Let’s Talk about Teaching 2021

Let's Talk About Teaching

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Looking Forward

Let’s Talk about Teaching is two days of conversations, networking, and concurrent sessions led by UVic instructors and Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation staff for all UVic faculty, instructors and lecturers.

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Day 1: August 31


Day 2: September 1


Day 3: September 2

Day 1: August 31, 2021
Acknowledgement of the Territory and Welcome & Keynote Presentation: Redefining "Normal": Where do I go from here?
Laurene Sheilds, Executive Director, Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation

Victoria Wyatt, Art History and Visual Studies, 2020 Harry Hickman Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Leadership

Keynote topic:

The fall campus return to normalcy takes place amid a convergence of urgent issues. We move into a new phase of a pandemic that has highlighted tremendous global inequities. The unmarked burials at residential schools expose the shameful realities of colonization in Canada. A devastating heat wave exceeding the worst climate models dramatically confirms that climate change is here. These three interconnected developments share a common theme: they are shocking, but not surprising. In the old normal, we knew about them. As educators, did we do enough? In this talk, I look at some ways I have tried in the past to encourage students to reconsider the “normal” that allows climate change and colonizing structures to flourish. I discuss the successes and limitations of those pedagogical strategies, and how online teaching has shifted my perspective about possibilities. I share some questions about what a new “normal” might look like. If I choose more assertively to reject the old normal, where do I go from here?

Decolonial Equity Work: Transforming from Theory to Practice
Jacquie Green and Ryan Khungay, Social Work

The School of Social Work at the University of Victoria is committed to continued transformation of our procedures, policies, and curriculum to further integrate decolonial, anti-racist, and social justice pedagogies to all aspects of the work that we engage in, as these values and practices inform who we are as a school. This continued work has included deconstructing and decolonizing aspects in our school including our admissions process, academic standing and suitability work, staffing and hiring, field education, distance education, and curriculum. We continue to find ways to center IBPOC student, staff, and faculty voices and knowledge within our school and honouring lived experiences as academic knowledge. 


In this session, we will review the history, processes, and outcomes of our decolonial equity work over the last 2 years, in which we transformed these theories into many practices. We have approached this work through medicine wheel teachings and we will use these teachings to guide and present our work and outcomes to attendees. The learning outcomes of this session will include creating a foundation and deepened conversation in relation to how to commence or continue decolonizing academia in a multitude of ways, including but not limited to teaching. Following our presentation, we will host small breakout rooms in which each room will discuss, brainstorm, and respond to questions about this work in relation to medicine wheel pedagogy. 

Difficult Conversations: Fostering Psychological Safety and Intercultural Competence in a Diverse Classroom
Imen Bourguiba, Engineering and Computer Science

Ricardo Flores, Business

Brian Leacock, Business

Viviana Pitton, LTSI

CindyAnn Rose-Redwood, Geography

Monika Smith, Academic and Technical Writing Program 


Participants will explore and discuss difficult moments (or critical incidents) sometimes unfolding in diverse classrooms through the analysis of actual critical scenarios. Prompted to draw from their personal experiences and guided by EDI frameworks offered by the panelists, attendees will collaborate in putting together suggestions for responding effectively to the critical incidents depicted in each scenario. They will leave with practical strategies to handle more effectively often-subtle forms of discrimination, engage students in critical reflection, and create not just safe, but also courageous learning spaces that are open to dialogue around diversity and social justice. 

Review, Revise, Reflect: Improving Student Writing in a non-Writing Course (SoTL Grant)
Ilamparithi Thirumarai Chelvan, Electrical Engineering

Monika Antonina Smith, ATWP

Sajib Ghosh, Linguistics  


As LTSI Grant Recipients, we would like to report on our in-progress findings, sharing with colleagues what we have so far learned through conducting our SoTL research project. Our motivating inquiry was to find a way of improving the quality of students’ written reports in a 2nd year electrical engineering course without giving up lab and lecture time to writing instruction. A research partnership between an electrical engineering instructor and a technical writing instructor led to the study’s research goal: to determine whether a self-review checklist would prompt students to reflect on the rhetorical aspects of their reports and, in turn, encourage them to revise and improve textual features like clarity, formatting, and style. In our presentation, we describe the particular course context, electrical engineering that led to the study. However, we believe that our particular case example is widely relevant to instructors across the disciplines who—given that students receive only one term of writing instruction in first-year—face similar issues with poorly-written reports at second, third, and fourth-year level. Next, we outline the theoretical underpinnings of our chosen approach, namely a self-review checklist, and present a preliminary analysis of our findings based on the study design we implemented. We conclude with an invitation to the audience to consider how they might design, create, and implement checklists in their own courses as a way to help students not only improve the quality of their written assignments but also become reflective, self-regulated learners. 

Leveraging Online Materials from the Pandemic in Face-to-Face Teaching
Trefor Bazett, Mathematics and Statistics  


Over the last year, we have collectively created a tremendous body of online materials that anchored our online pedagogies. As we return to face-to-face teaching, how can we best leverage these new materials to make our future courses even more effective? In this session I’ll begin by sharing my prior experience with flipped classroom pedagogies and how I plan to iterate on these given all the new online resources from the last year. More importantly, we will collaboratively discuss strategies and potential best-practices for using these resources to support students in coming semesters. While the pandemic forced a radical change in how so many of us teach, with the return to face-to-face we can now be more deliberate at choosing where precisely we can leverage not just our new resources but also our new skill and ideas from online learning. 

Establishing Learning by Creating a Health Informatics Decision-Support Dashboard Using Software
Dillon Chrimes, Health Information Science 


To engage with students about data is not an easy task. One way to overcome this challenge is to provide interesting, insightful and informative hands-on exercises and assignments. I recently designed a group assignment for one of my courses called “Creating Decision-Support Dashboard from eICU Relational Database using Tableau.” I provide the initial setup files and utilize our library’s Digital Scholarship Commons to initialize the workshop and work with students to become familiar with the dataset and analytical software. The assignment promotes creativity while working through some complex relationships in the data. However, there is only graphing and exploratory analysis to find trends with no statistical analysis. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of health informatics in critical care at the unit stay level at a hospital. Therefore, the exercise highlights patient health data, operations in hospital system, and its use and usability to design a purposeful dashboard as an end product from a dataset. 

Looking Forward in Course Design – Creatively Crafting Intended Learning Outcomes
Sanam Vaghefi, Sociology

Gerry Gourlay, LTSI  


During this interactive session, you will engage with a story of one instructor and one educational developer as they embarked on a journey to support student learning through the creative crafting of intended learning outcomes for two distinct courses. We will begin with a plan for the course and a general idea of what students will be doing throughout the course, and share how the journey unfolded through the careful creation of intended learning outcomes at the course-level and unit-level. You will have a chance to engage with the facilitators on the different stages of course-level intended learning outcomes and unit-level intended learning outcome creation, and how the clarity of intended learning outcomes led to effective student learning. You will actively participate via small group work in discussing strategies around making stronger and clearer intended learning outcomes that you can take-away and apply to your own course-level, unit-level, or even lesson-level intended learning outcomes.  


Following this workshop, you will be able to:

  • creatively re-evaluate your course-level intended learning outcomes keeping the three components of intended learning outcomes in mind; and 
  • effectively recognize the importance of strong intended learning outcomes in assisting educators as they develop, plan, and re-design their courses. 
Day 2: September 1, 2021
Keynote Presentation: Looking forward: Teaching and Learning in a Post-Zoom Era
Valerie D’Erman, Political Science, 2017 Gilian Sherwin Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching

Our ‘pandemic year’ of instruction brought to the fore some of the strengths and weaknesses of classroom-based learning versus online learning for students. While many students expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of face-to-face engagement, many students also voiced their appreciation for the scheduling flexibility inherent in virtual learning. Going forward, what are some potential areas of adjustment as we return to campus?


Developing an Open Toolkit for Inclusive Pedagogy in Library Instruction and Consultation (ARI Grant)
Aditi Gupta, Ying Liu, and Tad Suzuki, UVic Libraries

T. S. Lin, Pacific and Asian Studies 

At the UVic Libraries, librarians have been engaging and supporting a wide range of learning. Librarians offered nearly 580 instruction sessions in 2018/2019 to approximately 14,000 students (UVic Libraries, 2020) and to a diverse student body, which includes both international and domestic students of varied languages and cultural backgrounds. A number of studies have highlighted the importance of adapting an inclusive pedagogical approach to teaching, which addresses the structural inequalities and implicit biases in library instruction and interaction with students. By introducing culturally responsive language and creating inclusive teaching strategies librarians and library staff can improve the learning process for students and remove barriers to academic success. At this interactive session, the grant recipients will highlight their project, titled, “Developing an open toolkit for inclusive pedagogy in library instruction and consultation” and discuss its strategic goals to create an open toolkit with a suite of comprehensive resources. Using the Universal Design for Learning, the guide will assess and exemplify anti-racist, inclusive and culturally responsive language and teaching practices in all library interactions. 

Taking the Best of Both Worlds Back to the Classroom for Maximum Student Engagement
Christian Van Buskirk, Business  

Wouldn’t it be great if we could take all the challenges and learnings from the COVID-teaching-online-era and build an even better teaching practice as we move back into the classrooms? By now, many of us have discovered pedagogies that work well asynchronously, that provide valuable, enhanced learning during live sessions. Many of these techniques and strategies can be taken with us back into “normal” teaching practice. More specifically, in this session: Identify how to build lesson plans where we continue to use asynchronous tools and methods to enhance the synchronous, face-to-face sessions. Share ways to remove unnecessary elements from face-to-face sessions to maximize real-time group learning. Explore methods to “prepare” students for meaningful face-to-face sessions through pre-assigned learning plans. We will be sharing our own successes, challenges and key learnings; please bring yours too! 

Go Fund Me! LTSI Grants
Cynthia Korpan, Mariel Miller, Rhianna Nagel, and Viviana Pitton, LTSI    


This session will provide a brief overview of the seven LTSI grants that support learning and teaching. Then, in grant-specific subgroups, you will have opportunities to hone project ideas and have your questions answered.

LTSI Grants

  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
  • Anti-Racism Initiative (ARI)
  • Experiential Learning Grants (EL)
  • Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Course Design/Redesign (CDR)
  • Strategic Initiative Indigenous (SI-I)
  • Strategic Initiative International (SI-INT)
Improving the Classroom: A Student-led Workshop for Professors
Alexia Manchon, Brittany Lee, and Tim Richards, Law  


This session will provide student perspectives on what professors can do to create more inclusive and trauma-informed classrooms. We will discuss and offer suggestions regarding accessibility, working with difficult topics, addressing problematic comments and developing more effective communication with students. We will share concrete tips as well as a toolkit that professors can use to strengthen their teaching practice. 

Experiential Learning at UVic: What are Your Applications?
Jess Willows, EPLS  


Experiential Learning (EL) (e.g. community-engaged learning, research-enriched curriculum and field-based learning) has been identified as a high-impact instructional practice (Kuh, 2008) that best integrates academic knowledge, practice, and research to enhance learning outcomes and, in many instances, to respond to real world issues. This session will include preliminary results from a study exploring EL at UVic, looking at how instructors are incorporating elements of EL in courses. Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences, ideas, and suggestions in this conversation café addressing questions such as what challenges and opportunities do EL opportunities bring to instruction and planning? How can EL experiences be scaffolded across a degree program to support students build the necessary knowledge, skills and competencies to get the most out of their EL opportunities? 

Day 3: September 2, 2021
Keynote Presentation: Working together for student success
Jim Dunsdon, Associate Vice-President Student Affairs

The Division of Student Affairs plays a central role in supporting the entire student experience, from their first point of contact with recruitment through to graduation. We believe that a university education is a transformational experience when students fully engage in their curricular and co-curricular activities. Student Affairs staff works collaboratively across the institution to support student engagement and development. Learn about the student experience this fall and how you can get involved in supporting student success.

View PowerPoint Slides




Career in the Class
Joy Andrews and Jeremy Pearce, Co-op and Career Services

David Punzalan, Biology


How can you further support your students’ career development? Career Educators Joy Andrews and Jeremy Pearce will share resources and best practices, and engage session participants in activities to answer this question. You’ll learn about UVic career resources that help students identify skills they are developing in your classes and explore careers they can do with their degree. 

These tools can help students reflect and take actions to connect their interests and strengths with a meaningful future. In peer-to-peer activities and group discussion you’ll have the opportunity to share current practices you are engaging in and ideas you have to further support students’ career success. 

Re-Centering Land and Place-Based Learning...in the Virtual Classroom
Shauneen Pete, EPLS  


Using a storying approach the presenter offers participants are opportunity to imagine Indigenous ways of knowing in their own teaching. Participants are offered practical approaches and resources to re-center land and place-based learning. 

Use of Kindness Pedagogy
Patrick von Aderkas, Biology  


This year of online teaching offered some real opportunities to change up teaching and incorporate new (to me) types of pedagogy, e.g. kindness pedagogy. There is literature that suggests that kindness conveys respect and dignity when directed at a person. In a nuanced way kindness implies that a person belongs in that space. When kindness cues are used, the sense of belonging can be reinforced and made more overt. I will provide examples of my experience with classes including first-year biology, to large upper level course, a grad course and a continuing education course. Kindness pedagogy differs from caring pedagogy in a number of ways, and lends itself to a front-end loaded approach in large classes. It also lends itself to teaching online, as students this past year were in need of a sense of community. Because kindness leads to inclusivity, it creates space for everyone. The presence or absence of kindness is often considered key to whether historically underrepresented students in, for example, STEMM subjects feel respected or not. Intentional kindness signals in an obvious way that fear has been removed from the setting. Kindness is therefore an excellent tool when applied to mentoring, teaching and supervising. The result is reduced hostility and a greater likelihood that individuals can prosper. References to supporting literature will be supplied. 


UDL for Neurodiverse Students in Writing (Intensive) Courses
Suzan Last and David Oswald, Academic and Technical Writing Program; and Emily Paul, Education 


This presentation offers our “work in progress” on researching wise practices for making writing (and writing intensive) classes more accessible to neurodiverse students (particularly students with ADHD and ASD) in a way that makes applying for accommodations through the CAL unnecessary. To begin with, the process of applying for accommodation is fraught with challenges for anyone, but especially for students with difficulties in the areas of executive function common to neurodiverse people. Systems and courses in general are largely and unconsciously designed for neurotypical users, and they build in expectations about processes, workflow, and approach that may not always work well for – or be accessible to – neurodiverse users. Our ultimate goal is not to offer a “checklist of do’s and don’ts” – although that might be a good starting place – but instead to offer enough information and follow-up resources to allow instructors to use wise practices to design their courses to be as accessible as possible to as many students as possible who learn on the neurodiverse spectrum. Our presentation will start with an overview of UDL approaches in general, and in Writing/Composition contexts specifically, and will then focus on what sorts of UD features and designs might be most helpful and appropriate for neurodiverse students. We will also provide context for the term “neurodiverse.” We will have a chance to workshop and brainstorm ideas in small groups to learn from participants’ experience and expertise, and conclude with sharing some resources for doing further work in this area. 

With Communities and for Communities: Exploring Student Learning through Reflective Community Engagement
Leanne Kelly, Nursing  


The TRC Calls to Action have provided post-secondary institutions with a mandate to create action regarding education about the context of First Nations and Indigenous issues in Canada, and to articulate ways forward in restructuring the colonial relationship between Settler Canadians and Indigenous peoples. In doing so, there are pressures on institutions to respond and create opportunities for learning, dialogue, experiential programs, Indigenization, decolonizing curriculum and community engagement. This can in turn place unanticipated pressures on Indigenous peoples and communities to finds ways to meet these new demands. This session will include a presentation of personal experience of hosting students as a community health nurse, and also as an educator creating partnerships and learning opportunities with First Nations communities on the Saanich peninsula. The presentation will articulate some of the key considerations in educating non-Indigenous students including: adequate preparation, community capacity, identifying what’s at stake, reciprocity and service, and the ethics embedded in the relationship. Participants will be involved in an interactive session focused on developing student learning frameworks, understanding general community facilitating factors and barriers, and necessary faculty preparation for developing effective relationships which mirror community priorities. 

Panel: (Post-)Pandemic Pedagogy? Technology and Teaching moving forward
Trefor Bazett, Mathematics and Statistics

Erin McGuire, Anthropology

David Punzalan, Biology


The pandemic encouraged many instructors to rethink how they were utilizing educational technology in their teaching. As we start a new academic year, we can look back to see what we learned to help us keep moving forward in uncertain times. During this panel discussion, we will tackle a series of questions relating to successes and challenges, hopes and concerns, and plans and practices. As we begin to move back to classroom teaching, we can ask, what has the pandemic taught us about teaching with technology? Greatest hits & greatest misses?

The panelists actively invite audience participation.


Do you have a question or concern about technology or teaching this fall you hope we will address? Let us know by filling out this google form.

About this post

This post was last updated:

July 2, 2021

We acknowledge and respect the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Songhees and Esquimalt) Peoples on whose territory the university stands, and the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

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