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​​2014-2015 Teaching Circles

*indicates an active (ongoing) circle

AAC&U LEAP Project

Topic Group: Fostering Engagement in the Classroom
Circle Contact: Yuan Yuan Kang (Lecturer, Natural Sciences) 
Circle Contact Info: ​, ​713-222-5378
Additional Members: Rachna Sadana, Adriana Visbal, John Kelly, Creshema Murray 

Circle Description: 

The members of this teaching circle are representing UHD in AAC&U's LEAP project entitled “Advancing Underserved Student Success Through Faculty Intentionality in Problem-Centered Learning.” Through a competitive process, UHD was selected as one of 7 institutions in the nation to participate in this campus-based research project that explores the role of problem-centered design for promoting learning, particularly integrative learning, for underserved students. The team has successfully completed all goals as outlined in the proposal including attending AAC&U transparency project and the summer institute at Edmond, OK. At the institute, the team has designed an action plan (Attachment file 1) in order to facilitate UHD’s reform on general education using transparency methods and practices. This project will

  • engage faculty in an inter-institutional learning community to develop promising practices for increasing transparency and clarity of assignment goals and learning expectations for students. (Attachment file 2)
  •  assist campuses in developing their capacity to implement and to gather direct assessments of learning using students’ own work. (Attachment file 3)​

Circle Artifact(s):

Certification of ENGL 3302 Online Course as a Quality Course by Quality Matters

Topic Group: Online Course Design & Content Delivery
Circle Contact: Richard Ogle (Lecturer, English) 
Circle Contact Info: ​

Circle Description:

ENG 3302, Business and Technical Report Writing is widely taught upper division courses taught at UHD. In the 2013-2014 academic year 42 sections of the course were taught. To establish a standard of quality for the online course this revised and submitted Teaching Circle submitted its course for certification by Quality Matters as a quality course. This certified course will be used by other members of the English Department faculty who wish to begin teaching the course online and new faculty members who want are assigned to teach the course online.​

Circle Artifact(s):

Collaborative Classroom Observation & Fostering Engagement in the Classroom

Topic Group: Fostering Engagement in the Classroom
Circle Contact: Robin Jose (Assistant Professor, Natural Sciences) 
Circle Contact Info:, 713-221-8115 
Additional Members: Tyra Hessel, Hamida Qavi

Circle Description:

The purpose of our Teaching Circle proposal was to identify some effective classroom strategies each of the circle member uses in their classroom and try it in our own classroom. For this purpose, each member of the circle observed the others class and identified the strategy they want to try. Dr. Jose fully implemented the flipped classroom strategy in organic chemistry lectures. Dr. Hessel implemented partially implemented it in her organic chemistry II class. Both Dr. Jose and Dr. Hessel implemented TBL with IRAT. Dr. Qavi gave descriptive pre-lab lectures for the organic Iab. The success of the strategies was assessed by student performance in the classroom and through survey. Flipped classroom had mixed success. It was effective in student learning in organic I lecture however it was not effective for organic II lecture. Student opinion survey shows that they liked the idea of flipped classroom with TBL but they said it did not foster collaborative learning outside classroom. On the other hand, students liked extensive prelab lecture and prefer to have online video lectures for prelab. Overall, these strategies created a positive attitude towards the subject. However it did not translate into spectacular test performances. This could partly be due to students not dedicating enough time for watching and understanding video lectures. However, we observe that the student learning as a whole has improved which warrant continued implementation of these strategies in the future with modifications.

We have generated video lectures and TBL problems as artifacts. Also, we are including the survey results as artifacts. Answers to the TBL problem are based on IRAT form C012 and C009.​

Circle Artifact(s): 

Communication Studies Teaching Circle

Topic Group: Freshman & University Seminars
Circle Contact: Ashley Archiopoli (Assistant Professor, Arts & Humanities) 
Circle Contact Info:, 713-221-5092
Additional Members: Elizabeth Hatfield, Lucas Logan, Creshema Murray

Circle Description:

Our teaching circle worked this year to improve the student experience in Communication Freshman and Transfer Seminars. We worked together to share best practices, create materials, and develop new topic areas for seminars. Our work this year helped to advance the mission of communication studies as well as improving materials and activities presented to students. This was a successful endeavor. We have attached the activity we created and submitted to the National Communication Association (NCA) as a sample of the work we completed this year.​

Circle Artifact(s): 

Creating eStorybooks for Bilingual Children in
Spanish & English

Topic Groups: Fostering Engagement in the Classroom, Online Course Design & Content Delivery
Circle Contact: Irene Chen (Professor, Urban Education) 
Circle Contact Info:, 713-221-8038
Additional Members: Maria Bhattacharjee, Christal Burnett

Circle Description:

Three instructors (Drs. Bhattacharjee, Chen, and Burnett) will be involved with the same group of bilingual future teachers to facilitate their process of creating the hard-copy children’s books by paying attention to students’ literacy needs, the technical aspects of converting hard-copies to electronic copies, and teaching reading to K-12 students by using the hard-copy and electronic books. The future teachers will gain an interdisciplinary experience that is not possible with regular Urban Education course structure.​

Circle Artifact(s): 

Engagement & Success in Calculus I

Topic Group: Fostering Engagement in the Classroom
Circle Contact: Sergiy Koshkin (Assistant Professor, Mathematics & Statistics) 
Circle Contact Info:, 713-226-5567
Additional Members: Volodymyr Hrynkiv, Arati Pati, Ryan Pepper, Tim Redl, Plamen Simeonov, Jeong-Mi Yoon

Circle Description:

We introduced preview and pre-testing of prerequisite skills early into the course with follow-up engagement measures for students who perform poorly, developed an online homework master course, calculus resources webpage, and created a common final exam component. The outcomes were surveyed based on assessment of itemized data from the common component of the final exam, the entire final exam, course grades, and student self-assessment of learning gains. This data gave us unique insight into influence of different elements of the course on its outcomes, in performance and student perspective, measure outcomes more uniformly, try new approaches and see if they worked, and develop revisions to improve the course. They include moving integration to Calculus 2, expanding the common component of the final exam, continuing prerequisite reviews and final review sheets, utilizing supplemental instructors for recitation type sessions, and making online homework explicitly influence grades.​

Circle Artifact(s): 

GOVT 2305 Teaching Circle

Topic Group: Fostering Engagement in the Classroom
Circle Contact: John Osterman (Lecturer, Social Sciences) 
Circle Contact Info:, 713-221-8497

Circle Description: 

As a result of our work, we came to a level of awareness which we did not have before regarding how each of us taught classes and interacted with students. From this, we plan to continue to work on a plan which would produce a best practice for each course. We are considering a common text and a orientation lecture which all students would attend at the beginning of the semester.​

MATH 1310 Teaching Circle

Topic Group: Fostering Engagement in the Classroom
Circle Contact: Nancy Leveille (Associate Professor, Mathematics & Statistics) 
Circle Contact Info:, 713-221-2723 
Additional Members: Ron Barnes, Susan Beane, Vien Nguyen 

Circle Description: 

As proposed, we have established a standard departmental master platform for Math 1310 that addresses new state core requirements, objectives and standards. We have developed many course materials for the Fall 2014 semester and then revised again for Spring 2015 to incorporate a new book as well as various improvements.

All course materials are available to all Math 1310 instructors through the MyMathLab departmental course (available for copy from the departmental Math 1310 MyMathLab account as ms131047798) and through for the Math 1310 Community of Practice Organization.

The Math 1310 pass rate was 60 % in Spring 2014. This is the last semester before the New MS Department Syllabus took effect with a more cohesive, organized course and the online homework requirement. In Fall 2014, the pass rate was 66%. This is a ten percent increase in the pass rate for the first semester with the new Syllabus from the MS Department Precalculus Committee along with materials developed by the Teaching Circle such as the Formula Sheet, Review Sheet, online homework, departmental review, comprehensive departmental final, and supplemental materials. The calculators purchased for this course have been well received by faculty and students. We hope to have more class sets available in the future.​

Circle Artifact(s):

Natural Science University Seminar Teaching Circle

Topic Group: Fostering Engagement in the Classroom
Circle Contact: Mary Jo Parker (Director, Scholars' Academy) 
Circle Contact Info:, 713-221-8471
Additional Members: Lisa Morano, Rachna Sadana, Eszter Trufan 

Circle Description: 

The Natural Science University Seminar Teaching Circle (NSUSTC) began early in the Fall 2014 semester prior to all participant’s first class. Why did this group form? Drs. Morano, Sadana, and Trufan were first-time instructors of a course of this nature, while Dr. Parker brought College Success Program course teaching experiences, she too needed support in adapting the US course to meet the new core biological and physical science core learning objectives. Coming together as a unit of peers seemed natural, necessary, and supportive. The group began to ask questions of each other (as each professor brought years of experience within their own areas of expertise to bear upon the US course). All instructors began to share assignments as well as gauge the success of each. Each, even after the first class 1 meeting, had stories to share about how well students were engaging with the content. Likewise, accounts of how best to integrate the “scientific objectives” into the course remained a thread of discussion.​

Circle Artifact(s):

Strategy Bank for Promoting Classroom Engagement
& Student Success

Topic Group: Freshman & University Seminars​ 
Circle Contact: Meghan Minard (Adjunct, Natural Sciences) ​
Circle Contact Info: minardm@​, 713-221-8015
Additional Members: ​M. Gabriela Bowden, Poonam Gulati

Circle Description:​ 

This teaching circle (TC) was composed of three Natural Sciences faculty members who taught Freshman Seminars for the first time during the Fall of 2014. Members met weekly to discuss course development and apply, design, and implement strategies that foster student engagement and active learning in the Freshman Seminars, which directly impacted students and improved student and teaching success at UHD. Successful and unsuccessful strategies and activities tried in the classroom were reviewed. These strategies have now been assembled into a “Strategy Bank” - a collection of written descriptions for the activities performed during the semester. The Strategy Bank is composed of detailed descriptions of in-class and out-of-class activities and teaching strategies, and how they were applied in a Freshman Seminar course. Strategies that were successful and unsuccessful are included, with suggestions for future use if applicable. Each strategy includes (1) learning outcomes, (2) a summary, (3) detailed instructions of how to implement the strategy, and (4) the outcome and overall impressions (both positive and negative; from multiple TC members if possible). Examples of Strategy Bank items include but are not limited to: case studies and how they were implemented/applied, assessment strategies, handouts, web resources, and readings. Specific applications of known strategies and best practices are included. A major goal of this TC was to assist and benefit other faculty teaching Freshman and University Seminars in the future, therefore, the Strategy Bank will be shared via the CTLE for all UHD faculty members (seminar instructors and others) to use.​

Circle Artifact(s): 

Last updated 1/16/2020 8:16 AM