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Course Design Conversations: Strategies for In-Person Teaching and Learning

The Course Design Conversations: Strategies for In-Person Teaching and Learning series invites you to join in conversations with peers about teaching in the classroom. With the return to classroom instruction, there are opportunities and challenges such as connecting remote students, new classroom technology, and engaging students in meaningful discussions. Each session will have a guest presenter to share their experiences, engage in discussions and explore strategies for effective classroom teaching and learning.

In this series, participants will have opportunities to:

  • Apply practical strategies to your own classroom instructional needs.
  • Engage in meaningful discussions with colleagues
  • Explore the latest trends in classroom instruction to best support student learning

Location-Location-Location: Connecting the where of learning to the classroom

This workshop invites instructors to create unique student learning experiences by using the concept of Learning in Places.  Place-based pedagogy is rooted in the belief that immersing in a specific location and understanding the characteristics of the place, people and networks, and interconnected communities can contextualize the key concepts and skills of our courses for students.

From off-campus excursions such as observations in the field and interviews with experts, to on-campus or even classroom-based activities, learning in places can create impactful student experiences.  Relevance to learning, creativity, connecting to personal experiences, and increasing motivation have all been linked to this form of experiential learning. Together, we will explore how to integrate place-based learning strategies into your course design through achievable steps.

Guest Presenters:Alice de Koning, Haskayne School of Business and Maya Saggar, Werklund School of Education
Facilitator: Patrick Kelly
Date: Sept. 16, 2023
Time: 12 – 1 p.m.
Location: online

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Engaging students through active learning

During a lecture, in the lab or tutorial, or online, active learning is about engaging with students to encourage thinking about and using course material in a variety of ways. Active learning can be individual, collaborative, short and simple, or it can be more elaborate and long term.

Among other benefits, active learning has been shown to improve critical thinking, increase retention and personal development. Join us to explore the benefits, challenges and strategies to leverage active learning in your courses.

Guest Presenter:Mindi Summers, Faculty of Science
Facilitator: Patrick Kelly
Date: Oct. 17, 2023
Time: 12 – 1 p.m.
Location: online

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Student assessment as a tool for learning

Assessments and student grades are integral to higher education and play an important role in student motivation, measuring student progress, and assigning grades. Yet, the relationship between student learning and assessment is complex and relates back to the question "What does learning look like in my course?".

Assessments measure learning which includes critical thinking, problem solving, knowledge, collaboration, and more. And for different types of learning, different types of assessments are needed. Join us to discuss the role assessment plays in the students learning journey.

Guest Presenter: Laleh Behjat, Schulich School of Engineering
Facilitator: Patrick Kelly
Date: Oct. 31, 2023
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: online

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Past workshops

Winter 2023

Open Educational Resources, also known as OERs, are peer reviewed academic content that is made available through an open access license. Benefits for both instructors and students include accessibility, enhanced quality of content, opportunities for self-directed learning, and more. OERs include print material, videos, audio, and even quizzes and assignments. Join us to explore the many ways OERs can be used in your classroom and the benefits for all.

Guest Presenter: Verena Roberts
Facilitators: Lorelei Anselmo

Over the last few years, ‘ungrading’ — an approach to assessment that de-centres grades, privileging instead student labour and formative feedback — has become both an increasingly common practice in postsecondary classrooms and the subject of increasing controversy in popular and scholarly publications concerned with teaching and learning.

What does it mean to have ‘completed’ an assignment? How can this approach work in classes that require demonstrated mastery of core disciplinary skills? What does an ungraded final exam look like? Along with a brief introduction to ungrading, this workshop is intended to offer participants an opportunity to work through some of these questions, and to collaborate with colleagues in other fields to identify solutions that could work in each of their courses.

Other topics: Academic Integrity, self-direct learning, backchannels, teaching intercultural competence

Guest Presenters: Derritt Mason & Morgan Vanek
Facilitator: Patrick Kelly

Fall 2022

The student population is becoming more diverse than ever, from socio-economic status, culture, language, race, gender to interests and experiences they bring. Using Equity, Diversity, and Inclusive (EDI) principles we will explore strategies to create a welcoming, safe, and inclusive classroom environment to create robust learning experiences for all learners. Teaching in a diverse classroom starts well before the first day of class by reflecting on your own positionality, including an EDI statement in your course outline, and intentional integration of EDI strategies into the first day of class and beyond. Join us as we further explore strategies when teaching in a diverse classroom.

Facilitators: Patrick Kelly, Lin Yu

Having well-defined and articulated student assessment and grading strategies is essential for effective course design. Specifications grading takes a different approach to assign grades where student work is evaluated simply using a one-level grading rubric based on whether the work meets expectations. In this approach, assignments and tests are "bundled" around course learning outcomes, clearly aligning the work students do and mastery of course content. Students earn higher grades by completing more challenging learning bundles. Join us as we explore how specifications grading can motivate students, uphold high standards, and build strong alignment in course design!

Facilitators: Kyla Flanagan 

Spring/Summer 2022

Are you curious about the available technology in classrooms and how you might leverage them to engage students and meet learning outcomes? This session will review what technology is available and provide time to share and learn from each other on how technology can be used to support student learning, instruction, and connecting remote students into the classroom.

Facilitators: Corey Flynn, Patrick Kelly, Lin Yu

Are you wondering how to engage students in discussions in class? Collaborative learning has been shown to have a dramatic impact on student engagement and learning yet has it’s challenges. This session will discuss some of the common opportunities and challenges with facilitating student discussions and then provide opportunities for participants to share their own facilitation strategies and learn from each other.

Facilitator: Lisa Stowe, Patrick Kelly, Lin Yu