Peer Instruction

PI-ImagenewPeer Instruction (PI) is a teaching methodology that leverages student interaction to improve learning. Developed by Eric Mazur (ca. 1990), PI can be used in classes of any size and is implemented using a standard model:

  • Students are assigned outside readings which are completed before class.
  • In class, instructor gives brief presentation incorporating concepts from readings.
  • Instructor poses conceptual questions, or ‘Concept Tests’ based on presentation and student feedback on readings.
  • Students are given time to consider the questions posed.
  • Then students commit to an individual answer to the original question, often, but not always, using a class response system or web polling.
  • Instructor reviews student responses and has students discuss their thinking and answers with peers.
  • Students then commit (respond) again to a Concept Test with an individual answer.
  • Instructor reviews responses and decides if more clarification or explanation is needed before moving on to other concepts.

 Many will recognize PI as a ‘Flipped’ classroom learning approach, but the difference here is that much of the learning takes place in the interaction between the students rather than the discussion lead by the professor.

As Eric Mazur explains:

“a fellow student is more likely to reach them than Professor Mazur—this is the crux of the (PI) method. You’re a student and you’ve only recently learned this (concept), so you still know where you got hung up, because it’s not that long ago that you were hung up on that very same thing. Whereas Professor Mazur got hung up on this point when he was 17, and he no longer remembers how difficult it was back then. He has lost the ability to understand what a beginning learner faces.”

Listen, Watch: Excerpt of PI Discovery by Eric Mazur

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Analyze The Assignment with Rubrics

Rubrics can be useful in helping students analyze their processes for completing tasks. A rubric is a scoring tool outlining the criteria used to measure the level of performance or quality expected from the student’s work. Traditionally, there are two types of rubrics: holistic and analytic. A holistic rubric provides scoring on overall quality, proficiency or understanding, with criteria for assessing specific elements of the work combined into levels of quality. An analytic rubric, on the other hand, provides for scoring on individual elements, with criteria for assessing those elements clearly Continue reading

Developing Your Online Persona

In February 2014 we invited Dr. Bill Phillips of the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Center fBill Por Distributed Learning to come speak to UNO faculty about components of IDL6543, a non-credit required course for UCF faculty wanting to teach online. Dr. Phillips came as part of the Campus Conversations series sponsored by the University of Nebraska Online Worldwide. These conversations focus on key topics related to education in the face of rapidly changing technology. Dr. Phillips’ presentation focused on developing an online persona, a crucial skill for online educators. His presentation was recorded and can be viewed in it’s entirety.

2015 Innovation in Pedagogy and Technology Symposium “Partnering for Success”

May 14, 2015 | The Cornhusker Hotel | Lincoln, Neb.

Session Proposal Submittal
Deadline for proposals is January 30, 2015


University of Nebraska Online Worldwide is excited to announce a call for proposals for the 2015 Innovation in Pedagogy and Technology Symposium. This year’s theme is Partnering for Success.  The Symposium is an excellent opportunity for attendees to learn from nationally recognized experts, share their experiences, and learn from the initiatives of colleagues from across the system.

This year’s Symposium will begin accepting proposals in early November to present topics at the 2015 event: Continue reading