January 2018 | View the web version of this newsletter

It never hurts to ask

Tun Myint

How do you know whether your students understand the course material? You ask them, says Tun Myint, a lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences. For the past few years, he has gathered feedback at the end of every class on the “muddiest points” in his lectures—the topics or concepts his students found most confusing. He revisits those points in the next class to provide greater clarity. The practice works: studies he conducted to evaluate its effectiveness found that on average more than 40 percent of students complete the feedback forms each week, and more than 90 percent of those initially reporting confusion say they “partially understand or fully understand” the material after the follow-up explanations. The studies concluded that this simple “iterative process” is an effective tool, especially when instructors are teaching a course for the first time. Read more about Tun Myint’s experience.

Have a coffee, share your thoughts

John Born of the TLC is leading a university-wide Faculty Needs Assessment “to develop a more in-depth understanding of the teaching and learning–related values, needs and priorities of SFU faculty members.” He describes it as “a significant opportunity to help shape the services that the TLC offers to faculty members and academic units.” As part of the initiative, all SFU faculty members and instructional staff are invited to share their thoughts, ideas and wishes at a series of focus groups to be held on all three campuses from January 23 to 26. Each focus group will consist of four to eight participants from various disciplines and will last approximately 60 minutes. Coffee and muffins will be served, and everyone who attends will receive an SFU Bookstore gift card. To see a list of times and locations and to express your interest in participating, visit this page.

An important position to fill

The TLC is seeking an associate director, educational development, to join the Centre’s leadership team. This is a continuing position that involves overseeing the work of multiple teams that support faculty members and academic units in all Faculties and on all three campuses. The application deadline is February 5; details of the job posting are available on the SFU Current Job Postings page. If you know someone with strengths in this area, please encourage them to consider applying.

Don’t overlook these dates

SHOW YOUR WORK: Your Teaching Dossier/Portfolio (Feb 23, Mar 9 & 23) introduces ways to document teaching accomplishments for tenure and promotion—register by February 9. A SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT: Rethinking Teaching (Apr 26–27, Apr 30–May 1) is the ideal place to design or redesign your course. Apply by February 23. FOR GRAD STUDENTS: Sign up now for Teaching Dossiers for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows (Mar 6), and submit your proposal to present at the 33rd Annual Fall TA/TM Day (Sep 7) by April 13. MAD ABOUT MEDIA: Check out the sidebar listings under “Technology & Media.” Registrations/applications are open for four new listings, including the Spring 2018 EdMedia Program (Apr 3–24). Individual graphic software training and presentation troubleshooting are also available by appointment from media designer Shantala Singh; contact sas18@sfu.ca.

This month in pictures

Reception1 Petra Menz Reception3 Photo gallery: The 6th Annual Healthy Campus Champion Reception >>

Bonus Points Challenge. Win a $10 cash card!

According to Institutional Research and Planning, how many faculty members does SFU have (professors, associate professors, assistant professors, lecturers, lab instructors)?

a. 400–500    b. 900–1,000    c. 1,400–1,500    d. 1,900–2,000

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER BY JANUARY 22 for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks Coffee card. The correct answer to last month's question was December 21.


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View all scheduled events


Jan 19 Application deadline | February Instructional Skills Workshop (Feb 14–16)
Feb 9 Registration deadline | Your Teaching Dossier/Portfolio: A S.M.A.R.T. Approach for SFU Faculty (Feb 23, Mar 9 & 23)
Feb 23 Application deadline | Rethinking Teaching (Apr 26–27, Apr 30–May 1)
Mar 16 Application deadline | April Instructional Skills Workshops (Apr 18–20 or 23–25)
Apr 13 NEW! Submission deadline | Call for Proposals: 33rd Annual Fall TA/TM Day (Sep 7)
Apr 20 Application deadline | Body, Voice, Space: An Intensive Two-Day Voice and Presentation Skills Boot Camp (May 16–17)
May 25 Application deadline | Fall 2018 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Sep 14–Dec 7)


Teaching Practice

Bring Your Self to Work Dialogues | Feb 5, Mar 5, Apr 9 | Details

NEW! Teaching Matters | Jan 23, Feb 6, Feb 20, Mar 6, Mar 13, Apr 3 | Details

Instructional Skills Workshops | Feb 14–16 (wait list) | Apr 18–20 | Apr 23–25 | Details

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

Teaching Dossiers for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows | Mar 6 | Details

Rethinking Teaching: A Four-Day Course Design Workshop for Faculty | Apr 26–27, Apr 30–May 1 | Details

Technology & Media

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

Creating and Using Graphics | By appointment | sas18@sfu.ca

Designing for the Blended Learning Experience | Upon request | Details

Screencasting and Video Editing: A Simple Way to Create Engaging Videos | Feb 1 | Details

NEW! Mic Check: Microphone Setup, Usage and Technique | Mar 1 | Details

NEW! EdMedia Program | Apr 3–24 | Details

NEW! Going Visual I: Cut Through Complexity with Drawing Basics | Apr 18 | Details

NEW! Going Visual II: Convey Visual Content with Media | Apr 25 | Details

Voice & Presentation Skills

Private Voice Sessions | Jan 15–Apr 9 | By appointment | Details

Breath Power, Posture and Pauses: Your Secret Allies for Public Speaking | Feb 22 | Details

Expressive Speech: Vocal Dynamism in the Classroom | Mar 8 | Details

Better Presentations: Building Confidence and Connections | Mar 22 | Details

Body, Voice, Space: An Intensive Two-Day Voice and Presentation Skills Boot Camp | May 16–17 | 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