- About CEE
- In-person instruction: Some classes have already returned
- 813,000 Zoom meetings: How IT Services handled the move to remote instruction
- This math lecturer developed her own open textbook—now thousands of students are using it
- Three students talk about academic integrity
- A different perspective on academic integrity
- Painting the bigger picture of academic integrity
- National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
- Reflections on Inclusion in the Classroom Week
- Fostering connection and practicing kindness
- Can you teach dance remotely?
- A student’s perspective: How two instructors created connection online
- Welcome to your new Zoom classroom
- Kevin Lam: “Students appreciate every little thing we do that shows that we care”
- Sheri Fabian: “I embraced a flexible approach”
- Sarah Johnson: “The biggest change I made was to switch to asynchronous delivery”
- Nicky Didicher: “I’m finding my job less exhilarating”
- Mark Lechner: “You have to be OK with things going sideways”
- Nienke van Houten: “They really valued my clear and upfront approach”
- How can we support remote instruction at SFU?
- Crowdmark: A more efficient way to grade student assessments
- The unexpected benefits of a shorter syllabus
- Photo gallery: Talking shop at Teaching Matters
- Watch the video: Faculty members discuss SFU's new instructor-led online course model
- Bridges and booster rockets: CEE's new senior director talks about teaching support
- Meet the Centre for Educational Excellence leadership team
- A biology instructor rethought her students’ role—and her own
- Photo gallery: SFU’s 24th Annual Spring TA/TM Day
- Photo gallery: SFU's 9th Annual Winter Warm-up
- If you build it, will they come?
- “My students didn’t look like they were having fun”: Three additions to the TA/TM Stories podcast series
- View the furniture, share your thoughts—online
- An upgraded Canvas Gradebook is coming in January
- Share your thoughts on the furniture in SFU classrooms
- DEMOfest presenter slides
- Photo gallery: 5th Annual DEMOfest
- Teamwork needs to be taught
- TA/TM Stories: Three new podcasts explore the teaching experiences of grad students
- Can it be done? A math instructor attempts to indigenize her course
- Answers to your questions about SFU's new approach to online education
- Photo gallery: The CEE Open House
- Do you know your faculty teaching fellow?
- Instructor-led online courses: How one faculty member prepared for the new model
- Photo gallery: SFU's 34th Annual Fall TA/TM Day draws a crowd
- Connecting people and crossing artificial divides: An interview with Elizabeth Elle
- Sessional instructors can now be included in online course evaluations
- Don't say this to your class—a student shares his experience
- How one lecturer is using podcasts to make course concepts more real in her online course
- Photo gallery: Rain, burgers and smiles at the 2019 President's Employee BBQ
- Five questions and answers about the creation of CEE
- A redesign made this course more engaging for students—and the instructor
- CPUTL: A graduate student describes her experience
- CEE Staff Login
A student’s perspective: How two instructors created connection online
Justin Lai is in his final semester as an undergraduate in the SFU Faculty of Education, after following a path that began in biology and crossed through business and economics with stops in multiple other disciplines. That varied background has given him a broad perspective on learning and teaching.
When the university conducted its Student Online Learning Experiences (SOLE) survey in June/July 2020 to see how students were doing after the COVID-19–related move to remote instruction, Lai offered a “shoutout” to EDUC 437: Ethical Issues in Education, an online course he took in Fall 2019. The course—developed by education professor Heesoon Bai with technical support from a team led by educational developer Kanthi Jayasundera from what is now the Centre for Educational Excellence, and delivered by sessional instructor Scott Bowering—concluded well before the coronavirus outbreak, but Lai saw elements that he felt would be worth emulating in other courses that have “gone remote.”
“Breathe and reflect”
One novel element of the course was Bai’s interpolation of editorial comments and interjections such as “Laugh,” “Sigh” and “Breathe and reflect” in the Canvas course notes.
The comments broke up material that could otherwise have been quite dense. At the same time, they inserted a sense of Bai’s presence even in the online environment.
“It’s kind of like she [was] literally talking to you through the screen,” said Lai.
He credited the practice with increasing his retention of the course material.
“The way she did it, you just had to do one read and you totally understood what she was talking about … She put herself in the shoes of the reader—how would I feel, how would I learn this, and what is the relevance of this. So I think that’s super important and super different from what many other professors have done in the past.”
Openness breeds openness
The sense of engagement with the instructor was also central to LBST 330: Selected Topics in Labour Studies, his first remote course in Summer 2020. In this case the instructor was Laya Behbahani, a term lecturer in the Department of Labour Studies and the director of SFU’s Student Experience Initiative.
“I think she’s been awesome,” said Lai. “She’s been one of the best professors I’ve ever had in my entire undergraduate career.”
One of the traits he appreciated most was her willingness to ask for feedback.
For students, said Lai, that openness to dialogue demonstrated confidence and created a sense of connection.
“It’s not taking anything away from her credentials, it’s not taking anything away from her professionalism, but the fact that she offers that [invitation] makes students comfortable. It makes students more willing to be open and more willing to approach you.”
As a budding educator, Lai learned a number of lessons from the two courses and their instructors: “You have to be authentic, you have to think of other options, and you have to be adaptable.”
The result, he concluded, can be exceptional learning experiences, whether the environment is physical or virtual.
- Heesoon Bai’s faculty web page
- Laya Behbahani’s faculty web page
- “Memory of Migrant Abuse Fuels SFU Trudeau Scholar’s Lifelong Fight for Human Rights” (article about Laya Behbahani’s 2020 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholarship)