May 2018 | View the web version of this newsletter

A growing appreciation for open textbooks

Michael Chen

Michael Chen (senior lecturer, Physics) was a reluctant convert to open textbooks. He agreed with his department’s decision to adopt them for PHYS 100 classes when the cost of the standard commercial textbook reached $175 in 2016—“In my opinion that is a ridiculous price. I don’t want the students to have to pay that”—but he grumbled about the inconsistent quality of the content. Since then, though, he has come to appreciate the advantages of open educational resources (OER) for both students and instructors—including the freedom to tailor the textbook content to the needs of his course. He recently revised two chapters and plans to rework others during his next non-teaching semester. Read more about his experience with open textbooks.

Want to adopt OER for your course? There’s funding for that

OER Grants of up to $5,000, along with in-kind support from Library and Teaching and Learning Centre staff, are available to faculty members who wish to integrate open educational resources into their courses. The application deadline for the summer round of funding is June 20. Want to know more about OER before taking the plunge? Learn about tools and platforms and listen to the experiences of SFU faculty members at Open Education: Transforming Teaching & Learning at SFU, a free event on May 24 at the Bennett Library (Burnaby campus).

Students who fail better, fare better

Jessica Riddell

Jessica Riddell is concerned about what she sees as the increasing inability of students to cope with adversity. Riddell, the chair of undergraduate teaching excellence at Bishop’s University, addressed that concern at a special Teaching Matters session for SFU faculty members on May 2. She noted that a lack of resilience is linked with mental health issues as well as higher drop-out rates. The solution, she contended, is not to reduce academic rigour, but to help students accept challenges and failure as a normal part of the learning process. Riddell shared strategies she uses in her own classes and emphasized the fact that universities have resources that instructors can draw on: “It’s not all on you! There is an ecosystem of support at every institution. Connect your students to it.” Find out what Riddell does to support her students.

Downloadable resources for curriculum mapping and educational goals/learning outcomes

On April 10, the Educational Goals–Learning Outcomes Working Group hosted a presentation on “Curriculum Mapping: How to Make It Meaningful” by Fiona Rawle from the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM). Rawle described a cross-disciplinary Curriculum Mapping Initiative at UTM and shared a number of “lessons learned” that could be instructive for academic units involved in developing educational goals, assessment plans and mid-cycle review assessment reports at SFU. A video of the presentation as well as related resources, including a fillable curriculum mapping template, are now available for download.

Take note of these dates

A FRAMEWORK FOR TEACHING: The internationally recognized Instructional Skills Workshop will be offered three times in August. Explore teaching practices that can boost effectiveness for both new and experienced instructors. VIDEO SKILLS: Register for Screencasting and Video Editing (Jun 14) to learn Camtasia, an easy-to-use video editing software. GRAD STUDENTS: The deadline for the Fall 2018 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Sep 14–Dec 7) is May 25. Apply now! SPEAK WITH CONFIDENCE: Book time with the TLC’s voice specialist to work on breathing, clarity, projection and more. Reserve your summer Private Voice Sessions (May 31–Aug 30) now.

This month in pictures

Jeff Derksen Spring 2018 CPUTL Hannah Celinski Photo gallery: The Spring 2018 CPUTL graduates celebrate >>

Bonus Points Challenge. Win a $10 cash card!

The Victoria Day holiday marks Queen Victoria’s birthday (May 24). In what year was she born?

a. 1791    b. 1803    c. 1819    d. 1867

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER BY MAY 24 for a chance to win a $10 Renaissance Coffee card. The correct answer to last month's question was Zig Ziglar. Congratulations to our winner, Tanya Brown!


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May 25 Application deadline | Fall 2018 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Sep 14–Dec 7)
Jun 8 Application deadline | August Instructional Skills Workshops (Aug 15–17, 22–24, 27–29)
Jun 20 NEW. Application deadline | OER Grants summer funding round


Teaching Practice

NEW. Open Education: Transforming Teaching & Learning at SFU | May 24 | Details

Instructional Skills Workshops | Aug 15–17 | Aug 22–24 | Aug 27–29 | Details

NEW. Fall 2018 TA/TM Day: The Teaching Orientation Program | Sep 7 | Details to come

Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning | Sep 14–Dec 7 | Details

NEW. Teaching Dossiers for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows | Nov 6 | Details to come

Technology & Media

Canvas Training and Consultations | By appointment |

Designing for the Blended Learning Experience | Upon request | Details

Screencasting and Video Editing: A Simple Way to Create Engaging Videos | Jun 14 | Details

Voice & Presentation Skills

Private Voice Sessions | May 31–Aug 30 | By appointment | Details

Click to find out how the Teaching and Learning Centre can support your work

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