Let’s Talk about Teaching 2022

Let's Talk About Teaching

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Connecting: Building Relationships | August 30- September 1, 2022

Let’s Talk about Teaching is three days of conversations, networking, and concurrent sessions led by UVic instructors and Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation staff for all faculty, instructors, and lecturers at UVic. Everyone is welcome and the event is free for all UVic instructors.

Keynote Presentations

Welcome & Keynote: Riding the Wave of Change: Seeing the Opportunities and Facing the Challenges in Higher Education Learning and Teaching

Presenter: Shailoo Bedi, Executive Director, Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation
Summary: The pandemic has shown that higher education, as a sector, can adapt and innovate as we ride the wave of change. This is the ideal time to build on our learning by seeing the opportunities and facing the challenges through sharing our collective wisdom, willingness to experiment and take risks, and above all staying connected. Through partnerships and collaborations, we can ensure that learning and teaching thrive for decades to come. 

Keynote: Making virtual connections

Presenter: Scott McIndoe, Chemistry, 2022 3M National Teaching Fellow

Engaging all members of a large first class is a perennial challenge for instructors, and this presentation will cover two innovations introduced to first-year chemistry classes. One allows students to engage with their instructor by asking anonymous questions during lectures. Another allows students to immerse themselves in the course material by bringing it to life through augmented reality: molecules leap off the page into interactive 3D representations. 

*A live recording of this Keynote presentation will be posted on the LTSI website

Keynote: Teaching with Love: A Pedagogy for Our Times

Presenters: Rebecca Gagan, English with Adaezejeso Ezeaku, Law

Location: Harry Hickman Building, Room 105

 

What might happen if we dared to use the word “love” whenever we speak about teaching? If we dared to re-imagine pedagogy as a labour of love? In summer 2019, I sat in the Big House in Alert Bay, BC as ‘Na̱mnasolag̱a Andrea Cranmer introduced the Ts̓asała Cultural Group who would perform traditional Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw potlach dances. She warned us not to misunderstand the dancers’ work: the group’s youth members were not there just to entertain us but rather to learn about their culture and to be taught with love. The trauma and abuse of Residential Schools meant that so many of her people never had the chance to learn with love, to be taught with love. Andrea’s words forever changed my teaching philosophy. Invited to join in the dance along with everyone there, I committed to never again fear describing teaching as a labour of love. In this session, we share how a pedagogy of love is the pedagogy of our times. We share how to embody this teaching practice in the classroom by recognizing students as humans first and students second. Adaezejeso will share her experience as a student and why she feels that teaching with love can be transformative for students. This workshop offers participants a chance to reflect on and to share what a pedagogy of love might mean and look like in their own teaching and in the lives of their students.

*A live recording of this Keynote presentation will be posted on the LTSI website

Recorded Sessions

Our Journeys Developing Open Education Resources for Math Courses

Presenters: Trefor Bazett, Jane Butterfield, and Chris Eagle, Mathematics & Statistics 

Summary: We are the recipients of three Open Education Resource (OER) LTSI grants in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics to work on three projects, two of which are online textbooks and one a review package. In this talk we will share our objectives for these projects and what our journeys have been thus far, bumps in the road included! We will share some of the cool elements made possible by technology such as having interactive websites for the projects with embedded problems, videos, and animations. We will talk about some of the advantages and challenges that come from adapting existing OER resources, as well as how we utilized the LTSI grants by having the invaluable help of Research Assistants to help us on the projects. Finally, we will briefly share a glimpse about the behind-the-scenes technology called PreTeXt that we use to make the interactive online textbooks and documents that display typeset mathematics. Our hope is you will leave with a bit of inspiration to launch your own OER projects, a bit of realism about potential challenges, and a bit of knowledge about how to proceed. Comes with questions for the end!

Upstream Approaches to Accessibility in Online Learning Environments

Presenter: Natalie Frandsen, Public Health & Social Policy 

Summary: Particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunities for online learning continue to grow. At the same time, the number of students attending post-secondary with mental health related challenges continues to rise. Therefore, it is critical that these students have access to post-secondary education that meet their needs. The purpose of this study was to examine experiences of post-secondary students with mental health-related disabilities in online classes in order to understand the ways in which the institution is supportive and non-supportive of them. The exploratory study was conducted at a mid-sized university in Western Canada. Data from interviews with 14 university students, 15 instructors and seven student support staff members indicate that there are individual, interpersonal and institutional level influences on learning and academic performance. Findings from the study suggest that the accommodation model currently in place is problematic, potentially causing harmful and disabling effects. Adopting a systems-level accessibility model with a mental health promotion orientation has the potential to improve learning, prevent harm, and promote health for all students, particularly those with mental health related challenges studying online. Key findings from this study will be presented followed by time for discussion. This workshop will be relevant to instructors, learning designers, administrators and support staff working in post-secondary environments. While the focus will be on the online context, the content will also be relevant for face-to-face settings. 

Helpful Histories: Using Sourcebooks to Engage Students with Research, Storytelling, and the Past

Presenter: Chris Willmore, Economics

Summary: Students new to history can sometimes find historical research intimidating and see the past as a distant country spotted through a spyglass, in a storm. Carefully crafted sourcebooks can help with this and make students excited and confident about investigating a topic of their choice and sharing their findings with the world at large. In this talk, I’ll share techniques based on years of experiment and iteration in an Economic History course (ECON 321, 70 students per section), regularly taken as a required course by students with no previous experience with historical research. Links to over three dozen ready-and-free-to-use sourcebooks on Canadian history will be provided, along with sample assignments, projects, answer keys and marking tools. For a selection of the sourcebooks, see https://onlineacademiccommunity.uvic.ca/willmore/2021/01/03/free-economic-history-resources-january-2021/

The fun is in the details: stories of collaboration, walking-with, and methods in medical anthropology research and teaching

Presenters: Amy Levine, Anthropology and Lydia Toorenburgh, Anthropology/Tri-Faculty Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator

Summary: Lydia Toorenburgh, UVic’s Tri-Faculty Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator and a MA student in Anthropology, and Dr. Amy Levine, Sessional Instructor and Adjunct Assistant Professor in Anthropology, have been collaborating since the summer of 2020. Lydia started as Amy’s TA in ANTH 200 and has been a guest lecturer several times in Amy’s ANTH 100 and ANTH 312 courses.  For this talk, we will focus on our ongoing collaboration for ANTH 312: Introduction to Medical Anthropology.  

 Our learning outcomes are:  

  • To show students examples of collaborative and reciprocal research approaches in medical anthropology. 
  • To discuss and reflect on the application of anthropological methods to various medical and professional methods; in particular, walking-with conversations. 

Lydia and Amy will share some examples of how this worked in the fall of 2021 and how they are planning for the fall of 2022. Amy will speak for 5 minutes, Lydia will speak for 15 minutes, and then there will be a 10-minute Q&A. 

Student Usage of Technology During Remote Emergency Teaching

 

Presenters: Violeta Iosub and Erin Otruba, Chemistry

Summary: University of Victoria’s response to the remote emergency teaching caused by the COVID-19 pandemic included a variety of technologies, new to both students and instructors. Examples include videoconferencing tools (e.g., Zoom, Blackboard), video processing software (e.g., Kaltura and later Echo 360,) and a new learning management system (Brightspace). These technologies became part of course delivery throughout May 2020 and September 2021. To better understand which aspects of course design led to higher student engagement with content, we followed students’ use of technology in two second-year chemistry courses over five semesters. This presentation documents the changes applied to course design in response to student surveys and conclude with a list of teaching strategies implemented during remote teaching and maintained in the delivery of the courses when we returned to in-person classes.

What have we learned from the last two years and how can this help me with my scholarly activity?

Presenter: Barbara Ehlting, Biology

Summary:

Covid opened many doors regarding how we teach. With so many teaching and evaluation options now on hand, it could become overwhelming to choose the right one. Have you asked yourself: Should my evaluations include two midterms or six quizzes? OR: How does one know if all the effort you put into teaching helps students learn?  

By the end of this session, you will: 

  • be reminded/learn about a selection of student evaluations and teaching tools,   
  • understand how to select the optimal evaluation method and/or teaching tools for your course by using student surveys, and   
  • learn how to connect student surveys for course delivery and scholarly activity.  

I will present an example of how I used targeted student surveys to identify the preferred evaluation method for one specific course, which I teach during a 12-week term and in a 7-week term. Although it is the same course, I use different evaluation methods based on students’ survey results. In another example, I will present how student surveys help me to decide what teaching tools support students’ learning by asking very course specific questions in anonymous surveys. The students’ answers are very valuable in helping me move forward in course delivery and provide hard numbers showing that the teaching methods in question do or do not help students learn. In short, the perfect scholarly activity.  The audience will be encouraged to engage in an activity at the end: What questions would you ask your students in your course? 

Create Materials with Students: Making Questions

Presenter: Lijun Zhang, Economics

Summary:

This session introduces one assignment to:  

1) encourage and facilitate active learning by students and  

2) create more questions and build up a test bank, accumulating and updating an ORE resource sustainably.     

 

One challenge of using OER is the lack of good facilitating resources. As instructors, we want the materials to be update-to-date and interesting to students. At the same time, flipping a classroom and inducing active learning has been proven effective if done appropriately. One way to combine the two is to create a mechanism that can lead and facilitate students to develop more materials. I will use my Question-Making Assignment (QMA) in Principles of Macroeconomics courses as an example to illustrate. I will discuss what worked (and did not) to achieve the above goals. Specifically, I will introduce the scaffolding steps that have improved the results. If anyone is interested, I can also discuss the pedagogical research on the impact of the assignment on students’ learning results. This discussion is based on both the SoTL grant 2018 and the OER grant 2020. 

Indigenizing the Financial Management Curriculum: Integrating Indigenous Perspectives into Taxation for Managers

Presenters: Douglas Stuart and Emily Salmon, Business, and Jordyn Hrenyk, Simon Fraser University, Beedie School of Business

Summary: Utilizing a grant from the Division of Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (LTSI), a team from the Gustavson School of Business embarked on a project to Indigenize the COM 425 Taxation for Managers curriculum. This course, an elective in the Bachelor of Commerce program, was redeveloped so that students recognize how colonial practices and tax laws have impacted and continue to impact Indigenous peoples and communities. The project was a collaborative effort between Emily Salmon (PhD candidate at Gustavson’s Gill Graduate School), Jordyn Hrenyk (Gustavson BCom ’15 and PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business), Mindy Wight (Chief Financial Officer, Nch’kay Development Corporation) and Douglas Stuart (Assistant Teaching Professor at the Gustavson School of Business). In the revamped course, students’ analytical thinking will be stimulated through the discussion of real-world examples, and possible solutions, as well as their implications for Indigenous communities. Instructional strategies will include comparing different viewpoints, challenging assumptions in settler colonial tax discourse and proposing alternative views, helping students to develop their critical thinking skills. This session will highlight the project results and share perspectives on course Indigenization in practice.

Videos, Podcasts & Posters

Doing the Readings: Does it Deliver?

Presenters: Paul Schure and Lijun Zhang, Economics

Summary: Some textbooks now offer teachers a way to motivate their students to do the readings before coming to class. They have online “dynamic study modules” (DSMs) that require students to read the text as they ask students relatively straightforward questions about the assigned material. We used such DSMs to try answer the question if it matters if students do the readings before coming to class, or not. It is an accepted wisdom that doing the readings matters. Teachers can proceed quicker, possibly spending more time on the “trickier” topics and concepts. The learning of students may be “deeper” at the same time, as students know what the lecture is about and understand what they are struggling with. We performed a classroom experiment in which all students were required to do the readings, however in one class section students had an early deadline, before the class on the topic, while students in the other section had a late deadline. “Treatment”, i.e. having the early deadline, flips a few times, so that each student in the course has some early and some late deadlines.  We analyse if treatment matters. Treatment affects timing: students typically do the readings just before the deadline, hence before class for treated students, and afterwards for most untreated students. Does treatment also affect student performance on Quizzes and Midterm exams? Our video contribution focuses on the arrangements of the classroom experiment and providing some answers to this question.

 

Mental Health: Promoting Communities of Online Learning

View Natalie’s Poster

Presenters: Natalie Frandsen, Public Health & Social Policy

Summary: One-quarter of first-year university students self-declare as having a disability, most commonly mental health related. Each year, more students with mental health related disabilities (MHRD) enrol in post-secondary institutions and concurrently, more students take online courses for credit. Literature review findings will be shared with program participants including factors contributing to academic performance for post-secondary students with MHRD taking online courses.

Vacillating space and emergent themes: Responsiveness, ever-changing technology, resilience, and relationality

Presenters: Centre for Academic Communication

 

Visit the Blog

Summary: Reflecting on our move from our library offices to remote workspaces because of the pandemic, we see growth in our competencies. We’ve also noted the impacts that such speedy service transitions, urgent technical skill development, and disparities in access have had (Giaimo, 2020), impacts that were perhaps invisible to us during our transition. 

  

Thinking back on this journey, we have noted such themes as responsiveness, ever-changing technology, resiliency, and relationality. Initially, concerns for safety drove us online.  In our online environment, responsiveness to students’ academic writing needs via asynchronous written feedback was immediately possible through WCOnline. We quickly added synchronous appointments through Skype, Blackboard, Bluejeans, and Zoom and hastily established a resource hub using Moodle.  

  

While we struggled with the available technology, the technology itself changed, and a more robust learning management system was adopted. Navigating the new LMS required training, self-study, and time. Resources created for the former platform needed to be recreated using new technology. Despite the challenges, we have learned resiliency, drawing strength from relationships with each other and with our students.  

  

We will share pedagogical insights and artifacts via a blog to document our individual and collective experiences with vacillating  

S P A C E: 

  

As we consider future “space,” the words of Winnie-the-Pooh cheer us: “I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I have been” (https://parade.com/935628/parade/winnie-the-pooh-quotes/). 

  

References 

Giaimo, G. (2020). Laboring in a Time of Crisis: The Entanglement of Wellness and Work in Writing Centers. Praxis: A Writing Center Journal. 17(3). http://www.praxisuwc.com/173-giaimo 

Parade. (2021). https://parade.com/935628/parade/winnie-the-pooh-quotes/ 

 

Exploring grammar competence with Kahoot! Quizzes

Presenters: Julia Rochtchina and Emmanuelle Guenette, Germanic and Slavic Studies

 

Summary: With its complex inflectional morphology and case system, Russian presents many challenges for the beginning adult language learner: understanding the principles underlying a case system, memorizing over 35 case endings, and remembering when to use each case. Striving to facilitate this task, and tapping into research suggesting emotional components enhance retention, we explored whether incorporating emotional components (pictures) into Kahoot! Grammar quizzes would help first- and second-year students increase their retention of Russian inflections (case endings) and enhance their performance in graded tests. We designed several Kahoot! tests on a variety of grammar topics, gained feedback from students regarding their most remembered pictures, and followed up in tests to check whether learners responded better to questions associated with emotionally positive pictures. While no noticeable effect of emotional pictures on retention could be found, working on this project allowed us to bring into light a more profound cause of struggles with the case system, and prompted us to use Kahoot! Quizzes to assess learners’ self-evaluation and identify problem areas. We are now working on a series of Kahoot! that will include learner’s metacognitive feedback on each answer. This will allow to narrow down the issues at play with learners’ case production which, in turn, will help develop pedagogical strategies for case instruction.

 

 

The Value of Asking Questions

Presenter: Kaveh Tagharobi, Centre for Academic Communication

Summary: In this episode of the podcast, Waving, Not Drowning (by UVic Bounce), Kaveh Tagharobi, an EAL specialist at the Centre for Academic Communication and an instructor in the ATWP, talks about his experience from both sides of the learning and teaching continuum, as a former student and a current educator. While talking about how he tried to maintain a healthy balance of work and life during the pandemic, Kaveh also shares what he’s learned about the “secret” of successful learning and teaching: “It’s not about knowing everything but knowing how to find out.” 

From Waving, Not Drowning website : “This podcast shares the stories of UVic faculty and alumni’s experiences as students … These are stories of loss, transitions, academic pressures, mental health, and more. By hearing these stories, we hope you will feel less alone and more supported in your own journey through difficult times and experiences.”

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September 27, 2022

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