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


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

Copyright (c) 2014 Yuebin Yu


The main goal of attending this course review project is to improve my teaching performance of technical courses so that both the students and I can enjoy the mutual-learning process. Teaching to me is really rewarding. I believe teaching is an art, which can be continuously improved through learning from the peers, collecting and analyzing students' feedback and practice, regardless whether it is technical or practical. With good teaching, any course can be taught in a joyful manner. The specific objectives of the course portfolio include the follows: 1. Document the main materials for future refining through the documentation process of this project. I have been teaching this required course to sophomore students in three options of Architectural Engineering since 2012. Heat Transfer, as Thermodynamics and Fluid dynamics, serves a base to the advanced courses. This course is difficult to teach due to the technical characteristics. Heat transfer, including conduction, convection, radiation and multi-modes, are not tangible to the students. I prepared the class in a way revealing the concepts, equations, and their applications step-by-step. Instead of letting students be merged in lengthy texts and various complex heat transfer problems, I always start with a review on the previous lecture, then explain the concepts or deduce the equations, and provide examples. Documenting the course materials from the syllabus, homework to exams, provides me with a base of understanding the students' learning process so that adjustments can be made in the future. 2. Self-evaluating my teaching performance and identifying the potentials for improvements. Students' learning performance in a technical course is largely dependent on how the materials are taught. Boring repetition of textbook concepts and equations from the teacher can easily kill the students learning interest. Consequently, the teacher will lost his/her interest in teaching. I always try to constantly adapt my teaching based on the students' reaction. For example, I added two more recitations to the tight schedule and reduced some theoretical deduction in the second half of the semester. Even so, I noticed that some students can not follow the teaching and digest the contents. There are rooms for improvement to make the students enjoy the learning process. 3. Serving as a foundation for developing new courses in both undergraduate and graduate level to enhance the curriculum in the school. As a junior faculty, I am eager to develop new courses focusing on building system operation where most primary energy was consumed. Starting from the scratch without the textbook and classnotes is always a challenge. Systematically collecting the materials in other technical courses and conducting self-evaluation in this project can help me identify the strengths and shortcomings in my teaching, understand the students learning preference and utilize the findings for new courses.