Large Courses

Using Gradescope to Give Detailed Feedback on Assignments

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies/eTech Did you notice the “Gradescope” option under the “Build Content” option in your Blackboard courses in Fall 2020? Perhaps you also noticed the Gradescope resources posted by the Center for Instructional Technology? Thanks to the support of the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and

Transition Multiple-Choice Exams Online: A Large-Enrollment Solution

by Diana Leung, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry In 2020 the changes brought about by COVID-19 forced me to transition my normally face-to-face classes to an online format. This fall semester I teach two sections of a freshman Introductory Chemistry class (CH 104), each with about ~200 students, and an Organic Chemistry II (CH 232)

Electronic Whiteboard Options for Online Lectures: iPad & Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

by Diana Leung, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The University of Alabama. After the need for social distancing due to COVID-19, I had to transition my face to face classes to an online format. My teaching style relies crucially on the use

Electronic Whiteboard Alternatives in Large Lecture Halls

by Diana Leung, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry The Large Classroom Challenge Since chemistry is a visual subject, where structures must be drawn out, problems worked through, and equations presented, the use of handwritten notes is critical. During my time in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The University of Alabama, I have taught

Speed ∝ Quality ∝ Cost – Can Any Ed-Tech Idea Avoid the Iron Triangle?

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies Learning might be the wicked problem in higher education. It’s inescapable. So when a headline like “Can Artificial Intelligence Make Grading Fairer and Faster?” is published in a leading ed-tech publication, people notice. The article was about a platform called Gradescope, whose tagline is “Grade Faster. Teach better.”

Scan and Deliver! Personalized Feedback in Large Classes

by Marco Bonizzoni and Diana Leung, Department of Chemistry Organic chemistry is a surprisingly visual discipline. Molecules, the fundamental entities of chemistry, exist as 3D objects whose shapes often profoundly influence their properties, so students must learn the visual language of the discipline, which attempts to convey the nature of these three-dimensional objects through two-dimensional drawings.

This Professor Likes CATs (classroom assessment techniques)

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies I am going to write about measuring teaching effectiveness. There is a lot of buzz about metrics in higher education media, but not until the mind-meld app is released for iOS will teachers know what their students are thinking. One of the challenges of teaching a large-enrollment course is to

Students’ Opinions Instruction are In! Now What?

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies Sometimes there is a considerable difference between a professor’s evaluation of a course and those of the students. The divergence can work in either direction. Perhaps a “terrible” experience for the professor was “absolutely brilliant” for the students. Let’s be honest, however: the opposite situation is difficult news.

Visual Thinking in Organic Chemistry

Instructor: Marco Bonizzoni Course: Organic Chemistry (CH 231 & 232) Audience: Undergraduates Organic chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of chemicals containing carbon as the key element. These compounds are both the basis of all life on earth (we are all made of organic compounds) and a large focus of the chemical

Something’s in the Way: Struggling Students in Large Courses

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies Since it is almost Thanksgiving, many students will be leaving UA for home, where they will inevitably be asked, “So, how are things going?” Here is a short story about a student who dropped by my office this term: Last week, a distraught student stopped by my office