May 2019 | View the web version of this newsletter

Opening the door to life beyond textbooks


For Leith Davis (professor, English), textbooks are an inadequate resource: "What I teach is non-traditional media from the eighteenth century, such as ballads and letters, that build a rich sense of what the mediascape was like at that time. I was frustrated by not finding the richness of those media in textbooks." Her solution was to create an open-access database of eighteenth-century media with the help of SFU's Open Educational Resources Grant Program. The database allows her students to engage with content more meaningfully. Davis even has them upload original artifacts: "This is what research is about—not reading someone else's papers and interpretations, but finding something and making connections that haven't been made before." Her students have responded with enthusiasm. "There was this spark of discovery that I found really inspiring," said one, who served as a research assistant for the project. "It's nice to not be tied to how the textbook has decided things should be read and understood." Read more about how the database has enriched the learning experience for Davis's students.

The TAWG report: Better ways to assess, reward and celebrate good teaching


On April 30, SFU's Teaching Assessment Working Group (TAWG), chaired by Barbara Frisken (professor, physics), released its final report. The report, which follows the publication of results from a faculty survey by TAWG, offers detailed and practical recommendations to improve the tenure/promotion process and the biennial review process for faculty, academic units and the university. It also addresses the larger issues that influence those processes; for example, a teaching environment that often discourages risk-taking and a university culture that values research more than teaching. The report includes suggestions for faculty members aiming to demonstrate their effectiveness as teachers; for academic units and tenure and promotion committees looking for better ways to assess teaching; and for the university as it aims to promote a culture that values and celebrates good teaching. Read more about the report recommendations and download a copy of the report.

Teaching is like theatre. Discuss


Observers frequently note the similarities between teaching and theatre. On April 2, 2019, Kevin O'Neill (associate professor, education) led a well-attended workshop to examine the similarities—and differences—between the two spheres. One of O'Neill's goals was to draw attention to the unique value of shared, face-to-face interaction in an educational environment that "increasingly promotes the value of 'anytime, anywhere' learning, and relentlessly touts the value of personalization and optimization over shared experience." The group discussion highlighted the dynamic, mutually beneficial nature of the teacher/student classroom relationship, which creates a communal experience that goes far beyond knowledge transfer and, at its best, gives teachers and students the sense of being "part of something important," in the words of one faculty member at the workshop. Read more about the discussion.

Open education at SFU: A showcase event and new funding for faculty members


If you are interested in open educational resources (OER) and open pedagogy, but don't know where to begin, come to Open Education 2019: Transforming Teaching and Learning at SFU, on May 27 at Harbour Centre. The day will include a keynote address, a panel discussion and lightning talks featuring SFU instructors, staff and students leading open education initiatives and working on OER-related projects. Sessions are free and lunch is included, but registration is required. View the full schedule and register now. Ready to integrate an open textbook or other open educational resource into your course? Apply for an OER Grant of up to $6,000 (plus staff support from the Library and the Teaching and Learning Centre) by May 30. Find out how to apply.

Springtime, and the learnin' is easy

May 15–16: SFU's 17th Symposium on Teaching and Learning is happening right now! Join your colleagues at the Vancouver campus for conversation and inspiration.
May 24: Grad students—don't miss this application deadline for the Fall 2019 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Sep 13–Dec 6). Build your teaching skills, boost your confidence and prepare for your teaching roles.
Jun 14: Take your pick—one application deadline, two sessions of the Instructional Skills Workshop (Aug 14–16 OR 19–21) to choose from. A great place to experiment with new teaching approaches.

This month in pictures

tmtl-gallery-may2019-4.jpg tmtl-gallery-may2019-3.jpg tmtl-gallery-may2019-1.jpg Course design became a communal activity at Rethinking Course Design >>

Bonus Points Challenge. Win a $10 coffee card!

The new Sustainable Energy Engineering Building at SFU's Surrey campus was officially opened on April 25. Which celebrity architect designed the building?

a. Bing Thom    b. Frank Gehry    c. Arthur Erickson    b. Zaha Hadid

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER BY MAY 21 for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks or Renaissance coffee card. Congratulations to Min-Ni Sharpe (Undergraduate Records), winner of the April bonus draw. The correct answer to last month's question was Victor Hugo.


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View all scheduled events


May 24 Application deadline | Fall 2019 Certificate Program in University Teaching and Learning (Sep 13–Dec 6)
Jun 14
Application deadline | Instructional Skills Workshop (Aug 14–16 OR 19–21)


Teaching Practice

REGISTER ON-SITE AT HARBOUR CENTRE. 17th Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Assessing and Celebrating Teaching and Student Learning | May 15–16 | Details

NEW DATES. Instructional Skills Workshop | Aug 14–16 | Aug 19–21 | Details

SAVE THE DATE. 34th Annual Fall TA/TM Day | Sep 6 | Details

Technology & Media


Voice & Presentation Skills

NEW DATES. Private Voice Sessions | Jun 6–Aug 29 | 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

Find out how the Teaching and Learning Centre can support your work

Course and curriculum planning    |    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 (temporarily in Discovery 2) | TLC on Twitter | Teaching and Learning News blog