October 2017 | View the web version of this newsletter

A more efficient way to grade student assessments

Brenda Davison

Crowdmark, an “online collaborative grading platform” developed at the University of Toronto and recently licensed by SFU, is drawing rave reviews from instructors who have tried it. Essentially, student assessments are scanned and coded so that the grading process can be managed digitally. The system accommodates hand-written answers, graders can easily add comments, and results are automatically compiled. Crowdmark is especially suited to large classes with multiple TAs: it simplifies logistics, improves grading accuracy, and dramatically reduces time spent on grading. Brenda Davison (pictured), a mathematics lecturer who uses the tool, is thrilled with the benefits and says reaction from her TAs has been “overwhelmingly positive.” She points to a number of unanticipated benefits, including a reduction of “probably 90 percent” in re-marking requests by students because students are less inclined to challenge grades when digital images of submitted assessments exist. Read more about Davison’s experience with Crowdmark.

Up to $5,000 in OER Grants funding for courses

If you have considered using open educational resources (OER) in your courses, now is the time to act. New funding has been announced for SFU’s OER Grants program. Anyone with a full-time faculty appointment at SFU may apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to facilitate the integration of OER materials into a course. TLC and SFU Library staff are also available to provide in-kind support. The next application deadline is November 15, 2017. Find out how to apply.

Two award-winning faculty members describe what goes on in their classrooms

Rebecca Cobb

At a symposium on October 12, the recipients of the 2017 Cormack Teaching Awards, selected by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), spoke about distinctive aspects of their teaching. Rebecca Cobb (associate professor, Psychology; pictured) described her use of two-stage exams in which students write exams first individually and then again as part of a group; the results convinced her that the unconventional format leads to better retention and understanding of content by students: “If I can use an assessment tool that not only tells me how well students are doing, but also helps them learn, that’s a good thing.” Ashley Farris-Trimble (assistant professor, Linguistics) spoke about her efforts to introduce a sense of discovery and exploration into her courses, in part by having students engage in the full research process, from formulating a research question to disseminating results: “Experimental work belongs in the classroom.” Read more about the award recipients.

DEMOfest 2017: Share your practices with colleagues

How do you use learning tools, technologies and techniques in your classes? DEMOfest 2017 on November 28 in the Halpern Centre is a place where you can showcase your solutions for the SFU community. This year’s theme is Assessment—of learning and for learning. Reserve a table or a presentation slot by October 27, and feel free to invite your colleagues, grad students and TAs/TMs to exhibit or present along with you.

Don’t miss these events!

FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE: If your voice feels strained when you lecture, sign up for Private Voice Sessions with voice coach Sanders Whiting. BE VISUAL: Register now for these visual media workshops: Going Visual II (media tools, October 25), Going Graphic (design principles, November 7), and Screencasting and Video Editing: A Simple Way to Create Engaging Videos (November 30). GRAD STUDENTS: Time is tight! Apply now for the Spring 2018 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning. The application deadline is October 20.

This month in pictures

Convocation Fall 2017 Convocation Fall 2017 Convocation Fall 2017 Watch the slide show: Fall 2017 Convocation >>

Bonus Points Challenge. Win a cash card!

A question for Halloween: Is the pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable?

a. Fruit    b. Vegetable    c. Don’t know, but it makes a great pie

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER by October 20 for a chance to win a $10 Renaissance Coffee card. The correct answer to last month's question was 15th anniversary of the Surrey campus.


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View all scheduled events


Oct 20 Application deadline | Spring 2018 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Jan 12–Apr 20)


Teaching Practice

Teaching Matters Seminar Series | Oct 30, Nov 14 & 27 | Details

Bring Your Self to Work Dialogues | Nov 6, Dec 4 | Details

JOIN WAIT-LIST. Instructional Skills Workshop | Nov 11–13 | Details

JOIN WAIT-LIST. Teaching Dossiers for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows | Nov 15 | Details

NEW! Spring 2018 TA/TM Day | Jan 5, 2018 | Save the date

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

NEW! Rethinking Teaching | Apr 26–27, Apr 30–May 1, 2018 | Details

Technology & Media

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

Designing for the Blended Learning Experience | Upon request | Details

Going Visual 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

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

Voice & Presentation Skills

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

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