Teaching & Learning Community of Practice

The Faculty of Arts & Science hosts a Teaching & Learning Community of Practice (CoP) that was established in 2015 to create a collegial forum for faculty and instructors to meet and share teaching practices and strategies across fields and disciplines. This CoP is coordinated by Andrew Dicks (Professor, Teaching Stream and Associate Chair, Undergraduate, Department of Chemistry).

Please contact teachinglearning.artsci@utoronto.ca for questions about the CoP.

Self-enrol in the A&S Teaching and Learning Community of Practice Quercus shell to access materials (slides, articles, video recordings, etc.) from past CoP sessions.

Enrol in Quercus

Join the CoP Listserv

To receive emails and updates on the CoP sessions and news, please join the CoP listserv by sending an email to listserv@listserv.utoronto.ca with the following text in the body of the email: JOIN TLCOP-L Your first name and last name (e.g., JOIN TLCOP-L Jennifer Xiang).


Upcoming CoP Sessions

Flipped Classrooms and Online Learning: Student Perception and Feedback

Friday, October 14, 2022, 11 am–12 pm, Online

Register via Zoom 

The Use of Flipped Classroom Techniques in Non-Computational Courses
Daniel Gregory, Assistant Professor, Earth Sciences

One of the results of the pandemic is many of us now have video-taped versions of our lectures. Since this is one of the more time-consuming aspects of developing flipped classroom lectures, it opens the door for more people to utilize this technique. In this presentation I will go through the results of a 3-year study investigating the use of flipped classroom lectures in my fourth-year mineral deposits course. We will review how the lectures were designed and implemented and assess the effectiveness of the technique using a combination of student feedback forms, comparative results exam questions, and post course interviews.

Understanding How Students Perceive Online Language Learning
Yujeong Choi, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, East Asian Studies
Yasuyo Tomita, Sessional Lecturer, OISE (Winter 2023)
Kyoungrok Ko, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, East Asian Studies

In second language acquisition (SLA), research has shown that learning achievement is closely associated with satisfaction (Palmer & Holt, 2009). It is widely believed that learner satisfaction in the learning process, as well as achievement, is important but lower in online courses (Russell & Murphy-Judy, 2021). There has been little research conducted on online language learning and student satisfaction in an online-only context. This study explores the perceptions of learners about online language learning, especially satisfaction, during the recent pandemic that necessitated online learning.

Teaching and Evaluating Student Writing

Tuesday, November 1, 2022, 3:30–4:30 pm, Dual Delivery
In-Person, History Conference Room, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2098, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3

Online, Register via Zoom

Marking Multilingual Students' Writing Fairly
Leora Freedman, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, English Language Learning Coordinator, English Language Learning (ELL)
Daveeda Goldberg, Writing Instructor, New College, ELL Specialist

The English Language Learning (ELL) Program fields many questions from faculty and TAs about marking the writing of multilingual students. Markers frequently express concerns about maintaining fairness and responding effectively and efficiently to support language development. This presentation will showcase a new eModule developed by ELL for self-paced learning as well as use in departmental meetings and TA grading sessions. It is the first of a series of eModules called Teaching in Our Multilingual Environment. Participants will learn how they can make use of this growing collection of eModules for the benefit of their departments and courses.

Teaching Writing in the Age of Mechanical Content Production
David Suarez, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Philosophy
Alexandra Gustafson, Lead Writing TA, Graduate Student, Philosophy

Artificial neural networks, trained on vast quantities of text written by human beings, can now be used to produce coherent, grammatical content on demand. Machine learning tools of this kind, such as GPT-3, are widely available, cheap, and have been packaged for use by the general public. While these tools might not produce the best essays, they can produce text that stands a chance of passing high school, and perhaps even university-level, classes. (Refer to the GPT-3 article by Philosophy bear  for discussion and examples.) This has implications for the writing projects we assign our students. We want to explore those implications, in both practical and theoretical dimensions, with an emphasis on pedagogical issues—in particular, thinking through the very point of writing assignments, and what we hope to teach using them.

Teaching, Managing, and Assessing Large Courses

Wednesday, November 23, 2022, 10:30–11:30 am Dual Delivery
In-Person, History Conference Room, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2098, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3

Online, Register via Zoom 

Lifecycle of Assessments in a Large Course
Asif Zaman, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Mathematics

From an instructor's perspective, every assessment goes through roughly five key stages of its "lifecycle".

  1. Design the assessment.
  2. Create a grading rubric.
  3. Build comment library.
  4. Grade assessments.
  5. Review graded assessments.

Each stage requires significant resources to produce high quality and consistent feedback. In a small course, I traditionally lead stages 1, 2, and 5 myself whereas a couple of TAs will do stages 3 and 4. As the coordinator for a large course, I am under significant time constraints and cannot follow this traditional scheme without significant compromise on grading quality. With the support of the Writing-Integrated Teaching (WIT) program, I have remodeled this workflow in collaboration with Head TAs and a Lead Writing TA. I only lead stage 1 and initiate stage 2. With my support, Head TAs lead stages 2, 3, and 5. Grading TAs focus primarily on stage 4 with support from Head TAs. This remodel has maximized the impact of my limited time, created leadership and development opportunities for experienced TAs, strengthened TA grading skills, and improved assessment feedback. I hope to share my experience with others along with suggested strategies that could be adopted in other large courses.

Managing a 1000+ Students Class: Perspectives and Strategies from a Head TA
Irene Poetranto, Head TA, PhD Candidate, Political Science

POL106H1 is a large course of over 1,000 students taught by one faculty member and supported by a Head Teaching Assistant (TA) and a team of TAs. In this presentation, I will share my experiences as a Head TA and identify strategies that establish and maintain expectations while facilitating processes for managing students and the TA team. My presentation will highlight how support and resources are coordinated and offer methods for managing the abundance of emails and requests throughout the semester. I will also address the realities of balancing TA responsibilities with graduate work and what structures can help ensure that the faculty member's course learning objectives are achieved and students can successfully demonstrate their learning.

Creating and Managing Assessment Questions in Large Courses

Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 10:30–11:30 am, Online

Register via Zoom

Cultivating a Questioning Mind: Student Led Question Composition in Large Courses
Naomi Levy-Strumpf, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology
Maria Papaconstantinou, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology

To facilitate critical thinking and mastery of foundational concepts in a large Genetics course (~1000 students), we decided to actively engage students in question creation. We used "Quizzical" an online platform developed by Prof. Dan Riggs. Via this platform, students are tasked with the creation of multiple-choice questions. To foster metacognition and encourage a shift from perceiving learning as memorization, students were encouraged to create application-based questions. Higher grades were granted to question that creatively integrated multiple concepts or required knowledge application. The success of incorporating Quizzical as an integral assessment in this course prompted us to further develop the platform to facilitating broad-base use across disciplines. We will discuss the learning outcomes achieved by engaging the students in question creation, as well as the added features in the latest Quizzical 5.0 version.

Building and Maintaining an Equitable Question Bank for Online Tests
Jeremy Webb, Assistant Professor, Astronomy and Astrophysics

When administering an online test for large classes, drawing questions from a large question bank can be preferable to releasing an identical set of questions to each student to minimize academic integrity violations. However, with each student receiving a different set of questions, it is difficult to ensure that each test has the same difficulty and covers the same topics. I will discuss the lessons I have learned after teaching two large breadth requirement courses online over the past three years and outline my current method for maintaining an equitable question bank for my courses.

Advancing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Department of Chemistry

Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 1:30–2:30 pm, Online

Register via Zoom

John De Backere, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Chemistry
Madeline Gerbig, Chemistry Librarian
Soha Ahmadi, Postdoctoral Fellow

In the Department of Chemistry, we have developed an asynchronous online Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) training course aimed towards our first-year chemistry students. This interactive training uses H5P modules embedded within Quercus and introduces undergraduate students to core EDI concepts and departmental/institutional resources. The project was a collaboration between three members of our departmental EDI Committee (a Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty Member, and Librarian) with support by our departmental Chemistry Teaching Fellowship Program (CTFP) and external consultations. The training course was first piloted in the Summer of 2022 with plans for further implementation. In our presentation we will share our approach and challenges in developing the resource, feedback from students, and discuss our future directions.

Strategies and Tools for Pre-Reading and Discussions

February, 2023 — Dates To Be Determined
Dual Delivery In-Person & Online

Fostering Pre-Reading Skills: A Third-Year Course Model Built Around Perusall
Alex Koo, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Philosophy

Philosophy students are often told to do their readings before class, but in practice this does not always happen. This leads to difficulties for students entering fourth-year seminars who have not learned the necessary pre-reading skills to succeed. This session will present a third-year class model that is structured around pre-reading and designed to help students bridge the gap between third and fourth-year courses in Philosophy. A key element to this is Perusall—an asynchronous online peer annotation platform for reading that promotes engagement and collaboration. In addition to Perusall, the course structure, assessments, and student feedback will be described.

Discussing Online is Helpful Even if Difficult
Karen Williams, Sessional Lecturer, Ecology Evolutionary Biology

Are there strategies for having discussions in an online course which would stimulate participation, spark curiosity and provide opportunities to synthesize information? Online discussions seemed to pose their own unique set of issues. I explored a variety of strategies to facilitate discussions in an online biology course 2021–2022, using tools within and external to Quercus. Difficult discussion topics benefited from preparation and resulted in changed perspectives, and I found students who participated in discussions had higher scores on their written assignment. Discussions online did provide benefits and were helpful for many students.

Equity in the Syllabus and in the Classroom

Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 10:30–11:30 am, Online

Register via Zoom 

Evidence-Informed Guidelines for Supporting EDI with Syllabus Design and Content
Molly Metz, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Psychology
William Ryan, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Psychology

Syllabi serve an important function in our classes; not only do they communicate and organize key course information, they are often the first experience students have with an instructor. Thus, the syllabus provides an opportunity to set norms of inclusion and encourage student engagement before they ever set foot in a classroom. In this session, we will share the product of the tri-campus department of psychology EDI subcommittee focused on undergraduate learning: an annotated syllabus with evidence-informed suggestions and examples for how to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the document (and course) in both content and design.

Equity, Access and the Co-Learning Classroom: What Happens in a Circle?
Simone Davis, Instructor (former Associate Director), Ethics, Society & Law and Trinity One, Trinity College
Kerry Taylor, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies

Our co-learning project re-envisions both community-based learning (CBL) and access models. Partnering with the City of Toronto's Community Healing and Peers Projects, we offer courses to a mix of U of T students and community-based alums of the City program. These youth workers and community development innovators bring not only a critical awareness of structural forces of exclusion within the academy, but also the ability to effect positive change within it. We will present the model…and the holistic andragogy at its heart, inviting you to think about your own classroom experiences. What is possible? What is it that can happen in a circle?

Language Exchange Sessions and Second Language Teaching

Monday, April 3, 2023, 1:30–2:30 pm, Online

Register via Zoom

Developing Students' Verbal Fluency, Self-Confidence and Intercultural Skills Through Spanish/English Virtual Language Exchange Sessions with Native Speakers
Juan Carlos Rocha Osornio, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Spanish and Portuguese

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, language teachers have always had to come up with creative ways to have their students practice their oral skills in a meaningful way. This is particularly important considering that learning a foreign language is often accompanied by feelings of anxiety that can potentially hinder the learning process. While virtual classes have brought new challenges, they nevertheless offer a valuable opportunity for developing students' verbal fluency, self-confidence, and intercultural skills. This session will provide an overview of the Spanish/English Virtual Language Exchange Sessions that were created in response to the pandemic, so that students taking Spanish in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Toronto and students of English at Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Mexico, could interact and learn from one another while creating a sense of community.

Expanding the Classroom via Educational Platforms: How TalkAbroad Can Help Create Meaningful Assignments in L2 Classrooms
Stefana Gargova, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Germanic Languages and Literatures

Providing meaningful and compelling forms of practice, assessment and evaluation of students' oral communicative skills has always been a struggle in Second Language Teaching, particularly when learning happens outside of the communities and places the target language is spoken. A new educational platform called TalkAbroad is offering a solution for filling this gap. In this presentation I will share my experience with the platform, as well as demonstrate various assignment options and share student feedback.

A&S T&L CoP Showcase Panel I

Wednesday, April 26, 2023, 12:30–2:30 pm, Online

Register via Zoom
 

A&S T&L CoP Showcase Panel II

Friday, May 5, 2023, 10:30 am–12:30 pm, Dual Delivery

In-Person, To be announced

Online, Register via Zoom

 

Past Sessions

Tuesday, September 20, 2022, 10:30–11:30 am, Dual Delivery

In-Person, History Conference Room, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2098, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3

Jacqueline Smith, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Computer ScienceJennifer Campbell, Professor, Teaching Stream, Computer Science
Paul Gries, Professor, Teaching Stream, Computer Science
Andrew Petersen, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Mathematical and Computational Sciences (UTM)

The course material in CSC108 (Introduction to Computer Programming) is cumulative week-to-week. This presents challenges for students who fall behind, requiring them to catch up with previous material before continuing. To address this challenge, we piloted a self-paced mastery learning version of CSC108 in Winter 2018 and again in Winter 2019. In this session, we'll share our reflections and lessons learned from offering a mastery learning version of a large introductory course at U of T, including the need for explicit scaffolding of expected progress and resources required to simultaneously support students at different stages in the course.

Striking the Right Balance in Assessment and Assignments

Andrea L Williams, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Dean's Office and Innis College Writing and Rhetoric

Wednesday, August 25, 2021, 2:00–3:00 PM, Online via Zoom

This presentation addresses assessment and assignment design, focusing on the shift to more frequent and smaller assignments that occurred with remote teaching. Although instructors changed their approach to assignments to decrease student stress, many students felt overwhelmed by the volume of the many small assignments. As we transition to in-person teaching, how do we find a balance between giving students enough practice and feedback without overloading them, ourselves, and our TAs? This session draws on the presenter’s experience with the faculty-wide WIT program and a growing pedagogical resource, the LEAF-funded Assignments Across Disciplines database to share local assessment and assignment solutions.

Trauma-Informed Practices Across FAS Disciplines: From Adopting Teaching Philosophies to Assessments

Bill Ju, Associate Professor, Human Biology
Frances Garrett, Associate Professor, Religious Studies
Jennifer Harris, Associate Professor, Religious Studies
Alexandra Guerson, Lecturer, New College Programs and History
Liza Bolton, Assistant Professor, Statistical Sciences

Thursday, September 2, 2021, 3:00–4:00 PM, Online via Zoom

Different forms of trauma (psychological, physical, social and others) can impact a student’s ability to learn. Trauma-informed teaching practices take into account different traumatic events (such as those experienced during the pandemic, recent reckonings with violence against BIPOC communities, and the history of residential schools in Canada) and prioritize the safety and learning of students in this context. These practices may be critical during the return to in-person delivery methods and yet are often misunderstood. In this session, we will discuss trauma-informed practices and how they can be adapted to any teaching modality. The practices of trauma-informed pedagogy begin with an awareness of the effects of trauma on student learning, such as a shift to survival from more abstract modes of thinking. Trauma-informed pedagogy includes practices such as increased predictability and flexibility, commitments to building relationships with students and embracing activities that give students a voice in the design and conduct of the class. A description of what trauma-informed teaching practices are and how to develop courses or assessments using this lens will be discussed across disciplines of humanities, social sciences, and STEM. Our roundtable will engage panellists in a discussion about incorporating these practices in their courses (both online and in-person) and in designing assessments. Participants in this webinar will take away insights and practices (such as flexibility and incorporating kindness and mindfulness practices) into the role trauma plays in learning and ideas about how to address trauma in the classroom.

Student and Instructor Experiences with the Sudden Pivot to Remote Teaching: A Case Study from the International Foundation Program

Karen Englander, Research Officer, International Foundation Program, New College
Bruce Russell, Academic Director, International Foundation Program, New College

Thursday, October 7, 2021, 10:00–11:00 AM, Online via Zoom

The sudden pivot to remote teaching in 2020–21 was the site of a year-long investigation into the experiences of ~200 students and ~30 instructors in a case study of the International Foundation Program (IFP). The IFP is an established 10-year-old program that provides English and academic literacy skills to academically qualified international students whose English fluency scores do not meet the University of Toronto’s direct entrance requirements.

To understand the impact of online learning in our program, we adopted the Community of Inquiry framework (Garrison et al., 1999), which posits there are three “presences” that determine students’ satisfaction with online learning: social, cognitive, and teaching presence. We asked the following questions:

  • How does each of the Community of Inquiry presences contribute to student satisfaction in our program of remote teaching?
  • What do instructors do to promote the three Community of Inquiry presences in their courses?
  • What does analysis reveal about key practices pedagogically that can be translated beyond the pivot to remote teaching?

Our findings reveal that instructors’ teaching presence has the greatest impact on student satisfaction, outweighing students’ experience of social and cognitive satisfaction. Key practices that seem to promote student satisfaction include keeping cameras on, creating “lecturettes,” making learning affordances explicit, and reconsidering assessment. We discuss these findings, which are also potentially transferable to a wide variety of disciplines in FAS, and our presentation will explore how these research-informed practices can be translated to any teaching modality.

Research Experience for Undergraduate Students: How to Help Level the Playing Field

Emanuel Istrate, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Victoria College
Barb Morra, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Chemistry

Thursday, October 21, 2021, 11:00–12:00 PM, Online via Zoom

Many undergraduate students are interested in pursuing research experience, for a better understanding of their discipline and the academic system, and as preparation for graduate school and/or future careers. However, many students struggle to access the information necessary to secure positions. How can instructors better support students in accessing research positions? In addition, once students secure a research position, how can we support their overall success in these new roles? Accessible information and programs can help “level the playing field”, especially for first-in-the-family university students, who may not have other sources of guidance.

In this session, we will briefly share techniques used in some of the science departments that help students access and complete research positions. However, we are hoping that the majority of this session will be an open discussion among all attendees around ways to address these questions in the various disciplines across the arts and sciences. Prior to the session, attendees are encouraged to write down some of the techniques used in their own departments, difficulties encountered by students who worked under their supervision, and possible solutions (or barriers?) to these problems. These ideas will help facilitate the group discussion.

Digital Teaching and Learning Panel: Online Labs

Friday, November 5, 2021, 1:00–2:00 PM, Online via Zoom

Flipping the Lab! Insights on Teaching a Fully Online Lab Course

Alistair Dias, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology

The COVID-19 pandemic flipped teaching upside down for many of us with one of the most challenging tasks being the delivery of a laboratory course. How could it be possible to ensure student learning goals were met with such a practical-based curriculum? In the winter of 2021, HMB312, Laboratory in Health & Disease, a Human Biology Program core undergraduate lab course, was delivered in a completely online format (flipped!) with surprising and eye-opening student feedback. The development of lab video modules, delivery of online learning modules, TA management, and student evaluation data will be discussed to shed light on how this course successfully transitioned into the online world. It will also provide insight into what elements of this delivery method might still be valuable when the course format is transitioned back into in-person labs. These insights can be applied in a broad-based manner and would be applicable to any lab course or practical-based curriculum.

Maintaining Human Connections when Moving from In-Person Labs to Online Demos

Steve Engels, Professor, Teaching Stream, Computer Science

When the pandemic forced us to conduct assessments online, it was difficult to adapt lab exercises to this new delivery method. Rather than lose the human connection and individual variations that come with lab exercises, exercises that previously took place on digital hardware were converted into software, and the in-person labs became online demo sessions. In this session, we discuss the challenges encountered and lessons learned, and the value that came from maintaining the human connection.

The Embedded Ethics Education Initiative

Diane Horton, Professor, Teaching Stream, Computer Science
Sheila McIlraith, Professor, Computer Science and Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society
David Liu, Associate Professor, Computer Science

Thursday, December 2, 2021, 4:00–5:00 PM, Online via Zoom

Universities often incorporate ethical discussions into technical curricula through dedicated discipline-specific ethics courses. An alternative that is gaining traction is to embed ethics education directly into technical courses so that ethical considerations emerge and are addressed in relation to specific disciplinary content. In this presentation, we describe a pilot project underway in Computer Science that aims to do just this. We’ll report on our experience embedding an ethics module into a first-year Computer Science course. We’ll share the principles guiding our pilot and the pedagogy that supports their realization, as well as the results of a study examining the impact of our efforts.

Digital Teaching and Learning Panel: Online Community Building

Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 2:30–3:30 PM, Online via Zoom

Building Effective Online Support for CIs and TAs

Sophia Bello, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, French

In 2020, we faced unprecedented challenges as an institution, the greatest of which was the online transition. Knowledge of our LMS ranged widely. Shifting teaching practices, advancing our knowledge of the digital world, media overload, navigating Quercus and its functions were just the beginning. To minimize anxiety and maintain a sense of community, our department developed a virtual space with accessible pedagogical support and online resources. This has become a collaborative platform to share material, ideas, and concerns. This session will provide an overview of our project and module development, which we hope will be useful for others to implement.

Creating Online Learning Communities

Jessica Whitehead, Postdoctoral Fellow, Cinema Studies Institute and Italian Studies; Instructor, Book and Media Studies

One of the critiques of remote emergency online teaching was the feeling of disconnect from both instructors and students. My presentation will explore how we can support online community building. My recommendations will draw on student survey responses and reflections from my online courses at the Cinema Studies Institute and Department of Italian Studies in the 2020/2021 academic year. I will outline assessment strategies and community building techniques to provide suggestions on creating robust online learning communities in a wide variety of courses. Particularly focusing on online engagement tools and assessment possibilities.

Addressing Calls to Action in Criminology and Sociolegal Studies: Praxis and Reflection

Kerry Taylor, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Criminology & Sociolegal Studies

Friday, January 28, 2022, 2:30–3:30 PM

In “CRI364: Indigenous Peoples and Criminal Justice,” I often have students ask, “what can I do?” Rather than providing an answer, I have asked myself how I might encourage students to turn theory, or learning, into meaningful action. Last year, I developed a group assignment where students reviewed and chose a Call to Action from either the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, or the Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Each group was asked to collectively decide upon an action to be carried out, by applying guiding principles of relevance, respect, responsibility and reciprocity (Kirkness & Barnhardt, 2001) and arguments from “Decolonization Is Not A Metaphor” (Tuck & Yang, 2013). In a 10-minute video, shared with the class, groups were asked to communicate what they learned from doing rather than just thinking—sharing their action, their process, their unlearning and relearning. After watching each groups’ video, students completed an individual reflection for grading. In this session, I will discuss the learning objectives and outcomes of the assignment, share thoughts about grading and assignment delivery, and reflect on my place as a facilitator of active decolonial learning.

The Psychology of Student Success: Shareable Strategies for Students

Ashley Waggoner Denton, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Psychology

Friday, February 25, 2022, 12:00–1:00 PM

In Fall 2021 I taught a new FYF seminar, PSY194: The Psychology of Student Success. From study strategies to stress to social comparisons, the students learned evidence-based strategies for managing their attention, energy, and emotions as they navigated the transition to university. The students also created educational videos as their final project. In this session, I will provide an overview of this broadly applicable course, share some highlights from the student-created videos, and engage in a discussion of how we can all help our students build their psychological toolkits to get the most out of their university experiences.

Role-Playing in Paper-Reading Seminars

Alec Jacobson, Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 2:00–3:00 PM

Advanced topics seminars often feature a rotation of individual students giving reading presentations. This one-to-many format suffers various drawbacks, such as limited participation. To foster many-to-many interactions, I implemented a "role-playing" rotational format in my graduate Computer Science seminar. In this format, students cooperatively present each reading by taking on one of seven specific roles—scientific peer reviewer, archaeologist, academic researcher, industry practitioner, hacker, private investigator, and social impact assessor—that define the lens through which they read the paper and what they bring to the discussion. In this session, I will share some reflections on the benefits and shortcomings of role-playing in paper-reading seminars.

Development of English Science Communication in an Undergraduate Molecular Biology Course

Stavroula Andreopoulos, Professor, Teaching Stream, Biochemistry
Alexa Fitzpatrick, Graduate Student, Biochemistry
Leora Freedman, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Faculty of Arts & Science

Friday, April 29, 2022, 1:00–2:00 PM

There is a strong need for most Arts & Science undergraduates to progress to a more sophisticated grasp of English communication throughout their degrees. This progress must be based on simultaneously addressing the major modalities of academic language, including scholarly reading, analytical writing, and speaking/ presentation. In aiming to address all three modalities in a third-year biochemistry course, we had to overcome the obstacles posed by the large class size and online format. In this session, we will share the e-modules and related assignments we developed for giving each student interactive instruction and individualized practice in English scientific communication.

A&S T&L Showcase Panel: Inclusive EAL Teaching, Ungrading, and VR

Monday, May 9, 2022, 10:00–11:30 AM

Inclusive Teaching Strategies for Supporting EAL Students

Jasjit Sangha, Learning Strategist, Academic Success
Yaseen Ali, Learning Strategist, Academic Success

Intercultural communication skills related to teaching and collaboration are often encouraged to directly address the needs of international students, a significant and growing population at the university. Yet many EAL (English as an additional language user) students have highlighted added challenges and concerns around their participation using virtual platforms during the pandemic, resulting in feelings of self-doubt and imposterism. Racialized EAL and/or international students in particular have shared experiences of receiving verbal microaggressions, working with impatient audiences, and feeling ignored by fellow classmates. As such, how can we as instructors anticipate these challenges and support the plurilingual strengths of our students? This session led by learning strategists from Academic Success will engage participants on practical strategies and tools to support multicultural, multilingual, and multi-accented learners, as well as other many other students who do not fit under the category of international status. The facilitators will also provide faculty members with a handout on inclusive teaching strategies for EAL students.

Grading =/ Assessment: How “Ungrading” Might Work for You

Jennifer Harris, Associate Professor, Study of Religion
Frances Garrett, Associate Professor, Study of Religion

The practice of “ungrading,” that is, purposefully creating assessments with no instructor-assigned grade, suggests that grading is not equal to assessment, and can even undermine the value of assessment itself. By creating assessments that stir the intrinsic motivation to learn, the practice of “ungrading” can improve student engagement and outcomes. Our presentation will introduce theories behind “ungrading,” sketch out some of the popular ways to practice “ungrading,” reflect on our experiences with “ungrading,” and argue for its use as part of a pedagogy of care.

I don’t explain. I explore: The Gutenberg Galaxy goes VR

Paolo Granata, Assistant Professor, Book and Media Studies

While the metaverse is still a ways off, consumer-friendly VR headsets become widely available, and virtual reality seems to be the solution at hand, if not a paradigmatic shift, to reimagine experiential learning in a post-pandemic world. This presentation will reflect on the potential that immersive technologies of virtual, augmented and mixed reality hold for rethinking online teaching and remote learning in the field of book history and print culture, and for experimenting with engaged teaching practices, but also rethinking the way to foster integrated and collaborative research. The presentation will also showcase some practical examples of 3D modelling, including the making of virtual environments, such as a Medieval scriptorium and a reconstruction of the Gutenberg Workshop, as well as the usage of platforms and tools for making digital manuscripts and early printed books accessible in a virtual environment. Finally, the presentation will share the learned experiences of how integrating VR headsets (Oculus Quest 2) with online teaching practices, including perspectives and feedback from the students who have attended Professor Granata’s classes held in VR.

A&S T&L Showcase Panel: Learning and Doing Science from Years 1 to 4

Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 10:00–11:30 AM

Learning Science Through Doing Science in First-Year Classes

Carolyn D. Sealfon, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Physics

How can we empower students with the creativity and thrill of scientific discovery in a first-year course, learning fundamental concepts that are hundreds of years old? The Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) approach is based on two key intentions: (1) We want students to learn science by thinking like scientists; by engaging in knowledge-generating activities that mimic the actual practices of science and using the reasoning tools that scientists use when constructing and applying knowledge. (2) The way in which students learn science should enhance their well-being. Through engaging students in practising and improving transferable skills such as the abilities to observe and describe phenomena, to decide what quantities to measure, to record and represent data, to identify patterns in data, to evaluate experimental uncertainties, to design experiments to distinguish among hypotheses, to apply hypothetico-deductive reasoning to make predictions, to identify relevant assumptions, and to make reasonable judgments about hypotheses, the ISLE approach can close the gender gap and strengthen students' confidence that they can do physics. Come engage in an introductory tour of ISLE.

Reimagining In-person Science Laboratories with Pandemic-Developed Online Resources

Christopher Garside, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Cell and Systems Biology

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the closure of the majority of undergraduate student life-sciences laboratories. This necessitated the creation of online learning objects for the adaptation of those laboratories to an online environment. In the Department of Cell and Systems Biology, we hired Lab development TAs to work in teams to produce online learning objects, which included lab video protocols, writing assignment deconstruction videos, lab presentations, and tested laboratory data sets. However, with the return to in-person labs, the question arises: What do we do with these newly developed online laboratory resources? In this talk, I will share a selection of those learning objects produced for the transition to online and will reveal how we have already, or how we plan to repurpose these learning objects in our in-person laboratories. For example, we are using online learning objects as student pre-lab preparation and supplemental support resources, as TA training videos, and as in-lab virtual TAs. These approaches to the reuse of remote laboratory resources should be applicable to a variety of STEM disciplines.

Learning the Chemistry of Metals in Biology: CHM437

Robert Morris, Professor, Chemistry

This synchronous and asynchronous class was taught in Winter 2021 with about twenty undergraduate and three graduate students. A challenge of this course is the visualization of complex protein structures that contain metals. Another is the wide range of chemical principles needed to understand the role of metals in enzymes in complex systems like respiration and photosynthesis.

Integrating Meaningful Ethics Education Across the Undergraduate Statistics Curriculum: A Multi-Course and Career Education Curriculum Design Project

Samantha-Jo Caetano, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Statistical Sciences
Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 11 am–12 pm

Ethical professional practice is of vital importance in data work and is a program learning outcome in the Department of Statistical Sciences. In practice, there are challenges in ensuring it is taught and engaged with authentically at all levels of our undergraduate curriculum. Six courses and our career education and mentoring staff portfolios were identified as key to this learning outcome. In this talk, we will outline the process behind this multi-course, program-wide curriculum evaluation and improvement project, the outputs (including specific learning outcomes, resources, and assessments), and practical advice for implementing a project of this nature for other disciplines.

Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Crisis: Adjusting Student Assessment Approaches to a Virtual Platform

Barbora Morra, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Chemistry
Kris Quinlan, Lecturer, Chemistry
Andrew P. Dicks, Professor, Teaching Stream and Associate Chair, Undergraduate, Chemistry

Monday, August 10, 2020, 1:00–2:15 PM, Online via Zoom

This session will describe a variety of student assessment strategies employed by the Department of Chemistry during the academic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic this spring. The presenters focused their efforts within three introductory courses towards maintaining a positive learning environment while constructing meaningful virtual evaluations for students. Approaches to preparing and delivering online assessments will be described, including strategies to effectively maintain academic integrity and the role of graduate student teaching assistants. Specific outcomes and reflections will be discussed, including methods which, in hindsight, were unnecessary and others that proved valuable virtual teaching and assessment tools.

Creating a Sense of Community in (Online) Courses: From the Perspectives of Faculty and Students

William Ju, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology
Merin Kuriakose, Undergraduate Student, University of Toronto Mississauga
Erik Soby, Undergraduate Student, Faculty of Arts & Science
Janet Li, Undergraduate Student, Faculty of Arts & Science
Melody Yang, Undergraduate Student, Faculty of Arts & Science
Yi-Jen Juan, Undergraduate Student, Faculty of Arts & Science
Mary Stefanidis, Student Success Programs Officer, Office of the Faculty Registrar

Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 2:00–3:15 PM, Online via Zoom

Student engagement and peer collaboration in courses are challenging even under ideal circumstances but these challenges increase exponentially in an online environment where peer interactions often seem restricted. In recent pre-course discussions and surveys with students in the summer online cohort, students indicated that developing a sense of community online would be an important factor for their success, motivation and sense of well-being. In light of these comments, we transitioned the discussion board posts to not focus solely on content/participation but on social interactions and peer engagement, as well as transitioning Quercus tools such as Groupings to allow students to form their own affinity communities.

Overall the re-framing and use of these course activities and tools helped students in the summer cohort feel a better sense of community when compared to other online courses (87% of respondents) and felt an improved sense of motivation (83%) and well-being (77%). Although preliminary, we believe that these small changes can be adapted for various modes of delivery whether face to face, HyFlex or completely online in order to elicit the same changes in other courses, and are positive factors that are independent of context, instructor and subject matter.

Building Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Courses: A Case Study in Linguistics

Nathan Sanders, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Linguistics
Lex Konnelly, Graduate Student, Linguistics and Sexual Diversity Studies
Pocholo Umbal, Graduate Student, Linguistics

Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 2:00–3:15 PM, Online via Zoom

In linguistics courses, language-related biases can surface in many forms, affecting the choice of course material (especially linguistic data), how that material is presented, and how instructors interact with students. We began a three-year project in September 2019 to address some of these biases in the linguistics classroom, with the ultimate goal of generalizing the methods and materials to other fields.

In this session, we present some preliminary results of this project from the first year in various linguistics courses, including new course content on the relationship of phonetics to gender, race and sign languages; new problem sets featuring data from under-represented languages; and workshops on inclusive classroom practices. We will also discuss paths forward for creating more affirming classrooms beyond linguistics, especially in fields where issues of language can play a central role (English, psychology, etc.).

An Approach to Creating Randomized Data Sets for Student Assignments to Reduce Academic Integrity Concerns

Michael Reid, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Astronomy & Astrophysics
Adiv Paradise, Graduate Student, Astronomy & Astrophysics
Colleen Gilhuly, Graduate Student, Astronomy & Astrophysics
Emily Deibert, Graduate Student, Astronomy & Astrophysics

Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 11:00–12:15 PM, Online via Zoom

We present an approach to creating randomized assignments in which each student is challenged to grapple with a unique data set. Unlike traditional randomized assignments, in which students receive the same questions but with one or two randomized elements (e.g., the mass of a block), in our approach, each student gets a unique assignment generated algorithmically. Our method was effective in eliminating academic integrity problems in a 400-student course while challenging our students to engage with realistic critical thinking scenarios.

In this session, we will walk you through the steps of our approach, including how we generated our randomized data sets, created solution sets, managed which assignment students received, and effectively graded the assignments with TAs. We will also discuss how other courses that work with data can adapt our approach.

Assignments Across Disciplines: A Digital Assignment Resource and Community of Practice

Andrea L. Williams, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream and Director, Writing Integrated Teaching
Erin K. Vearncombe, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream

Friday, November 20, 2020, 10:00–11:15 AM, Online via Zoom

Assignments Across Disciplines (AAD) is a peer-reviewed, open-access digital resource of exemplary assignments initiated by the A&S Writing-Integrated Teaching (WIT) program and funded by the Provost’s Learning and Education Advancement Fund (LEAF). Housed on the University of Toronto Libraries’ TSpace, the resources in this database exemplify best practices in teaching and assessing key competencies such as information literacy, reading, writing, data analysis and multimodal literacies. For example, these primarily writing-focused assignments include position papers, blogs, podcasts, statistical analysis for different audiences, ethnographic analysis, poster projects and much more from disciplines such as ecology and evolutionary biology, earth sciences, linguistics, statistical sciences and classics.

In this session, we will discuss the ways in which this assignment database can support instructors across the University in the design of constructive, meaningful learning experiences for their undergraduate students. We will also explore how the database can encourage cross-disciplinary conversations about assignment design, assessment, and curricular learning goals as well as the kinds of rich data the database can provide about patterns and trends in undergraduate teaching and learning at the University of Toronto.

Preparing Students for Research through a Flipped, Active and Online Teaching Model

Michelle French, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Physiology
Stavroula Andreopoulos, Professor, Teaching Stream, Biochemistry
Rebecca Laposa, Assistant Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology
Helen Miliotis, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Physiology
Michelle Arnot, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream and Undergraduate Coordinator, Pharmacology & Toxicology

Thursday, December 10, 2020, 2:00–3:15 PM, Online via Zoom

Undergraduate students are often keen and enthusiastic when it comes to pursuing independent research opportunities. However, some report feeling apprehensive about the process and experience. To address this and better prepare students, we created, organized and offered a flipped classroom course experience with JPM300H: Research Readiness and Advancing Biomedical Discoveries, taught by a multi-interdisciplinary faculty team. Pre-class work consisted of eight online modules on topics such as commercialization, good lab practice, research teams and attributes of a successful scientist. In-class group activities helped develop critical skills such as science communication and teamwork/collaboration. Our newly-created online modules have broad applicability and are available to faculty and students.

In this CoP session, we will discuss the inaugural experiences with this course and how we linked the online modules to active learning and transitioned to an in-person/remote hybrid model.

Reflections on Supporting Independent Student Learning Through a Self-Directed Online Community

Liza Bolton, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Statistical Sciences
Nathalie Moon, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Statistical Sciences

Friday, December 18, 2020, 11:00–12:15 PM, Online via Zoom

In response to the disruptions to summer plans brought on by COVID-19 and the widespread feelings of isolation in many of our students, we, along with Nathan Taback and Megan Whitehead-Douglas, created a virtual space for students to come together to build professional statistical portfolios to showcase their work and engage in personal development and career exploration. The response from students was overwhelming, with over 700 students registering for the Independent Summer Statistics Community (ISSC) within the first week! In this session, we will discuss the principles guiding our program design, as well as share some of the high-impact aspects of the program which could be piloted in other units.

Enhancing Student Academic Learning with Departmental Multi-Year Learning Communities

Tony Harris, Professor, Cell & Systems Biology
Ashley Bruce, Professor, Cell & Systems Biology
Keiko Yoshioka, Professor, Cell & Systems Biology
Jennifer Mitchell, Associate Professor, Cell & Systems Biology

Friday, January 22, 2021, 2:30–3:45 PM, Online via Zoom

The undergraduate program in the Department of Cell & Systems Biology offers a number of formalized academic pathways that align with major areas of research in cell and molecular biology. Students pursuing these pathways are required to complete a subset of courses and participate in a three-year learning community, which emphasizes community building, professional development and research. In this session, we will discuss how the learning community is structured and outline the professional development activities created to engage students. We will also showcase the student learning experience and overall success of multi-year learning communities within the department.

Onboarding Instructors to an Active Learning Class

Jason Siefken, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Mathematics

Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 1:00–2:15 PM, Online via Zoom

MAT223H is a large course with around seven sections per semester, which have all recently switched to an active learning approach with significant components of in-class peer collaboration and full-class discussion. However, the majority of instructors who teach MAT223H are graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with limited teaching experience and exposure to active learning teaching methods. In this session, I will share my onboarding program for instructors to teach an active learning course, which includes a course design manual, peer observations and mock teaching sessions. I will also discuss the successes and challenges of these onboarding activities from a course coordinator perspective.

The Multilingual Lab: Targeted Support for International Students

Hang-Sun Kim, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Germanic Languages & Literatures
Stefana Gargova, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Germanic Languages & Literatures

Thursday, March 25, 2021, 12:30–1:45 PM, Online via Zoom

In this presentation, we will share our experiences, findings and ideas for future steps on our pilot project of providing targeted support for international students through optional, weekly, multilingual German Lab sessions that are designed to complement the curricular goals of our first-year German language courses. Through sharing insights from this pilot project, we will be addressing questions relevant to a wide range of departments. Particularly examining how departments and instructors can provide targeted support to international students and incorporate that support into curricula. We will also explore how international multilingual students can enrich the learning experience for domestic students. Finally, we will examine how international and domestic learners in small classroom settings can build community and cross-cultural understanding.

Supporting First-Year Students: Lessons from Computer Science

David Liu, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Computer Science
Mario Badr, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Computer Science

Thursday, April 1, 2021, 1:00–2:15 PM, Online via Zoom

The Department of Computer Science recently launched initiatives to prepare and engage first-year students. In this session, we will discuss our newly created summer preparation modules on Quercus, which include community-building activities for first-year students. We adapted a start-of-term tutorial into a social "meet and greet" session to help students develop connections with peers. Another important change was the introduction of a course-level advising process for students who might be struggling early in the term. We engaged with the Computer Science Student Union and other student groups to advertise student-led events and extra-curricular activities that students could attend online. We will outline these pilot activities and lessons learned, which we hope will be useful to a broad range of instructors and disciplines in Arts & Science.

Teaching Lessons Learned Through Interdisciplinary Peer Mentoring and Collaboration

Andrew Dicks, Professor, Teaching Stream and Associate Chair, Undergraduate, Chemistry
Nathalie Moon, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Statistical Sciences
Nicole Charles, Assistant Professor, Women and Gender Studies Institute

Friday, October 4, 2019, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2014

In this session, Professors Andrew Dicks, Nathalie Moon and Nicole Charles will share some of the valuable lessons that they learned from being a part of a triad multi-disciplinary peer mentoring group. They will discuss some of the commonalities and unique differences in teaching approaches between the disciplines of Chemistry, Statistics and Women and Gender Studies; how to overcome potential disciplinary teaching assumptions and pitfalls; and ways to adapt teaching activities from other disciplines for your own classrooms.

Applying a Flipped Learning Model to the Language Classroom

Kyoungrok Ko, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, East Asian Studies

Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2014

In the past few years, interest in inverted or flipped pedagogical models has proliferated in all educational domains. In this session, Professor Kyoungrok Ko will share a flipped classroom model that he applied to a large Korean language course in the Department of East Asian Studies. He will discuss how flipped learning models can help address various challenges that language classes often face, such as lack of teaching staff, limited class time, and various levels of exposure to the target language, as well as the heterogeneous student population in fluency.

Indigenous Teaching and Learning: Relevant and Respectful Reconciliation

Brenda Wastasecoot, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Centre for Indigenous Studies and Faculty of Arts & Science

Tuesday, December 10, 2019, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2014

Professor Brenda Wastasecoot is appointed to the Office of the Dean in the Faculty of Arts & Science and the Centre for Indigenous Studies. In her role, Brenda supports departments and faculty to integrate Indigenous perspectives into courses.

In this session, Brenda will discuss Indigenous perspectives, knowledge and worldviews and ways to respectfully and thoughtfully integrate them into courses. She will walk participants through an approach that she uses to teach difficult Indigenous topics, such as Residential Schools, and address some commonly asked questions (noted below).

  • Should I be talking about the Residential Schools and other Indigenous topics if I am not Indigenous?
  • What happens if an Indigenous student is upset by a class? Should I defer my class and instead invite an Elder? When is it appropriate to invite Elders to my class and do they welcome opportunities to talk to students?
  • How do I support Indigenous students?
Promoting Reflective Teaching Practice in Teaching Assistants

Michael Breeling, Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow, Mathematics
Zack Wolske, Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow, Mathematics

Thursday, January 23, 2020, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 571

Dr. Michael Breeling and Dr. Zack Wolske joined the Department of Mathematics this year as teaching postdoctoral fellows. They are piloting a two-year program that aims to conduct in-class observation of all new TAs in the department (approx. 100), in order to provide them with formative feedback on their teaching. Michael and Zack will share program goals and design, approaches and methods, as well as challenges that arose in the first iteration of the program. They would like to receive advice from participants on how to measure the effectiveness and impact of their program.

The 5 C's: Mobilizing Principles of Youth Development to Support Learning in the Undergraduate Classroom

Naomi Adiv, Assistant Professor, Geography & Planning

Thursday, February 6, 2020, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2098

Anxiety is on the rise among young people (Calling et. al., 2017), and is a major challenge to students in the university classroom. Upon entering the undergraduate classroom, it becomes clear to many of us that we need to support our students in more-than-intellectual ways. But how? What kinds of principles can we use to bolster a sense of belonging and ease in the classroom that will pave the way for students to be open to intellectual growth? In this session, we will examine principles of youth development (‘the Five Cs’ from Pittman et. al., 2002, among others) to analyze dynamics between students and instructors, dynamics among students, and life outside of the classroom. We will discuss practices that can help students feel comfortable and excited to confront intellectual challenges without fear of shame or blame.

Calling, S., Midlöv, P., Johansson S.E., Sundquist, K. (2017). Longitudinal trends in self-reported anxiety. Effects of age and birth cohort during 25 years. BMC Psychiatry. 2017 Apr 26;17(1):119.

Hamilton, S., Hamilton, M., Pittman, K. (2004). Principles for youth development in S. Hamilton & M.A. Hamilton (Eds.) (2004), The youth development handbook: Coming of age in American communities (pp.3–22). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.

Designing Writing Assignments for a General Audience

Molly Metz, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Psychology

Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 571

Concerns about “fake news” and the public’s familiarity (or lack thereof) with scientific findings have led to efforts to increase scientific literacy and the ways in which academics can communicate with the general public. However, many common writing assignments (literature reviews, research proposals, research manuscripts) do little to help develop writing skills outside of academia. It would benefit our students to practice non-technical writing in a range of courses in a variety of genres. In this session, Professor Molly Metz will share examples from her courses, ranging from class activities and test questions (“describe this concept so your 12-year-old cousin would understand it”) to semester-long projects (class blog on relationship psychology, writing an article for The Atlantic, and TEDTalk-style presentations). In addition, Molly will suggest strategies and resources to help develop these skills.

Enhancing Student Academic Learning with Multi-Year Disciplinary Focused Learning Communities

Tony Harris, Professor, Cell & Systems Biology
Ashley Bruce, Professor, Cell & Systems Biology
Keiko Yoshioka, Professor, Cell & Systems Biology
Jennifer Mitchell, Associate Professor, Cell & Systems Biology

[SESSION CANCELLED] Friday, March 27, 2020, 12:30–2:00 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 571

The undergraduate program in the Department of Cell & Systems Biology offers a number of formalized academic pathways that align with major areas of research in cell and molecular biology. Students pursuing these pathways are required to complete a subset of courses and participate in a 3-year learning community. The presenters will discuss the learning communities’ goals, structure, administration, academic and professional development activities, as well as the student learning experience.

Introducing Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences into the Classroom and Laboratory

Barb Morra, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Chemistry
Jessica D’eon, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Chemistry

Thursday, November 1, 2018, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 571

The curriculum within many undergraduate Arts & Science courses provides students with fundamental concepts in the classroom and in most cases, students also gain practical knowledge in the laboratory. While these skills are critical to the success of any prospective student, the curriculum can be reinforced through the introduction of early course-based undergraduate research experiences that bridge the gap between the classroom and research practices. These unique learning experiences allow students to gain valuable and transferable problem-solving and critical thinking skills early on in their education. This session will describe methods to implement research experiences into courses at all levels of undergraduate education. The presenters will also discuss the challenges they faced when incorporating research experiences into their own courses, along with approaches to alleviate these challenges.

Helping Students Hit the Mark: Designing Effective Assignments

Andrea Williams, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, and WIT Coordinator

Wednesday, November 21, 2018, 1:00–2:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2098

Assignments are key teaching tools that can help students develop research, critical thinking, technical, and communication skills and gain disciplinary knowledge. Simply put, good assignments promote student engagement and learning.

Participants are encouraged to bring to the session examples of their own assignments. The session will begin with a short presentation on the principles and strategies of effective assignment design that apply to all disciplines such as backwards design and aligning assignments with course objectives, how to scaffold assignments, and the importance of formative feedback. We will then discuss assignments that participants are using or in the process of developing and troubleshoot common problems and pitfalls of assignment design and instructions.

Mistakes

William Ju, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology
Maria Papaconstantinou, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology
Alistair Dias, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology

Thursday, December 6, 2018, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2014

One of the most powerful ways to engage critical thinking in our students is to create models where purposeful errors (hence MISTAKES) are used to identify the depth of their learning. We have previously used different methods to introduce purposeful errors as a way to stimulate critical thinking and will present our findings and discuss how best these can be implemented in the classroom within any discipline.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Leadership in Rigorous Research

Suzanne Wood, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Psychology

Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2014

Undergraduate research experiences are an important experiential learning opportunity for our students. Abundant previous work has outlined the benefits of research experiences for undergraduates, but could there be parallel benefits to our research programs? This session will discuss strategies to foster undergraduate leadership on projects that are best positioned to produce rigorously-collected, publication-worthy data.

Going Hybrid: Using Quercus and Blackboard Collaborate to Provide a Simultaneous Online Lecture Option for Students in a Large First-Year Course

Sarah Wakefield, Associate Professor, Geography & Planning

Thursday, February 7, 2019, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2014

Why is an instructor who can barely use her phone giving online lectures, and what happens when she does? Join Sarah Wakefield as she discusses her decision to create an online lecture section within her 350-person first-year class, and her experiences using the new Learning Management System (Quercus) and Bb Collaborate to offer that online experience.
Sarah will also demonstrate how she delivers the online lecture and manages questions from students. Faculty can join the session in-person or remotely – remote participants will become the “online” students. We will send registrants instructions for how to join the remote session two days in advance.

A Course-Based TA Development Program

Sarah Mayes-Tang, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Mathematics

Friday, March 22, 2019, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 4043

Teaching Assistants are a vital part of undergraduate teaching within the Faculty of Arts & Science. Previous research has shown that required, sustained professional development programs play a role in developing instructors who are more student-focused, but financial constraints, time limitations, and lack of buy-in often prevent us from offering these to our Teaching Assistants. This session will discuss strategies to implement and sustain TA training within a course. Sarah Mayes-Tang will discuss specific efforts that she implemented in a large first-year calculus course, with 10–12 sections and instructors and 40+ TAs per semester

Teaching Students Study Skills

Andrew Dicks, Professor, Teaching Stream, Chemistry
Kris Quinlan, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream

Thursday, October 12, 2017, 12:00–1:30 PM, Lash Miller, Room 108

Andy Dicks and Kris Quinlan will share the support they provide to students to ensure they are considering both what they are learning as well as how they are learning the materials being taught.

Ethics Education Across Disciplines

Charly Bank, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Geology
Vicki Zhang, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Statistics

Thursday, November 16, 2017, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 571

Charly Bank and Vicki Zhang will lead a session on ethics education across disciplines and will use examples from their teaching to illustrate various pedagogical designs as well as opportunities and challenges of implementing ethics education in today’s academia.

Challenges and Perspectives on Inclusive Teaching

Tim Sayle, Assistant Professor, History
Heidi Bohaker, Associate Professor, History
David Roberts, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Geography & Planning
Jasjit Sangha, Learning Strategist, Academic Success
Marie Vander Kloet, Assistant Director, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation

Friday, December 8, 2017, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 571

Tim Sayle will moderate a discussion with Heidi Bohaker, David Roberts, and guests from the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation who will share their Arts & Science, as well as University-wide perspectives, on inclusive teaching. They will discuss the challenges they face when incorporating inclusive teaching practices into their classrooms and ways to mitigate these challenges.

Teaching Strategies to Complement Problem-Solving

Kripa Freitas, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Economics

Friday, February 2, 2018, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 571

A challenge for instructors, especially those teaching math-intensive courses, is helping students move beyond viewing the material as a series of separate problems to be solved towards noticing the links between these problems. This takes the focus off the problem-solving procedure and onto how the field uses these methods to approach and answer questions. This shift builds critical thinking skills and a deeper, more transferable conceptual understanding. This session will describe easy-to-implement teaching strategies used to facilitate this in a large, required, second-year, math-based Economics course.

Experiential Learning: University of Toronto Outdoors Initiative

Frances Garrett, Associate Professor, Study of Religion
Matt Price, Sessional Lecturer, History

Thursday, February 8, 2018, 12:00–1:30 PM, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2005

Frances and Matt have been experimenting with outdoor education, a form of experiential learning that research shows can offer transformative learning experiences that prepare students to take on the challenges of their lives (Hill & Brown, 2014; D’Amato & Krasny, 2011; Walter, 2013; Winter & Cotton, 2012). They will discuss their teaching experiences in three courses where they incorporated this teaching model to develop students' disciplinary competencies alongside other transferable skills. They will share how they addressed questions, such as:

  • How to design outdoor experiences that fit into a student’s semesterized program?
  • What training do instructors need?
  • How are outdoor experiences financed?