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


Date of this Version


Document Type



Corman, Jessica. "NRES/WATS/BIO 459/859: Limnology" (2020). UNL Faculty Portfolios, 158. digitalcommons.unl.edu/prtunl/158.


Limnology (NRES/BIO/WATS 459/859) is an upper-division course taken primarily by Fisheries and Wildlife and Water Science majors in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Although the course enrollment is open to graduate students, none were enrolled in the year in which this portfolio was written. Learning outcomes focus on understanding the interdisciplinarity of limnological sciences, assessing anthropogenic impacts on lake ecosystems, learning basic limnological field techniques, and investigating and critically evaluating relevant, publicly available datasets. The course satisfies the “ACE 10” requirement for undergraduate students; students meet this requirement by completing a scholarly product. This benchmark portfolio critically assesses student learning towards interdisciplinarity and using data to investigate limnological inquiries based on the ACE 10 project. To assess interdisciplinarity achievement, I evaluated pre- and post-course assessments and performance on the Mid-Term and Final exams. I found students ability to describe limnological processes increased after taking the course, based primarily on word cloud analyses of pre- and post-course quiz answers. To assess data analytical achievement, I compared quality and rigor of data visualizations used in the ACE 10 project. I found a large breadth of achievement, suggesting that while any student may be capable of producing high-pass work, more background material may be necessary to help underachieving students with their performance. Based on assignment and course evaluations, students found this course challenging, but that active learning activities (e.g., ACE 10 project) helped them gain new skills. These evaluations and ongoing assessment of student learning will be used to continuously improve the course to facilitate future student experiences and learning.