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October 2019 | View the web version of this newsletter

Can a math course be indigenized?

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"Math is math. What's there to indigenize?" That was the reaction of senior math lecturer Petra Menz when she first encountered the SFU Aboriginal Reconciliation Council's call to indigenize and decolonize curriculum and teaching in 2017. But, she says, "As an instructor, I'm always asking myself how can I improve student learning and enhance their well-being?" Those questions prompted her to give the call a second look: "If there was a chance that it would contribute to those goals, I couldn't just ignore it." Two years later she has deeply integrated Indigenous materials and practices into her first-year math course for elementary teachers. For students, the changes have been powerful, generating more creative approaches to problem-solving and creating a sense of community in the classroom. Read more about how Menz's thinking—and her course—evolved.

Answers to your questions about SFU's new approach to online education

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This year SFU began erasing the divide between face-to-face and online courses. Within the next three years, almost all online credit courses will be integrated into departmental course offerings instead of being offered through a centralized online education unit, and faculty members will deliver online courses as part of their regular teaching loads. Many people have asked about the implications of the change: How will it affect the availability of seats and courses? Will it impose a financial burden on departments? What about blended courses? Elizabeth Elle (associate vice-president, learning and teaching) recently put together a Q&A document to address the most important questions. Read her responses and download the document.

Do you know your faculty teaching fellow?

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Each of SFU's eight Faculties has at least one faculty teaching fellow (FTF). The primary role of the FTFs is "to support the continued improvement of teaching and learning within the Faculty." They also "help address the challenges that instructors face and […] communicate solutions across the Faculty, as well as […] provide a channel of communication between the Faculty and higher administrative units that focus on teaching." The latest (re)appointments were announced in September and include Nicky Didicher (university lecturer, English; pictured with a friend). See the full list of FTFs and read more about their role.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Friday, October 18: Grad students—don't miss this application deadline for the Spring 2020 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Fridays, Jan 10–Apr 3, 2020). Gain the skills and confidence to flourish in your teaching roles.

Monday, October 21: Hear how a partnership between SFU, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the City of Surrey generates experiential learning opportunities focused on sustainability at Surrey CityLab: Using Academic-Community Partnerships to Create Transformational Learning Opportunities (part of the Teaching Matters Seminar Series).

Monday, October 28: Learn how you can find connection and support in your teaching role at CEE What We're All About: A Conversation with Elizabeth Elle and the Centre for Educational Excellence Leadership Team (part of the Teaching Matters Seminar Series).

Tuesday, November 19: Drop in at the 5th Annual DEMOfest: Successes & Setbacks: Learning from Experience to learn about technology-supported teaching approaches that worked well—but also to hear about less-than-perfect outcomes that yielded useful lessons.

THIS MONTH IN PICTURES

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The Centre for Educational Excellence Open House: SFU's learning and teaching community gathered on October 2 for a day of presentations, conversations and popcorn. >>

BONUS CHALLENGE
Win a $10 coffee card!

A Thanksgiving-themed question: Can turkeys fly?

a. Wild turkeys can fly for short distances, but domestic turkeys cannot.    b. Both wild and domestic turkeys can fly.    c. Neither wild nor domestic turkeys can fly.    d. Young turkeys can fly, but old turkeys prefer to waddle.

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER BY OCTOBER 23 for a chance to win a $10 coffee card.

The correct answer to the last month's question was September 23.

DEADLINES

OCT 18 | Application deadline | Spring 2020 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Jan 10–Apr 3, 2020)
NOV 7 | Application deadline | Open Educational Resources Grants
JAN 17 | Application deadline | Instructional Skills Workshop (Feb 19–21, 2020)
FEB 21
| Application deadline | Rethinking Course Design: A Four-day Workshop for Faculty (Apr 30–May 1, May 4–5, 2020)

WORKSHOPS & PROGRAMS

Teaching Matters Seminar Series | Up next:
Surrey CityLab: Using Academic-Community Partnerships to Create Transformational Learning Opportunities | Oct 21 | Find out about an experiential learning opportunity focused on sustainability
CEE What We're All About: A Conversation With Elizabeth Elle and the Centre for Educational Excellence Leadership Team | Oct 28 | Learn how CEE can connect and support you in your teaching role
Teams: How We Use, Teach and Assess Them | Nov 4 | Come and discuss best practices for using teams in courses, based on research in the Beedie School of Business

Instructional Skills Workshop | An internationally recognized lesson-planning framework | Up next:
FULL. November ISW | Nov 9–11
NEW DATE. February ISW | Feb 19–21, 2020

5th Annual DEMOfest: Successes & Setbacks: Learning from Experience | Nov 19 | Stories about encounters, good and bad, with learning and teaching technologies

24th Annual Spring TA/TM Day: The Teaching Orientation Program | Jan 10, 2020 | SFU's biggest orientation event for teaching assistants and tutor-markers

APPLY NOW. Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning | Jan 10–Apr 3, 2020 | For grad students and postdocs. Gain skills, confidence and a teaching credential

JUST POSTED. Rethinking Course Design: A Four-day Workshop for Faculty | Apr 30–May 1 & May 4–5, 2020 | Design or redesign your course in a supportive environment

Visit the Centre for Educational Excellence website to see how we can support your learning and teaching activities.