories

Teacher Stories

UNL faculty use an array of effective instructional practices. In these articles, we take an in-depth look at a few of them. For more information or how you might use them in your course, contact us.

Seeking to increase writing across the curriculum, Geppert puts Canvas Peer Review to the test

John Geppert, professor of finance and director of assessment for the College of Business Administration (CBA), believes peer review may offer a way to include more writing practice in more courses.

Rethinking your Syllabus: Specifications Grading

Woman with short blond hair and an impish smile
In specifications grading there are no points – just a two-level grading structure that would be categorized as pass/fail, satisfactory/unsatisfactory, or similar wording. The instructor creates a set of specifications for each assignment that define what satisfactory work looks like and then when work is handed in, the instructor uses the rubric to classify the work. There are no points, no partial credit, and no arguing. The student then takes the feedback and has the ability to revise the work based on the feedback provided.

An ingenious, low-tech approach to supporting verbal participation in large classes

Clean-shaven smiling white male in front of shelves full of books.
When it comes to large classes, encouraging participation of all students is challenging. Aaron Bronfman uses a card-based system to keep track of student participation and ensure equal opportunity for being called upon in his large-enrollment PHIL218 Medical Ethics course.

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

Amber Messersmith, a blond woman in a dark jacket.
Messersmith aimed to transition to a new course format and LMS (Canvas), have clear organization throughout course components, achieve consistency in the facilitation of 13 recitation sections, and develop students’ skills in writing and critical thinking.

From Lecture to Active Learning, Chad Brassil's Story

Image of Chad Brassil, a white male with glasses, in his lab.
In 2016, Chad Brassil, Associate Professor in Biological Sciences, received a College Distinguished Teaching Award. But ten years ago, like many other faculty members, he was prepping 8-12 hours for every one hour of class to prepare lecture material for his course.

To address student readiness and success, Mamo flips AGRO366

Martha Mamo: Smiling woman with light brown skin and closely cropped hair
Faced with an enrollment that had jumped from 30 to 95 and seeking a way to address the increased variability in student readiness to take “Soil Nutrient Relationships,” Weaver Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture Martha Mamo launched a redesign of her course.

Active learning strategies combined with an online homework system lead to an 80% success rate in Mathematics

Nathan Wakefield, a dark-haired man wearing a pink shirt.
Since 2012, the UNL Mathematics department has been working to radically redesign its first-year mathematics courses. Current efforts have yielded an 80% success rate, up from a 62-67% rate previously.

Jeyam Subbiah increases student engagement with flipped course design, active learning strategies, and screen capture technology

Smiling Indian man with glasses wearing a pin-striped oxford.
One evening while helping his son with homework, Jeyam Subbiah marveled at how well the narrated screen recordings from Kahn’s Academy helped his son understand how to work problems and thought there should be such a thing for his students