August 2017 | View the web version of this newsletter

What happened when a biology professor gave her students permission to make mistakes

Tun Myint

Sherryl Bisgrove (associate professor, Biological Sciences) teaches a third-year required course that many students view as difficult and outside their main area of interest. Following a discussion with faculty colleagues about learning as a trial-and-error process, she introduced an approach that freed students to take more chances without being penalized for making the mistakes that are part of any learning process. She also moved from a focus on content to an emphasis on critical thinking and evaluation of evidence. Her students responded strongly and positively. Read her account of the experience.

Students share their views on classroom technologies

This past spring the Teaching and Learning Centre asked 54 students from seven of SFU’s eight Faculties about the technologies they use—or would like to use—in their classrooms and lecture halls. The answers revealed a great deal about the kinds of classroom experiences students wish for. One common theme was the desire for more interaction between and among instructors and students. A related request was for “some kind of interactive check for understanding” during lectures. Many of their proposed solutions to classroom problems were remarkably practical. Read more about what the students had to say, and download the report.

The Case of the Swedish Dala Horse: A creative approach to organizing a creative workshop series

Dala horse

The TLC’s EdMedia Program is an opportunity for SFU faculty and staff members to gain hands-on experience with tools and software for video, audio and graphics production. The Fall 2017 iteration of the program will use a “transmedia storytelling” format centred around a whodunnit mystery (The Case of the Swedish Dala Horse) to provide structure and context for the workshop series. TLC educational media manager John Born sees the format as a way for participants to gain an understanding of not just how to create media resources, but how to use them in creative ways for teaching and learning. Find out more about the approach and the program.

Fall dates worth acting on now

CREATIVE SKILLS: The application deadline for the Fall 2017 EdMedia Program (September 26–October 17) is September 8. Space is limited—apply today. SPEAK WITH CONFIDENCE: TLC voice specialist Sanders Whiting organizes workshops that focus on breathing, movement and other elements of effective public speaking; he will also offer Private Voice Sessions, starting on September 18—request an appointment. GRAD STUDENTS: SFU’s biggest fall orientation event for teaching assistants and tutor-markers is TA/TM Day on September 8. No need to register, but save the date, and consider submitting a presentation proposal for the Spring 2018 TA/TM Day by October 6.

This month in pictures

TATM Day Fall 2016 01 TATM Day Fall 2016 02 TATM Day Fall 2016 03 TA/TM Day is on September 8. See photos from last fall. >>

Bonus Points Challenge. Win a cash card!

When do Fall 2017 classes start at SFU?

a. September 5    b. September 6    c. September 11    d. September 12

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER by August 25 for a chance to win a $10 Renaissance Coffee card. Congratulations to Lorena Munoz, winner of last month’s challenge! The correct answer to last month's question was Euclid.


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View all scheduled events


Sep 8 Application deadline | EdMedia Program (Sep 26–Oct 17)
Oct 6 Application deadline | November Instructional Skills Workshop (Nov 11–13)
Oct 6 Proposal submission deadline | Spring 2018 TA/TM Day (Jan 5)
Oct 20 Application deadline | Spring 2018 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Jan 12–Apr 20)


Teaching Practice

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

Instructional Skills Workshop | Nov 11–13 | Details

Teaching Dossiers for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows | Nov 15 | Details

Technology & Media

Canvas Training and Consultations | By appointment |

Designing for the Blended Learning Experience | Upon request | Details

EdMedia Program | Sep 26–Oct 17 | Details

Going Visual I & II
I. Cut Through Complexity with Drawing Basics | Oct 18 | Details
II. Convey Visual Content with Media | Oct 25 | Details

Going Graphic | Nov 7 | Details

DEMOfest: The SFU Experience of Teaching with Technology | Nov 28 | Details to come

Screencasting: A Simple Way to Create Engaging Videos | Nov 30 | Details

Voice & Presentation Skills

Private Voice Sessions | Sep 18–Dec 4 | By appointment | Details

Breath Power, Posture and Pauses: Your Secret Allies for Public Speaking | Oct 12 | Details

Expressive Speech: Vocal Dynamism in the Classroom | Oct 26 | Details

Better Presentations: Building Confidence and Connectivity | Nov 9 | 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 | 778.782.3910 | Education Building, EDB 7560 | TLC on Twitter | Teaching and Learning News blog