November 2018 | View the web version of this newsletter

How writing Twitter rants became a “huge learning motivator”

Rebecca Yoshizawa

When Rebecca Yoshizawa raised the stakes, her students raised their game and came away with a deeper learning experience. Yoshizawa is a sessional instructor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. This semester she asked her third-year students to write and optionally post Twitter “rants”—a series of connected tweets that communicate an argument or perspective—as part of their course work. The idea of writing for a large external audience proved to be a “huge learning motivator,” and the exercise taught them how to work within a tightly constrained format. Yoshizawa encourages other instructors to try similar experiments even if they question their social-media skills, noting that she often learns about unfamiliar formats along with her students: “If I want my students to take risks, I have to be prepared to do the same.” Learn more about her assignment and how students responded.

Eager to share an online annotation tool that promotes “collaborative reading”

Juan Pablo Alperin

Juan Pablo Alperin is an assistant professor in SFU’s Publishing Program. For four years his students have been using an online annotation tool called to add and respond to comments on web pages and PDF files. The tool encourages critical reading and discussion because interactions take place “right on the text itself,” and Alperin also uses it to gain a quick sense of what students found interesting or confusing in assigned readings before he heads into class. Now, as a Dewey Fellow with SFU’s Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines, he is eager to share the tool with other faculty members. He will be showcasing it at DEMOfest 2018 on November 21 and is also available for one-on-one demonstrations. Read more about the tool and its benefits.

Teaching EAL students in Qatar: Lessons for linguistically and culturally diverse classrooms and campuses

How do you foster successful teaching and learning experiences at a transnational branch campus when faculty members with little preparation for local linguistic, cultural and educational circumstances deliver courses in English to students with varying levels of proficiency in the language? That was the challenge faced by Brad Johnson (director, Teaching and Learning Centre) during his four years as founding director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary in Qatar. On November 29, he will describe his experiences and the solutions he developed at a presentation organized by the Centre for English Language Learning, Teaching and Research. Plan to attend Faculty Perceptions of Teaching EAL Students at a Canadian Transnational Branch Campus: What We Learned, What We Did About It, and What It Means for Our Context.

The prison tours were affecting her students—but in what way?

Danielle Murdoch

Danielle Murdoch, a lecturer in the School of Criminology, knew that the prison tours she organized for students influenced their learning. Now she knows how and why. An investigation she conducted with the help of a Teaching and Learning Development Grant from SFU’s Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines concluded that the field trips benefit students in three ways: by increasing their understanding of course materials, by broadening their insight into potential career options, and by establishing a stronger connection with the people they are learning about. Murdoch will share her findings at DEMOfest 2018, SFU’s premier showcase of teaching and learning solutions for faculty, staff and students, on November 21 in the Halpern Centre. Read more about her study in the SFU News.

Support reconciliation by helping to shape a new grant program

In Spring 2019, the Teaching and Learning Centre will launch the Decolonizing and Indigenizing (DI) Grant Program for faculty members. The program will support the university-wide initiative of decolonizing and Indigenizing teaching and learning. The TLC is currently soliciting expressions of interest from faculty members to gain a sense of the scope and scale of potential projects and the resources required to support potential grant recipients. If you have a project idea, submit a brief description by December 21 via the online submission form to help shape the format and requirements of the program. Get more details.

Have you marked these dates?

Nov 16: Join SFU alumnus Jennifer Thomas for Beyond “Diversity” and “Inclusion”: Anti-oppressive Course Design and Justice-centred Pedagogy.
Nov 19: Learn about teaching-related Faculty Grant Opportunities at SFU at Teaching Matters.
Nov 21: Don’t miss DEMOfest 2018, SFU’s annual teaching and learning showcase. This year’s theme is Flexible Learning. Everyone is welcome at this free, interactive drop-in event featuring refreshments, contests and prizes!
Nov 23: Learn from the experience of others at Approaching Culturally Diverse Classrooms.
Nov 26: Join Malgorzata Dubiel (Mathematics) to talk about preserving the joy of learning in What My Grandson Taught Me About Learning (and Teaching) Mathematics at Teaching Matters.
Jan 4, 2019: Teaching assistants and tutor-markers: Save the date for Spring 2019 TA/TM Day. Check out the Schedule at a Glance.

This month in pictures

Surrey Halloween Surrey Halloween Surrey Halloween Surrey campus welcomes 500 trick-or-treaters >>

Bonus Points Challenge. Win a $10 coffee card!

The First World War ended 100 years ago this week. Where was the peace treaty signed?

a. London    b. Geneva    c. Versailles    d. Washington

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER BY NOVEMBER 20 for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks or Renaissance coffee card. The correct answer to last month's question was 1991. Congratulations to our October winner, Susanna Fang of the Beedie School of Business.


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Jan 18 Application deadline | Instructional Skills Workshop (Feb 20–22)


Teaching Practice

Effective Teaching Series: Beyond “Diversity” and “Inclusion”: Anti-oppressive Course Design and Justice-centred Pedagogy | Nov 16 | Details

Teaching Matters Seminar Series: Faculty Grant Opportunities at SFU | Nov 19 | Details

Effective Teaching Series: Approaching Culturally Diverse Classrooms | Nov 23 | Details

Teaching Matters Seminar Series: What My Grandson Taught Me About Learning (and Teaching) Mathematics | Nov 26 | Details

SCHEDULE POSTED! Spring 2019 TA/TM Day | Jan 4, 2019 | Details

Spring 2019 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning | Jan 11–Apr 12, 2019 | Details

Instructional Skills Workshop | Feb 20–22, 2019 | Details

JUST ADDED! Your Teaching Dossier/Portfolio: A S.M.A.R.T. Approach for SFU Faculty | Mar 1, 15, 29, 2019 | Details

Rethinking Course Design: A Four-day Workshop for Faculty | Apr 25–26, 29–30, 2019 | Details

17th SFU Symposium on Teaching and Learning: The Assessment of Teaching and Student Learning | May 15–16, 2019 | Save the date

In-class Observation | By appointment | Email for details

Technology & Media

SCHEDULE POSTED! DEMOfest 2018: Flexible Education | Nov 21 | Details

Canvas Training and Consultation | By appointment | Email for details

Creating and Using Graphics | By appointment | Details

Designing for the Blended Learning Experience | By appointment | Details

Drawing for Visual Communication | By appointment | Email for details

Voice & Presentation Skills

NEW DATES! Private Voice Sessions | Jan 14–Apr 9, 2019 | By appointment | Details

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

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