ID Showcase: Geography 5 – People and Earth’s Ecosystems


Geography 5 is designed and taught by Prof. Kyle Cavanaugh.

This showcase demonstrates how Prof. Cavanaugh used UCLA’s Bruin Learn course template and CidiLab’s Design Tools to redesign his Geography 5 course, including organizing the syllabus and module pages. Prof. Cavanaugh used Rubrics to support students working on lab assignments, and Quizzes as a survey tool to encourage student participation in class.

In addition, by designing different types of activities and assessments using the Assignment tool in Bruin Learn, the instructor engaged students with the learning materials and course content at a higher level.

Presented: Thursday, October 20, 2022

Selected Q&A from the Showcase

Did you use the campus Bruin Learn template? How do students feel about the course navigation?Yes! Students gave positive feedback about the course navigation. Expectations were clear and the course was well-organized. Consistency!!
Do you think the weekly quiz helps students learn more efficiently than the mid-term and final?Students were motivated to do the quiz during the class. It incentivizes them.
Did you lose or gain anything by doing away with the mid-term and final? This is a big decision in a large class.No effect on grades.
Takes more work to design.
Requires more consistent effort from learners.
Spaced practice.
o you use quiz bank for those weekly quizzes?Yes! 60 or so questions in each quiz bank. The questions are randomized for students (between students) and between attempts – Prof. Cavanaugh is also using Quiz Groups.
Have you thought to add quizzes to videos?Not yet, but want to try that idea. Textbook has practice questions as well.
How do you grade the discussion activities?This is part of the students’ participation score (20% of final grade, which is discussion posts and discussion section participation). For the discussion posts – if they give a “sufficient” discussion post, they get the full 5 points. If they write something lacking, they’ll get half credit, etc. (0, half credit, full credit)
For your TAs, how do they handle such a large volume of discussion posts? Does Speedgrader help with this?Rubrics in Speedgrader does help. Going forward, doing the same would help with the discussion posts. Currently, it is on the TA to keep track of discussion grades.
Do you find the students answering each others’ questions in that Forum or do they all expect an answer from an instructor?In this class, yes they would – when they knew the answer, they would jump in and answer! (In an upper division class, that was less the case – students would wait more for answers from the professor.)
To what extent did you have to use Cidilabs to customize your site?Not at all – just used the Bruin Learn template, and brought in the materials from CCLE.
What was the best part of your switch to Bruin Learn from CCLE?The time it took to switch over to move to Bruin Learn was a negative (a lot of remaking the site because the videos didn’t transfer). Overall, happy with Bruin Learn! Good flexibility, the structure and layout from students’ perspective seems clearer.
Can you say a little about TA roles & responsibilities and your communication (of expectations etc) with them?TAs have an important role.
They run weekly labs.
Small group exercises.
Weekly TA meetings
TA guide
Have you experienced that your students share they would like to have more content presented synchronously?The criticism more is that there’s not enough interaction with the professor – one way could be to present content synchronously. However, students do not say they want to go back to in-person or video lectures.