September 2017 | View the web version of this newsletter

A new space where learning and social activities mix

David Muraki

Math students have a new space in the West Mall Centre that blurs the line between activities inside and outside the classroom. The space, called [math west], includes three classrooms outfitted with floor-to-ceiling whiteboard walls, large LCD monitors, and moveable tables and chairs, as well as an adjacent “community zone” with facilities for group work and informal discussion and stations for teaching assistants to hold office hours. Former department chair Manfred Trummer and mathematics professor David Muraki (pictured) were deeply involved in the development of the space. They believe it will encourage creativity in teaching and foster community at a time when “new majors often don’t know who their fellow students are.” Muraki also hopes that it will inspire other departments to imagine similar spaces. See what [math west] looks like.

How “visual practice” can deepen classroom learning

Jason Toal is an interaction specialist in the Teaching and Learning Centre who helps instructors incorporate “visual practice”—the use of hand-drawn visuals such as live annotations on PowerPoint slides—in their teaching as a way to help students process, retain and retrieve concepts more successfully. He stresses the point that visual practice is about communication rather than artistry and says many SFU instructors already employ elements of this teaching approach; particularly instructors in “sciences and math, who often lecture and draw simultaneously.” In October he will present two workshops that introduce tools, techniques and strategies for using visual elements in teaching. Read more about visual practice and how it works.

From participant to director: A natural progression

Sheri Fabian

On September 1, Sheri Fabian, senior lecturer in the Department of Criminology, succeeded Cheryl Amundsen as director of the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines (ISTLD). The ISTLD is best known for facilitating SFU’s Teaching and Learning Development Grants, which aim to “stimulate faculty-led investigation of new or innovative teaching and learning practices” and have reportedly provided support to more than 20% of SFU faculty members. Fabian herself has led or co-led five grant projects; read the full announcement of her appointment. A RELATED REQUEST: Birgit Schwarz, postdoctoral fellow at the ISTLD, is conducting a study on flipped or partially flipped classrooms and is looking for instructors willing to share their experiences. For more information, see the project description or contact Schwarz directly.

Whose teaching do you admire?

The SFU Excellence in Teaching Awards are meaningful because the candidates are nominated by colleagues and current or former students. If you know of a faculty member whose contributions and impact as a teacher deserve to be recognized, consider nominating her or him by October 15, 2017; all “continuing full and part-time faculty members (tenured and tenure-track professors, lecturers and lab instructors) who have taught a minimum of five years in a continuing position at SFU” are eligible. Award recipients will join a distinguished group; browse the photos of past recipients and read their stories.

Save your spot!

MAINTAIN YOUR PASSION: The Bring Your Self to Work Dialogues are a place where instructors can focus on the purpose and meaning of their teaching roles. Join this new group for reflection and discussion on the first Monday of every month. EXPAND YOUR TEACHING TOOL KIT: Learn how to create strong visual assets for your courses. Sign up now for Going Visual I (drawing basics, October 18), Going Visual II (media tools, October 25), Going Graphic (design principles, November 7), and Screencasting: A Simple Way to Create Engaging Videos (November 30). GRAD STUDENTS: Get your application form for the Spring 2018 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning now. Teaching assistants, get paid to lead a session at the Spring 2018 TA/TM Day. Submit your session proposal by October 6.

This month in pictures

TATM Day Fall 2017 01 TATM Day Fall 2017 02 TATM Day Fall 2017 03 The Fall 2017 TA/TM Day drew a crowd. See the photos >>

Bonus Points Challenge. Win a cash card!

What special occasion did SFU’s Surrey campus celebrate on September 9?

a. Dedication of a new building    b. 15th anniversary of the campus     c. Strawberry social    d. End of “SFU Week”

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER by September 22 for a chance to win a $10 Renaissance Coffee card. Congratulations to Shinta Thio, winner of last month’s challenge! The correct answer to last month's question was September 5.


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View all scheduled events


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

NEW! Bring Your Self to Work Dialogues | Oct 2, Nov 6, Dec 4 | Details

NEW! Teaching Matters Seminar Series | Sep 19, Oct 3, 17 & 30, Nov 14 & 27 | Details

Instructional Skills Workshop | Nov 11–13 | Details

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

NEW! Your Teaching Dossier/Portfolio: A S.M.A.R.T. Approach for SFU Faculty | Feb 23, Mar 9 & 23, 2018 | Details

Technology & Media

Canvas Training and Consultations | By appointment |

Designing for the Blended Learning Experience | Upon request | Details

FULL. 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