STLHE 2014

STLHE 2014 Conference

Concurrent Sessions 4: Interactive Workshops, Panels and Alan Blizzard Award

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 10:30 - 11:20am (50 minutes)
McArthur Hall, Queen's University

CON4.01 – Alan Blizzard Award Presentation: Curricular and Co-Curricular Leadership Learning for Engineering Students (Room B101, Auditorium)
Doug Reeve, Greg Evans, Annie Simpson, Robin Sacks, David Colcleugh, Estelle Oliva-Fisher, Cindy Rollmann, Alison McGuigan, Patricia Sheridan, Cecilia Konney, Deborah Peart, Kristina Minnella, Brian Tran, Amy Huynh, Nick Evans and Wayne Stark (University of Toronto)

The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education is pleased to announce the 2014 Alan Blizzard Award for distinguished collaboration in Canadian university teaching and learning. Congratulations to the team from the University of Toronto for their collaborative project, “Curricular and Co-Curricular Leadership Learning for Engineering Students.” This exemplary project involves a large, collaborative team from Engineering, Social Science, Education, Student Life, Corporate, Research and Academic Administration.

Motivated by the belief that leadership education enables engineering graduates to contribute more effectively in the workplace and society, this year’s winning team introduced the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead) in 2010. The ILead engineering leadership program offers engineering students intentional, structured and meaningful leadership development opportunities that integrate leadership theory and application. The program addresses the four realms of leadership (self, team, organization and society) through curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences including presentations in large classes, seminars, certificate programs, retreats and courses. To date, the program has reached thousands of students.

The Alan Blizzard Award was established by the Society for Teaching and Learning to encourage, identify, and publicly recognize those whose exemplary collaboration in university teaching enhances student learning. The concept for the Alan Blizzard Award was developed by a committee including Chris Knapper (President, 1982-1987), Alan Blizzard (President, 1987-1995), Pat Rogers (President, 1995-2000), and Dale Roy (Coordinator, 3M National Teaching Fellowship). The Award honours Alan Blizzard in promoting the vision and practice of collaborative teaching for deep learning.

CON4.02 – "What Do You Mean I Wrote a C Paper? Writing, Revision, and Self-Regulation" (Room A240)
Mark Feltham (Fanshawe College) and Colleen Sharen (Brescia University College)

As Nilson (2013) observes, “few of our students show signs of being intentional, independent, self-directed learners” (p. 1). This problem in teaching and learning has inspired an interdisciplinary collaboration between a business professor and an English/writing professor. In winter 2013 we conducted an action research study that explored how a series of interventions improved students’ self-regulation regarding the process of drafting and revising reports for a second-year-university course about women and leadership. This session explores higher education’s collective quest to transform students into self-regulated learners by giving and receiving peer feedback and adopting self-regulatory learning strategies. In addition, it will address various gaps in student preparation for learning, writing, and revision. Finally, it will consider teaching practices through participant engagement with, reflection upon and incorporation of self-regulation strategies into their teaching.

CON4.03 – Undergraduate Research:  Not Just a Summer Job! (Room A239)
Connie J. Varnhagen (University of Alberta)

Many students, professors, and administrators think that undergraduate research is mentored research, with an undergraduate student working alongside a professor or post-doctoral fellow or graduate student to help advance knowledge.  But undergraduate research is much broader than this conception, available only to a small percentage of elite students.  Healy (2005; Healy & Jenkins, 2009) describe four types of undergraduate research based on the nature of the learning environment and whether the research experience focusses on the research process or research outcomes.  Brew (2006; Brew& Boud, 2009) further elaborates possible outcomes of undergraduate research, ranging from the student acquiring new knowledge and skills to the advancement of new knowledge.   Beckman and Hensel (2009) present a series of continua by which to consider different types of undergraduate research. 

Why do we care about undergraduate research?  A large body of research, cutting across employability (e.g., Finch, Hamilton, Baldwin, & Zehner, 2013), graduate school preparation (e.g., Lopatto, 2004, 2007), and learning (e.g., Healy, 2005), indicates that undergraduate research helps students develop essential skills in written and oral communication, problem solving, creative and critical thinking, and leadership.

In this session, I will briefly present the framework that we use at the University of Alberta to describe undergraduate research (, using examples from a wide range of disciplines.  Participants will then work in pairs to identify examples of undergraduate research in their own classes and interactions with students and place the examples within the framework.

CON4.04 – From Passive to Active Learners: Enhanced Learning & Engaged Students (Room A236)
Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts and Gavin Brocket (Wilfrid Laurier University)

Teaching in an active learning classroom has changed the way we teach and learn. Active learning could be considered a high-impact practice due to the fact that it “demands [that students] interact with faculty and peers about substantive matters…over extended periods of time” (Kuh, 2008). Active learning also exceeds the boundaries of the individual learner and permeates other layers in and outside the classroom, fostering active communication among learners.  Synergies of knowledge and sharing of resources are present at all times. This is not always common in the standard classroom. Education should be seen as a situation or process which provides opportunity for individuals to come into presence, that is, to show who they are and where they stand. Active learning provides this opportunity by offering the space and time to apply knowledge through tailored engaging activities while offering the opportunity for students and instructors to reflect on the teaching and learning process (Bietsa, 2004). The end result is a more robust and transformative experience.

This workshop will offer the opportunity to explore a variety of teaching and learning activities in an active learning classroom applied in two different disciplines, History and Languages and Literatures, that could be applicable to any field. Samples will be presented and we will reflect on how the crafting of these activities and their implementation has not only changed the students’ learning experience but has also impacted and transformed the teaching process. Handouts and course outlines will be shared.

**CANCELLED** CON4.05 – Active eLearning: Adapting Established F2F Teaching Strategies to Fit eLearning Environments (Room A232)
Yasmien Mills (Western University)

CON4.06 – Transforming faculty learning: Using service design methodology to build the next-generation CTL (Room A333)
Douglas Reid and Denise Stockley (Queen’s University)

While faculty development benefits from a large literature, including peer-reviewed papers, books, and edited volumes, the question of whether the design process of a faculty development unit affects its acceptance and use remains open.  This is a prospectively important question, as what is known about professional learning suggests that it is effective when project work, personalized interest of the learner, collaboration, multiple perspectives and a focus on important problems are emphasized.

But most CTLs are designed differently - top-down or centre-out, rather than end-user up. Does that process affect the willingness of faculty to participate?  Do existing CTL offerings really match underlying faculty needs?  Is there a better process of design that could yield a suite of services which more beneficially serve genuine faculty needs?

This session explores whether using a design methodology for services could improve the faculty learning and development experience.  Service design is a technique used often in commercial settings as well as the public sector.  It relies upon creating meaning from the surveyed preferences of end users, and using that meaning as input into the generation of alternative ideas.  Such ideas are winnowed, prototyped, refined, tested, and if successful, ultimately implemented. 

In this session, participants will learn about the major elements of the service design process, and discover how it was implemented at a Canadian university.  Ample reference materials will be provided, so that participants will be able to consider using this method at their own institutions based on the material delivered and referenced in this session.

CON4.07 – Enhancing a Culture of Teaching and Learning at a ‘Teaching-Focused’ University (Room A227)
Diane Salter (Kwantlen Polytechnic University); Liesel Knaack (Vancouver Island University); and Jane Fee (Kwantlen Polytechnic University)

The purpose of this workshop is to share current research on academic development initiatives and to engage participants in discussion about effective strategies to bring about institutional change that will promote a culture of teaching and learning in higher education.

Recent research supports the need to re-conceptualize the work of academic development (Boud & Brew, 2013; Salter, 2013).  In addition, changes in approaches to how we measure the success of academic development initiatives is called for to ensure a scholarly approach is taken to the work of academic development units (Stefani, 2010).  In this workshop, participants will be asked to critically reflect on changes in approaches to teaching and learning, and changes in approaches to academic development, at their institutions, and how these changes impact support for faculty and for the support units.

Two “teaching focused” institutions in British Columbia are carefully ‘rethinking’ how activities of their learning and teaching centres can be better aligned with both the missions of the respective institutions and the changing landscape in higher education.  Leaders from these two institutions will share innovative approaches that are being initiated to build upon past work at the respective institutions to enhance a culture of a renewed ‘teaching and learning community’ with an ultimate goal of enhancing the quality of student learning experiences. 

With government mandates to focus on teaching as part of their mission, how do such institutions provide leadership for others while attempting to redesign how the culture of learning and teaching is promoted, supported and communicated across campus?

Participants will be asked for their feedback on these approaches and engage in conversation about changes happening provincially and nationally. How are we ensuring our centres are aligned with institutional missions? How are we ensuring faculty are aware of these changes and how do we share with them the rationale for a new model for supporting them? How are we promoting and sharing innovation and new learning methodologies with students, administration and the community? What do these activities look like? How are we moving teachers to think of themselves more as learners and undertake rich inquiry questions into their practice and into how student learning can be improved? How can faculty be moved to lead from within and change the culture through their own initiatives and activities? How are we measuring the success of our initiatives? How can we share and learn from each other?

During this session, participants will be made aware of changes happening in other institutions and share some changes in their own institution. They will also have the opportunity to share ideas as to how they are approaching the changes and have considered next steps for their own practice.

CON4.08 – The Function and Value of the University: Why Are We Here? (Room A334)
Erin Aspenlieder (University of Guelph)

In his 1969 book, The Ideal of the University, Robert Wolff reflects on the function and value of the university in his contemporary moment. He considers four principle functions for the university: a setting for the contemplation of great intellectual debates; a “training camp” where students are accorded professional certificates in disciplines sought after by the market and/or government; a way station in the maturation of a nation’s youth; and, finally, an institution to be rebelled against for its traditions. This workshop will not focus on Wolff’s categories; rather, Wolff’s categories present a launching point for a focused conversation about the idea and the ideal of the university in 2014.

 This workshop is, perhaps, unconventional in that it does not present a specific research question or report, does not present a classroom strategy or practice and does not seek to explicitly “transform” or “innovate.” What this workshop will do, however, is step back and discuss some of the central questions we ought to be asking as members of the higher education community: What is the goal of higher education? What is our vision for the ideal university? If transformation requires a moving from one state to another, this workshop proposes first stepping back to ask ‘where are we now’ before answering ‘where might we go’?

 The outcome is as simple as it is ambitious: in this workshop participants will discuss the idea(l) of the university in 2014. In fifty minutes we will generate and debate the possible functions of the university; we will interrogate our existing assumptions about the purpose of higher education; and, we will articulate individual visions of what the goal of the university might be. We will collectively leave the conversation more confident of the kinds of questions we might ask about the purpose of and the direction for higher education. These are questions we might fruitfully take back to our home institutions to foster and facilitate change; or, these questions might simply serve as reminders to reflect on the role we individually and collectively play in the university. The discussion will be informed by an introduction to the history of the university, but will principally draw on the expertise and experiences of those participating in the discussion in order to determine functions, assumptions and visions.

CON4.09 – Messy Problems and Deep Learning (Room A342)
Tracey Bowen  and Cleo Boyd (University of Toronto Mississauga)

The aim of this paper is to explore the benefits and weaknesses of the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education. Discussion will be mainly based on theoretical studies on some of the consequences of the use of ICT, such as accessibility, interest of students and ICT professional development offered to professors, as well as on a case studies based on issues in Military and Veteran Health Research, a webinar taught every fall term by more than 15 different lecturers to graduate students from across Canada. 

 E-learning is the realization of a world where distance education provides access to high quality education to those students who would not normally have this access for several reasons, including geographical problems or scheduling challenges. Whereas technologies enable accessibility to knowledge, insuring  the technological competence of professors and motivation of students (Villar et al., 2006) is yet to be achieved.  In order to solve this problem, some argue that programmers, technicians and instructors using e-learning should put less emphasis on the technologies than on the content, in order to address students’ need of educational curriculum (The Information Revolution, 2003). Maintaing student’s interest and retention can also pose a problem: studies have identified that the low motivation among students arises from the lack of sense of belongingness to a community of learners.  It has been suggested that technologies should incorporate online icebreakers (Dixon, 2006) and create 3D learning spaces to mimic the dynamic of a classroom (IsaBelle et al., 2006) to create a sense of belonging for online learners and to reach out all types of learners, both intrinsic and extrinsic.

The aim of this paper is to evaluate the distance between the implementation of high quality e-learning using ICT and the degree of its realization, through the study of some targeted issues: accessibility of information, training of professors, and student motivation. To give some practical dimension to these reflections, different venues suggested by researchers who created real-life experiments in order to overcome these problems will also be explored. A case study will be used as a live example in order to assess the effectiveness of a multimedia approach to distance learning. Effectiveness of a multimedia approach to distance learning will be assessed based on a questionnaire measured by the assessment of the motivation of students when undertaking this webinar, as well as on their perception of the usefulness of the tools used during the semester.

CON4.10 – Blended Learning: Transforming Chronic Wound Care Education (Room A211)
Erica Cambly and Fareed Teja (University of Toronto)

Advances in technology have enabled educators to transform online teaching beyond the voice-over presentation. Newer software allows for the development of innovative and interesting online modules that successfully blend face-to-face and online components with an aim to enhance the student learning and experience.

This presentation will showcase an interactive online learning module pertaining to chronic wounds that was developed as a pilot for undergraduate nursing students in the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing (LSBFoN) at the University of Toronto. Background information, development, successes and lessons learned will be discussed. Session participants will have the opportunity to navigate through a portion of the module on their own electronic devices to gain an understanding of the student experience. Copies of the planning documents that were used during development will be shared.

This learner-centred module was developed to transform the student experience from a formal didactic lecture format to a blended learning module with the aim of enhancing the students’ knowledge and understanding of caring for patients with chronic wounds. Prior to its development, students attended two in-class lectures and completed readings and learning guides. Within the new blended module, students continued to receive a traditional in-class lecture pertaining to acute wound care but also had access to an asynchronous online module that focused on chronic wound assessment and treatment. This module presented students with content using audio, video, text, and animations. Low-stakes in-line interactive assessments assisted the students to confirm knowledge transfer. The highly interactive multi-modal approach allowed for an engaging, active learning experience.

The adoption of a computer adaptive licensure examination challenges those involved in the education of future nurses to consider new modalities for testing to ensure that graduates are well prepared for the variety of question types that may be present on the exam. Completing this module allowed students to practice various types of questions including hot spot, drag and drop, matching, and case studies.

To enhance understanding of the value of the module from a learner perspective, students were invited to complete a short, online survey through the course portal. An overview of these results will be shared within the presentation.

The creation of this interactive, online module allowed students to access content that was formerly offered within the walls of the face-to-face classroom. In the future, the module could be offered to students in other courses, programs, faculties, and institutions, as it is designed to be adaptable and reusable. Suggestions for further investigation of the impact of this type of online teaching tool on learning and knowledge translation will be discussed.

CON4.11 – Developing Documentation Standards and Guidelines for Academic Accommodations for Students with Mental Health Disabilities in Post-Secondary Education (Room A207)
Michael Condra (Queen’s University) and Eleanor Condra (St. Lawrence College)

This presentation will provide an overview of a three-year project that is funded under the Mental Health Innovation Fund (MTCU) and is a joint venture between St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Over the last five years, the number of students registered in Disability Service/Access Offices in the post-secondary sector in Ontario has increased by 32%.  Over the same period, the number of students with mental health disabilities has increased by 67%. The current model of accommodating students with disabilities being used across the province faces major challenges in accommodating those with mental health disabilities.  For example, the episodic nature of some mental health conditions and the variability in guidelines for documentation both create difficulties in providing an equitable accommodation process.  As well, members of faculty and staff lack adequate information regarding how they can support students with mental health disabilities.

The goals of the project are: (a) To develop province-wide documentation standards, taking into consideration the specific needs of students with mental health disabilities (b) To develop training for students, faculty and staff on how best to accommodate students with mental health disabilities (c) To develop an information and resource handbook for students with mental health disabilities.

In the winter of 2014, the research team carried out a provincial environmental scan, gathering input from a range of stakeholder groups – students with mental health disabilities, faculty, disability advisors, administrators and campus physicians. Stakeholder input was collected via (i) a series of focus groups held in five sites in the province and (ii) an on-line survey.  Both methods of data-collection focused on stakeholders’ experiences in seeking, recommending or providing academic accommodation, as well as their suggestions for improvements to the current system.  The researchers will share preliminary data from the environmental scan and discuss emerging themes and their implications for developing best practices in accommodating students with mental health problems and disabilities.

CON4.12 – Collaborative Development of Rich Cases for Team B (Room A339)
Lindsay Davidson and Sheila Pinchin (Queen’s University)

Complex and authentic – or “Rich” – cases are an integral component of Team Based Learning (TBL), particularly in the health-related professions. We have developed an approach to aid in the development of complex cases suitable for use as application exercises in TBL. This workshop will focus on how to develop cases to meet specific learning objectives.  Using templates created from collaborative learning and case-based learning literature, participants will build a case in steps. A collaborative approach will be used during the workshop, allowing participants to learn from each other as build and share their work.

CON4.13 – Crossing Boundaries, Transformative Learning: Teaching Community-Based Research (A343)
PANEL Connie Guberman, Ahmed Allahwala and Christine Berkowitz (University of Toronto Scarborough)

The purpose of this panel discussion is to present three different disciplinary perspectives and lessons learned from a creative teaching experiment in both individual and team-based teaching. In the fall of 2013, three courses in different disciplines at the University of Toronto Scarborough – History, Women’s and Gender Studies, and City Studies - were offered simultaneously, with the shared focus on ‘oral history and urban change’. The courses were designed as community-based research with a strong emphasis on place-based learning. The goal was to provide student researchers with the opportunity to engage directly with community members in retelling the story of Scarborough from within.

Students were organized into interdisciplinary groups of three (one student from each course.) They were trained in oral history methodology, and conducted their interviews with community members. The final project was a digital compilation of their findings, presented to a broad audience from the campus and community. The result was an example of teaching and learning alone  (separate classes, assigned readings specific to the discipline, individual assignments) and teaching and learning together (shared class meetings on common themes, group assignments, multidisciplinary field research teams and a process of collaboration that required the understanding and appreciation of difference).

The outcome of this initiative demonstrates the transformative power of new and creative ideas generated from diverse people connecting and collaborating both within the academy and community. The learning from the multidimensional partnerships that developed throughout the course were profound -- for students, faculty, community partner organizations, and community members who shared their stories.

In their final reflections, students described their transformative experience on both personal and intellectual levels. As one noted, “community-based research gives voice to those who are rarely heard, but have the most important and telling social commentaries to offer… my experience has been amazing.. I plan to reach out and hear more voices because I have grown a stronger passion for listening.”

Panel members are the three instructors. They will focus on the following within the context of the shared process:

Ahmed Allahwala (City Studies) will explore learning spaces reconfigured - how breaking down the boundaries between the university classroom and the community fundamentally transforms our traditional understanding of learning space.

Christine Berkowitz  (History) will explore how passive students can become active learners - how community-based research provides opportunities for transformational learning for students of History as they come face to face with the real world practice of their discipline, including grappling with the political and economic issues involved in public history and preservation.

Connie Guberman  (Women’s and Gender Studies) will explore strategies for transforming inquiry into a dynamic framework for learning and how everyone becomes a learner when engaging in community -based research. She will discuss opportunities for learning from difference and the transformative impact of bringing together different ideas, people, learning cultures, work modes and ways of knowing.

CON4.14 – The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Transforming Institutions Coast to Coast (Room A237)
Moderator: Nicola Simmons (Brock University)
Panelists: Gary Poole and Roseyln Verwoord (University of British Columbia); Terry Beery (University of Cincinnati); Janice Miller-Young, Miriam Carey, Karen Manarin, and Michelle Yeo (Mount Royal University); Beth Marquis and Arshad Ahmad (McMaster University) and Thomas Mengel, (University of New Brunswick)


This panel of experts, some authors for an upcoming special issue of New Directions in Teaching and Learning (anticipated 2015), will outline ways in which post-secondary institutions in Canada develop and sustain programs around the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning that impact the institutional pedagogical climate.

This work is of ongoing importance: Poole, Taylor, and Thompson (2007) discussed how scholarship of teaching and learning at various levels (institutional, disciplinary, and national) could improve quality, but little work has assessed whether their recommendations have been implemented. According to Wutherick and Yu’s (2013) mapping of SoTL in Canada, much is happening, often supported by grants, staff, and collaborative research groups. There is little evidence, however, of the impact of SoTL on teaching and learning quality at the institutional level (or on professors and their students). As Christensen Hughes and Mighty (2010) noted, “researchers have discovered much about teaching and learning in higher education, but … dissemination and uptake of this information have been limited. As such, the impact of educational research on faculty-teaching practice and the student-learning experience has been negligible” (p. 4). More recently, Poole and Simmons (2013) identified the continuing need for assessing SoTL’s impact on institutional quality.

Nicola Simmons, as panel moderator, will provide an overview of SoTL history in Canada, including national and provincial organizations, and then introduce panellists’ five minute case studies:

  1. Gary Poole, Roselynn Verwoord (University of British Columbia), and Terry Beery (University of Cincinnati) use Williams et al’s (2013) model describing how SoTL can become embedded institutionally, thus increasing its impact. The model features networks and communities of practice, describing how these entities can operate at three levels (micro, meso and macro). They explore the analysis of social networks as they are manifest in SoTL work. The expanded model will better inform the practice of those with a mandate to increase SoTL’s impact.
  2. Janice Miller-Young, Miriam Carey, Karen Manarin Michelle Yeo (Mount Royal University) outline preliminary results from a study of the impact of their SoTL Scholars program, by surveying and interviewing five years of scholars regarding their SoTL activity and the impact of participating in the program on their subsequent career activities. 
  3. Beth Marquis and Arshad Ahmad (McMaster University) discuss the development of a new SoTL institute at McMaster University. This research looked at teaching and learning-related research institutes worldwide (via a website scan and surveys of members) to determine features and perceived impacts. They report on the integration of this work into the new institute and the impact it is having on SoTL development across campus.
  4. Thomas Mengel, University of New Brunswick reflects on Renaissance College’s (UNB) mandate that includes experimenting and innovating with teaching and learning at the larger university. He will outline successes and shortcomings, and necessary steps to increase RC’s contribution to the SoTL at UNB.

In summary, we will discuss what can be learned from these case studies in small and large groups, drawing parallels and exploring distinctions, outlining challenges, and suggesting recommendations for synthesized models.