Showcase of Teaching and Learning at Queen's

"showcase 2018 - attendees listen to a presentation"Hold the Date | May 4, 2022

This year the Centre for Teaching and Learning is planning a virtual Showcase of Teaching and Learning. This one-day event held on Wednesday, May 5th will provide an opportunity for instructors to share their approaches to design and delivery as they shifted their courses to remote teaching and learning. It will be a great opportunity to meet virtually with colleagues from across the University to hear about what worked, what did not, and lessons learned.




The day included four sessions focusing on: Student Engagement; Course Organization and Communication, Inclusive Community, and Assessment. In each session, there were four presenters who shared their experiences, followed by a breakout discussion, and ended with a panel question & answer period.

SESSION 1: Student Engagement

8:45 -10:30am
Moderated by Lindsay Brant, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Teaching Intro Archaeology via Storybooks and Videos
Presented by Barbara Reeves, Department of Classics

Teaching Intro Archaeology via Storybooks and Videos Presentation Slides (PDF, 2.7MB)

“Introduction to Archaeology II: Methods and Analysis” is normally taught via in-person lectures. When COVID necessitated a switch to asynchronous instruction, Barbara decided to abandon that traditional format and reconsider how best to teach the material in order to keep online learners as engaged and enthusiastic as possible. One strategy was to replace her lectures with PDF “storybooks” for each topic that led the readers through the course concepts with text, images, and questions. Another strategy was to begin each section with a short video in which she introduced the topic while standing in front of local ruins, construction sites, and memorials or while working with artifacts in her office. Both she and her students enjoyed the result and the class did very well on the assessments. As a result, Barbara now plans to continue with this format next year.

The Ethics of Prompting Passion
Presented by Colleen Renihan, Dan School of Drama and Music

The Ethics of Prompting Passion Presentation Slides (PDF, 22.2MB)

It makes sense that students training for careers in one of the creative domains should be experienced in advocating for the arts. And yet, this is one of many skills that does not find its way into most university music or theatre curricula. In an undergraduate seminar that examined theatrical and musical performance in times of crisis—a course designed to take up the current moment of crisis in society and in the arts—Colleen assigned students a final project in which they were asked to create a Rick Mercer-inspired “rant” that required them to express themselves in an impassioned way about the value of the arts in the context of a crisis (The Climate Crisis, Black Lives Matter, Me Too, COVID-19, etc.).  In this presentation, Colleen reflects on both the value and the ethics of including passion and affect as aspects of student work, and the significance of this particular assignment in this year of remote learning.

From the lab-bench to the kitchen table: “At-home Lab kits” to explore core environmental engineering concepts for 3rd year civil engineers
Presented by Sarah Jane Payne, Department of Civil Engineering

In CIVL 372, third-year Civil Engineering students are introduced to critical topics including water quality analysis and treatment, mass balances and reactor design. During COVID-19, in-person labs were deemed too risky by the instructor, as physical distancing would be difficult to maintain and create hazards (e.g. students passing reagents to one another). Two teaching assistants (TAs) were engaged prior/during the course to help rapidly develop/refine experiments, using only widely available non-toxic materials to explore 4 concepts: pH assessment and calibration; turbidity and coagulation; reaction kinetics; mass balance and reactor design.  Under the supervision of TAs, students collaborated virtually with their lab groups, while working at their own kitchen tables. Attendees of this session will learn about how core engineering concepts were translated from the lab bench to the kitchen table, analytical instruments were fashioned from cell phone cameras, as well as the logistical challenges of procuring reagents and delivering 96 “at-home lab kits” across Canada and the globe.

A Remote Role-Play on Climate Negotiation to Foster Student Engagement During a Pandemic
Presented by Max Boreux, Department of Biology

In order to grasp the challenges of climate negotiation and to foster a classroom community during a pandemic, students took part remotely in a role-play within breakout rooms.  Each student was given a playing card and assigned a country to represent (or a chairperson role) and had to use the course contents in order to reach a fair and representative climate deal. A code of conduct was provided to students to stimulate engagement and ensure inclusiveness and equity. Students’ performance in the role play was evaluated by requesting students to:  (1) expose their negotiation strategy before the debate, (2) submit as a group a report of the climate deal reached during the role play and (3) write an individual post-debate reflection assessed using the ICE approach.  This class activity was particularly efficient as it favored student engagement, developed critical-thinking and provided a ludic component of the course essential alleviate student isolation during a pandemic.

Session 2: Course Organization and Communication

11:00am – 12:30pm
Moderated by Lauren Anstey, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Moving the Laboratory into a Virtual Classroom: A Case Study of LISC 391 - Integrated Life Science Laboratory
Presented by Cynthia Pruss, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences

Moving the Laboratory into a Virtual Classroom Presentation Slides (PDF, 2.1MB)

“LISC 391: Integrated Life Sciences Laboratory” is a physiology and pharmacology laboratory focused on critical-thinking, writing, and presentation skills that moved to remote learning in 2020-2021. Learners analyze a variety of data using human research participants and animal tissues. New applications were adopted to provide platforms so learners could interact with each other and their data remotely. Regular weekly Zoom sessions provided structure. Feedback Fruits was used for posters and presentation peer reviewing, and group member feedback. Two platforms, previously used in person, adapted seamlessly to remote learning: PsychLab 101 (cognitive function testing) and GraphPad PRISM (statistics and graphing). Other live experiments have been remodeled using Lt (ADInstruments), a platform which allows each learner to interact and analyze experimental data virtually in an online environment. Some student engagement issues occurred while running the course remotely. Fortunately, most aspects of the course worked well, with the learners mastering the course learning outcomes.

Cross-course Meet-ups
Presented by Christian Muise, School of Computing

Cross-course Meet-ups Presentation Slides (PDF, 325KB)

Christian teaches both a third-year and graduate course on Artificial Intelligence (entirely different syllabi /content, but same general field). To keep the students engaged, he ran weekly AI Meet-up sessions for both simultaneously. Everyone chatted collectively for a few minutes then went into breakout rooms with a specific task.  They were then brought back together in the larger group before breaking for the week.  Christian will report on what worked and what challenges he experienced. Several elements have been explored in the process, and it has proven to be quite successful so far. The lessons learned involve building a community that transcends any individual class, as it is bringing together two entirely different cohorts of students at a time when the vast majority of students are consuming their education remotely and asynchronously.

Facilitating Peer Interactions and Community-Building in a first-year course taught remotely
Presented by Ryan Martin, Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy

Facilitating Peer Interactions and Community-Building in a first-year course taught remotely Presentation Slides (PDF, 366KB)

Ryan will discuss the steps that he took in a remote setting to promote community building in a first-year physics course. These included developing a custom video conferencing system, enforcing multiple mandatory synchronous sessions per week, and developing a culture of team-work. He will conclude with some general remarks and lessons learned about my experience teaching remotely and developing a course with a strong focus on community-building.

Individual student check-ins: A review of two easy techniques for online or in-class contexts
Presented by Colleen Davison, Department of Public Health Sciences; and Department of Global Development Studies

Individual student check-ins Presentation Slides (PDF, 464KB)

It is important for instructors to regularly check in with their students as they progress through any course. Being aware of times when students might be stressed, overwhelmed or not following the course material well is essential. When instructors are regularly communicating with individual students they can adapt teaching expectations, alter instructional approaches and provide individual support as needed. Open mechanisms for communication also allow comments and questions from students to arise over the term. It can be difficult however, especially with large classes, to find ways to check in with individual students on a regular basis.  This presentation will review the use of two individual student check-in approaches: the internal/external weather report (best used in online environments) and the nametag comment form (best used in the in-class context). Each of the two approaches will be explained and reflections from experiences of their use in a variety of courses will be provided.

Session 3: Assessment & Inclusive Community

1:00 – 2:30pm
Moderated by Robin Attas, Centre for Teaching and Learning


Teaching French On-line to 250+ students: Fair and engaging grading strategies
Presented by Sanita Fejzic, Department of French Studies

Teaching French On-line to 250+ students Presentation Slides (PDF, 1.2MB)

FREN107 is an online course offered by the French Department to students wishing to supplement their language skills by enabling them to engage in everyday interactions. It is mandatory for about one third of students, and about another third are professionals seeking a certificate in French. The course typically attracts between 100 and 350+ students per term. With anywhere between 3-7 TAs to manage, a very fast-paced timeline and online learning environment on three platforms including onQ, Pearson MyLab and Feedback Fruits, paying attention to fair and engaging grading strategies can sometimes end up at the bottom of the priorities list.  However, over the last four terms teaching FREN107, Sanita has introduced many grading innovations with an aim toward improving fairness and increasing student engagement. These include: a new grading grid for the final presentation (worth 30% of overall student grades); innovated on the theme and goals of the final presentation; and changed the shape of the way TAs grade the final presentation.

Transformation of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering Field Methods to Remote Delivery using Hands-On and Virtual Tools in Fall 2020
Presented by Jennifer Day, Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

Transformation of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering Field Methods to Remote Delivery using Hands-On and Virtual Tools in Fall 2020 Presentation Slides (PDF, 4.7MB)

GEOE/L 221 is a core course for two programs where students learn foundational knowledge, skills, and methods to conduct field work that is used to investigate geological aspects of the Earth. Typically, this fall-term course involves weekly field trips in the Kingston area to visit a variety of rock outcrops to learn and practice methods of field navigation, observation, and measurement. Remote delivery of this course in fall 2020 without in-person field trips required a dramatic transformation, including creating field and demonstration instructional videos, using 3D digital photogrammetry models of rock samples and outcrops, independent outdoor activities for compass navigation, manual sketching and graphical measurements on paper, and a culminating immersive 3D video game style geological field mapping exercise. This presentation will describe these new elements of the course and discuss how well the course learning objectives were achieved in a remote setting.                                    


Remote Opportunity for Inclusive Music History
Presented by Margaret Walker, Dan School of Drama and Music

Remote Opportunity for Inclusive Music History Presentation Slides (PDF, 2.1MB)

Music history courses in Canadian universities almost invariably mean courses in the history of the elite concert music of Europe and its diasporas. Since these courses are embedded in a Eurocentric music curriculum and generally seen as ancillary to performance, changing their focus by decentering Western Art Music can seem an impossible task. Textbooks, other teaching materials, and our own training as music professors all conspire to produce barriers to change. Yet, the necessity to change delivery and design in the face of the COVID pandemic showed me that many of these seemingly impenetrable barriers are in fact illusions. Working with accessible online material, no required textbook, and a need to change both delivery and assessment gave me freedom to rethink both required content and disciplinary norms. Remote teaching gave me an unexpected opportunity to put ideas from my ongoing research into decolonizing curriculum, in part funded by a CTL Educational Research Grant, into practice.

Sharing Best Practices for Supporting Gender and Sexual Diversity in (Remote) Classrooms
Presented by Dan Vena, Department of Film and Media; and Lindsay Brant, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Sharing Best Practices for Supporting Gender and Sexual Diversity in (Remote) Classrooms Presentation Slides (PDF, 269KB)

Dan and Lindsay demonstrate the role allyship, collaboration, and shared creativity play in creating more inclusive learning spaces. They will share their co-created instructor resource aimed at developing an inclusive mindset towards gender and sexual diversity in the classroom. They will first discuss what the Indigenous pedagogical value of a ‘good mind’ means and how it applies to gender and sexual diversity in educational spaces. This will be followed by a knowledge-share of practical strategies that can be used to create inclusive and accountable classroom communities from their own teaching experiences. The presentation will culminate with an invitation to instructors to further explore the resource on their own and share with others.

Session 4: Student Engagement

3:00 -4:30pm
Moderated by Karalyn McRae and Yunyi Chen, Centre for Teaching and Learning

Designing Technology-involved Solutions to Problems of Professional Practice: A Design Case
Presented by Richard Reeve, Faculty of Education

Developing viable ways of using technology remains a challenge in education. This session presents the case of a course design that focused on having teacher candidates engage in designing technology-involved solutions to substantive teaching and learning problems identified by in-service educators. Stanford’s Design Thinking process was used by thirteen design groups to engage in full cycles of designing that involved: empathizing (via client interviews); defining (of the problem); ideating (potential solutions); prototyping (of one best solution); and testing (in the form of making a presentation to the client educator). By working on design problems identified by in-service practitioners and having their designs vetted by these client educators the pre-service teachers improved their understanding of the complex nature of using educational technology to address teaching and learning problems. Participants in this session will learn about the process followed and how it may be applicable to other types of professional practice at Queen's University.

Student Engagement Strategies in a Virtual Classroom
Presented by Sue Haywood, Nicole Bérubé, and Matthew Aslett, Smith School of Business

Student Engagement Strategies in a Virtual Classroom Presentation Slides (PDF, 1.3MB)

Grounded in their experiences, the presenters conducted a case study to explore pedagogical innovations to increase students' interactions and engagement within the online environment. They tested different methods of engagement for classroom discussions and participation in the course. With a goal to provide a balance between various pedagogical methods and devise various ways to heighten students’ personal responsibility for their own learning. Anecdotal data from the 2020/21 school year supports the effectiveness of the combination of methods utilized. Four themes on effective pedagogy emerged: balancing synchronous and asynchronous components, maximizing discussion time, adopting a student-led focus, and creating sub-sections within a course. Their key recommendations focus on prioritizing student interactions among each other, but also with the instructors and teaching assistants. The positive implications for virtual pedagogy include a significant increase in student engagement, attendance, perceived fairness of participation evaluations, and ability to apply the course material.

Enhancing student engagement in nursing education using virtual simulation games
Presented by Marian Luctkar-Flude, School of Nursing

Healthcare simulation is a teaching and learning strategy embraced in health professional education to promote engagement, knowledge, skills, and clinical decision-making. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many educators were required to provide skills labs and clinical learning experiences virtually. Additionally, there was a need for specific education for health care providers related to the essential skills required for care of patients with actual or suspected COVID-19. We led a collaboration between the Canadian Alliance of Nurse Educators using Simulation (CAN-Sim) and the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing to create a series of virtual simulation games (VSGs) to prepare health care workers including students to provide better care while ensuring personal safety ( Additionally, the CAN-Sim repository of VSGs was made available to all nurse educators across Canada ( Several VSGs have been adopted into the nursing curriculum at Queen’s University including the SOGI-Nursing toolkit (

There and Back Again: Adventures in adapting the blended learning model to remote learning (and back to campus)
Presented by Grahame Renyk, Dan School of Drama and Music

There and Back Again: Adventures in adapting the blended learning model to remote learning (and back to campus) Presentation Slides (PDF, 2.9MB)

This presentation will discuss what Grahame learned adapting the blended model of Dram100 - Introduction to Theatre for remote delivery, and how it changed what the course will look like upon return to campus.  Tweaks in course delivery and design forced by the pandemic have yielded unexpected benefits, including an uptick in the quality of student work. He will share his reflections on why this might have been the case.  His insights are twofold: what he learned about creating concise, accessible, navigable, and engaging online content, and (even more crucially) what he learned about the value of instructor-led synchronous sessions in supporting student wellness and engagement. Synchronous sessions initially intended to supplement lectures evolved into vital opportunities for building community and connection. As the semester progressed, Grahame discovered small, but effective strategies for fostering community and wellness that he will most certainly retain as we move back to campus.