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Improving the student learning experience

Ten research projects received funding through the Centre for Teaching and Learning 2018/19 Educational Research and Teaching and Learning Enhancement grants.

These grants support teaching innovation with the goal of improving the student learning experience at Queen’s University.

The Educational Research grants fund evidence-based studies around learning issues in the classroom. Each research team is supported through consultation with a CTL educational developer and a research librarian. Four grants are offered each year: two for graduate students for $1,000 each and two for faculty, for up to $5,000. The Teaching and Learning Enhancement Grants support projects focused on various aspects of teaching, including course or program design, assessment techniques, or effective use of technology. A total of $30,000 was available, with a maximum of $7,000 per grant.  All recipients will be invited to present at the Showcase of Teaching and Learning at Queen’s on May 6, 2020. 

“The purpose of these grant programs is to support the development of teaching and learning innovation at Queen’s,” says Andy Leger, Centre for Teaching and Learning (Chair, Educational Research Adjudication Committee). “These grants encourage educators to push their educational initiatives and research forward and, in so doing, enhance the student learning experience.”

For more information about the grants programs, contact the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

2019 Educational Research Grants

Exploring Education on Intellectual & Development Disabilities in Canadian Occupational Therapy Curricula: A Mixed Methods Investigation
Nicole Bobbette, School of Rehabilitation Therapy
Education plays a critical role in creating an inclusive and just society for all citizens. A lack of education for health professionals has been identified as one reason for the ongoing health inequities experienced by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Currently little is known regarding the extent of occupational therapy student education and training on this population.

Perspectives, Attitudes and Beliefs about Simulation for Assessment in Postgraduate Medical Education
James Ahlin, Department of Emergency Medicine; Melanie Walker, Department of Emergency Medicine; Kyla Caners, McMaster University; Andrew Hall, Department of Emergency Medicine
Competency based medical education (CBME) is currently being implemented both at Queen’s and nationwide across all postgraduate medical training programs. It is clear that simulation will be an essential part of competency-based assessment given the rare nature and high patient risk of certain clinical scenarios or procedures. Unfortunately, what is less clear is the current landscape of perspectives, attitudes and beliefs on simulation for assessment among both learners and faculty. Some stakeholders have expressed concerns about this use of simulation. However, these voices are not currently expressed within the literature on simulation-based assessment. Our study aims to fill this knowledge gap. This is essential to the appropriate integration of simulation into assessment in medical education that is acceptable for all involved. Furthermore, this is the base for the creation of a safe, reliable and valid assessment space.

Cracking the Correction Mode: Assessing the Effectiveness of Feedback Strategies for Improving Student Writing in the Second Language Classroom and Beyond
Michael Reyes, Department of French Studies; Francesca Fiore, Department of French Studies
The Department of French Studies recently introduced a series of reforms for improving the grammatical accuracy and overall quality of student writing. However, despite implementing a common framework for providing more feedback on writing across all courses, instructors do not know what kinds of feedback will improve learning outcomes. This project explores the effectiveness of different kinds of corrective feedback on student writing, both in the scholarly literature and in our second-year composition course. By doing so, this research project empowers instructors and staff with strategies for developing the writing skills of second language learners and international students at Queen’s.

2019 Teaching and Learning Enhancement Grant Recipients

A Proven Approach to Supporting Indigenous Community Empowerment
Anne Johnson, Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining Engineering
CTL Support is sought to fund development of two lessons – Community Visioning – Supporting Community and Indigenous Economic Development Models and Collaborating with Local Governments for Inclusive Development – within MINE 803, Engagement for Community Development, an online course. Funding will permit collaboration with NetPositive, a registered charity that works with communities to help them articulate their values and aspirations, and to develop plans for sustainable, culturally relevant and affirming local economies. NetPositive will provide students with a practical approach to community empowerment. NetPositive will also share the experience and insight from communities they have supported, with a focus on Indigenous groups in Canada. This course contributes to reconciliation by providing concrete, practical ways future professionals can support reconciliation and approach cultural difference with respect and empathy.

Introductory Computer Science Mentorship Program
Wendy Powley, School of Computing
Learning to program can be challenging and intimidating, especially for young women who feel they don’t belong in a male-dominated field. Creative Computing (CISC 110) is a course designed to entice women to try computing for the first time. In the class, 60 per cent of students are female. Although inspired by the course, many do not continue to take further courses. The goal of this peer-mentoring project is to provide students with individualized assistance in the form of active learning, code walk-throughs, detailed written feedback, and personal support to solidify their knowledge and boost their confidence. The mentorship program will also foster leadership and further the School of Computing’s equity, diversity and inclusion efforts. The goal is to increase the number of students (particularly women) who continue in Computer Science after taking CISC 110 and to train students to educate and mentor in an inclusive and sensitive manner.

GeroCast: Using Podcasting to Deliver Living Cases in Gerontology Education
Mohammad Auais, School of Rehabilitation Therapy; Lucie Pelland, School of Rehabilitation Therapy
Podcasting is an emerging e-learning tool and recent evidence suggests that podcasting enhances student experience and outcomes. The grant will go towards developing a case-based group project for a physiotherapy gerontology course using podcasts to present a series of ‘living cases.’ The podcasts will be assigned to student groups to work on through the course and then present findings. Student learning outcomes and experiences will be evaluated with a survey. The living case podcasts will have broad applicability to other aging and/or health courses at Queen’s.

Decolonizing Opera: Micro-Internships as Experiential Learning
Coleen Renihan, Dan School of Drama and Music
Opera is an inherently colonized genre, and its history of misogyny, racism, and exclusion has been harshly (and rightly) critiqued, particularly following the rise of the #metoo #blacklivesmatter and #idlenomore movements. Opera is also being re-visioned by many creative Canadian composers, directors, and performers as a site of transformation and change. The project will feature a “Micro-Internship” innovation in the MUTH332: Opera Practicum course, allowing students to learn how and why some of Canada’s most exciting arts entrepreneurs are using opera for social transformation in 2019. In addition to innovating the curriculum by teaching students about opera’s potential for decolonization, and by giving them a unique opportunity to analyze and evaluate this in practice, this project also serves as a pilot project that considers the problem of how to frame and capitalize on a unique form of experiential learning in the arts.

Simulations, Role-Play and Long-form Scenarios: An emerging experiential learning opportunity to teach through complex issues
Kathryn Fizzell, Experiential Learning Hub; David Skillicorn, School of Computing
Simulation-based exercises are a way to bring real-world scenarios into the classroom, creating unique hands-on learning opportunities for students. This project explores simulations that involve presenting students with a specific situation and problem, and assigning them roles that require them to work together to develop tactics and strategies for responding in positive ways. To support faculty and project coordinators in using this form of experiential learning, the EL Hub, in partnership with the School of Computing, will conduct background research on pedagogical strategies related to simulation, role-play, and long form scenarios to create practical resources and materials for supporting their design and delivery. These materials will be piloted through a long-form scenario table-top cybersecurity training exercise being delivered by the School of Computing to students in the new NSERC CREATE Cybersecurity Graduate Training Program and promoted to other faculty and project coordinators through the EL Hub website and workshop presentations.

Freehand Sketching for Design Ideation in Mechanical Engineering
Roshni Rainbow, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering; Brian Surgenor, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Freehand sketching promotes creative problem solving, spatial visualization, ideation, and communication, all which are critical in engineering design. While mechanical engineering students are introduced to sketching and computer-aided drawing during their first year, there remains a challenge of integrating the concept of freehand sketching to engineering design education to promote visual thinking and the design process. It is hoped that improvements in students’ freehand sketching abilities will foster creativity and innovation in engineering design. The grant will support the improvement of mechanical engineering students’ skills in basic freehand sketching through the implementation of sketching workshops and assignments into the second-year mechanical engineering section of APSC200: Engineering Design and Practice.

ELEC 280: Fundamentals of Electromagnetism
Muhammad Alam, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Engineering laboratories are vital to the quality of engineering education, in an era of high speed evolving the technology. Yet, these labs activities need constant reviewing and updating to meet the industry needs and to keep graduates up-to-date with what’s happening in the real world and to provide them with an edge to compete in the workforce. The main objective of instructors in engineering is always to create new active learning experiences that engage students in engineering as a profession.

Due to a lack of funding, neither grant will be offered in 2020.