How in-class group activities transformed a course
For the first two weeks of the Fall 2018 semester, Jason Brown's third-year environmental ethics course was all-lecture, all-the-time. "It was too much," recalled environmental science student Rachel Chimuka with a hearty laugh.
In Week 3, however, Brown (sessional instructor, environment and humanities) shifted gears, reorienting the class around group-based activities—specifically, structured round-table discussions and the production of ethics-themed journals.
The resulting experience was so positive—and so different from the group work she has done in other courses—that Chimuka contacted the Teaching and Learning Centre to say, "I think Jason deserves to be recognized for making such a difference in students' lives." The secret seems to have been the provision of in-class time for connection plus a mix of more and less structured assignments. Read more about Brown's class and what made it work.
Three teaching support units are merging—here's what that means for you
There's a new acronym in town. It's CEE, it stands for Centre for Educational Excellence, and it will begin its active duty on July 15. That's when the Centre for English Language Learning, Teaching and Research, the Centre for Online and Distance Education, and the Teaching and Learning Centre will officially merge as part of a reorganization of teaching support services announced in late May by associate VP, learning and teaching, Elizabeth Elle. The merger of the three units will mean that "cutting-edge, integrated course and curriculum support and innovative, technologically enhanced teaching services" will be available from a single source for face-to-face, blended and online courses. Although the CEE will be launched in mid-July, the operational integration of the three existing support units will follow a timetable extending into Fall 2019. For now, the existing contacts and partners for teaching support will remain in place. Read the full announcement from Elizabeth Elle's office.
Learning by doing: Students gained a deeper understanding when this prof brought her research into the classroom
"I am always looking for ways to make my courses experiential," says Aude-Claire Fourot (associate professor, political science), "and for ways to bring my research into the classroom." This past spring she did both by having students in her French-language POL 497 course survey and interview providers and recipients of services for newcomers to Canada in Vancouver, Ottawa and Winnipeg. The results were presented at a poster session hosted by SFU's Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs. The biggest challenge, Fourot reports, was the element of risk for both instructor and students: "You control fewer things than in your class when you engage students in this kind of project." Students confessed to some initial trepidation, but thanks to carefully designed support from Fourot, they left the course with deeper knowledge and skills. "I think having the chance to design our own research process helps me analyze research more critically now—I wish I'd had this opportunity sooner in my degree," said student Cory Henderson. Read more about Fourot's approach and how students responded.
Summer is for professional development—mark these dates
Jun 6–Aug 29: Learn techniques for breathing and speaking more comfortably and effectively in front of an audience. Sign up for Private Voice Sessions on Thursdays with TLC voice specialist Sanders Whiting.
Jun 18, 19 OR 20: Is media a garnish or the main course? Explore tools and methods to create engaging and interactive online courses at Gateways to Media Enhanced Teaching—one workshop, offered on three dates by the Centre for Online and Distance Education. Refreshments provided—register now!
This month in pictures
|SFU gathers at the Vancouver campus: The 17th Symposium on Teaching and Learning >>|
Bonus Points Challenge. Win a $10 coffee card!
Which honorary degree recipient at the Spring 2019 Convocation is a former science reporter for The New York Times and author of a book about Galileo's daughter called, unsurprisingly, Galileo's Daughter?
a. Ruby Peter b. Jennifer Wade c. Joseph Schwarcz b. Dava Sobel
||Join the waiting list | Instructional Skills Workshop (Aug 14–16 OR 19–21)|
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