January 2019 | View the web version of this newsletter

Graphic novels as a medium for understanding

Amy Parent

Last summer, Amy Parent (assistant professor, education) used graphic novels to introduce students in her EDUC 389 course to the complex issues of Indigenization and decolonization in a non-threatening way. More surprisingly, she had them create their own graphic novels in response. The visual format proved to be an ideal medium of inquiry for many students. “Through the graphics, I was able to explore my own identity and relationship to Indigenous communities in a playful, gentle way,” said one. Parent, who confesses that she “didn’t have any visual literacy skills going into this project,” was excited by her students’ responses to the exercise and is preparing to repeat it this summer: “It was the most enjoyable course I have ever taught.” Read more about what happened in the classroom.

How one instructor is trying to reawaken the joy of learning in her students

Malgorzata Dubiel

On an outing to the park with her then-two-year-old grandson, university lecturer Malgorzata Dubiel (mathematics) was struck by the delight her grandson took in learning to count. The students in her classes are far more likely to exhibit math anxiety. Yet Dubiel is convinced that a sense of discovery and excitement is essential for successful learning, and she has taken a number of “small but positive” steps to help her students “experience the joy of achieving something and be motivated to keep trying.” She shared her practices with colleagues at a recent Teaching Matters session. Read a description of her talk.

A big welcome to Dorothy Christian

Dorothy Christian

Good things come to those who wait. In this case, the wait took the form of a lengthy search to fill the new position of associate director, Indigenous initiatives, within the Teaching and Learning Centre, and the good thing is the appointment of Dr. Dorothy Christian, effective February 1, 2019. Christian is a scholar and visual storyteller from the Secwepemc and Syilx Nations of British Columbia. She will oversee the TLC’s Indigenous initiatives, head a new TLC Advisory Committee for Indigenous Initiatives, and work to build strong relationships and partnerships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities at SFU and beyond. Read the full announcement of her appointment.

An online course designed to offer students greater flexibility

Shivanand Balram

Shivanand Balram (senior lecturer, geography) is well aware that his students “have a life” outside the classroom. Rather than lamenting their divided priorities, he has begun to adapt his courses to the needs of students juggling academic and non-academic responsibilities. Most recently, he created and delivered an online course (GEOG 150 Digital Earth) built entirely within Canvas using “flexible” elements that give students more choice as to when, where and how they learn. Student feedback has been positive, and for his department it’s a possible path to higher enrolments. Read more about the course.

Mark your calendar!

Jan 24: Interested in Academic English programs for international students? CELLTR is presenting Institutional and Pedagogical Perspectives on an Innovative Content-based Academic Language and Literacy Curriculum with Dr. Alfredo Ferreira (UBC Vantage College).
Jan 25: Join Megan Barker (biological sciences) for Collaborative Learning: Two-stage Tests to Support Student Learning and Experience. Part of the Effective Teaching Series.
Mar 1: Register now for Your Teaching Dossier/Portfolio: A S.M.A.R.T. Approach for Faculty.
Feb 28: Learn to present more confidently. Sign up for Breath Power, Posture and Pauses: Your Secret Allies for Public Speaking.

This month in pictures

Spring 2019 TA/TM Day Spring 2019 TA/TM Day Spring 2019 TA/TM Day SFU’s grad students gathered for the Spring 2019 TA/TM Day >>

Bonus Points Challenge. Win a $10 coffee card!

This year SFU’s Vancouver campus will celebrate its 30th anniversary with 30 public events. What food will be served at the first event on January 25?

a. Pemmican    b. Haggis    c. Sushi    d. Okanagan apples

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER BY JANUARY 22 for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks or Renaissance coffee card. The correct answer to last month's question was 3.


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View all scheduled events


Jan 18 Application deadline | Instructional Skills Workshop (Feb 20–22)
Feb 22 Application deadline | Rethinking Course Design Workshop (Apr 25–26, 29–30)
Mar 15 Application deadline | Instructional Skills Workshop (Apr 16–18)
Apr 5 Submission deadline | Call for Proposals: 34th Annual Fall TA/TM Day (Sep 6)
May 24 Application deadline | Fall 2019 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Sep 13–Dec 6)


Teaching Practice

Effective Teaching Series | Jan 25, Feb 1, 8, Mar 8, 22 | Details
Up next:
Collaborative Learning: Two-stage Tests to Support Student Learning and Experience (Jan 25)
Active Learning in Your Classroom: Tips and Tricks to Increase Student Engagement and Learning (Feb 1)
Potlatch as Methodology (Feb 8)

Teaching Matters Seminar Series | Jan 28, Feb 4, 11, Mar 4 | Details
Up next:
Bringing Life into Tutorials by Using the Flipped Class Model (Jan 28)
V.E.T.O. That Source! Novel and Not-so-novel Tutorial Techniques for Improving the Critical Evaluation of Online Information (Feb 4)

Instructional Skills Workshop | Feb 20–22 | Apr 16–18 | Details

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

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

Undergraduate Research Symposium | Mar 26 | Save the date

Rethinking Course Design Workshop | Apr 25–26, 29–30 | Details

17th Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Assessing Teaching and Student Learning | May 15–16, 2019 | Save the date

Technology & Media

Scripting and Storyboarding | Jan 31 | Details

Podcasting and Audio Production | Feb 21 | Details

NEW. Flexible Learning Series | Mar 5, 12, 19, 26 | Details
Up next:
Designing a Blended Learning Experience (Mar 5)

Going Visual I: Sketch Noting to Foster Student Learning | Mar 6 | Details

Going Visual II: Convey Visual Content with Media | Mar 13 | Details

Smartphone Video Production | Apr 18 | Details

Basic Screencasting and Video Editing | May 2 | Details

Voice & Presentation Skills

Private Voice Sessions | Jan 14–Apr 8 | Details

Breath Power, Posture and Pauses: Your Secret Allies for Public Speaking | Feb 28 | Details

Expressive Speech: Vocal Dynamism in the Classroom | Mar 14 | Details

Better Presentations: Building Confidence and Connections | Mar 28 | Details

Consultations by Appointment

Canvas Training and Consultation | By appointment | Email for details

Creating and Using Graphics | By appointment | Details

Drawing for Visual Communication | By appointment | Email for details

EdMedia Program | By appointment | Email for details

In-class Observation and Consultations for SFU Faculty Members | By appointment | Email for 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 (temporarily in Discovery 2 | TLC on Twitter | Teaching and Learning News blog