WisCEL Person of the Month

April Person of the Month

For April, WisCEL would like to welcome two new instructors, Professor John Puccinelli and Professor Jeremy Zima, by featuring them as our Person of the Month.

German 267 (Yiddish Song and the Jewish Experience) instructor Jeremy Zima “had the opportunity to TA a course in the space and thought the WisCEL classroom was a wonderful teaching tool.” He shares his impression of teaching in WisCEL by saying, “ The classroom and the staff have been indispensable for the success of my course. I am consistently impressed by how well all of the technology performs.”

Professor Zima reflects on how teaching in WisCEL differs from teaching a traditional course by emphasizing his use of technology. He states that “the amount of technology available and the seamless way in which it is integrated gives instructors many more options when presenting material. We can also make it so that online quizzes must be taken on the classroom laptops, thus making class attendance much more regular.”

His advice to instructors who might be new to WisCEL: “Make the most of the classroom’s capabilities and make sure to lean on the staff to help get the course up to speed.”

Professor John Puccinelli serves as co-instructor for BME 201 (Biomedical Engineering Fundamentals and Design). He shares his perspective on teaching in WisCEL so far by stating, “The WisCEL environment is fantastic, the ability to walk around and make eye contact with all of the students while speaking creates a sense of engagement not possible in other larger course formats. Then, the ability for the students to utilize technology and have the students work together in groups to solve problems under our supervision and guidance provides immediate insight into their understanding of the material.”

Professor Puccinelli’s tip to new WisCEL instructors is to “take advantage of the space and utilize the diversity of your course to exploit the expertise of your students – they can help each other learn much more effectively than going it alone.”

Thank you for being our WisCEL Person of the Month!


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March 2017 Person of the Month

This March, WisCEL honors David Korab as our Person of the Month. David, an information technology consultant for Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) at the College of Engineering, serves as Wendt WisCEL Center’s primary technical support. David has been instrumental in assisting WisCEL in our move from Wendt Commons to Engineering Centers Building for the spring and summer semesters. He can be seen almost daily in the WisCEL classrooms, providing computer, AV and exam support.

David believes that the WisCEL space is “one of a kind,” and reflects further by stating, “the technology that is deployed in the WisCEL space gives me experience working with technologies not found in many other places on campus.” His position allows him to interact with the WisCEL space from a unique perspective. He notes that WisCEL provides “students and instructors an environment to facilitate quality education” where “students can learn in different ways.”

Congratulations on being the March Person of the Month!

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December 2016 Person of the Month

As our December Person of the Month feature, WisCEL honors Counseling Psychology 125 instructors Molly Censky, Ian Todaro, Margene Anderson, Josh Harder, Tristin Marotz, Kasie Strahl, Nichole Monzon, Tetyana Schneider, Robin Worth, Jessica Regan, Eve Williams, Gabe Skiff, Bob Schwoch, Jenn Carson, and Martha Reck.

Instructor Kasie Strahl says that using the WisCEL space,  “allows us to use the space to our fullest ability and help students connect with the material we are talking about.  It is amazing to not have to modify activities because of space limitations but rather plan what we want and then adjust the classroom space to make it happen,” and instructor Nichole Monzon says that it, “has been great because the space in College Library is central to a lot of our activities.”

Congrats on being the December Person of the Month!

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November 2016 Person of the Month

Journalism 676 (Digital Media Law and Ethics) instructor Kathleen (Katy) Bartzen Culver first became interested in active learning from the MTLE fellows program. She then found the WisCEL space. She says, “I have been able to do far more activities that enable the students to engage directly with the material by forming subgroups and applying what they’re hearing and reading. I sense a definite improvement in comprehension from previous semesters with this class.”

Instructor Morgan Shields from Kinesiology 235 states, “I really appreciate the interactive learning environment and the freedom to explore new avenues to deliver information. It has been a great learning experience in terms of designing and implementing options for group activities. I’m excited to continue to learn and find creative ways to work with such a large class.”

Congratulations on being the November Person of the Month!

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October 2016 Person of the Month

This October, WisCEL features the new Wendt WisCEL instructors, collectively, as our Person of the Month. Catherine Woodward from Botany 265, Bret Larget from Botany 575, Briana Burton from Microbiology 470, Laurie Riley from EMA 201 and Felix Lu from ECE 230 are all featured here.

Botany 575 (Intro into Modern Statistical Methods) Professor Bret Larget was first interested in teaching a WisCEL course when he learned about the WisCEL space through a Blend@UW course. He says, “I think gaining competency in using modern statistical software is essential if students learning statistics are to gain genuine data analysis skills. Having the students work on biological case studies using RStudio and being able to troubleshoot their problems as they occur has been very helpful in helping the students gain mastery with much less frustration than in past semesters.” Professor Larget states that he has so far enjoyed using the WisCEL space, and that it has enabled him to address the largest challenge to teaching statistics and computing to biology students with little experience.

Faculty Associate Catherine Woodward teaches Botany 265, Rainforests and Coral Reefs. She found interest in using WisCEL space because it allows the kind of group work, active learning and research that her students need to complete their collaborative design of a research project in the Amazon. She says that her teaching experience in WisCEL has “been fun and challenging. I’ve been able to make my class more interactive and student-centered. It’s important as an instructor to make sure the learning objectives continue to drive the class, and not he technology itself!”

ECE 230 Faculty Associate Felix Lu was first interested in teaching a course in WisCEL because he says that active learning is a good complement to traditional and self-guided learning. He says that his teaching experience in WisCEL has been great, and that, “the students seem to appreciate the guided learning and it shows in their scores.”

Associate Faculty Associate Laurie Riley teaches EMA 201, statistics, in the Engineering Physics department. She says her WisCEL teaching experience has been fantastic so far, and that she was first interested in teaching a WisCEL course because “WisCEL is a great space where students can work together to solve problems both on paper and with equipment. What’s not to love?”

Assistant Professor Briana Burton teaches Microbiology 475. She was first interested in teaching in the WisCEL space because of, “the ability to begin to incorporate more discussion and group problem solving into class. The scientific process is not about memorization but about problem solving, and most real scientific research also involves collaborative and creative thinking which the space allows.” She says that as enjoyed teaching in WisCEL so far because, “the ability to move around and talk with all the students in the room so easily is great and makes teaching more enjoyable.”

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May 2016 Person of the Month

Mitchel Keogh is our WisCEL Person of the Month for May. Mitch is a WisCEL team member and has worked this year as a student office employee. Mitch has helped create and refine the WisCEL database, surveys and data collection. He has brought a congenial attitude and great ideas to the WisCEL program. We congratulate Mitch on graduating this spring and wish him the best in his future endeavors.

Mitchel Keogh is a fifth year senior studying Industrial and Systems Engineering. He has been a part of the WisCEL staff since October 2015. He enjoys being a member of the WisCEL team because he really likes the people that he works with. He says that he can always count on the WisCEL team to be very friendly and fun to work with.


April 2016 Person of the Month

This April, WisCEL honors teaching assistant Yaman Sangar, a graduate student in the Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) department, who coaches several ECE courses in WisCEL.

Yaman was nominated by WisCEL instructors John Booske and Mike Morrow. They said, “Yaman has been active in WisCEL since Fall of 2013, when he started as a TA for ECE 230. In Spring of 2014 he also began TA’ing ECE 219. Yaman showed himself to be an excellent coach and teacher, and he soon became involved in developing the electronically-delivered exercise materials as well. Based on his demonstrated superior performance in WisCEL and his proficiency in course development, he was awarded the ECE Teaching Fellowship in 2015. As a Teaching Fellow, Yaman assists faculty members in developing course materials for WisCEL-based courses and facilitates their deployment. He also continues to volunteer as a coach in both ECE 230 and ECE 219.”

Yaman enjoys the scope of one-on-one interaction as well as the group discussion that WisCEL provides. He appreciates the student-driven environment of WisCEL and thinks that all classes should be that way. He believes that the hands-on work in WisCEL classes really helps students understand what they’re learning. He likes how WisCEL gives him the capability to reach out to students and to work with them individually when they need such attention.


March 2016 Person of the Month

This month, WisCEL features two WisCEL service desk employees.Lucas Hurtley is a 5th year Biomedical Engineering major that has been working at Wendt’s WisCEL desk for two semesters. He enjoys helping people out and making sure they feel comfortable working in the WisCEL space.Jake Bradford, a sophomore Political Science and German major, has been a part of the WisCEL desk staff at College Library for just over a year. He enjoys working closely with the professors and instructors who use the WisCEL space to teach. He likes helping his fellow students have a great environment to learn in.Congratulations on being featured as the March Person of the Month, Lucas and Jake![metaslider id=831]

(Posted March, 2016)

February 2016 Person of the Month

In February’s Person of the Month feature, WisCEL honors new instructors that have joined the WisCEL teaching community this spring.

Kevin Clarke, Assistant Director at the Center for the First-Year Experience, has arranged to have the majority of Counseling Psychology 125 sections taught in WisCEL fall semester because the location and resources fit with the course goals and identity, and enhance the active and collaborative learning design, steeped in discussion and experiential learning. This spring he is teaching one of two CP 125 courses in WisCEL and says that the space and technology have been perfect for the course’s needs, and have contributed to the classroom community and success. Chika Kusakawa, from the Center for the First-Year Experience, is also teaching CP125 in WisCEL this spring. She welcomes the opportunity to teach in an active learning classroom. She reports that WisCEL benefits her teaching style, noting she takes advantage of the flexibility of arranging her class set up and maximizing the use of technology. She has enjoyed the supportive atmosphere of working in a WisCEL classroom and the overall open learning environment. She says that she appreciates the options that WisCEL provides and has been figuring out different ways to engage her class each week.

Communication Arts Professor Lyn Van Swol really loves teaching a WisCEL course. “At first, I felt like I was giving up control, and it feels a little weird to not be the center of attention in the classroom.  However, I really love watching the students working on problems and hear them relating it to the lecture material.  Before when I did lectures, the same 10-20% of the class would participate and the rest of the people were silent.  Now,  everyone is addressing the case study questions.  I am also really more relaxed walking around the classroom and talking to students one-on-one rather than addressing the big group,” said Professor Van Swol. She was interested in teaching in WisCEL because she wanted class time to be used to work in groups to solve different case studies.

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Corinne Henak, first became interested in WisCEL during I-LEAP, where she learned about resources on campus that help instructors be ‘coaches’. “Active learning, particularly by leveraging the WisCEL space and the WisCEL team, was one of the resources that was most appealing to me because of improved student learning that can be achieved through active learning,” Professor Hennak said. She says that she enjoys the interaction that WisCEL enables, as it has allowed her to understand where students are confused and to address their questions before higher-stakes exams.

Christopher Trimby, from the Wisconsin Institute for Science Education and Community Engagement (WISCIENCE), mentors teaching fellows Lindsy Boateng and Aayushi Uberoi in teaching Biology 375 in a WisCEL classroom. He was interested in teaching in a WisCEL space because, “the course that Aayushi & Lindsy are teaching (as Teaching Fellows) this semester is almost exclusively based on group-work and discussion, so it was a natural transition to move the course into WisCEL. Having the flexibility and whiteboard space to really adapt to whatever is happening that day is great.” Biology 375 teaching fellow Lindsy Boateng is interested in WisCEL because the Biology course includes a lot of discussion, group work, drawings and ideas, and the WisCEL space is perfect for supporting these methods of teaching and learning. She has enjoyed the numerous whiteboards, the document camera, and the ability to project their computer screen that the WisCEL space provides.

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(Posted Feb. 9, 2015)

January 2016 Person of the Month

Jayer Fernandez is a first-year PhD student majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). He is currently a TA for Math 112. He enjoys being a TA in WisCEL because Math 112 is a hard course for a lot of students for a plethora of reasons. It’s extremely intensive and you really need to be on top of things. Jayer says that the WisCEL format lets him talk to students every class to clear up their doubts, which normally does not happen in a lecture format math class. He likes getting instant feedback on whether his students are actually understanding things in class. In WisCEL, the onus is on the student to learn, through participation in class and interacting with their groups. Students interact with each other and with Jayer, which creates a comfortable environment to ask questions. Collaboration is key and students can learn and respect teamwork. Congratulations on being January’s Person of the Month, Jayer!


(Posted Dec. 1, 2015)

December 2015 Person of the Month


Prof. Barry Vanveen nominated Akhil Sundararajan for December’s WisCEL Person of the Month. Professor Vanveen says, “Akhil has been a TA in ECE330 (spring 2015) and ECE431 (fall 2015). He was instrumental in helping ECE330 be successful in its first offering as a flipped course with full Moodle delivery of all exams, homework, and class exercises. This current semester he has taken a larger than typical role. He assists as a coach in every class and is completely responsible for the website, office hours, and email problem solving. He is handling these responsibilities with excellence.

The students really appreciate him as a TA and have given me unsolicited feedback that he is one of the best TAs. The are very enthusiastic about his ability to answer questions and his willingness to do whatever it takes for them to understand the material. He routinely goes over on his office hours to answer everyone’s questions. He has a real gift for teaching and carries out his responsibilities and beyond with the highest level of dedication.”

Akhil Sundararajan is a second-year graduate student studying electrical and computer engineering. He is a teaching assistant in ECE 431, Digital Signal Processing. He enjoys being a TA in WisCEL because the flipped-classroom format provides for interactions with students, which creates an enriching experience. He says that teaching in WisCEL has motivated him to create a safe space for students to ask questions to help everyone learn the course material. The technology in WisCEL allows students to analyze real world data. Akhil says his time in WisCEL is a rewarding part of his educational journey. Congratulations on being December’s Person of the Month, Akhil!


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(Posted Dec. 1, 2015)

November 2015 Person of the Month

This November WisCEL is recognizing five students – all five are peer advisors for Inter-

InterLS 102 peer mentors from left to right: Grace Ferolo, Makena Tegge, Lillian Childress, Sadie Guttman, Rachel Dietzman.

LS 102, Music, Movies and the Sixties, a Freshman Interest Group (FIG) seminar held in the College Library WisCEL Center. All five were nominated as a group for the WisCEL Person of the Month by Prof. Craig Werner for their contributions to the class: helping students with assignments, supervising small group work and offering peer-to-peer guidance. Each of the five peer advisors took the FIG course last year as freshmen.

Lillian Childress is a sophomore at UW Madison. She is studying legal studies and psychology and plans to get a certificate in criminal justice. She enjoys Inter-LS 102 because it is discussion-based. She learns new things from the students every week and she enjoys being able to hear the different opinions in the class. She likes the technological advancement of the WisCEL classroom, which she thinks perfectly fits with the course needs such as watching films and playing music.

Sophomore Rachel Dietzman is a community non-profit leadership major. She likes being a peer mentor, but also a friend to the students in Inter-LS 102. She appreciates being able to both give her input in class discussions and to learn new things about the 1960s, along with her fellow advisors and friends in the class. She enjoys the open environment in the WisCEL course and that she never feels confined in the classroom.

Grace Ferolo is a sophomore journalism and creative writing major. She enjoys being able to express herself through writing and music within the Inter-LS 102 course. She likes the classroom set up in the WisCEL course and says that it is good for facilitating discussion since everyone is able to see each other at all times.

Sadie Guttman is also a sophomore journalism major. She enjoys the intimate, active learning setup of the InterLS102 class. She likes the adaptability of the WisCEL classroom and the ability for the room to shift into whatever the class needs.

Pre-nursing sophomore Makena Tegge loves that the InterLS102 class is discussion-based and that it focuses on music’s relation to history. She enjoys the interactive and active way of learning in the WisCEL course and likes the small classroom size and setup.

We congratulate and thank the peer advisors of Inter-LS 102 for being WisCEL’s November group of the month!
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(Posted Nov. 4, 2015)

October 2015 Person of the Month

Our WisCEL student of the month for October was Cassandra Bradley. Cassandra is a junior studying electrical engineering. She is enrolled in two WisCEL courses this semester, ECE 230 and ECE 330. She is joined in class by her guide dog in training, Gina. Casandra and Gina are a part of the OccuPaws program, which trains guide dogs.


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(Posted Oct. 8, 2015)