Innovation, Engagement, and Evidence: Teaching and Learning at UNL

Teaching Symposium

Student learning is at the core of UNL’s land-grant mission. And faculty are at the heart of realizing that mission through impacting the lives of students across the university.

In celebration of the faculty’s commitment to students and to facilitate conversations about teaching and learning, Academic Affairs and the Peer Review of Teaching Project offer the 2015 Teaching and Learning Symposium entitled, Innovation, Engagement and Evidence. Registration for the event has closed.

Friday, February 13, 2015

1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Nebraska Innovation Campus

Featuring Instructional Expertise from the The Office of Online and Distance Education, ARISE, and Peer Review of Teaching

Schedule of Events

Learn more about the keynote, breakout sessions, and closing reception below.
During the breakout sessions, choose between:

broad issues
course design

teaching practices in specific types
of courses

innovation in technology and engagement

in the

1:00 p.m.

Keynote Speaker: Kenneth G. Brown

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Program of Henry B. Tippie College of Business
Professor of Management and Organizations
Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

What and How Should I Teach? Using Evidence to Improve Teaching Practices

When deciding how to teach a course, from picking content and activities to designing assessments, faculty are bombarded with options from colleagues, publishers, and the media. Sometimes it feels that the only sensible choice is to stick with the status quo. In this talk, Dr. Ken Brown will discuss his experiences pushing against the status quo while teaching a variety of courses, large and small. He will explain key pieces of evidence useful for making those big decisions about what and how to teach.

Download Dr. Brown's Bio

Kenneth Brown

Coffee break

2:10 p.m.

Breakout Interactive Workshops I

Choose one from the following sessions:

Assessing and Documenting Student Learning in the Peer Review of Teaching Project

Jody Koenig Kellas,
Associate Professor, Communication Studies
Co-Leader, Peer Review of Teaching Project

Jordan Soliz,
Associate Professor, Communication Studies
Co-Leader, Peer Review of Teaching Project

Read the description

Few of us are systematically taught to teach or evaluate student learning. The Peer Review of Teaching Project (PRTP) is a faculty-led program that provides instructors with a structured and practical model that combines inquiry into the intellectual work of a course, careful investigation of student understanding and performance, and faculty reflection on teaching effectiveness. This interactive workshop will engage faculty in the principles of course design, documenting student learning, and making the case for teaching effectiveness to internal and external audiences. This workshop will be useful for those interested in participating in PRTP in the future as well as for those who want to learn more but cannot commit to the year-long project.

Student learning and engagement in large lecture classes

Deb Hope,
Professor, Psychology

Joe Dauer,
Assistant Professor, Life Sciences Education

Read the description

Whether you are teaching 40 students or 250 students, having a game plan for dealing with the additional workload of a large classroom will help make the teaching experience a success. We will highlight methods from our experiences for teaching to a large class and managing student work that will allow you to more comfortably adapt to this new scenario. You will be an active participant in this workshop as we demonstrate how we deal with inflow/outflow and grading of written work, exams, and assignments. We will show how we use group work to effectively shrink the classroom and how we use teaching assistants to facilitate group work and grading. We will discuss ways to improve student retention at UNL as well as to help improve attendance and participation in larger classes where it can be too easy to be anonymous.

Tech4Learning: Algorithmic group creation, managing peer review of teamwork, and maximizing video content

Sydney Brown,
Blended Learning Coordinator, Office of Online and Distance Education

Read the description

This presentation will introduce you to four free applications you and your students can use to facilitate teamwork, manage feedback and peer review interactions, and make the most of video content. Key instructional problems addressed include the following:

  • Creating and managing teams and teamwork in any sized class
  • Video content challenges such as note taking, asynchronous discussion, and accountability
  • How to simply gauge students comprehension and understanding in large enrollment courses
  • Simplifying the logistics of asynchronous collaboration for students and faculty

Integrating Diversity into Course Design

Joy Castro,
Director of Ethnic Studies, Professor of English and Ethnic Studies, and Affiliate of Women's and Gender Studies

Stacey Waite,
Assistant Professor of English and Affiliate of Women's and Gender Studies

Read the description

Courses featuring inclusion and diversity (race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, and so on) result in higher overall learning outcomes for a broader population of students. It's simple: when students feel welcomed and seen, they do better. But redesigning courses to achieve these outcomes can be challenging, involving not only the re-envisioning of course content but also the deployment of new teaching techniques. This 50-minute discussion and workshop, led by two UNL faculty members who specialize in inclusion and diversity issues, will demonstrate concrete strategies for rethinking your courses from the perspective of diversity as excellence.

Please bring a printed copy of the syllabus from one of your favorite courses to teach.

Coffee break

3:10 p.m.

Breakout Interactive Workshops II

Choose one from the following sessions:

Interactive Engagement and Research-Based Instructional Strategies for STEM Courses

Leilani Arthurs,
Assistant Professor, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

Read the description

There is growing research-based evidence that can inform best teaching practice in STEM courses at the college level. This research comes out of cognitive science and educational psychology labs, research on brain function and development, and research in university classrooms. A key commonality in these research findings is the importance of interactive engagement. The concept of interactive engagement is central to research-based instructional strategies. During this workshop, we will define what exactly interactive engagement is and discuss the reasons why it has strong positive impacts on student learning. Furthermore, we will deconstruct the key features of interactive engagement and discuss how each feature is critical for implementing research-based instructional strategies with fidelity. In the process, a number of research-based instructional strategies will be introduced and discussed. While these strategies were developed and researched in the context of college-level STEM courses, some of these strategies likely have transferability to non-STEM courses.

Creating community: Engaging the first-year student

Deepak Keshwani,
Assistant Professor, Biological Systems Engineering

Heather Stalling,
Director, First Year Experience and Transition Programs

Read the description

First-year college students face a wide-range of challenges that are academic, co-curricular, social, economic, etc. Institutions like UNL offer a wide range of targeted first-year programs to help students address these challenges such as first year seminars, learning communities, and early outreach advising initiatives. What is the role of faculty who teach first-year students? This workshop will address this question. Participants will discuss current literature on factors impacting first-year student success and identify strategies for engaging with first-year students in the classroom.

Service learning and civic engagement

Nancy Mitchell,
Director of Undergraduate Education

Linda Moody,
Director, Service Learning

Read the description

Interested in connecting your curriculum and students to real world issues while solving community identified unmet needs? This interactive session will showcase faculty and student work in service-learning as well as the latest trends in research connected to this high impact practice. Engage with faculty, students and Center for Civic Engagement staff on how to create or modify a course to strengthen community-based learning while increasing critical thinking, reflection, and integrative learning. Participants will have time to brainstorm how they might modify or create a service-learning course and the resources available on campus to assist and support in this effort.

Relocating Marginalized Narratives from the Periphery to the Center: Talking About Diversity in the Classroom

Lory Dance,
Associate Professor, Sociology/Ethnic Studies

Jeannette Jones,
Associate Professor, History/Ethnic Studies

Patrick Jones,
Associate Professor, History/Ethnic Studies

Read the description

In this session, the presenters will draw on their classroom experience to share anecdotes, insights, practical approaches, and best practices to teaching challenging and controversial subjects related to diversity in the classroom. How do we effectively bring previously marginalized narratives and voices to the center of classroom exploration, discussion, debate and learning? How do we ensure an inclusive classroom environment where all students feel empowered to participate and have a voice in the learning process? What practical approaches and best practices might teachers employ to best enable rich and dynamic classroom exchange on controversial topics like race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality? How do we support the work of other colleagues who are also engaged in the inclusivity and diversity?

4:00 p.m.

Poster Session

Wine and Cheese Reception

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Jody Kellas, associate professor of communication studies, Academic Affairs ALP fellow and Peer Review of Teaching Project co-leader at, 402-472-3751.