2021 Symposium on Teaching and Learning

Designing for Student Success in the Online and Blended Learning Environments

Wednesday–Thursday, May 19–20, 2021 | 10:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

The 2021 Symposium on Teaching and Learning is a virtual event for members of the SFU academic community. This symposium will focus on the state of teaching and learning in a post-pandemic environment. Join us to prepare for blending online and in-person approaches to teaching effectively as we return to campus. Speakers will explore strategies for creating effective blended learning experiences, promoting academic integrity, and supporting student success, resilience and mental health through course and curriculum design.

If you are an SFU faculty member, instructor, student, staff member or administrator, you are welcome to join us for one or both days of the symposium, as your schedule allows. There is no charge to attend, but advance registration is recommended.

Register now



Day 1 | Wednesday, May 19, 2021

10:00 a.m.–12:00 noon | Welcoming remarks and keynote address

Nanda Dimitrov, senior director, Centre for Educational Excellence
Elizabeth Elle, vice-provost and associate vice-president, learning & teaching
Elder Margaret George, Skawahlook First Nation
Tim Loblaw, director, Learning & Teaching Technology Division, Centre for Educational Excellence

The Journey Toward Blended Design and Delivery: A Tale of Two Pedagogies

Martha Cleveland-Innes, Athabasca University

Survey results prior to the Covid-19 pandemic indicated that only one in five Canadian institutions supported blended-learning course design and delivery. Recent experiences with technology-enabled remote teaching at colleges and universities may result in a change in this attenuated adoption of blended learning. Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes of Athabasca University will share her views on the opportunities for, and constraints to, implementing blended learning, past and current, with a view to future possibilities.

Invited speaker

Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes is professor and program director, Master of Education Program, Athabasca University. She is the author of The Guide to Blended Learning and instructor, co-designer and researcher for the open online course Blended Learning Practice. The second edition of Introduction to Distance Education: Teaching and Learning in a New Era, which she co-edited, has just been released by Taylor & Francis for 2021. She has held major research grants supporting research on the technology-enabled student experience. In 2019 Martha received an honorary doctorate from Mid-Sweden University and the Leadership Award from the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education. Her research interests include (1) online and blended learning, (2) communities of inquiry, (3) higher education reform and (4) leadership in education. Martha is currently Visiting Professor of Pedagogy at Mid-Sweden University. For more information, see cde.athabascau.ca/faculty/martic.php

12:00 noon–1:00 p.m. | Lunch break (on your own)

1:00–2:30 p.m. | Keynote address

Supporting Learner Resilience and Mental Health Directly Within the Curriculum

Nicole Campbell, Western University

Post-secondary education has been faced with a mental health crisis and increased support demands. Most institutions offer support for learners; however, these services may not be available to all learners for various reasons, which creates equity and accessibility gaps. Mental health can impact and predict academic success, and many learners report that their poor mental health is often the result of academic stress and anxiety. Many faculty and staff feel that they do not have proper training to address mental health; however, there are proactive approaches that can be implemented to directly support a learner’s academic journey and indirectly support their mental health. In this session, Dr. Nicole Campbell will discuss her journey about prioritizing mental health in her courses and share examples of resources she uses to support learners. Participants will have opportunities to reflect on their current approaches and brainstorm ways to support their future learners.

Invited speaker

Dr. Nicole Campbell is assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology and the director of Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University. She teaches fourth-year undergraduate students and will be leading a new course-based MSc program in interdisciplinary medical sciences. She is a teaching fellow for her Faculty (2018 to 2022) and a Western experiential learning scholar (2020 to 2022). She has received several awards for teaching and innovation, including the Marilyn Robinson Award for Teaching Excellence in 2019. As part of her teaching fellowship, she is studying strategies for assessing and demonstrating student achievement of core competencies and skill development. She has also created interactive “escape box” activities to promote teamwork skills among her students.

Read more about her teaching at: 

2:45–3:30 p.m. | Coffee hour

Faculty Resilience in the Post-Pandemic University

Sarah Louise Turner

Join us for an informal conversation about how to stay resilient and take care of your well-being while navigating the uncertainties of remote and post-pandemic teaching. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and meet colleagues from across the university to share strategies.


Sarah Louise Turner is an educational consultant with the SFU Centre for Educational Excellence. She has been at SFU for the past 14 years and began as a teaching enhancement specialist working with many SFU faculty, instructional staff and graduate students on voice and presentation skills. She holds an MFA from Indiana University and is passionate about arts-based practices in higher education. As a professional actor, she is an active member of the Vancouver theatre community and finds it particularly rewarding when her two worlds align. 

Day 2 | Thursday, May 20, 2021

10:00 a.m.–12:00 noon | Welcoming remarks and keynote address

Nanda Dimitrov, senior director, Centre for Educational Excellence
Elizabeth Elle, vice-provost and associate vice-president, learning & teaching
Elder Margaret George, Skawahlook First Nation
Olga Belikov, manager, course production, Learning & Teaching Technology Division, Centre for Educational Excellence

Online and Blended Learning in Post-Pandemic Settings

George Veletsianos, Royal Roads University

Much of the conversation in higher education at this particular point in time focuses on “building back better.” To engage in such rebuilding means to recognize that various pre-pandemic teaching, learning and institutional practices were problematic. “Building back better” invites us to ask: What do future online and blended learning environments  look like, whom do they serve, what are they for, and how do we justly make them available to everyone? How do we make our learning environments more equitable, flexible, accessible, enriching, sustainable, decolonial and responsive? As we return to campus, what aspects of pre-pandemic teaching and learning should we strive to avoid returning to? In this talk, I draw from a series of pan-Canadian studies conducted over the last year with students, faculty, staff and administrators and share findings that inform our collective efforts for creating effective, but also engaging and equitable, learning environments.

Invited speaker

Dr. George Veletsianos is professor at Royal Roads University, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology and the Commonwealth of Learning Chair in Flexible Learning. He is widely recognized as a foremost expert in digital education and has been designing, developing and evaluating digital learning environments for nearly 20 years. Veletsianos aims to understand and improve teaching, learning and participation in digital learning environments. He studies learners’ and faculty experiences with online learning, flexible learning, networked scholarship, open education and emerging pedagogical practices. His research develops practical solutions to problems facing education, while also being critical of common assumptions and oft-repeated claims about the use of technology in education. His research highlights gaps, inequities and variations that exist in digital learning settings.

12:00 noon–1:00 p.m. | Lunch break (on your own)

1:00–2:30 p.m. | Panel discussion

Academic Integrity: Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

Sarah Elaine Eaton, University of Calgary; Paul Sopcak, MacEwan University; Sheri Fabian, Simon Fraser University

The pandemic has shown us some of the cracks in our society including in our education systems. We know that one consequence has been a sharp increase in academic misconduct, which teaches us that we have yet to get our approach to academic integrity right; that is, fostering integrity rather than mere rule compliance. We contemplate how we enact and promote the fundamental values of integrity, declared by the International Center for Academic Integrity: courage, fairness, honesty, respect, responsibility and trust. We explore ways to translate these values into everyday decision-making for faculty, students, administrators and staff, as we look toward teaching and learning in a post-pandemic environment. 

In this panel, we share three stories of our work in preventing and responding to academic dishonesty through the promotion of a culture of academic integrity. Sarah Elaine Eaton (University of Calgary) emphasizes the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to support academic integrity through sustained and sustainable teaching, learning, policy and student supports. Paul Sopcak (MacEwan University) supports the adoption of principles of restorative practice in the prevention of and response to academic misconduct, with an aim to build community, promote fairness and encourage accountability, and ultimately to establish a culture of integrity. Sheri Fabian (Simon Fraser University) used course concepts and applied a restorative justice approach when she discovered 41 of 200 students violated the code of academic integrity on their midterm. Because Sheri’s class cheated, someone didn’t go to jail. 

After sharing our stories, we will engage in conversation about how we can all work to shift to foster a culture of integrity.  


Sarah Elaine Eaton (photo credit: Clayton MacGillivray), Paul Sopcak and Sheri Fabian.

Sarah Elaine Eaton, PhD, is an associate professor at the Werklund School of Education and educational leader in residence, academic integrity, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, University of Calgary.

Paul Sopcak, PhD, is Coordinator of the Office of Student Conduct, Community Standards and Values, at MacEwan University, where he also teaches philosophy and comparative literature. 

Sheri Fabian, PhD is a University Lecturer in the School of Criminology and Director of the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines at Simon Fraser University.

2:45–3:30 p.m. | Town hall

What Is the Right “Blend,” Anyway?

Brian Lorraine, Simon Fraser University

Is there a way to capture the most effective elements of both face-to-face and online learning? Can the right mix reduce workload rather than increase it? With a year of remote instruction under our belts and fresh ideas from the symposium keynotes in our minds, join this townhall event to learn about CEE’s new Blended Learning pilot project and discuss how we can shape a blended experience that works—for teaching, for learning, and for our well-being. In a world that won’t stop shifting, we need courses designed to be flexible. We have the tools. We have the ability. The question is how?


Brian Lorraine is a project manager, online and blended learning, in the SFU Centre for Educational Excellence. His academic journey has traversed paths of learning, teaching, design and research in the area where culture, learning and technology intersect. In his current role, he supports teams across CEE with online and blended learning initiatives. He holds an MA in learning and technology from Royal Roads University, where his research focused on multiple cultures and digital learning technologies in post-secondary education.