Motivation, Engagement, Innovation, and Evidence: Fall 2017 Teaching & Learning Symposium

Teaching Symposium

The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor is pleased to sponsor the Fall 2017 Teaching and Learning Symposium: Motivation, Engagement, Innovation, and Evidence. This symposium provides an opportunity to engage in conversations about teaching and learning, to hear from experts on emerging issues in improving student outcomes, and to network with others seeking to improve teaching at UNL.

The focus of the Fall 2017 Symposium is on course design strategies that support student learning. The interactive workshop-style breakout sessions following the keynote will concentrate on topics deemed of critical interest by past symposium participants and will highlight major principles noted in the keynote address, while providing immediately applicable strategies.

Monday, October 9, 2017

1:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Check-in begins at 12:30 p.m.

Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center

2021 Transformation Drive

Registration has closed.

Symposium Follow-Up Materials Additional materials specific to each session can be found in the schedule below

Schedule of Events Learn more about the Keynote and Breakout sessions below

1:00 p.m.

Welcome: Judy Walker

Aaron Douglas Professor of Mathematics and Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty and Academic Affairs, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Keynote Speaker: Michael Palmer

Director, Center for Teaching Excellence, Professor and Lecturer in Chemistry, University of Virginia

Course Design and the Broken Escalator

When you’re on an escalator and it breaks down, the options for rescue are typically self-evident. But what do you do when your course “breaks down” and is no longer leading to the types of student engagement and learning you hope for? In this highly participatory session, we’ll explore three principles of effective course design that will help you step off the broken escalator and help your students discover the value of your course, recognize and appreciate the knowledge and skills they will learn, and learn to love the beauty that makes studying your discipline worthwhile.

Keynote follow-up materials

For those of you interested in learning more about dreams for student learning, opportunities for student wonder, and transparency, check out these resources:

Break 2:10 to 2:30 p.m.

2:30 to 4:15 p.m.

Interactive Breakout Sessions

The 90 minute breakout sessions allows for more to dive deeply into specific evidence-based teaching methods and provides opportunities for participation, discussion, and interaction. These interactive workshop-style sessions will concentrate on topics deemed of critical interest by past symposium participants.

Choose one from the following sessions:


Flipping a Classroom to Increase Engagement

Martha Mamo, Interim Associate Department Head, Weaver Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Read the description

Session follow-up materials

Dr. Mamo faced a choice: to increase student engagement without lower her standards for student performance. To do so, she launched a course redesign which led to students interacting with content more frequently and deeply outside of class. She then made use of class time for active learning through case studies and the use of a student response system. In this session, Mamo will share her research findings, her course development process, and lessons learned. Participants will finish this hands-on session with a plan for flipping a week or topic of their own.


Fostering Efficacy-Based Partnerships with Students: Mentoring Students Toward Independence

Manda Williamson, Assistant Professor of Practice, Department of Psychology, and College of Arts & Sciences Teaching Academy Fellow

Read the description

Session follow-up materials

The purpose of this break-out session is to facilitate efficacy-building strategies within the classroom to increase academic risk-taking in students. Empirical support for this practice will be reported from a complete course redesign from a large on-line section of Introduction to Psychology, which reduced D/F/W grades from 44% to 15% after one semester. The course was constructed by following recommendations based on Bandura's Theory of Self-Efficacy, which indicates that students' beliefs about the likelihood of their success more directly affect their success on tasks than their ability. Sources of efficacy building include vicarious experience (or mentoring), verbal persuasion and establishing a personal behavior history of task success. During this break-out session, participants will identify weekly challenges presented in their course, explore the dynamics of collaborative group assignments, and implement efficacy-based strategies to establish an early and consistent rapport with students.

Material Needed:

  1. Access to your course syllabus to see weekly challenges
  2. A list of 2-3 Major Projects
  3. Aspiring Instructors: A syllabus from your previous courses that contained projects that were especially challenging for you; or an idea about projects you likely will complete with your students.

Going forward, it's critical, that if we choose to forge connections with our students, and we choose to mentor with efficacy-facilitating pedagogy, that we begin immediately. Humanity is best perceived when it is conveyed-connect now with students, apologize for any disconnect and partner with them using one or two rapport building practices that we discovered.

Presentation Slides

Video Tutorial: Manda Williamson created lots of videos—welcome video, tutorials, and video lectures-- to guide, engage and motivate students in her large class, PSYC 181, which has about 260 students between five sections. Her goal for the tutorials was to decrease the extrinsic cognitive load in order to help students focus on the germane material. Her goal for the lecture videos was to guide students through difficult material as well as make it come alive for them. Her goal for the welcome video was twofold: to guide students through the course mechanics as well as introduce herself as a live person who greatly cared about their success.

The video tutorial explains the process. Dr. Williamson used TechSmith Relay to create welcome video, tutorials, and content lectures. She shared files in collaborative Box folder. The Instructional Design Technology Specialist, Eyde Olson, deployed links and embedded widgets of PowerPoint presentations and .mp4 video lectures in Canvas courses.


Teaching Hints/Helps (Small Teaching Strategies Based on the Science of Learning)

Moderator: Chad E. Brassil, Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences

Read the description

Session follow-up materials

In this speed presentation session, a series of 5 minute talks will describe “small” teaching tips/hints that UNL faculty have found engaging for students while promoting effective learning and implementable without overhauling their entire approach to teaching. Participants will have the opportunity to consider how they would apply a strategy to their class and will receive handouts outlining the strategy, research, steps in implementation, examples, and contacts.

  1. Using Debates to Help Students Engage in Course Material

    L.J. McElravy, Assistant Professor of Youth Civic Leadership and Graduate Chair of Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

    Looking for a strategy to encourage student critical thinking in the classroom? Setting up a debate actively engages students, while also providing you, the instructor, insight as to what your students are learning.

  2. Multiple-true-false questions help reveal mixed and partial understandings in students

    Brian Couch, Assistant Professor, School of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences

    While most instructors are familiar with the traditional multiple-choice format, a student's selection of one answer provides little information regarding their thinking on other options.  This presentation will discuss how the related multiple-true-false format can provide a richer portrait of student thinking about all the answer choices.

  3. Preparing Lessons on the GO: Graphic Organizers That Is

    Kenneth A. Kiewra, Professor, Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Sciences

    Learning is facilitated when information is displayed visually. Graphic organizers such as hierarchies and matrices display information visually so that relationships among lesson ideas are easily seen and learned. This presentation introduces educators to four types of graphic organizers they can use when designing instruction.

  4. Dare to Go Live! Student Facebook Live Production for Real-World Learning

    Jamie Loizzo, Assistant Professor, Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communications, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

    Facebook Live can be used as a student tool for gaining real-world communication experience. The presenter will discuss a project-based learning (PjBL) course in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communication (AESC) that piloted using Facebook Live for immersing students in mobile video production principles, as well as teaching tips for scaffolding assignments for successful student deployment of live video streaming.

  5. New tricks for teaching old fossils: Encouraging science literacy in introductory level students

    Emily Hammerl, Assistant Professor of Practice, Anthropology, College of Arts & Sciences

    The presentation will discuss ways to incorporate current findings into an entry-level classroom. In this case, using an article reading guide and activity designed in response to an exciting set of fossil remains that were announced midway through the semester of an introductory course.

  6. Modeling to help students make connections

    Joseph Dauer, Assistant Professor, Life Sciences Education, School of Natural Resources, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

    Having students create, revise, and review models can help students to see the many connections between topics. I will describe ways to present the activity, rapid feedback to gather, and getting students to see the value of this activity.

  7. Best practices for using external (YouTube) videos in Canvas

    Jerald Varner, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering

    Rather than just having the link to a video on the content page having an image of the video and a start arrow directly on the content page makes it more likely that students will engage with the video content.

  8. Providing Students Immediate Feedback on Individual and Group Work in Large Classes

    William Wagner, Professor, School of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences

    Providing immediate feedback on student work allows students to learn from their misconceptions while they are still engaged with the material. This can be a challenge in large classes. I will present some simple, low tech methods to provide immediate feedback to students on individual and group work in large classes, including the use of IF-AT forms to provide immediate feedback during exams.

  9. Rubric Construction: Encouraging Students to Prioritize Concepts

    Erin Blankenship, Professor, Statistics, and Associate Dean, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

    This rubric writing activity can be completed by students several times over the semester. It encourages them to think about not only the solution to the problem, but by “dividing up” points they must also consider if some parts of the solution are more important than others. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and can easily be added on to other existing activities/problem sets.

  10. A Rapid Exercise in Resilience Thinking

    Dirac Twidwell, Assistant Professor, Rangeland Ecologist, Agronomy and Horticulture, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

  11. Making Large Classes Feel Small

    Katherine Nashleanas, Lecturer, Geography Program and Fellow, Center for Great Plains Studies, College of Arts and Sciences

    Improving student interaction and building a greater “buy in” to the course for students in large classes can be accomplished by doing one simple thing.

  12. Canvas Course Analytics: Insight Into Student-Course Interactions

    Tareq Daher, Instructional Design and Technology Coordinator, Innovative Instructional Design

    Canvas provides instructors with analytics on how students interact with their courses. Course analytics may provide insight on topics students struggle with, timeliness of assignment submission, and individual student interactions with the course. Learning analytics can assist you in making course design improvements. In this presentation, we will learn how to access your course's analytics, what information is available to you, and how to use that information for quick course design improvements.

Adjourn: 4:10 p.m.


If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Marie Barber at mbarber2@unl.edu, 402-472-4354.