Centre for Teaching and Learning

Centre for Teaching and Learning
Centre for Teaching and Learning

Morning Session Descriptions | 8:45am - 12:00pm

Afternoon Session Descriptions



3 Strategies for Managing and Personalizing Large Classes | Alan Ableson, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

In managing several large first-year classes, we have found several strategies that help to manage the workload and provide more detailed and open communication with students.  We will show how we use our three favourites:
•    Using online grading (Crowdmark) for faster and more consistent feedback.
•    Owning your materials to get off the “new edition” treadmill.
•    Responding personally and efficiently to student feedback from OnQ using mail merge.


Blending the Brick & Mortar:  Engagement and Innovations in the Law School Classroom | Mary Jo Maur and William Flanagan, Faculty of Law

We offer some thoughts about engaging "sophisticated learners" - those who have had exposure to post-secondary education, and are now involved in a focused program of study.  In particular, we will discuss the utility of engagement software.


The Possible Learning Benefits of Short Mind-Calming Exercises in Large Classes | Paul Grogan, Department of Biology

To promote deep engaged student learning, I have been incorporating contemplative mindful practices in my teaching for several years in small (max 20 student) seminar courses. This winter for the first time I am doing a 2-3 minute mind-calming exercise at the beginning of every lecture in a large third year ecology course with ~70 students. I will describe the exercises which are similar to one regularly used by my colleagues Paula Gardner and Jill Grose at Brock University and then present results from detailed student surveys that were aimed at evaluating their value and perceived effectiveness for enhancing high quality learning.  See YouTube video: Dr. Paula Gardner In-Class Mindfulness Meditation at Brock University


Teaching and Learning for Long Term Retention | C.J. Perry and Ron Easteal, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences

This session will describe the use of Retrieval Practice (The Testing Effect) and Sleep Consolidation on student performance in a large 3rd year anatomy class (ANAT 316 – The Human Visceral System, n = 284). Previous work (Regpala & Easteal, 2013) indicates that retrieval practice alone benefits long-term memory. Our current research involves testing the combined efficacy of sleep consolidation and retrieval practice on student performance.  The discussion will include a brief history of retrieval practice and sleep consolidation and highlight evidence showing the advantage of using them over repeated re-reading/re-studying of material.


Challenges, Compatibility, and Creativity - Team-based Active Learning in a Large, Tiered Lecture Theatre | Dave Dove, School of Computing

A traditional, tiered lecture theatre might not seem compatible with team-based active learning, particularly for a large class. In this talk, I will recount my experiences in overcoming the challenges of this environment.


Active Learning in Political Theory: Traditional and Active Learning Classrooms | Michael P. A Murphy, Department of Political Studies

Building on prior research into active learning pedagogy in political science, I will discuss the development of a new active learning strategy called the “thesis-building carousel,” designed for use in political theory tutorials.  This use of active learning pedagogy in a graduate student-led political theory tutorial represents the overlap of several currents of political science education research.  First, the graduate TA-led tutorial is a common complement to large lecture-based introductory courses in political theory.  Second, where International Relations has led the expansion of active learning in political science, political theory has lagged behind other subfields (Archer & Miller 2011).  The thesis-building carousel is designed to develop skills necessary for political theory classes—namely, essay writing and peer review.  The presentation will conclude with a discussion of how this active learning strategy, originally designed for use in a flexible Active Learning Classroom, can be modified for use in the traditional classroom space.  While my experiences have been isolated to the subfield of political theory, I believe this model may be useful for other graduate TAs leading tutorials.



Incorporating Volunteer Work into Course Assignments | Fiona Kay, Department of Sociology

Over the years, I discovered that numerous students enrolled in criminology courses have engaged in volunteer work related to criminology, policing, social welfare, and corrections. The course (SOCY389) offers an opportunity for students participating in volunteer work to connect these experiences to a university-level criminology course.

Volunteer work closely related to the topics of SOCY389 often includes volunteering in: corrections and local community programs, youth diversion, summer camps for disadvantaged and at-risk youths, policing, probation and parole services, victims services, crisis hotlines, shelters for battered women, shelters for the homeless, courts, and literacy programs in prisons.  The course includes a major assignment that requires students to draw on their volunteer experience. A minimum of 15 hours of volunteer work must be completed in the 6 months prior to or during the semester.


Exploring the Experiential Dimension of Sustainability Courses | Cassandra Kuyvenhoven and Peter Graham, School of Environmental Studies

We will present the results of the research undertaken with the help of the 2016 student grant for educational research. We examined the student perceptions and practices of sustainability in ENSC 203: Environment and Sustainability offered by the School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University. We asked students enrolled in the course to participate in an anonymous online survey answering five questions related to their personal experience in the course. We attempted to ascertain the students’ attitudes and behaviours after taking a course on sustainability—Were they surprised by the course materials? Did the course change the students’ behaviour?  A summary of data collected, preliminary findings, and suggested implications for sustainability education will be covered.


Using Experiential Learning to Teach Healthcare Quality Improvement to Medical Students | Genevieve C. Digby, Department of Medicine and Sheila Pinchin, School of Medicine

We propose to present an educational experience that was innovative in the Queen’s undergraduate medical curriculum, and used experiential learning to provide a basis for introducing a new framework and opportunities to apply it in the classroom. In describing this experiential learning session and its follow up learning event for medical students, it will translate to other faculties where students are engaged in workplace learning (e.g. internships, practica, volunteer situations, etc.)

Final year medical students completing their in-hospital clerkship rotations were required to submit a vignette that described a PS related encounter in which they were involved, and to provide preliminary thoughts as to what could have been improved.   These were used along with other teaching/learning strategies to build students’ knowledge of Quality Improvement. This experiential learning session and its attendant classroom session helped learners to participate in the development of applicable QI strategies.  This session will present the experiential, independent learning, lecture and small group learning strategies that were used, including a worksheet for recording confidential observation of a PS situation.


BISC’s Specialized Program in International Law and Politics: Overcoming the Challenges of Teaching Very Small Classes with Active Learning Opportunities | Sonia Dussault, Bader International Study Centre

Professor Dussault teaches a course on Genocides, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes offered at Queen’s Bader International Study Centre (BISC). Her students are enrolled in BISC’s Specialized Program in International Law and Politics, and learn about International Criminal Law and Comparative Genocide Studies via active learning activities offered in the classroom, and experiential learning opportunities conducted outside BISC. The presentation of facts, so often introduced through traditional lectures, is deemphasized in favour of class discussion, case studies, problem solving, debates, cooperative learning, and oral presentations.

The discussion sessions are an important feature of her course as they provide students with an opportunity to address contentious issues and explore academic debates in more depth. However after her second class, Sonia very quickly realized that unless she took action, class dynamics during those conversations could negatively impact student learning. She aimed to modify this dynamic and create a more collaborative learning environment through a recurrent modified version of the “Think-Pair-Share” activity, the introduction of “facilitator duties” on a frequent basis, and regularly changing the physical set up of the classroom.


The Experiential Learning Hub and You | Chelsea Elliott, Career Services

Are you looking for ideas around adding an Experiential Learning component to your existing learning structure? Join Chelsea as she describes how the Experiential Learning Hub can help you. She will share some examples, tools and ideas.  See: www.queensu.ca/experientiallearninghub


The Amazing Race Exam Review | Kevin Alexander and James Fraser, Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy

The value of exam review sessions to student learning is unclear.  We decided to take an alternative approach to our traditional teacher-centred question and answer period. One evening near the end of term, student teams race through Stirling Hall to overcome physics roadblocks manned by upper-year volunteers.  The obstacles require students to answer a question or complete a challenge based on concepts central to the course.  The race ends with all participants meeting together in a large lecture theatre to vote on the best photo challenges (posted to social media) and for the announcement of the winner.  Amazing Race, now in its fourth year, was Learning Facilitator (LF) (i.e., graduate student TA) initiated and is still organised by the LF team.

Afternoon Session Descriptions