STLHE 2014

STLHE 2014 Conference

Concurrent Sessions 1: Interactive Workshops and Panels

Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 1:30 - 2:20pm (50 minutes)
McArthur Hall, Queen's University


CON1.01 – Learning English as a Second Language in a Blended Online and 3D Virtual Environment (Room A339)
Peggy Hartwick, Dragana Polovina-Vukovic, Kirk Davies (Carleton University)

With a shift towards a more student-centered pedagogical paradigm, and a need to provide students with collaborative, active, and engaged learning environments, many postsecondary institutions in Canada and abroad are implementing blended model courses and programs with increased frequency.  The blended model, sometimes called hybrid learning, typically combines face-to-face and online course modules, accompanied by web-based discussions, assignments, and other activities (Leger et al., 2013).

In the fall of 2013, instructor Peggy Hartwick from the School of Linguistics and Language Studies at Carleton University offered her introductory ESLA 1300 course using the blended model, where the blended portion of her class was delivered in part using Carleton’s learning management system (cuLearn) and in Carleton’s 3D Virtual campus. These environments helped increase students’ motivation as well as their confidence in a new language, and contributed to their active engagement in their own learning.

This interactive session will describe the project and the transition to the blended model, explain the online and 3D environment, reflect on the challenges the instructor of the course and educational developers faced while re-designing the course for the blended model, and highlight students’ attitudes to this online environment as well as their outcomes in this course. We will also discuss our next steps for the next offering of the same course, based on lessons learned.

CON1.02 – Transforming the First Year Experience in the Faculty of Science Using a Student Peer-Mentoring Group (Room A334)
Kirsten Poling, Sarah Hanik, Jackson McAiney, and Rawa Jamil (University of Windsor)

As academic pressures rise and resources become more limited, many of us are concerned about how we can improve student retention rates and student success. Mentoring programs are one possible avenue for enhancing both retention and success, as they have been shown to facilitate a successful social and academic transition to university (Heirdsfield et al. 2007) and reduce stress amongst students (Mekdessi et al., 2013). While there are many models for mentoring programs, we wanted to try to transform the learning experience by fostering a positive collaborative environment based on student peer mentoring in the Faculty of Science. Science programs often involve large first-year classes with little sense of community. Furthermore, as a large number of science students vie for a limited number of spots in professional schools, there can be a heavy focus on competition. Science students were interviewed about the pressures that they faced in their transitional first year at the University of Windsor as part of a separate study; during these interviews, many upper-year students commented on how they wish they had a peer mentor to help guide them through their early years. These students were the major impetus for starting the MySci Advisors Program in the Faculty of Science, as they expressed a strong desire to provide that service for new students. The MySci Advisors Program is only in its second year so quantitative data are not abundant but some preliminary data show positive responses from mentored students and also suggest that there has been a reduction in failure and withdrawal rates in first year classes.  In addition, many of the student volunteers who became mentors have also commented that they now see themselves more as an integral part of a community due to the fact that they were helping others and making a connection with new students.

One of the primary goals of our session is to allow others to envision how they may be able to start a similar peer mentoring program in their own departments, with few resources other than motivation and time. A short presentation will detail how the MySci Advisors Program was started and will present both pitfalls and successes of this type of program to aid those interested in similar initiatives. Participants will be asked to share their goals for peer-mentoring groups at their institutions. Following a discussion of these goals as a group, participants will be asked to share ideas about the resources needed to administer a peer-mentoring group. Finally, participants will be asked to consider how they might quantify the success of peer-mentoring groups. Through these interactions, the presenter will facilitate a free exchange of information between participants who are already involved in peer mentoring programs and those who are just contemplating the establishment of a program, so that together we can work to elucidate common practices for peer-mentoring success.

CON1.03 – Transforming Graduate Student Writing Support (Room A333)
Elizabeth Parsons and Sandra den Otter (Queen’s University)

A recent feature article in University Affairs, “The PhD Is in Need of Revision,” highlights the growing concern that thesis completion times are increasing in almost all disciplines, placing strain on graduate students’ mental health, supervisory loads, and university budgets. Writing makes up a considerable part of master’s or doctoral studies and is often the greatest hurdle in the process of doctoral completion. 

Queens’ University has responded with a series of initiatives that address some of the challenges that graduate students face in their writing. For example, the week-long Dissertation Boot Camp immerses graduate students in a dedicated, distraction-free writing community; workshops and activities address common writing barriers and help students develop positive writing habits. The Thesis Writing Support Group uses a psycho-educational approach to supporting graduate students through weekly meetings in which they discuss their writing experiences and engage in activities with the goal of overcoming personal and writing process barriers. 

At this interactive workshop, participants will discuss the barriers they have experienced in their own writing, and/or the barriers experienced by graduate students with whom they work; learn about the graduate student writing supports at Queen’s and how these programs address the common writing barriers faced by graduate students; and consider opportunities for supporting graduate student writing on their own campus.  

CON1.04 – Rethinking Academic Dishonesty -- Transforming Practices To Promote Academic Integrity Across an Entire Learning Community (Room A227)
Jennie Miron and Kristine Fenning (Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning)

Academic dishonesty continues to present educators, administrators and students with challenges that threaten the quality of the teaching and learning experience. Meaningful learning happens when educational organizations recognize and commit to the core values of Academic Integrity (AI): honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility, even when faced with adversity. It takes courage to commit and live these values (International Centre for Academic Integrity, 2013). There is great importance to acculturating students to the values of AI with respect to their learning since evidence supports the fact that the behaviours attached to these values carry over to professional practice and benefit future service recipients, workplace organizations and society as a whole.

One School of Health Sciences (SHS) experience with shifting and strengthening a culture of AI across all programs will be the focus of this interactive workshop. This session will outline the Influencing Academic Integrity Model (IAIM) created and implemented by the School of Health Sciences at Humber College. This model served as the framework for change and provided a holistic approach in building a sustainable culture of integrity. Participants will learn about the challenges, benefits and successes of the AI initiative. Participants will have the opportunity to examine and learn practical steps in the application of the IAIM model to support their own future efforts in their educational organizations. Current literature and research will be highlighted for consideration as participants learn about the requirements to shifting or strengthen a culture of AI. The concepts of leadership, synergism, and the commitment of all teaching and learning partners both internally and externally to the academic institution will be explored throughout the presentation in an interactive approach that includes small group work exercises as well as a lively audio-visual presentation. Join us to discuss and apply the IAIM model to see how your institution can begin their transformation!

CON1.05 – Using Open Space Learning to Transform our Learning Experiences (Room A232)
Roger Moore (NorQuest College / University of Alberta)

Beyond, instructing, beyond facilitating, this interactive Open Space Learning uses a self-organizing learning space to explore how you will be “Transforming (y)our Learning experiences” in your institution. Space will be created for you to interact with your colleagues and reflect on your practices and to gain insights into the experiences of others.  This session will uncover your passions and through interactive open discussions, creative approaches will be discovered. We will create the agenda, we will find the right people and we will determine the outcomes. This session will stimulate an exchange of information and ideas and allow you to leave inspired, invigorated and ready to reconfigure your learning spaces and places. 

Open Space Technology/Learning is an approach for organizing learning experiences around an important topic without a formal agenda. This approach relies on the principles of self-organizing groups, which envisions groups of people as living systems capable of adapting appropriately to changing environments.  Self-organizing groups develop similarly to communities of practice, as knowledge sharing and learning enterprises.  However, they are more often considered in the context of ongoing interactions amongst group members.  Open Space Technology/Learning contains four main concepts: 1) whoever comes are the right people, 2) whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened, 3) whenever it starts is the right time and 4) when it’s over it’s over.  As such, Open Space Technology/Learning takes advantage of the focus of a group designed to dissipate after only a single interaction.

This Open Space session is usually run for longer time periods, half days to many days, but the ‘50 minute Short Interactive Workshop’ will provide participants with a very ‘interactive, engaging taste’ of Open Space Learning. 

CON1.06 – Project Collaborate: A New Road to Interactive Mobile Learning (Room A236)
Richard Mitchell (Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning)

According to the 2014 NMC Horizon Higher Education Report (Johnson et al., 2014), “the integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning in face-to-face instruction is highlighted as one of two fast trends … that will be driving changes in higher education over the next one to two years”.  In one of the studies mentioned in this report, Ohio State University students felt that this method of instruction “made the subject more interesting, and increased their understanding, as well as encouraged their participation.”

Guided by Albert Bandura’s (1977) social learning theory in which learning occurs through interpersonal contexts, observation and through a combination of live modeling, verbal instruction and symbolic modeling through media such as on-line tools, the presenter will discuss Project Collaborate, in which Blackboard Collaborate is used as a tool for teaching first year College Level Technical Mathematics.

 Project Collaborate is a pilot project, in which a mobile–based interactive learning environment was created to provide both synchronous (face to face streaming) and asynchronous (video recording and notes) instruction for those students who are already physically in the classroom as well as those students who sometimes need to be on-line due to geographic or economic challenges and persons living with disabilities. Mobile-based learning environments offer opportunities for transforming our learning experiences by embracing diverse student needs for both physical and virtual learning spaces.  The Blackboard Collaborate tool allows most students access to their lessons almost anywhere and anytime because it offers both real-time and recorded instruction on a portable mobile device.

Similar to a Synchronous Massive Online Course (SMOC) model offered by the University of Texas at Austin (2013), Project Collaborate is a hybrid model that allows students the option to interact face to face either in a real classroom or in a virtual classroom with either the instructor or other students and includes tools such as:  interactive whiteboards, audio-video-text chat, polling, quizzes, and application sharing and such. Live sessions are then recorded and archived which helps students prepare for assignments or exams and review missed lessons. Students in the pilot project have commented that their experience is more interactive and lessons are more accessible. 

For this presentation, participants are encouraged to bring their tablets, iPhones and Android mobile devices to the workshop to experience first-hand a live on-line session illustrating the pros and cons of interactive mobile learning.

CON1.07 – Teaching with SPARK (Room A239)
Ron Sheese and Sophie Bury (York University)

The York University Learning Commons has recently developed SPARK (Student Papers and Academic Research Kit), a freely available online resource to assist students in learning to write essays in the social sciences and humanities. SPARK, created from an academic literacies perspective, provides support within a single online resource for developing skills in multiple areas related to essay writing – time management, library searching, and essay revision, for example. While SPARK can be used by students on their own, our session will focus on how course instructors can incorporate SPARK into their teaching. We will discuss common problems that students face in the preparation of academic essays and how SPARK can be used in the context of disciplinary courses to help students address these problems and improve the quality of their writing.

CON1.08 – Transforming First Year Engineering Student Experience Through Knowledge Sharing and Reciprocal Learning (Room A240)
Dorothy Missingham, Samuel Lowe, Mei Cheong, Madeleine Tonkin and Tristan Cook (University of Adelaide)

Engaging students in transformative learning processes is a complex task, often difficult to structure, and even more challenging to successfully achieve. Working with first year Engineering students in an integrated design and communication course, these challenges are sometimes exacerbated by a tradition of prior school education in which students are socialised by didactic teaching methods and examination based learning, as well as by the students own resistance to what they see as “learning” English. This discussion presents an innovative and evolving approach at one Australian university, aimed at creating a culture of knowledge sharing and reciprocal learning between students and tutors, tutors and lecturer, and lecturer and students. Course members are collectively involved in investigating an engineering topic through which students not only gain a strong grounding in oral, written, teamwork and graphical engineering communication but also develop skills of inquiry and self-directed learning. The method of instruction is what distinguishes this topic from others, with a scaffolded approach to reciprocal learning between the” teacher” (tutor educator) and the student forming the core of the approach. The tutor educator group is comprised of a mix of undergraduate students (2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th years), post-graduate students, and the topic coordinator (lecturer). Each year, from the 1st year student cohort in communications, a number of stand-out students are invited to continue on as tutors for the following year. This ensures the continued addition of fresh ideas and perspectives to the educator group, whilst still allowing the newer tutors to benefit from the more experienced tutors. Importantly, this approach has grown out of student-led directions which include peer lecturing, tutor-led workshops, the involvement of former graduates, and a pilot course on tutoring the tutors. This presentation discusses the perspectives of the tutor educator group on the educational approach and the success in achieving transformational learning through reciprocal learning.

Participants attending this session should be prepared to engage in some democratic, active learning experiences (some of which you may be familiar with, some of which may surprise you) devised and led by members of the tutor educator group.  Please, also, be prepared to contribute your own knowledge, experiences and ideas to the presenter’s on-going learning.

CON1.09 – Transforming Classroom Spaces for Active and Collaborative Learning (Room A237)
Moderator: Andy Leger
Panelists: Melanie Bedore, Mark Hostetler, David Dove, Jonathan Rose and Greg Lessard (Queen’s University)

There is large and growing body of evidence that shows active learning can have a positive impact upon students learning outcomes such as increased content knowledge, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and positive attitudes towards learning in comparison to traditional lecture-based delivery (Anderson et al., 2005). Active learning facilitates greater enthusiasm for learning, in both students and instructors (Thaman et al., 2013), and the development of graduate capabilities, such as critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, adaptability, communication and interpersonal skills (Kember & Leung 2005). There is also literature which suggests that teaching spaces can have a large impact on the ability to incorporate active learning teaching strategies (Chism & Bickford, 2002; Oblinger, 2006; Walker et al., 2011). In the winter of 2014, three recently renovated classrooms at Queen’s University designed for active and collaborative learning were used for the first time. One of the primary goals of redesigning classroom space was to evaluate how teaching spaces can facilitate changes in approaches to teaching and transform student learning experiences. The purpose of this panel is to learn about the design considerations, configurations and technology available in each of the three new active learning classrooms and to hear from faculty members who have chosen to teach in them.


This session will begin with an overview of the three classrooms by the Moderator and Educational Developer responsible for the support and assessment of the new active learning classrooms. Next, each of the panelists will discuss how the classroom design and features influenced their approach to teaching and comment on the effect it had on their students’ experience. The panelists chosen for this session each used one of the new classrooms and are characterized as follows: experienced faculty members teaching a familiar course normally taught in traditional classrooms, an experienced faculty member teaching a newly designed course, and a new instructor teaching for the first time. Questions to each of the panelists will include:  What influence did the space have on how your course was designed and taught? Can you give an example of what worked particularly well? What aspects of the space do you believe contributed the most to enhancing student experience and student learning? What surprised you about the space and how it influenced your class? What are some of the teaching and learning strategies that you used that you could not in other traditional classrooms? What was the reaction of your students to the space and the strategies that you used? What do you wish you had known before teaching in the active learning classrooms? What advice would you give other instructors teaching in these rooms for the first time? If you were to build another classroom for active learning to help you transform your course, what would it look like?


This panel will allow participants to hear about and ask questions regarding the design aspects of three new active learning classrooms, consider the configuration and the technology available in each room, and discuss the opportunities, advantages and challenges of the teaching strategies that were used in these spaces.

CON1.10 – Transformations - Transitioning from Professional to Academic Life: The First Year (Room A343)
Moderator: Jennifer Boman (Mount Royal University)
Panelists: Robert Catena, Shannon Funk, Shelley Skelton and
Deanna Wiebe (Mount Royal University)

This panel discussion will explore the experiences of four new faculty members who participated in a Professional Learning Community (PLC) during their first year in an academic position. The PLC was designed to support the acclimatization of new faculty, informed by literature on new faculty support (Austin, 2003; Eddy & Gaston-Gayles, 2008; Sorcinelli, 1994), communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and mentoring in academia (Solem & Foote, 2006). The panelists, all of whom have transitioned from professional to academic life, shared a journey of ‘transforming professional teaching practices within and beyond the classroom.’ From the professional fields of nursing, education, counseling, and aviation, panelists experienced unique challenges and successes in their first year, yet some recurring conversations continued to emerge within the group. Each panelist will focus on a theme that was most salient to their experience as follows:

Robert Catena, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery

Translating professional experience and expertise into the classroom: Nurses build upon foundational skills and knowledge through clinical practice that enables them to progress from novice to expert (Benner, 1982). However, challenges may emerge when new nursing faculty endeavor to translate professional (clinical) expertise to the academic setting. This panelist will share approaches and strategies used to facilitate student learning and bridge these two contexts.

Shannon Funk, Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Education and Recreation Studies

Transitioning geographically and theoretically to a new community: Coming from a public school teaching background, how can a new faculty member create connections within/beyond the university walls? What does ‘being new’ mean and how does one begin to network on a new geographical and theoretical/professional landscape?

Shelley Skelton, Assistant Professor, Child and Youth Studies

Navigating relationships with students and colleagues: How does a new faculty member negotiate boundaries and relationships with students? This issue is a particularly salient one for this panelist, as relationship building is foundational to counseling but must take a different form in teaching.

Deanna Wiebe, Aviation

Freedom and decision-making in a new role: How does one shift from a team environment in flight instruction, to one of isolation as the program’s only faculty member? Coming from a flight training background which focused on the in-aircraft training rather than the academic aviation training, this panelist experienced both an increase and a decrease in freedom and decision making.

Moderator: Jennifer Boman, Assistant Professor, Academic Development Centre

Jennifer is one of the two facilitators of the Professional Learning Community and will moderate the panel.

Participants in this session will be invited to discuss their experiences relating to transitioning to academia and/or being new faculty. Panelists will share strategies that have helped them transform their teaching, learning, and shifting identities as new faculty, as well as elicit participant thoughts and experiences.  The intended outcome of the session will be for participants and panelists to leave with ideas and strategies to support their own learning and transition to academia and/or to have new insights to better support transitioning new faculty.

CON1.11 – Towards a Conceptual Model of Student Professionalization: Reflecting on Learning Trajectories and Instructional Practices (Room A342)
Marilou Bélisle (Université de Sherbrooke)

As program directors, instructional designers, faculty teachers, or educational developers, how can we prepare university students for effective professional practice? What does it mean to prepare students for professional practice? The purpose of this interactive workshop is to shed light on professionalizing teaching practices within and beyond the classroom through the lens of a conceptual framework on student professionalization in higher education. More specifically, participants will be invited to analyse instructional practices and discuss what it means to prepare students for future professional practice in a program-based approach.

Despite a growing number of curricular innovations (Béchard & Pelletier, 2004; Bédard & Béchard, 2009) in university programs focusing on preparing students for effective professional practice, the concept of student professionalization is yet rarely defined. We propose a holistic view of student professionalization as a process of becoming a professional which entails three learning dimensions: the development of professional competencies (Le Boterf, 2002; Fletcher, 2000; Tardif, 2006; Beckers, 2007), the appropriation of a professional culture (Abrandt Dahlgren, Richardson & Sjöström, 2004; Colbeck, 2008; Dryburgh, 1999; Greenwood, 1966), and the construction of a professional identity (Blin, 1997; Dubar, 2000; Gohier et al., 2001). This conceptual framework is based on previous qualitative research (Bélisle, 2011) investigating whether and how an innovative problem-based program in a mid-sized French Canadian university actually contributed to student professionalization. Although such a program led to different portraits of student professionalization, data obtained from graduated students reveal that the three dimensions are intertwined and influenced by personal features (e.g. goals, family background) as well as learning experiences provided through both academic (e.g. problem- and project-based learning, team learning, assessment practices) and professional settings (e.g. work placement). However, instructional practices mainly focused on competency development and whenever culture appropriation was considered, it was not done so in relation to competency development and/or identity construction. Throughout students’ learning trajectories, the way they professionalized was more specifically tinted by the contexts in which they evolved, the situations they encountered and the roles they engaged in. Results from this research will be briefly presented and will serve as a basis for discussing instructional practices likely to foster student professionalization in higher education. To avoid the separation of the three dimensions, participants will be invited to discuss learning situations and strategies that integrate competency development, culture appropriation and identity construction as a whole.

CON1.12 – Journeys in Educational Leadership (Room A241/242)
Moderator: Esther Enns (St. Mary’s University);Pat Rogers (Wilfrid Laurier University); Heather Smith (University of British Columbia) and Robert Summerby-Murray (Dalhousie University)

This session will focus on the “journeys” undertaken by faculty over the course of their careers as they take up leadership roles within their institutions and beyond.   Addressing one of the general themes of the 2014 conference, the “Transformation of learning experiences” that “opens new opportunities for transforming the lives of life-long learners and leaders,” we will be exploring the relationship between teaching excellence and educational leadership.  In what ways do those who learn to become excellent teachers develop interest in learning to become educational leaders?  In addition to sharing the experiences that have shaped their career trajectories that led them to expand on their teaching and become educational leaders, the panelists will speak to the following key issues and questions: 

Pat Rogers:

  • How is educational leadership defined and does this definition change depending on where one is located in the institutional, disciplinary, or professional structure? 
  • How does taking up leadership roles affect one’s ability or opportunities to be a teacher?

Heather Smith:

  • What opportunities exist for faculty to “grow” within the institutional structure?  What types of roles enable educational leadership?  What is the relationship between educational leadership roles and administrative roles?
  • How does a commitment to teaching excellence influence goals, decision-making, and participation in or fostering of the culture of teaching and learning at the institutional, disciplinary or national level?

Robert Summerby-Murray:

  • How does a focus on teaching excellence influence the experience and implementation of leadership within higher education?  For example, for those faculty who are publicly recognized for teaching excellence, does this recognition create new opportunities for growth or a greater voice in the institution?  Does such recognition “transform” one’s understanding of one’s own capacities or responsibilities as an educational leader? 

This session features 3M National Teaching Fellows who occupy administrative or leadership positions within their respective institutions, and have cultivated a combined commitment to teaching excellence and educational leadership They will offer their perspectives on the advantages and challenges of carrying a commitment to teaching excellence into new domains of visioning, action and policy-making.  This session will be of interest to those who are considering pursuing opportunities in educational leadership, and to those who currently occupy administrative or other leadership positions. 

CON1.13 – Teaching Emerging Technologies Online: Developing Digital Literacy Skills in Educators (Room A301)
Rebecca Hogue and Doug Archibald (University of Ottawa)

The NMC Horizon Report 2014 High Education Preview highlights that low digital literacy skills among educators is a challenge that is impeding technology adoption in education. One method of helping to address this issue is to introduce emerging technologies within Master of Education programs.

The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education offers the majority of its Anglophone courses as face-to-face courses, with a few courses being offered in hybrid and fully online formats. The two technology courses in the program (Emerging Technologies and Learning and Integrating Technology in Education) are currently only offered as fully online courses. Many of the students in the program have low digital literacy skills and describe themselves as ‘technophobes’. It is, therefore, essential to establish and foster a supportive learning environment where students feel safe, supported, and yet challenged to develop digital literacy skills.

This research presentation describes the design of an online Masters course “Emerging Technologies and Learning” that helps educators improve their digital literacy skills while exploring the latest trends in educational technology. The presentation (1) describes the pedagogical foundations of the course, (2) describes the course design and key learning activities, (3) presents the results of the detailed course evaluation, and (4) concludes with recommended design principles.

CON1.14 – Creating for, and Teaching with, Digital Media (Room A234)
Panelists:  Tom Haffie (Western University), Jon Houseman (University of Ottawa), Pippa Lock (McMaster University), and John Mitterer (Brock University) ** SPONSORED BY NELSON EDUCATION **

Four award-winning senior instructors who create materials for, and teach with, digital technologies share their insights in a lively discussion format that will invite audience participation. The intended outcome is that attendees, regardless of their degree of immersion in digitally focused teaching, will better appreciate the broad range of issues facing faculty, students, university administrators, and publishers, as we all move toward an ever more digital future. The conversation will focus on some of the following questions as well as those that emerge during the session.