learning

Collaborative teaching programs

January 11, 2012
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By Diane Luckow

Students taking a new two-semester, group-directed studies course called The ChangeLab say it’s challenging their notion of the instructor/student relationship and inspiring their creativity in ways other academic programs do not.

Supervised by professors John Bogardus (sociology/anthropology) and David Zandvliet (education), the course requires students to negotiate their own learning expectations. They must also develop and implement at least one sustainability project using SFU as a “living lab”.

ChangeLab is just one of the novel courses to come out of the university’s new Collaborative Teaching Fellows Program (CTFP), which funds and supports interdisciplinary environmental courses developed and taught by diverse teams of faculty members.

Several more courses will begin this year, including:

  • Environmental Controversy (ENV 399), beginning this semester, which will use field trips, panel presentations and group projects to explore the complexities around nuclear energy, First Nations and resource management, and petrochemicals. Zandvliet, John Clague (earth sciences), Vance Wiliams (chemistry) and Dan Burns (environment) will team-teach the course.
  • Human Impacts on Ancient and Contemporary Coastal Ecosystems is a three-week graduate field course being offered this summer on the BC central coast. In collaboration with First Nations communities, it will explore prehistoric, historic and contemporary issues affecting resource management.
  • Ecogeomorphology and Hydrology (GEOG 619), beginning spring 2013, will explore the physical and biological dynamics of rivers and freshwater ecosystems. Jeremy Venditti (geography), Wendy Palen (biology) and Jon Moore (biology) will team-teach the course, which includes an extended Fraser River field trip.

Burns, who heads the development of interdisciplinary environmental programs, says the CFTP is available to members of any faculty involved in environmental or sustainability courses and programs.

For example, he says, “members outside of the Faculty of Environment are being funded to deliver courses in environmental science, development, environmental ethics, environmental law and sustainability.”

Burns is still seeking further course proposals. For more information: at.sfu.ca/EjhZba.

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