June 2017 | View the web version of this newsletter

An effective approach for teaching students about complexity

Mark Lechner

How do you teach students to handle real-world complexity in a course environment? Mark Lechner (senior lecturer and director, undergraduate programs, in Health Sciences) has been successful by building an entire course around a single topic—blood—and then giving students the freedom to examine the topic through diverse lenses that help them to see and make connections between its multiple dimensions. Lechner says the course “can feel a little chaotic at times,” but students have praised his approach for the comprehensive understanding it provides. Read about the course and how it works.

New OER funding for instructors

The use of open educational resources (OER) in courses can benefit students who struggle with the high cost of textbooks. SFU’s OER Grants program has just announced a new round of funding offering up to $5,000 to faculty members and lecturers who wish to “redesign a course to use OER as their primary course material, and … adopt and/or adapt open textbooks and other OER for that purpose.” Recipients may also receive in-kind support from the Teaching and Learning Centre and the SFU Library. The application deadline for this round is July 19. Find out how you can apply.

An education professor’s formula for increasing student involvement in the classroom

Peter Liljedahl

When Peter Liljedahl, associate professor in the Faculty of Education and co-director of the David Wheeler Institute for Research in Mathematics Education, watched students in the back rows of lecture halls, he often observed what he calls “studenting”: students pretending to listen and take notes while “in reality they would just be updating their Facebook status.” He wasn’t surprised because he believes classroom environments encourage students to be “passive and receptive instead of active and generative.” Through his research in K–12 educational settings, Liljedahl had developed a framework, called the Thinking Classroom, that fosters greater student involvement in learning. (In April his work was recognized with the Faculty of Education’s $100,000 Cmolik Prize for the Enhancement of Public Education in B.C.) Recently he has been applying that framework in post-secondary settings—including lecture halls—with promising results. Read about the framework and the 11 tactics it proposes.

Have you reminded your students to complete their evaluations?

The online course evaluation period for Summer 2017 intersession courses began on June 13 and will end on June 19. Encouragement from course instructors can have a significant impact on student response rates. If you are teaching an intersession course, please remind your students to complete their evaluations—it’s an opportunity for you to receive feedback that can help shape your next course.

Don’t miss these summer opportunities

T O D A Y ! Bring your lunch and listen to BPK lecturer Leanne Ramer’s description of the outcome when she took SFU’s annual Rethinking Teaching workshop in My Course Redesign Experience: A Candid Account. No need to register—just come to the Education Building, EDB 7618, between 12:30 and 1:30. SKiP: The two-day Sketching in Practice (SKiP) symposium at the Vancouver campus on June 23–24 considers the how and why of visual strategies. PRESENTATION SKILLS: Body-Voice-Space (August 14–15) can help you feel more comfortable in front of an audience. SAVE THE DATE: TA/TM Day on September 8 is SFU’s primary orientation event for teaching assistants, tutor-markers and sessional instructors. No need to register, but mark your calendars!

This month in pictures

2017 Symposium on Teaching and Learning 2017 Symposium on Teaching and Learning 2017 Symposium on Teaching and Learning Watch a slide show from SFU’s 16th Annual Symposium on Teaching and Learning >>

Bonus Points Challenge. Win a cash card!

“Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.” Who said this?

a. Steve Martin    b. Steven Wright    c. Tina Fey    d. Amy Schumer

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER by June 20 for a chance to win a $10 Renaissance Coffee card. The correct answer to last month's question was a. 200,000.


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Jul 21 Application deadline | August Instructional Skills Workshops (Aug 23–25 OR 28–30)


Teaching Practice

NEW! My Course Redesign Experience: A Candid Account | June 16 | Details

Instructional Skills Workshops | Aug 23–25 | Aug 28–30 | Details

32nd Annual Fall TA/TM Day: The Teaching Orientation Program | September 8 | 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

WAITING LIST. Video Editing for Beginners | Jun 21 | Jul 10 | Details

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

Voice & Presentation Skills

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