Teaching and Learning Centre director Stephanie Chu

Teaching and learning grants pay off

October 25, 2012

SFU’s Teaching and Learning Development Grant program funded by the Vice- President Academic’s office is less than two year old, but it’s already producing some intriguing innovations.

“One purpose was to get people excited about trying new teaching ideas,” says Stephanie Chu, director of SFU’s Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC), which administers the program with the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines. “And that’s starting to happen.”

“These grants are meant to encourage teaching inquiry as a scholarly and community activity that can also achieve meaningful results for instructors and students, leading to innovations in teaching and learning.”

And for those who think assembling a proposal represents too much time when they won’t necessarily get funded, Chu says think again: “If they take the time to flesh out the ideas they will get the funding unless we run out of money.”

That funding now amounts to as much as $5,000, although proposals for two consecutive project phases may be developed at one time.

What’s striking about the list of recipients to date is the variety of academic units represented and the diversity of scholarly inquiry. The line-up ranges from Sarah Johnson’s study of iClicker use in the physics department to Charles Bingham’s evaluation of leadership experience in student-led cohorts in the Faculty of Education. Other projects include:

  • Flip the classroom, math lecturer Veselin Jungic’s investigation into the use of pre-recorded video lectures and its impact on student and instructor experience in two first-year calculus courses.
  • CityStudio Vancouver, Janet Moore and Mark Roseland’s inquiry in the Faculty of Environment into whether learning outcomes created for SFU’s first Semester in the City course are aligned with what students actually learn as the course unfolds.

All grantees participate in sharing the results of their work in progress and at the end, says Chu, in a report and/or a poster they can display at SFU’s annual teaching and learning symposium. www.sfu.ca/teachlearn/tlgrants.html

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