April 2017 | View the web version of this newsletter

A history professor invited her students to co-create the syllabus …

Mary-Ellen Kelm

History professor and Canada Research Chair Mary-Ellen Kelm had a problem: “It was obvious from the work I was seeing semester after semester that the students didn’t care about the course material and were doing the bare minimum to get by.” She concluded that the course content was not relevant to their goals and interests and decided to invite students to help determine both content and forms of assessment. The results were startling—in a good way. Read about the changes she experienced

See what’s on tap at the Symposium

The preliminary schedule for SFU’s 16th Annual Symposium on Teaching and Learning on May 17–18 has been posted. The Symposium is the premier opportunity for SFU’s academic community to share knowledge and experiences related to teaching and learning. This year’s theme is “Voices of Diversity and Inclusion: Vulnerabilities, Tensions, and Opportunities.” Sessions will address everything from “Navigating Controversial Topics in Diverse Classrooms” to “Promoting Intercultural Exchange through an Engineering Design Project.” A special half-day workshop will look at “Indigenizing Course Outcomes.” If you know that you plan to attend, please help out the organizers by registering now.

How three teaching award recipients approach their teaching …

Michelle Pidgeon

The SFU News recently published profiles of the 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award recipients. The three women profiled employ distinct approaches that nevertheless have a common element—they involve students in course activities in ways that deepen engagement and learning. Read the stories of Sheri Fabian, who “embraces controversy,” Chantal Gibson, who practices a “pedagogy of kindness and inclusion,” and Michelle Pidgeon (right), who came to teaching via research and draws on practices arising from her Indigenous heritage.

… and another article you shouldn’t miss

If you haven’t seen the SFU News interview with new Teaching and Learning Centre director Brad Johnson, take a look now. Johnson talks about his experiences as a faculty member and faculty development director in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, explains how he learned to adapt his teaching style for students who had been shaped by different cultural and educational environments, and reveals what he thinks will be his biggest challenge at SFU. Plus, he shares a great photo of a Middle Eastern sunset, something he describes as “always beautiful.”

What open educational resources look like: SFU faculty members demonstrate the possibilities

Conversations about open educational resources (OER) often focus on textbooks. But recent OER projects led by five faculty members from four Faculties with funding from SFU’s OER Grants program demonstrate that open resources can take many forms. For example, English professor Leith Davis is helping to construct a database of online resources related to “non-print media and printed ephemera from 1688 to 1815,” and Mark Roseland and Joanna Ashworth from the Faculty of Environment are developing an “inventory of sustainability-related OER,” including TED Talks, educational videos, press articles and more, that will be accessible to all instructors at SFU. View summaries of the five projects.  

Mark these dates and sign up now

THE BIG EVENT: Symposium on Teaching and Learning (May 17–18). The half-day “Indigenizing Course Outcomes” workshop within the Symposium has limited space and requires separate registration. A FEW SPOTS LEFT: The Instructional Skills Workshop on April 24–26 has room for two more participants, and Rethinking Teaching on April 27–28 and May 1–2 has room for three more faculty members. FOR GRAD STUDENTS: Apply to the Fall 2017 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning by May 26. JUST ANNOUNCED: Video Editing for Beginners on June 21 is a hands-on introductory session—you will create a video from scratch; and the second annual Sketching in Practice Symposium (SKiP 2017, June 23–24 at the Vancouver campus) has issued a call for proposals on the theme “Where does sketching lead to action?” The submission deadline is May 1.

This month in pictures

CPUTL celebration CPUTL celebration CPUTL celebration Graduates of the Spring 2017 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning celebrate >>

Bonus Points Challenge. Win a cash card!

Last month tied the record for rainiest March in Vancouver, as measured by number of days with rain. How many rainy days did we have?

a. 13    b. 18    c. 23    d. 28

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER by April 24 for a chance to win a $10 Renaissance Coffee card. Congratulations to Ella Reichelt, winner of last month's challenge! The correct answer to last month's question was b. No.


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View all scheduled events


Apr 24 EXTENDED proposal submission deadline | Fall 2017 TA/TM Day (Sep 8)
May 1 Proposal submission deadline | Sketching in Practice Symposium (SKiP 2017) (Jun 23–24)
May 26 Application deadline | Fall 2017 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Sep 15–Dec 8)


Teaching Practice

NEW DATES! Instructional Skills Workshops | Apr 24–26 | Aug 23–25 | Aug 28–30 | Details

Rethinking Teaching: A Four-day Course Design Workshop for Faculty | Apr 27–28 & May 1–2 | Details

16th Annual Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Voices of Diversity and Inclusion: Vulnerabilities, Tensions, and Opportunities | May 17–18 | Details

Fall 2017 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning | Sep 15–Dec 8 | Details

Technology & Media

Canvas Training and Consultations | By appointment | learntech@sfu.ca

Designing for the Blended Learning Experience | Upon request | Details

EdMedia Program | Applications closed | Details

Going Visual I: Cut Through Complexity with Drawing Basics | May 10 | Details

Going Visual II: Convey Visual Content with Media | May 23 | Details

NEW! Video Editing for Beginners | Jun 21 | Details

NEW! Sketching in Practice Symposium (SKiP 2017) | Jun 23–24 | Details

Voice & Presentation Skills

NEW DATES! Private Voice Sessions | Selected Thursdays, May 11–Aug 31 | By appointment | Details

Body-Voice-Space: An Intensive Two-Day Voice and Presentation Skills Boot Camp | Aug 14–15 | Details

Click to find out how the Teaching and Learning Centre can support your work

Course and curriculum planning    |    Canvas and learning technology support    |    Educational media creation and training    |    Workshops and programs    |    Voice and presentation skills    |    Teaching practice and discipline-specific consulting

tlcentre@sfu.ca | 778.782.3910 | Education Building, EDB 7560 | TLC on Twitter | Teaching and Learning News blog