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


Date of this Version


Document Type



Course portfolio developed as part of the UNL Peer Review of Teaching Project (peerreview.unl.edu)

Copyright (c) 2016 Bai Cui


The goal of MATL 260/360 Elements of Materials Science is to make undergraduate students understand the fundamental concepts of the microstructure-property relationship of materials. This course portfolio addresses several key questions in teaching, such as how to teach new knowledge more effectively, how to increase student engagement, how to promote students’ interests and motivations, and how to use this course to improve students’ analysis and critical thinking skills.

To address each of key questions, the course activities include: relating the new knowledge with daily-life and industry examples; giving PPT slides for after- class study; assigning homework questions after each lecture; taking monthly practice class and test; relating the scientific knowledge with real industrial problems; having small group discussions and debate, etc.

Two surveys have been used to evaluate the teaching methods and improve the student learning. The mid-semester survey provides very specific feedback and suggestions to improve the textbook, homework, equipment, tests, lecture slides, etc. The survey of monthly tests shows the majority of students agree the monthly tests help them learn this class. However, there is concern about how effective the monthly tests can be used as a measure of student learning.