Concurrent Sessions 7: Interactive Workshops and Panels
Thursday, June 19, 2014, 3:00 - 3:50pm (50 minutes)
McArthur Hall, Queen's University
CON7.01 – Welcome to My Classroom: Let’s Google That: Using the Web to Engage Students and Promote Information Literacy (Room A227)
Connie Varnhagen (University of Alberta)
The traditional lecture is very efficient for presenting a large amount of information in a short period of time. How much do students learn from the lecture? Although more conjecture than empirically derived (notable exceptions include Baddeley, 1981; Giles, Johnson, Knight, Zammett, & Weinman, 1982; Johnstone & Percival, 1976; Weiland & Kinsbury, 1977), most experts agree that students have limited recall for information presented in lectures, calling into question the efficacy of the lecture for student learning. The research literature now abounds with demonstrations and reviews of active learning, experiential learning, and constructivist learning (e.g., Biggs & Tang, 2011).
How much information should students learn anyway? Given that information (“bad” information as well as “good” information) is widely and easily accessible, shouldn’t we be helping students develop information literacy skills so they can find and critically evaluate information for themselves (cf. Association of College and Research Libraries, 2000)? Given the relationship between information literacy and academic readiness and performance in first year courses (Smith, Given, Julien, Ouellete, & deLong, 2013), developing information literacy strategies is an important goal for university instruction.
In this interactive workshop, I will first model implementing information literacy skill development into a lecture and then engage the participants in a discussion on helping students develop information literacy skills to foster active, personally-motivated, life-long learning. The course I will use is AN SC 496, Research on the Human-Animal Bond, a fourth year lecture and lab course on social science research methods taken mainly by students in agriculture (the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta). I have chosen this class because fuzzy animals tend to evoke emotion over critical thinking and because most STLHE participants will be able to relate to the topic. However, I use the same approach in very large (500 student) introductory psychology classes and the approach is relevant to a wide range of introductory and upper level lecture and seminar courses.
CON7.02 – MacEngaged: Inspiring Students Towards Innovation, Leadership, and Community Engagement (Room A236)
MacEngaged Team (McMaster University)
MacEngaged is an undergraduate based, student-led, in-class initiative created at McMaster University (Ontario, Canada). Its aim is to serve as a possible solution to overcome increased student apathy to course material, educators, and academic institutions as a whole (Fredrick et al., 2004). It is based on the idea of empowering students to collaborate and innovate early in their academic careers and within the classroom environment (Kezar, 2005). Its major goal is to connect knowledge about community engagement to content learned during the course with the hopes of ultimately creating an impactful educational experience (Zhao & Kuh, 2004).
Using the example of a second year neuroscience course titled Basic and Clinical Neuroscience with an enrolment of 145 students, workshop participants will learn how MacEngaged has been implemented in a classroom environment containing a large student body. Participants will work in pairs to strategize a concrete plan for how they can incorporate a civic engagement assignment into a selected course they could be teaching in an upcoming semester. They will also explore how the assistance of senior (volunteer) student facilitators is useful in helping junior students work in small groups to create, develop, and implement a project under a course-specific theme that will help contribute to the betterment of their local, neighbouring, and/or global community (Kezar, 2005). This workshop will involve a brainstorming session about how to create a guideline for accessing senior students on their campuses and/or networks. Participants will be introduced to an electronic platform called the Learning Portfolio that many institutions use as a record of skill attainment and personal reflection that could be presentable for graduate school and/or employment purposes. The usefulness of using reflections in an academic setting will be discussed. Finally, since students are assessed on their ability to successfully create and implement a unique project directly related to course content that can be implemented and completed within a 4-month period, a discussion about the specific challenges with this timeline and how to overcome them will ensue.
The purpose of this workshop is to not only introduce its audience to the MacEngaged initiative but to demonstrate through active participation how to get students involved in meaningful civic engagement without compromising course content regardless of academic discipline. The workshop will end with feedback from the audience on how to manage a civic engagement assignment without losing focus on academic content. Three undergraduate students that have served as facilitators in the MacEngaged initiative will lead parts of the workshop.
CON7.03 – Developing Observation Skills and Appreciating Diverse Perspectives at the Art Centre: A New Approach for Health Care Professionals (Room A232)
Patricia Sullivan and Wendy Pentland (Queen’s University)
The study of visual art demands intense looking and honing of observation skills. Students of Occupational Therapy must develop such skills so they can objectively assess in clinical situations, and communicate effectively with clients, in systems and on inter-professional teams. The two practices mesh in an innovative, inter-disciplinary, ongoing program at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. The interactive seminar, co-developed by Dr. Wendy Pentland, Associate Professor, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, and Pat Sullivan, Public Programs Manager at the Art Centre, brings approximately 68 students in the Master of Occupational Therapy program to participate in an intensive two-hour session. They examine and discuss representational paintings and other works to practice acute observational skills and to develop an awareness of the diversity of stories, meanings, frames of reference and perspectives each of their peers bring to the same images. The session manifests active engagement of students in learning particularly at the level of attitudes and self and interpersonal awareness; learning outside the classroom; a collaborative strategy of inter-disciplinary learning; a strategy for engagement of large numbers of students; and a method of motivating and challenging students.
The two presenters will alternate in demonstrating how the program works in the gallery setting, by showing images of some of the works of art used and describing student feedback and adaptations. Session participants will experience aspects of the seminar through offering their own comments and responses to the works of art shown. The presenters will place this approach in a broader context, by assessing the development of this teaching method from its start at the Yale Center for British Art, Yale University, to other art galleries across the USA and Canada. Published case studies document this growth.
CON7.04 – Creating an Accessible Science Laboratory Environment for Students with Disabilities (Room A239)
Mahadeo Sukhai (National Educational Association of Disabled Students)
Many of the growing STEM-based careers in today’s changing economy require at least the completion of a first year university chemistry course. As opportunities in technical and medical fields continue to grow, all students—including persons with disabilities—need strong educations in science, in order to achieve their career goals.
Students with disabilities are not well represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Perceived and actual barriers play a large role in deterring students with disabilities from pursuing careers in the sciences. Obstacles experienced by these students often include: a lack of mentors in the field; inaccessible laboratories and course material; negative attitudes of instructors and others in the educational setting; and, a knowledge gap about how to instruct a student with a disability.
To address these barriers, and to create a unique, comprehensive resource for faculty and instructors to use in planning and implementing accessible science laboratory environments at all levels of post-secondary education, we undertook a multi-pronged research approach. This approach included a detailed review of the academic and grey literature, as well as key informant interviews with faculty, service providers and representatives of scientific professional societies/associations. We reviewed the major elements of enhancing the accessibility of science labs in graduate and undergraduate education, irrespective of discipline.
This presentation will focus on our research findings and the unique series of resources we have assembled to aid faculty and instructors in enhancing the accessibility of science labs on campus. In particular, while the literature has previously focused predominantly on physical accessibility concerns, we will highlight the importance of creating a culture of accessibility within the sciences, and present an inclusive accessibility framework that is designed to ameliorate physical, attitudinal, technological and communication barriers in the sciences.
Throughout this presentation, participants will have opportunities to engage with the presenters and other participants by sharing their experiences in accommodating students with disabilities in the sciences, and discuss strategies implemented in the science laboratory.
CON7.05 – "Listening for Leaders: Beginning the Pedagogy of Ontology” (Room A207)
Billy Strean (University of Alberta)
As noted in the call for proposals, teachers are “no longer mere conveyors of static information, teachers are increasingly entrusted with the responsibility to foster and develop life skills in students. Fostering global citizenship calls for the development of leadership skills.” Such development will require a transformation of both pedagogy and content to develop leaders and the effective exercise of leadership. Unfortunately, attempts to create leaders have failed for a variety of reasons including lack of conceptual clarity (e.g., Bennis, 2012) and that while courses “might be useful in transmitting knowledge about leadership, they stop short at developing leadership per se” (Antonacopoulou & Bento, 2004, p. 81).
This interactive workshop is based on a model that gives students access to being leaders and exercising leadership effectively. Participants will engage in meaningful activities and discussions around the topic of being a leader and exercising leadership effectively. We will focus on the foundational skills of how leaders listen effectively. In this context, leadership depends on shugyo, or self-cultivation. Leaders cultivate the self in order to serve others better (Strozzi-Heckler, 2007). Effective leaders are always learning and they understand “the need for individuals to learn to take a mindful approach to understanding their own development needs, which will ensure a healthy relationship between leaders and their teams” (Rezek, 2012, p. 33). The development of that relationship depends on communication and is grounded in the abilities to distinguish what gets in the way of one’s listening and to provide relevant parties with an experience that their concerns have been heard.
Participants will distinguish between the concepts “already-always listening” and “authentic listening” and identify examples of each as they relate to their current educational roles and practices. They will also have the opportunity to demonstrate basic skills in authentic listening
CON7.06 – The 3M National Teaching Fellowship: Does Evidence = Impact? (Room A241-A242)
Ronald Smith (Concordia University); Denise Stockley (Queen’s University); Arshad Ahmad (McMaster University); and Launa Gauthier (Queen's University)
Assessing the impact of programs in post-secondary education has increasingly caught the attention of larger audiences as the demand for quality, accountability and transparency increases. What impact have the 288 3M National Teaching Fellows had, if any, on Canadian higher education? And how would one know?
We are in the midst of conducting a three-year study to document the impact of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship program. During the first two years we have collected data through focus groups and a survey that targets 3M Fellows, educational developers, faculty, students, and representatives from 3M Canada. We have also collected several “artifacts” that have been created over the 29 years of the Fellowship. In this session, we will give a brief “mid-term” report on our study and discuss ways of moving it forward.
This session asks the question,” How can one transform ‘evidence of the activity’ of the Fellowship into ‘evidence of impact’? ” Since 1986 with only 10 Fellows to today with 288, the work of the Fellows has created a corpus of “artifacts,” which speaks to evidence of their activities across Canada and beyond. For example, Fellows have produced 3 books (Making a Difference, Silences, and Students Speak), a national “Thank-Your-Teacher” campaign in The Globe and Mail, numerous sessions at STLHE and on their campuses. They have also participated in generating considerable publicity through the STLHE Newsletter, in campus newspapers, in Macleans, etc.
Can these “artifacts” be used to make a compelling case to your colleagues and institutional leaders that the 3M Fellowship has had an impact? How? What’s missing? What needs to be added? More generally, how can we assess and document the impact of our work on our students and colleagues, on our institutions, and beyond?
CON7.07 – Integrated Testlets: A Powerful Multiple-Choice Testing Platform for Assessing Deeper Knowledge (Room A317)
Aaron Slepkov and Ralph Shiell (Trent University)
Multiple-choice testing is becoming ever more common as student populations rise and instructional resources dwindle. Multiple choice testing is easy to deploy, reliable, and inexpensive, yet there is often a sense that the format is somehow deficient in validity. The knock on multiple choice testing is that it easily assesses superficial knowledge but hinders assessment of deeper cognitive processes. In almost every discipline we would like to find inexpensive and streamlined ways to test deeper levels of understanding or knowledge integration than is typically afforded by multiple-choice tests. We have recently applied immediate-feedback assessment tools to enable the development of “integrated testlets”—a group of multiple choice questions that share a common stem, but which may build one upon another to assess higher echelons of learning. Furthermore, the immediate-feedback tool allows for straightforward (and demonstrably valid) grading of partial credit. With integrated testlets, conceptual scaffolding is both tested and, if needed, assembled during the assessment. Thus, an integrated testlet that utilizes immediate feedback serves both summative and formative purposes.
In this workshop, we will take the time to introduce both the immediate feedback assessment technique and examples of integrated testlets in disciplines such as biology, art history, modern literature, physics, and chemistry. Participants will actively engage with one or two testlets of their choosing to gain experience with both the technology and the workings of integrated testlets. Time will then be devoted to unpacking these experiences and to highlighting the pedagogical implications of being able to assess integration of knowledge with multiple-choice tools. Finally, we’ll sample key sentiments from a trove of student evaluation feedback to show how at Trent University integrated testlets in introductory physics courses are already transforming our students’ learning experiences.
CON7.08 – A Relational Perspective: Using Drama Theory to Transform Instructor-Student Engagement (Room A333)
Kit Simmons and Nicola Simmons (Brock University)
Technology and transmission-based mass learning may take us away from the opportunity for empathetic and engaged learning. One aim of this workshop is to attempt to regain some insight into a less performative and more communicative teaching style. While theatre may be called performance art, an engaged audience is understood to be a product of the actors’ engagement with the material, their co-actors, and their audience (Fancy, 2007) on a level that transcends a declarative performance style.
In this session, we focus on a “relational perspective” (Trigwell, Prosser, & Waterhouse, 1999, p. 409) to examine the classroom interactions between instructor and students. Drawing on exercises and principles from drama theory (Murray, 2010), we will explore increased engagement through instructor-student interactions. Our thesis is that the instructor’s authentic ‘activity’ or engagement is what will move passive students to become active learners.
For example, Trigwell, Prosser, and Waterhouse (1999) showed that students choose their approach to learning (deep or surface) according to the instructor’s approach to teaching; students thus vary their learning approaches across courses. The authors note “the results complete a chain of relations from teacher thinking to the outcomes of student learning” (p. 57). Transmission teaching is more likely, the authors find, to result in surface learning approaches, while “conceptual change/student-focused” teaching is more likely to encourage students to take more deeply engaged approaches to learning.
Specifically, we will apply three principles from dramatic arts theory (Murray, 2010) that can be used to increase instructor engagement in teaching, leading to transformed student engagement. We draw on the notions of lightness, or movement and intent rather than emotion and content; le jeu, or playfulness, intellectual and otherwise; and complicité, or the unseen but critical connections between and amongst the instructor and class participants. Lightness is hindered by tensions in the body and mind; play helps us move beyond these tensions. Complicité takes those impulses and translates them into moments of connection. The resulting dynamic has the potential to transform the classroom and its teaching-learning interactions.
Following a short theory explanation, we will engage in large group activities to invite participants to experience and explore lightness, le jeu, and complicité, (one example is ‘quiet energy ball’). Whether your context is small or large class settings, you will come to see that simply choosing to be engaged can in turn result in authentic engagement – for both you and your students. You will experience greater insight about your limitless capacity to grow engagement: with your students, the material, and with yourself.
CON7.09 – Transforming Writing Assignment Prompts to Increase Student Engagement (Room A334)
Roger Graves (University of Alberta) * SPONSORED BY: UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS *
How can instructors transform the writing assignments typically given in a course into something a student might actually want to write? This workshop will begin with a short summary of research describing the range and type of writing assignments typically given to students at Canadian universities, categorized by discipline. In studies of writing assignments given in faculties of arts, science, engineering, nursing, physical education and recreation, pharmacy, and education (n=2011) we have found that the 10 most popular assignments account for 70% of all writing assignments given to undergraduates, with “papers” (27%), “presentations” (11%), and “essays” (7.6%) leading the way. Almost half of all writing assignments are nested or linked (44.6%), and more than half are worth 10% or less of the final mark in the course. More than 50% of all writing assignments are four pages or shorter. When we look at these statistics by discipline, however, we find that the genres of writing instructors ask students to write varies remarkably across disciplines. Students in nursing courses, for example, write very different kinds of assignments than students in political science courses.
With this data as a background and a context, we will work (either individually or as small groups) through a series of exercises to transform one of these typical assignments (or one that the participant uses in one of their own courses) into an assignment both students and instructors find more engaging. We’ll examine an assignment with a series of questions:
- What writing or text-based presentations do you ask your students to do in your class(es)? If you do not ask them to write or present, could you?
- Do you assign the same or similar assignments as other instructors? Can you assume students are familiar with the genre of writing you are asking them to produce?
- Do students really connect with those assignments? Asked another way, do students respond to them “authentically” or are they jumping through hoops here?
- Are you genuinely (don’t lie to yourself!) interested in reading what they wrote? Even a bit?
- Who do you ask students to write for?
- Who actually reads what they write: you, other students, some slice of the public?
- Do students write or present in groups? Could they?
We’ll use the answers to these questions to make changes to the assignments each participant or group is revising. At the end of the workshop we’ll talk as a group about the issues that arose as we made changes to the assignments, and we’ll end with information sheets that offer more guidance on how instructors can continue this work beyond the workshop and the conference.
Robert Horgan (Durham College)
The Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities requires Ontario College Diploma students to complete a minimum of two general education elective courses as part of the curriculum. The purpose of general education courses is to broaden students’ perspectives beyond the students’ field of professional study. However, developing a relevant and interesting general education elective course that serves this purpose has a few challenges including student motivation, flexible course delivery, and the inclusion of students from year one to year three from a wide range of range of professional fields of study. The “Social Spaces” course was developed as an innovative approach to meeting these challenges while providing an authentic learning experience that would encourage students to become interdisciplinary thinkers of various social spaces.
The purpose of this workshop is to highlight and explain the innovations used (hybrid learning design, field-based learning experiences, and critical reflection) in the delivery of this general education elective course. Both the professor and students from the course will be on hand in this workshop to share their perspectives of the course’s successes and (epic?) fails to challenge our thinking about where, when, and how students learn. Participants in this session will be inspired to consider the advantages of a hybrid learning design to encourage students to move outside of the traditional classroom to explore authentic, field-based learning experiences.
CON7.11 – Using Faculty Panels for Assessment of Program Learning Outcomes (Room A342)
John Donald and Karen Gordon (University of Guelph)
CON7.12 – Overcoming Pedagogical Solitude: The Transformative Power of Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) (Room A240)
Mariela Tovar, Jennie Ferris, Rosalie Jukier and Kristen Emmett (McGill University)
The teaching and learning centre and the Faculty of Law at our large, research-intensive university have developed a series of Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) as a response to the Faculty’s desire to “open their classroom doors” and offer a safe environment (framework, space and time) in which dialogue about specific teaching and learning themes of mutual interest can occur amongst colleagues at all career stages, and where innovative educational practices can be developed. These FLCs have provided an opportunity for participants both to foster and develop excellence in teaching and learning, as they have shared and documented existing teaching practices, designed new learning activities and forms of evaluation, exchanged feedback with peers, and considered next steps for tangible pedagogical change. By grouping diverse instructors together in a true learning community, these FLCs have helped transform the teaching and learning experiences in the Faculty of Law.
During the conference workshop, we will use two examples of FLCs that we have facilitated and in which we have participated to illustrate to session participants the process in which we engaged. The first FLC, “Rethinking your course”, focused on course re-design and has become a regular offering in the Faculty of Law. The second FLC, which was proposed by the instructors themselves, addressed the broader academic issue of how best to integrate and advance teaching and research.
Following an overview of the literature on FLCs and a short explanation of how this influenced our approach, we will explain the ways in which our FLCs were both similar to, and different from, the “traditional” approach. In each case, we will explain why we chose to emulate or differentiate our approach in terms of group composition [interdisciplinary versus faculty-specific], organization, and outcome.
During this session, our team (composed of FLC facilitators as well as a participant from the Faculty itself) will share critical reflections and lessons learned, illustrate the positive effects resulting from the rich conversations that occurred, and emphasize the potential transferability of these FLC experiences to other disciplines and institutions.
CON7.13 – Transferable Learning Outcomes for Undergraduate Education (Room A343)
Jill Scott and Brian Frank (Queen’s University) and Susan McCahan (University of Toronto); Peter Wolf (University of Guelph); and Natalie Simper (Queen’s University)
Imagine your middle of the road student, and you’re trying to build her communication skills, but you just don’t have enough time with each individual to make a real difference, and she seems to get contradictory advice in each of her courses. Now imagine that same student going to her next class, where she has the same expectations for communication skills, uses the same communication rubric, and receives consistent feedback in every class. In which instance do you expect greater improvement?
Outcomes-based education (Biggs & Tang, 2011) has been with us for some time, and assessment of discreet content in courses is commonly defined by learning outcomes. As essential as this knowledge is, it doesn’t always lead to higher-order thinking (Lewis & Smith, 1993), or provide your students with the ability to apply this knowledge in new settings. However, higher-order thinking and the ability to apply and transfer skills in new settings are some of the attributes defined as key employability skills (Essential Employability Skills (n.d.)), known as transferable learning outcomes. Creating an environment for a transformative learning experience isn’t just about what, where, or how you teach; it’s also about setting the goal posts to align with the “big picture”.
Queen’s University, University of Toronto and the University of Guelph are part of a HEQCO-funded consortium of institutions engaged in a three-year pilot project studying the implementation and assessment of transferable learning outcomes. These three institutions are at different stages in the articulation process, and are working with outcomes to suit their context. Each brings its own share of successes and challenges, and as with any stimulus for change, building common understandings is not always a smooth endeavor. Each of the three panelists from the participating universities will specifically address questions related to the use of standardized measurement instruments, the use of data to effect course improvement, implications for a wider-scale rollout, and the challenges of changing the culture in higher education. At the conclusion of the presentation, panelists will engage the audience in a discussion of these issues.
CON7.14 – Creating an Effective Framework for Multi-Institution New Faculty Development (Room A237)
Mary Wilson (Niagara College); Jeff Fila (Conestoga College); Rick Overeem (Lambton College); and Eric Sloat (Fanshawe College); Diane Bloor (External Consultant); Janice Cardy (Conestoga College); Dennis Dowker (St. Clair College); Tania Fera VanGent (Niagara College); Lori Nemeth (Fanshawe College); and Valerie Parke (Mohawk College)
Typically, college faculty begin their teaching careers with a considerable amount of subject matter and industry expertise, but do not often possess well developed knowledge of the theories and practices that support transformational post-secondary teaching and learning. For over 20 years, the six Western Region Ontario colleges have collaborated to develop and deliver a 10-day, multi-phase faculty development program for new full-time faculty entitled “College Educator Development Program” (CEDP). This program provides new full-time faculty in the Western Region with opportunities for skill and knowledge development in a wide range of teaching and learning areas, such as assessment, teaching strategies, and curriculum design.
CEDP is greatly valued by the participating colleges, and there is interest among the six Western Region Ontario colleges to evolve the model further – specifically to create a faculty development program that is based on clear learning outcomes. Such a project would leverage our innovative cross-college approach to faculty development and it would produce more skilled faculty who are able to effectively lead a wide range of learning opportunities for our students. This year, the six Ontario western regional colleges were awarded a Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Productivity and Innovation fund (PIF) grant to create a framework which will revitalize and further enrich new faculty development in the Western Region.
This discussion panel will provide an opportunity for members of the STLHE community to hear about the objectives, scope, methodology and progress to date on this collaborative initiative to review and further develop the College Educator Development Program. Members of the project team, which consists of college administrators and faculty as well as external consultants, will share our experiences with the review and redesign of the existing CEDP program and will use an interactive question and answer format to foster discussion on the three major objectives of our project:
- Generation of a Statement of Learning Outcomes for the CEDP program;
- Creation of curriculum documents including curriculum mapping and supporting documentation for the CEDP program; and
- Drafting of an Implementation Plan that includes recommendations and timelines for a phased implementation of the new curriculum design for CEDP.
CON7.15 – ePedagogy and Our Faculty Learning Community: Designing Innovative and Effective Online Modules for University Courses (Room A234)
Beth Hughes, Maureen Cech, Jeff W. Dawson, Eva Kartchava, Vincent Kazmierski, Rebecca Mugford, Dragana Polovina-Vukovic, Juan Salinas-Pacheco, Samah Sabra, Daphne Uras, and Kirk Davies (Carleton University)
Effective teaching with technology, for both online and blended learning classrooms, often depends on committed instructors, educational developers, and sound ePedagogy (Li & Akins, 2005). In an innovative course offered by our Educational Development Centre, nine faculty members, from diverse disciplines, academic ranks, and practical experience levels, worked together bi-weekly using the topic of e-Pedagogy as a starting point for enhancing student learning through the use of educational technologies. Over the course of eight months, our group has transformed into a faculty learning community (FLC) that has shared a variety of discussions and experiences: evaluating ePedagogy, articulating learning outcomes, encouraging student motivation, learning educational technologies, challenging traditional assessment methods, developing online learning modules, and collaborating as a support system for each other. Our goal has been to create online learning modules for our courses to engage students actively with technology and thoughtful well-considered pedagogy supported by research.
After a brief introduction to the FLC, participants will divide up into small groups with members of the ePedagogy FLC to explore the process of becoming a community in this interactive session. Participants will share insights on the benefits and challenges of ePedagogy for online learning and have the opportunity to test out the learning modules in a hands-on manner.