Developing Resource Material for Teaching Teams: A Case Study of CMNS 260

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Jan Marontate, School of Communications

Project team: Frédérik Lesage and Chris Jeschelnik, School of Communication, and Milan Singh, research assistant

Timeframe: January 2015 to February 2016

Funding: $4,950

Course addressed: CMNS 260 – Empirical Communication Research Methods

Final report: View Jan Marontate's final project report (PDF)

Description: This project focuses on developing strategies for enhancing collaboration among members of teaching teams working together in courses with large enrolments that ask students to engage in digitally mediated activities or use online resources to complete assignments and interact.  The objective is to create guidelines and support materials for new instructors and assistants teaching a course in quantitative research methodology that will introduce them to the pedagogical foundations and practical methods of integrating online communications with students with other activities, and enhance the ability of the future teams (with new members) to work collaboratively. The case study will focus on an introductory course on social scientific methods (CMNS 260) but we also hope that insights from this research may be transferable to other courses.

Our team recently completed a study funded through the Teaching and Learning Develop Grants program that identified and adapted digital teaching and learning tools for use in CMNS 260, which aims to introduce students to the basics of empirical research methods through practice with applied research assignments. In that study we identified tools available through Canvas and, with the help of SFU’s Canvas learning technology specialists, we developed digitally mediated assignments that are integrated with lectures, as well as tutorial and lab activities (Previous Project: Introducing Students to Empirical Research Methods Through Digitally Mediated Assignments).

Now that we have evidence that these assignments and processes are successful, we want to provide guidelines and resources for future instructors and Teaching Assistants of this course to enable them to carry out this relatively complex course design. Our intent is to expand the possibilities for recruitment of new members of the CMNS 260 teaching team while continuing to build a coherent vision of this core course by creating accessible ways for teams with changing composition to learn to work together collaboratively, to effectively use features of the online learning environments, and to integrate them creatively into their teaching.  

Questions addressed:

  • What instructional resources do team members need to prepare for their team teaching duties in the course?
  • What is the relationship between the online activities and the face-to-face experiences in the tutorials and the labs?
  • What 'best practices' should be retained and what needs to change?
  • How effective is the first draft of the written guidelines and teaching materials/resources for CMNS 260?

Knowledge sharing: We will share results of the research with colleagues in the School of Communication through the intermediary of the Undergraduate Studies Committee.  We also plan share our work via a poster presentation in a Teaching and Learning Symposium at SFU. The teaching support materials will be available to other colleagues on request. We may also present the material in a teaching workshop at a meeting of a scholarly association in 2016. 

Marontate, J., Jeschelnik C., Lesage, F. (2016, May). Developing Resources for Teaching Teams: A case study if and introductory research methodology course. Poster Presentation at the 15th Annual Symposium on Teaching & Learning: Universal Design for All Learners, May 18-19, 2016, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.