March 2018 | View the web version of this newsletter

A new kind of multiple-choice test

Leanne Ramer

Leanne Ramer, a lecturer in Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, understands the trade-off instructors need to make when they choose between multiple-choice and open-ended question formats for tests: “I see a huge frustration among instructors because of what is often an inverse relationship in assessment methods between the depth of knowledge measured and the ease of ‘markability.’” She is preparing to try a new confidence-weighted multiple-choice format that she hopes will let students demonstrate “partial learning” while still being quicker to mark than open-ended questions. Read more about the test format.

A role that you can fill at the Undergraduate Research Symposium

Close to 40 undergraduate students have submitted presentation proposals for SFU’s inaugural Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 6. The one-day, interdisciplinary event will take place at the Halpern Centre (Burnaby campus), with CBC journalist Susana da Silva acting as master of ceremonies. One important role remains to be filled: audience member. All members of the university community are invited to visit this showcase of five-minute presentations. Attendance is free, but space is limited and registration is recommended.  

2017 Teaching Excellence award recipients talk about their influences

Jeremy Brown

Recipients of SFU Excellence in Teaching Awards are often described as role models and inspirations by the students who support their nominations. But to whom did the award recipients look for early inspiration? Jeremy Brown (History, pictured) and Wanda Cassidy (Education), recently announced award recipients for 2017, both point to women who made a difference for them: in one case, a professor who wrote books, and in the other case a grade school teacher who shared them. Read their comments about the impact educators had on their lives.

Additional expertise for Indigenous initiatives

The Teaching and Learning Centre is inviting applicants for the newly created position of associate director, Indigenous initiatives. This full-time continuing role will provide the TLC and the broader SFU academic community with additional expertise in “planning and development related to teaching, learning and curriculum development” in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and the recommendations of SFU’s Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (SFU-ARC) report. The new associate director will chair a TLC Advisory Committee for Indigenous Initiatives that is being formed in response to the SFU-ARC report’s call for “nothing about us without us.” View the job posting.

Peer review of teaching; and what do student evaluations of teaching actually measure?

Isabeau Iqbal

“Questions of power, trust and relationship are fundamental to the peer review of teaching.” That was one key take-away from a presentation by guest speaker Isabeau Iqbal (pictured) at a March 9 event organized by the Teaching Assessment Working Group as part of its “Valuing Teaching” series. Iqbal, who heads the Formative Peer Review of Teaching Program at the University of British Columbia, acknowledged the challenges of teaching reviews conducted by colleagues, but emphasized the benefits, including improved teaching, enhanced “data richness” in tenure and promotion processes, and increased collegiality among instructors. Next up in the series: Philip B. Stark (University of California at Berkeley), “Student Evaluations of Teaching (Mostly) Do Not Measure Teaching Effectiveness,” on April 26. Register for Stark’s presentation via the Faculty Recognition website.

Don’t overlook these opportunities!

ALMOST FULL: Learn to create audio, video and graphic resources for your courses in the EdMedia Program (Apr 3–24). EXTENDED DEADLINE: Apply to the Instructional Skills Workshop (Apr 18–20 or 23–25) by March 23 to pick up new teaching approaches. FOR GRAD STUDENTS: Apply to the Fall 2018 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Sep 14–Dec 7) by May 25. And remember to submit a presentation proposal for the 33rd Annual Fall TA/TM Day (Sep 7) by April 13.

This month in pictures

Andrew Hawryshkewich Isabeau Iqbal and Daria Ahrensbach Unidentified Photo gallery: TAWG speaker series with Isabeau Iqbal >>

Bonus Points Challenge. Win a $10 cash card!

Who is the only member of the SFU Gallery of Teaching Excellence to be pictured with a dog? [Clue]

a. Peter Kennedy    b. Lynne Quarmby    c. Alton Harestad    d. Robert Menzies

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER BY MARCH 23 for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks Coffee card. The correct answer to last month's question was True.


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View all scheduled events


Mar 16 TODAY! Application deadline | EdMedia Program (Apr 3–24)
Mar 23 EXTENDED! Application deadline | April Instructional Skills Workshops (Apr 18–20 or 23–25)
Apr 13 Submission deadline | Call for Proposals: 33rd Annual Fall TA/TM Day (Sep 7)
May 25 Application deadline | Fall 2018 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Sep 14–Dec 7)


Teaching Practice

Teaching Matters (next session: How Can We Help Students Read Papers More Effectively?) | Apr 3, Apr 10 | Details

Bring Your Self to Work Dialogues (next session: Body and Breath) | Apr 9 | Details

EXTENDED DEADLINE! Instructional Skills Workshops | Apr 18–20 | Apr 23–25 | Details

Student Evaluations of Teaching (Mostly) Do Not Measure Teaching Effectiveness | Apr 26 | Details

FULL! 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 |

Creating and Using Graphics | By appointment | Details

Designing for the Blended Learning Experience | Upon request | Details

EdMedia Program | Apr 3–24 | Details

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

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

Voice & Presentation Skills

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

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

CANCELLED! 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 | 778.782.3910 | Education Building, EDB 7560 | TLC on Twitter | Teaching and Learning News blog