Faculty-led Inquiry into Reflective and Scholarly Teaching (FIRST)


Date of this Version


Document Type



Frengs, Julia. "FREN 302: Representative Authors II-A Peer Review of Teaching Benchmark Portfolio" (2018). UNL Faculty Portfolios. 112. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/prtunl/112


This portfolio traces the process of the design, teaching methods, and assessment tools I used in my first time teaching a survey of French literature course, FREN 302, or “Representative Authors II.” The primary goal of the course is to introduce students to “masterpieces” of French literature spanning from the Middle Ages to the present. The course is certified for the ACE 5 outcome, which emphasizes the use of analysis and interpretation. My own principal objective for the course, developing student autonomy and critical thinking skills, which intersects with this ACE 5 outcome, is the main focus of this study. Throughout the semester, I attempted to develop these skills through scaffolded activities such as in-class close-readings and small group discussions, short papers with a peer-reviewing element designed to teach students the value of incorporating feedback, and Canvas discussion board participation. This portfolio documents the effectiveness of these teaching methods and evaluates student learning through both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The difficult question I pose at the outset is: what kinds of teaching methods and activities encourage high-level critical engagement and independent thinking? While I might not come to any concrete conclusions, this process did show that there are activities that build upon one another in ways that do facilitate higher-level engagement and increased student autonomy. The process also helped me to reflect upon how I can improve these activities and teaching methods to maximize their potential to contribute to student learning in future iterations of the course.