Let's Talk About Teaching 2020
Teaching Online: Adapting Courses
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 faculty, instructors, and lecturers at UVic. Everyone is welcome and the event is free for all UVic instructors. Below you will find recordings of past offerings to be reviewed at your leisure.
August 10, 2020
Keynote - Teaching On(the)line
2016 Award for Excellence in Teaching for Experiential Learning
Teaching in a pandemic has brought us face to face with many new challenges. As educators, we find ourselves walking the fine line between being the best teachers we can be and surviving something that is utterly new in our collective experiences. Inundated with new technologies and sometimes-conflicting advice on best practices, we can find ourselves overwhelmed. More than ever, we need to be reflexive and flexible in our approaches to teaching and learning. I will speak to my experiences of teaching a medium-sized third-year course this summer, focusing on the lessons learned by me, and my students, as we navigated our new normal. I will share course materials and activities to provide illustrative examples of successes, failures, and plans for improvement. My overarching message is that you do not need to become an expert at online teaching to be successful in months to come. And perhaps most importantly, you are not in this alone.
Lessons from the summer to help plan an online course
Facilitator: T. Ilamparithi, Electrical and Computer Engineering
The objective of the sixty-minute session is to devise a strategy for online teaching based on the experience from the summer term. By the end of the session, using some of the easy-to-use online tools, each participant will be able to create a lesson plan incorporating a strategy for one’s own class.
In the first 15 minutes of the session, the presenter will share his experience about online teaching highlighting some of the lessons learned. Following the presentation, participants will be involved in a Think-Pair-Share activity during which they will identify a few strategies and activities for their courses that would encourage student engagement. Participants will then work as a group to develop a lesson plan that embeds student engagement in an online class. This group activity will last about 20 minutes, at the end of which each group will share its plan with the rest of the class and welcome suggestions to improve the plan further. Finally, the concurrent session will end with a 3-2-1 activity that allows each participant to write 3-things that one learnt, 2-things one would like to learn more about, and 1-thing that was unclear.
Supporting students and creating a community of learners in the online realm
Facilitators: Anna O’Meara, Art History and Visual Studies, Graham McMonagle, Theatre, Morag Champagne-Holland, Political Science, and Gerry Gourlay, Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation
Have you ever wondered how your teaching is impacting your students? Or what about, if your students are feeling supported or have a sense of community? This session showcases a panel of graduate students and TAs who share their experiences as students during different online TA training modules. Each panelist will contribute insights and strategies (both successful and not) from their own personal experiences in an online environment that was learning-centred, student-supported, and community-building, and how this has shaped how they support and build community with their students online.
Using Zoom to support whole-class monitoring of software skill development
Facilitator: Rich McCue, Digital Scholarship Commons
Supporting students’ skill development while using software can be particularly challenging in an online environment, especially when students are being introduced to a new skill or tool. In online synchronous sessions, many learners seem to be reluctant to ask for help, so the ability for instructors to virtually check-in with students’ progress and offer support can be very helpful for both learners and the instructor. In Zoom, two features that can facilitate this are the simultaneous desktop sharing & breakout rooms. This video will discuss the pedagogical rationale for using Zoom for skills acquisition in an online synchronous active learning environment, and then the techniques for how Zoom can support this pedagogy.
The comfortable “Other”? Teaching Western representations of Eastern Europeans through Steven Spielberg’s film The Terminal
Facilitator: Olga Pressitch, Germanic and Slavic Studies
This session is based on my experience of teaching Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal in the course on “Eastern Europe through Western Eyes.” At this point in the course, students are already familiar with the concepts of Orientalism and the Other as trickster; I am starting our unit on The Terminal with the study of “noble savage” as the concept linked to these two. Like his imagined country, Tom Hanks’s character is a composite Western representation of Eastern Europe combining underdevelopment and violent revolutions with the essential goodness of individuals and the desire to become the West. The comparison with Borat is particularly helpful in making students think about why Viktor is such a comforting Other to his Western interlocutors: As a noble savage, he arrives in the West to teach it a moral lesson, at the same time confirming the soundness of Western ways. However, I found it most productive to pose a question to the class about Viktor’s “whiteness” and “Europeanness” (given that his real-life prototype was an Iranian refugee) and how this representation creates interesting dynamics in his interactions with Americans of various racial backgrounds. Equally ambiguous is his main motive for visiting, which is not revealed until the very end, namely, his and his father’s fascination with jazz. On the one hand, it makes him a typical “Eastern European” longing for Western culture; on the other, it reinforces his connection to African-Americans and other minorities already established earlier in the film.
The pedagogy behind creating engaging videos
Facilitators: Muhammad Awais and Trefor Bazett, Mathematics & Statistics
How can we make online videos that are as engaging as our best face-to-face lectures? In this session we will first discuss the creation of videos, focusing on the pedagogical choices and evidence-based tips for increasing engagement. Second, we will discuss the roles video can play in the larger learning process and how to structure online modules that include videos as a component.
We will discuss numerous best practices from the literature to promote engagement such as optimizing cognitive load, length and pacing, the use of storytelling techniques, and a learning objective-centric approach. We aim to leverage the opportunities of the video medium while mitigating the challenges.
Even with very engaging videos, they still need to be appropriately scaffolded in the learning process, often in online modules that contain multiple components alongside the video. We will discuss several strategies for integrating videos effectively with our other content and providing meaningful incentives and feedback to students. We will contrast the use of videos in largely asynchronous online courses, blended pedagogies such as flipped online classrooms, and even as supplements in largely synchronous online courses.
This session focuses on pedagogy, not technology, and the ideas apply regardless of the technology used. Nevertheless, resources on several methods to create videos technologically will be shared in the zoom chat. This session will be highly interactive and will adapt to the interests and ideas of participants shared in the full zoom session as well as breakout rooms.
Celebrating Indigenous ways of knowing in online courses
Facilitators: Natalie Frandsen, Public Health & Social Policy and Stephanie Day, Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies
During this interactive session, participants will learn how the School of Public Health and Social Policy (PHSP) took action on their commitment to decolonization and Indigenous cultural safety. Through a Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (LTSI) grant (Indigenous stream), all PHSP undergraduate and graduate courses were reviewed to identify Indigenous perspectives, cultural safety, and practices that celebrated Indigenous ways of knowing and being while de-centering inequitable colonial knowledge structures. We hope to engage with the LTSI community to uncover greater possibilities about dynamic teaching and learning methods that foster Indigenous worldviews, ways of being, and knowing. We welcome input from attendees to deepen our understanding of this topic. We will demonstrate integration of Indigenous ways of being and knowing through online teaching methods by facilitating “talking circle” discussions. From a strengths-based perspective, participants will engage with facilitators to learn and share practical strategies to increase and celebrate Indigenous ways of knowing in their online courses. Examples of discussion topics include inclusion of Indigenous perspectives, cultural safety, flexible pedagogy, self-location exercises for instructors and students, pluralistic ways of knowing, honouring land and community, and personalization of assignments.
Academic integrity: Lessons for assessment in an online world
Facilitators: Heather Ranson and Kerstin Heilgenberg, Gustavson School of Business
One of the big concerns of spring 2020 was how to complete student assessments, especially those in courses where in-person final exams were planned. Many alternatives were undertaken including on-line exams, reapportioning grades across other work, open book exams, and projects substituted for final exams. One issue that emerged across multiple faculties was cheating on final exams. Now, with the opportunity to plan for the on-line environment, how can faculty assess students fairly and accurately and maintain academic integrity? This session will bring together literature on academic integrity, best practices in student assessment and practical advice on maintaining academic integrity in your course.
Participants will have an opportunity to practice leading a discussion on cheating with their peers (using Zoom break out rooms) based on our “conversation starters” and will leave with a two page tip sheet including additional resources on academic integrity.
Cultivating belonging in an online classroom, or physical proximity is overrated
Facilitators: Sara Humphreys, Academic and Technical Writing Program and Erin E. Kelly, English and Academic and Technical Writing Program
When students are in a physical classroom space, they engage in activities they learned as part of a lifetime of educational experience, such as raising their hands to participate or working in groups. Similarly, teachers learn to gesture, make eye contact, enunciate, hover, and scan the classroom through their training and accumulated experience. These actions show that students and teachers understand the conventions of face-to-face education. We believe that these learned ways of belonging in a face-to-face classroom can be equally cultivated in online classrooms. Furthermore, we will show how to build the kinds of interactions online that we take for granted in the face-to-face classroom.
Our video and presentation builds on work by Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology George Veletsianos, who argues that “physical proximity isn’t a precondition for good education. Comparing one form of education to another distracts us from the fact that all forms of education can…be made better.” Online education can be made better, explains Critical Digital Pedagogy specialist Jesse Stommel, by understanding that “online learning…builds community in different ways, demands different pedagogies, has a different economy, functions at different scales, and requires different curricular choices than does on-ground education.” Keeping these assertions in mind, our video will be organized into three sections that cover:
- our pedagogical approach to online learning;
- our curricular choices;
- the different tools we use to build belonging and community.
After each section, the video asks participants to reflect on their own approaches. In the presentation, we will call back to these activities and ask participants to share how we all can cultivate belonging in our online classrooms.
How to apply community engaged learning in a large class setting
Facilitator: Louise Chim, Psychology
In this video I will describe how we implemented experiential community engaged learning in a large (80 students) third year statistics course. PSYC 300B (Statistical Methods in Psychology II) is a required course for all psychology majors. In previous iterations, students completed research papers where they were given computer generated data to analyze. This past spring, we altered this assignment to work with a community organization (James Bay New Horizons) to apply students’ statistical knowledge to a real-world research question. Students visited with members at the centre, received, entered, and analyzed data from the organization, and then wrote up an APA-style report and created an infographic. I will discuss how we adapted an existing assignment to integrate an experiential and community engaged learning component, the adjustments we made to make it feasible in a course with 80 students, and future directions and improvements we will make in subsequent iterations. To guide the informal Q&A discussion, participants are welcome to bring their own ideas about an existing project or assignments in their course and we can discuss how they might adapt it to include an experiential learning or community engaged learning component.
August 12, 2020
Keynote - Shifting educational practices in a pandemic: Exploring a/synchronous design and assessment strategies
Curriculum & Instruction and Technology Integration and Evaluation (TIE) Research Lab
In this session, participants will learn about design shifts that are necessary to consider in making the pivot to online learning. Specifically, we will discuss design opportunities for synchronous learning (e.g., live video meetings and decentralized learning pod video meets), asynchronous learning (e.g., Teams and social media backchannels), and assessment for online learning environments. We recognize sudden shifts in practice can be stressful and will focus on preparing instructors to make this shift as smoothly as possible with tried and true methods. These strategies have been used in both undergraduate and graduate courses online with successful reports from learners both anecdotally and via course experience surveys. This presentation welcomes your participation. Please send your questions for consideration in advance of the session to: email@example.com. We will also generate a shared space for documenting questions and responses during and after the session, which will be recorded.
Engaging students online – Techniques, strategies, and approaches
Facilitators: Christian Van Buskirk and Douglas Stuart, Gustavson School of Business
Let’s talk about creating an engaging learning environment online! We taught online at the Gustavson School of Business this spring and summer in the MBA, Bachelor of Commerce and Business Minor programs, and we would love to share some of our experiences, successes, and challenges. We will also model some of the techniques we used in our classes (e.g., whiteboard, polls, and break-out rooms in Zoom). Please come prepared to discuss solutions and approaches to online teaching that may address the challenge of learner engagement in an online environment.
Using Zoom for live sessions in a high enrollment (120 students) summer 2020 introductory organic chemistry course
Facilitator: Violeta Iosub, Department of Chemistry
In March 2020, teaching at the University of Victoria moved from face-to-face to online, within a weekend. While emergency strategies were employed to finalize the spring semester, the courses scheduled for the summer semester were to become fully online. A rapid race followed to find the technologies most suitable to deliver a second year organic chemistry course using active learning strategies that support student learning for ~120 students.
This presentation will be an overview of the lessons learned throughout the summer 2020 semester and will include aspects of how the live class sessions delivered with the Zoom videoconferencing tool promoted student engagement by creating a sense of community. Learning analytics data is also included and used to predict trends in student learning in a mixed methods online environment. The results of this study will inform future decisions on features of online teaching that should become part of face-to-face courses.
Adding points of synchronization to asynchronous content delivery
Facilitator: Celina Berg, Computer Science
With the shift to online instruction in the midst of a pandemic we were encouraged as instructors to provide asynchronous access to course materials so as not to disadvantage students with time zone or technology and bandwidth constraints.
From an instructor’s perspective, while wanting to ensure accessibility of course materials, it is also important to ensure students are keeping up with the material through frequent assessments and feedback. These check-points are critical in courses in which the material builds on itself, becoming increasingly challenging as the term progresses. In this poster presentation I will describe my use of mixed media (slides, videos) to introduce concepts before online lecture. Low stakes quizzes on this material were due before lecture to introduce a synchronization point, encouraging students to have looked at the material before lecture. This approach allowed for a flipped-classroom in the online environment where students would apply the new concepts in problem-solving exercises. While lectures were held synchronously, they were recorded to allow for asynchronous access. Weekly labs and assignment exercises with increased stakes in terms of marks relative to the quizzes were introduced as synchronization points and again, served to give students feedback on their progress. Three online exams provided students with more summative feedback as they worked through problems on their own enforced by strict time constraints.
This poster session will present challenges and rewards encountered with this approach and looks to elicit discussion around ways to analyze student interaction with course content to improve future offerings.
Embracing the new normal: Rapid innovation in collaborative virtual learning
Facilitators: Brian Leacock and Kate Donovan, Gustavson School of Business
In a normal cycle, the Gustavson School of Business (GSB) dispatches approximately 75% of its undergraduate students out on international exchange. This represents close to 180 fourth-year students studying overseas. With the onset of the global pandemic, international mobility (inbound/outbound) suddenly became uncertain for a majority of our students. With this need to pivot, a small team identified alternative formats for a substantial virtual international experience. Design principles included a careful consideration of new and emerging technologies for collaborating in an online/virtual format. Using this insight and our international network of partner schools, the team identified a strong international partner (Kozminski University), collaborated with the partner to align pedagogical design principles, selected core faculty, and launched a collaborative online virtual specialization in international business for fall 2020. The first cohort will include 20 UVic students and 12 Kozminski University students. As this format offers a cost-effective addition to the GSB’s internationalization strategy, it will remain relevant in a post Covid 19 era and increase access to global learning for all students.
This 60-minute concurrent session will explore the core dimensions of how GSB was able to pivot and create a new COIL partnership. As this session will occur prior to the launch of the specialization, we will explore, in a rich and dynamic discussion, on the process of establishing a collaborative online international learning platform. We will also invite insight from the attendees who have a diverse range of expertise on campus as to considerations looking forward.
This session will be of interest to administrative leaders, department heads, and faculty looking to explore alternative international partnerships to enhance international learning in a virtual context.
Special guests: Dr. Krzysztof J. Chmielewski (Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies) and Valentyna Gumińska (Director of International) from Kozminski University
Honouring ways of knowing in a virtual learning environment
Facilitators: Ocean Networks Canada’s (ONC) Learning & Community Engagement team
Our world changed drastically with COVID-19. With social distancing measures, teaching, learning and this professional development opportunity moved to a virtual platform. As we navigate this time, it is critical that we consider how to honour different ways of knowing as authentically as possible. When once we would gather to hear stories and develop relationships with knowledge keepers, we now find ourselves connecting virtually. The Ocean Networks Canada Learning and Community Engagement team will open a discussion about transitioning to virtual delivery of programming, including Indigenous science concepts that have been shared with us for the purpose of educating others.
The COVID-19 pandemic enabled the Ocean Networks Canada Learning and Community Engagement team to gather best practices for online engagement according to our experiences. In April 2019, we launched a new “Learning at Home” website with activities, info videos and activity videos. As well, by hosting virtual workshops in classrooms, delivering professional development sessions online, and collaborating with Indigenous communities to begin developing new lessons, our team has learned a lot from these new experiences. The interactive portions of the presentation will demonstrate the best practices according to what we’ve discovered. We are keen to share our learning and also to learn from the workshop participants as well. Throughout the presentation, participants will be encouraged to ask questions and share their experiences.
Teaching leadership online: Making it work
Facilitators: Carolyn Crippen and Jessica Willows, Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies
Taking an established graduate course in leadership that commonly is described by participants as transformational and reimagining it online during a global pandemic involved a lot of reflection, exploration and creative thinking. Working as professor and teaching assistant, this presentation explores the intentional process we went through to maintain strong pedagogical elements and make the best use of the tools available to us. We will provide examples of what we found worked and what students confirmed were effective for them. Throughout the presentation we will engage with participants in discussion around topics such as: how can we maintain a flow throughout a class session using Zoom, how can we use this meeting time as efficiently and effectively as possible (in no more than 90 minutes in a session), how can we create or enhance a strong learning community through this medium, and how can asynchronous activities enhance the student learning experience?
Fun, fair, few frustrations: Challenge questions for online assessment
Facilitator: Chris Willmore, Economics
So you’re teaching an online course to a bunch of intelligent, stressed and stretched-thin students. You’ve heard the stories about strictly timed online exams, and want to avoid them. What are your options? How can you keep your students engaged? How can you minimize cheating when the internet is at their fingertips? How can you get meaningful mark variation that reflects their understanding? And how can you and your TAs possibly mark it all in time, while staying fair and accurate?
I found something that worked for me this June, when I taught an out-of-major required course to 300 UVic students, and I want to share my experiences with you. I’ll show you how to design questions that students will find fun, fair and low-frustration, both for students who just want to get the course over with, and those who want a deep dive into the material. By using these techniques, many students will feel less of a need to cheat, and more of a personal connection to course content.
I’ll share marking strategies and TA tools, what worked, and what needed work, and by the end of the session you should be ready to implement this in your own courses. The tools and assessment philosophy were designed for an undergraduate ECON course, but should work for subjects from history to calculus, and class sizes from 30 to 300.
Supporting international students online
Facilitators: Brian Leacock, Gustavson School of Business and Viviana Pitton, Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation
The current pandemic has dramatically transformed the student experience locally and globally. While it is critical to support all students at this difficult time, international students as a group have taken a disproportionate toll during the crisis, making them particularly vulnerable. In recent months, for instance, many have returned to their home countries and since then have reported that remote working in different time zones presented significant personal and academic challenges. Moreover, many others found themselves in a position where going back home was not possible and might be experiencing precarious living situations or feeling isolated due to the pandemic and the concomitant transition to remote learning. In this session, we will explore ways to support international students who have remained in Canada and students who have returned home and are studying remotely. We will discuss both suggestions for optimizing their online learning experiences, and tips for creating a sense of community that enables them to engage in continuous and meaningful interactions with their peers and instructors.
August 14, 2020
Keynote - Understanding the classroom as a social space: A discussion of privilege-aware pedagogy in post-secondary settings
Hanna Jacobsen and Madeleine Kenyon, 2020 3M National Student Fellows, and Audrey Yap, Philosophy
In this keynote, 2020 3M National Student Fellows, Hanna Jacobsen and Madeleine Kenyon, with the help of Dr. Audrey Yap, discuss pedagogical practices that instructors can implement in their teaching to encourage classroom participation from students of diverse backgrounds and social positions. Topics of discussion will include: inclusive and accessible language, reflecting on body language and instructor responses to student input, activities that encourage engagement, and instructor self-location. We hope to see you there!
Opportunities for professional growth: Moving your course online
Facilitator: Kevin Andrew, Economics
Transitioning a course from in-person to online can be a lot of work. In this presentation, we will address philosophies, methods and practical techniques for investing in online teaching materials with an eye to permanently improving our courses. In particular, we will cover the development of materials for asynchronous learning, embracing flexibility, structuring the course around learning outcomes, new styles of assessment and breaking the course up into meaningful and manageable modules. For each of these topics, participants will ask and answer the following question: How can we use this unique experience as an opportunity to permanently improve our courses and teaching styles?
Multi-access learning to support learner personalization of modality and expanded access to education
Facilitator: Valerie Irvine, Curriculum & Instruction and Technology Integration and Evaluation (TIE) Research Lab
Traditionally, learning modalities has been presented as a binary of face-to-face or online learning. Blended learning emerged as a term that focused on the consecutive mixing of face-to-face and online modalities. Multi-access learning proposes that learners can personalize their modality preferences, which may include face-to-face on campus, synchronous online, asynchronous online, and extends even to open access to advance the greatest access to what we do on campuses of educational institutions. Multi-access learning is considered a larger framework that encompasses other models, such as blended synchronous (Bower), HyFlex (Beatty), Synchronous Hybrid (Bell), and more. The multi-access learning framework considers the inclusion of asynchronous modality, an emphasis on open access, and supports various designs, which may not necessarily include full learner control of choice.
We won’t know when we will be able to reopen for learning on campus again, but that return may not be a uniform pathway for everyone – for both instructors and learners – due to risk assessment for those immunosuppressed, those living with a vulnerable family member, or those international arrivals having to quarantine. If we design for multi-access courses at the beginning, our institutions would be more resilient to pivots to online, such as we have experienced with COVID-19 and we could support more inclusive and accessible practice simultaneously – for remote and rural learners, for learners with disabilities that might otherwise prevent them from physically attending classes, and for supporting flexibility to those with child or elder care commitments.
Teaching online: Experiences, reflections, food for thought and planning
Facilitator: Tim Richards, Law
Beginning in early May, I taught two upper year law courses over a compressed ten week timeline. Zoom was completely new to me, and I had six weeks to prepare. In this session I will present and discuss my experiences with this, drawing on student responses I received to three surveys I conducted concerning their online learning experiences. A focus of the session is what is different in online teaching and the decisions instructors should anticipate in preparing for teaching. The summer session law instructors met weekly to discuss their teaching experiences as the term progressed, and this is a further source of insight into understanding the students’ online learning experience across their entire course workload. This session builds on one presented to the law faculty in early July.
Co-designing and co-teaching an online course
Facilitators: Colin Madland and Heidi James, Curriculum & Instruction
In the summer of 2020, Colin and Heidi taught EDCI 335 using a shared WordPress site. Despite our radically different timelines (Heidi’s cohort ran May 11-June 26, and Colin’s ran May 4-July 28), we co-created the outline, activities, content, and community. In this podcast, Colin and Heidi will talk about what worked well for the course, what the challenges were as we went, and how this process resulted in the creation of a course hub legacy that will inform and support future instructors.
Five things educators need to know about web accessibility for online learning
Facilitator: Kim Ashbourne, Curriculum and Instruction
Even before the 2020 emergency pivot to online learning, web accessibility (WA) was emerging as a key issue and opportunity in higher education institutions (Brown, 2018; Gronseth, 2018).
One of our most pressing WA issues is the ongoing production and dissemination of noncompliant course content (Silberman, 2018). The fact that universities from Harvard to MIT have been sued over inaccessible online course content is evidence of the very real financial consequences for institutions (Kimmons, 2017; Lewin, 2015) and the equally real personal consequences for people who are held in the margins. University procurement practices, policies and support services can only go so far. Until educators and learners can identify and create accessible digital content, inaccessible course content will continue to be a problem.
This session looks at WA from a teaching and learning perspective and offers educators some essential ideas to consider as they pivot to online teaching. It will address common questions, such as: Educators aren’t expected to be WA experts, so what is their role in addressing WA? Most WA resources aren’t written for educators, so where can educators find relevant resources? Not every class has students seeking accommodations, so do educators need to proactively address WA? This emergency pivot is far from ideal, but it creates a unique opportunity for educators and learners to engage with, and normalize web accessibility practices within their courses and proactively contribute to wider efforts to make the web an increasingly accessible space for all.
Does commenting on students’ writing in a purely online environment impact the way we offer written feedback?
Facilitators: Madeline Walker, Gillian Saunders, and Nancy Ami, Centre for Academic Communication
Course instructors routinely offer students written feedback on their writing, in keeping with research-informed practices. When face-to-face classes are offered, students can visit instructors during office hours or stay behind after class to ask questions or clarify expectations to enhance their understanding of the comments. However, in an online environment, opportunities for querying and clarifying instructors’ written comments are limited. Does commenting on students’ writing in a purely online environment impact the way we offer written feedback? We wonder what strategies facilitate learning when offering written comments on course assignments. Some considerations might include the format used for the comments, the content of the comments, and the style used to convey the feedback:
- With strikethrough/additions/highlights within student text?
- In black or colored font?
- Via comments?
- On attached rubric?
- Using editing symbols/abbreviations?
- Breezy, friendly, conversational?
- Complete sentences or words/phrases only?
During this café, attendees will be encouraged to share their favorite strategies for commenting on students’ papers to facilitate student learning. We will take notes and share a consolidated ‘best practices” handout with attendees after the workshop. By session-end, when asked, participants will outline three new (to them) strategies for offering students written feedback, drawing from the shared knowledge of café participants.
“Who knew two hours of online class every single day for a month would be the highlight of my day?” Reflections on the importance of presence, community, and consistency
Facilitators: Tomiko Yoneda & Jim Tanaka, Psychology
How can we encourage students to engage in online classes? How can we foster a sense of community in an online classroom? As a fourth year PhD student, Tomiko Yoneda was hired to teach her first course in the summer semester of 2020. When everything moved to an online format, she discovered the advantages of online teaching without preconceptions of how teaching online may be different from face-to-face teaching. For this upper-level personality psychology course including 65 students, Tomiko implemented principles of Indigenous Learning and Teaching with the interactive features in the Zoom video conferencing platform. Based on course feedback, students indicated that they felt like Tomiko was more like a facilitator (as opposed to teaching at them), that all aspects of Zoom were used to elevate the course, and that they felt more connected to the community in this online environment than if the class had been taught in person. In her presentation, Tomiko will share concrete examples of how she applied basic theories of motivation to encourage her students to engage readily with her, with each other, and with course concepts. For the talk, Jim Tanaka, who assisted in the development of the course, will monitor the Everyone Chat, provide comments on next steps, and assist in facilitating group discussion. If you feel comfortable, please join this interactive session with your video on.
Using rubrics: Papers, infographics, presentations, podcasts, and more
Facilitator: Janni Aragon, Technology & Society Program, 2017 Harry Hickman Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Leadership
Good rubrics are a time-saver for instructors’ marking. A rubric also assists with consistent marking and can help students focus on the assignment’s learning objectives. Janni will speak to her rubric use for typical assignments (papers and exams), as well as rubrics for infographics, presentations, vlogs, and podcasts. Janni will present several rubrics and offer information about sites that help you easily construct a rubric. The recorded presentation will use Presentious and offer a voice-over a slide deck, which provides a link and transcript of the presentation. LTAT virtual attendees only need a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer to listen/view the presentation.
Online student engagement via adaptation of the purposeful reading report
Facilitator: Karen Courtney, Health Information Science
Deeper exploration of a topic or clarification of misconceptions can be driven by students’ questions during class, but it can be difficult to get students to engage in this way in both in-person and live online classes. In two graduate synchronous online courses, I’ve used an adapted form of Dr. Geraldine Van Gyn’s Purposeful Reading Report (also known as the 3-2-1 Report) to have graduate students reflect on their understanding of course content at pre-defined intervals. These reports were designed to stimulate student critical reflection on course readings originally. The adapted student reports, which focus on several weeks of course content, generate the content for designated classes. In this way, students customize the course content throughout the course. This process sets a norm for student engagement and critical reflection throughout the course.
In this session, a brief view of the original report and description of the adaptation for course content will be provided. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a discussion of how the report could be adapted for other instructor scenarios including asynchronous online learning. At the end of the session, participants will be able to describe the original report and different ways to adapt the report to engage students in online and in-person classrooms.
On perfectionists and procrastinators: Understanding student motivation in an online learning environment
Facilitator: Myles A. Maillet, Psychology
The shift to online learning involves a number of changes and challenges for students when compared to traditional face-to-face methods. Asynchronous and hybrid courses tend to involve more flexibility and less structure, which can require students to be more effective in their studying, self-regulation, and time management. For these reasons, it is increasingly important for instructors to understand students’ motivation for learning, and to adopt strategies and considerations that help foster more effective forms of motivation among students.
While many instructors have strategies for motivating students, such approaches may or may not be grounded in theory and empirical research. Prominent motivational theories (e.g., self-determination theory) provide an evidence-based framework for understanding students’ motivation to study, attend classes, engage in discussions, manage stressors, and even engage in academic integrity violations. Further, several recent studies on online learning have adopted these frameworks, which provides empirical findings with direct implications for instructors.
In this 15-minute video I provide a brief overview of prominent motivational theories and their application to learning and teaching, both in online environments and traditional face-to-face methods. More importantly, I discuss several ways to apply current research in your own teaching (e.g., interacting with students, course design, and other considerations). In the 30-minute informal discussion period we will talk about the relationship between student motivation and teaching styles, and any strategies that you may have found effective in your own teaching.
August 17, 2020
Keynote - Team-based learning: Face-to-face and online
Team-based learning is a delivery format that makes extensive use of flipped class delivery and peer learning activities. It involves several elements that must all work together to make the format a success. This presentation will present over a decade of experience with the Team-Based Learning format in an engineering management course. It will also discuss the lessons learned from the Faculty of Engineering’s transition to online delivery, and how these apply to Team-Based Learning.
Using Zoom breakout rooms and Microsoft Teams to facilitate small group work in a large enrolment course
Facilitators: Katy Hind, Kim Curry, and Sarah Ewing, Biology
The Biology laboratory courses Biology 184 (Evolution and Biodiversity) and Biology 225 (Cell Biology) had enrolments of 80 and 65 students respectively this summer. During synchronous laboratory sessions, students worked in small groups to complete worksheets in a virtual setting. Just as in face-to-face teaching, we found that small group work created a relaxed environment where students were interested in sharing ideas, experience and knowledge. Teaching Assistants (TAs) set up pre-assigned breakout rooms in Zoom using student email addresses. During their small group breakout room discussions, students completed in-lab worksheets collaboratively using the program Microsoft Teams. Students were assigned to the same groups in Zoom and Microsoft Teams so that they could virtually discuss and complete a shared document. This document was marked for completion and students were awarded participation credit for completing the task. We found that using these two platforms together (Zoom and Microsoft Teams) created a safe working environment for students where they could discuss problems in a small groups, get support from a TA when requested, and chat with each other on the Microsoft Teams platform. In this presentation we will demonstrate how Zoom and Microsoft Teams can work together to create a virtual classroom setting and facilitate small group exercises. Participants will come away from this session with an understanding of how to set up pre-assigned breakout rooms, launch breakout rooms, and organize their Microsoft Teams page to facilitate small group exercises.
Best-laid plans: Adapting a large synchronous class (98 students) to the online environment amidst a pandemic. Careful planning and consultation, then the actual real time delivery with unplanned obstacles and pleasant surprises.
Facilitator: John Buxcey, Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education
In this session I will share what I learned moving a large class on-line. I attempted to stay true the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, regularly conducting inquiry into my teaching as it relates to improving the opportunities for student learning. I considered a number of the following questions and ideas in my online classroom:
How do I deal with assessment? So, it is both fair and marking is manageable.
How do adjust without changing learning outcomes?
Dealing with issues of academic integrity – on testing assignments etc.?
Staying engaged as an instructor without the “energy” of a live in-person class?
How do I know students are “getting it”? Understanding if they don’t engage online?
How do we help those really struggling or encourage those who love or want more from the course? How do we even identify them?
Anxiety, how Covid-19 influences and changes communication.
Hopefully, by sharing my insights, other educators will reflect on their online teaching as it relates to improving and supporting a healthy student learning environment.
Online courses don’t have to suck: Learning and teaching in the new environment
Facilitators: Peter Gölz, Germanic and Slavic Studies
In this Zoom presentation we will show two examples of online teaching and learning: Peter will talk about engaging students in a large culture/film class he taught online this summer and Silvia will talk about the online courses (on teaching) she is taking this summer.
Peter’s course (GMST 454: A Cultural History of Vampires) had close to 200 students this May. The class has been offered many times over the years but it had to be moved quickly from face-to-face with some asynchronous components to a mostly asynchronous format (with regular Zoom meetings as the only synchronous elements). Peter will show different ways of engaging students and various modes (and issues) of online testing, including individual and group assignments. Peter will also summarize students’ feedback collected during and after the course (including responses on the CES scores).
There will be time for a general discussion after the presentations.
Cultivating calm in a virtual classroom: Self-regulation tools online
Facilitator: Lyndze Harvey, Curriculum & Instruction
In a face-to-face classroom setting, we can sense the feelings of the students and adjust our teaching approach to meet their needs. Often times, we do this unconsciously and this is part of what makes us attentive and reflexive teachers. We know that students carry stress into the classroom from their own lives and that they can become stressed when they encounter new ideas that challenge them (cognitively, ethically, socially, or otherwise). But, in an online/virtual classroom, having a sense of the stress of students can be challenging. With stress comes a lack of focus, difficulty understanding new concepts, struggles to communicate effectively, and inhibitions that stunt creativity and performance in activities. In this interactive workshop, learn about self-regulation with a teacher-educator and expert in the field. What is happening in our brains and what can we do to create resiliency in our minds? What are the signs of stress that can be detected in a virtual classroom? What can teachers do to more effectively gauge the needs of students when we are not physically in the same room? We will also practice and discuss several activities to relieve stress and incorporate mindfulness in a virtual classroom.
Enrolment patterns of online classes vs. traditional face-to-face classes
Facilitator: David Medler, Psychology
With the movement to online delivery for the Summer 2020 session at UVic, our Department saw an unprecedented change in enrolment patterns. Initially, we saw an increase of enrolment of 146% in comparison to the Summer 2019 session. This meant that many of our classes had extensive waitlists. Once classes started, however, we saw an increase in the drop rate for students, and some classes that had large waitlists ended up with empty seats in the class; in some instances there was greater than a 30% drop rate. These enrolment patterns may impact how instructors structure their online courses, especially for course content delivered early in the class (for those students coming off waitlists), and for group work later in the term when students drop the class. Options for dealing with these issues, as well as issues regarding engaging students on the waitlist are considered with respect to our online Fall classes.
Creating engaging online courses in Brightspace: The student perspective
Mariel Miller, Director, Technology Integrated Learning (LTSI)
Novella Nicchitta, Learning Technology Assistant, Technology Integrated Learning (LTSI)
Natasja Benfaida, Learning Technology Assistant, Technology Integrated Learning (LTSI)
Joe Crowther, Learning Technology Assistant, Technology Integrated Learning (LTSI)
Monica Carbajal Uribe, Learning Technology Assistant, Technology Integrated Learning (LTSI)
Online learning and teaching brings up many questions about how to support students to stay involved, motivated and actively learning. The LTSI Learning Technology Assistants are co-op students who have been working closely with Brightspace over the summer months. In this session, four students will share simple tips on how they feel BrightSpace could be used to create interesting and engaging courses.
Decentralized synchronous learning pods for learner discourse and community-building: an alternative to breakout rooms
Facilitators: Valerie Irvine, Colin Madland, Curriculum & Instruction and Technology Integration and Evaluation (TIE) Research Lab, and Katy Chan (Technology-Integrated Learning)
A common critique of remote learning environments is that learners and faculty alike experience significant feelings of isolation. This may be especially acute for those who thrive in busy, social environments like face-to-face campuses. One strategy that we have found to be impactful for reducing this sense of isolation is to use decentralized synchronous learning pods where learners connect with a small group of 4 learners to discuss both course logistics and course content. This small group becomes a key source of social and academic support and peer review.
Pandemic pedagogy: Questions, conundrums, and aspirations
Facilitators: Monika Smith, Academic and Technical Writing Program; Catherine Harding and Victoria Wyatt, Art History and Visual Studies; and Nancy Ami and Kaveh Tagharobi, Centre for Academic Communication
Our goal for this Conversation Café is to bring an exploratory, in-process discussion on what has been called “Pandemic Pedagogy” to the LTAT table. A key outcome of the session is to share a range of evolving questions, ideas, reflections, and information that our initial forays into online teaching and learning have so far generated. Another outcome is to map the convoluted, sometimes haphazard, “hit and miss” path we are negotiating as instructors and academic support staff, not only suddenly dislocated from our honed praxis, but propelled to quickly assemble creative, innovative ways of engaging students in the rapid and unexpected pivot to virtual classrooms.
We plan to begin our session with a brief overview (~5 mins. each) of the questions, curiosities, concerns, and aspirations that the prospect of teaching remotely has raised for each of us. Following this, we will move the session into open-ended dialogue with our similarly positioned colleagues in the audience. To facilitate this, we will invite responses, request feedback, pose questions, provide talking points, solicit ideas, and invite strategies and tips on “what works” and what doesn’t in the online classroom.
We particularly value the focus on conversation as a tacit acknowledgement that, in terms of content, none of us are (yet) experts; we have little experience in designing and delivering online courses and online support. Nevertheless, we believe that communally voicing our “in process” approach to tackling the dramatic changes in pedagogy and delivery we are tasked with is valuable because it realistically models what it means to teach, learn, support, and grow in uncertain and unsettling times.
How the Digital Scholarship Commons helps teach digital skills: Infographics & Wikipedia case studies
Facilitators: Janni Aragon, Technology & Society Program, 2017 Harry Hickman Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Leadership, and Rich McCue, Digital Scholarship Commons
Last fall Janni Aragon asked the Digital Scholarship Commons (DSC) if they could help her teach her students how to create infographics so that she could use the infographic format for one of her Political Sciences class assignments. The DSC already offered two somewhat similar workshops and were happy to collaborate with Janni to create an infographics workshop including learning goals, and then come to her classroom and lead a hands-on, skills-based workshop. The DSC instructor answered technical questions, and Janni answered assignment based queries. The feedback from students on creating infographics to explore and express their ideas for their assignment was enthusiastically positive. That same workshop was then requested and taught to four other classes at the invitation of their professors in the Spring of 2020.
The DSC offers a wide range of digital skills workshops that can be used as the basis for engaging and pedagogically sound assignments for your class. Some of the workshops include infographics, podcasting, interactive storytelling, virtual and augmented reality, data visualization, and video editing. You can see the full list of workshops that can currently be taught to your virtual class here: https://bit.ly/dsc-digital-skills DSC staff are available for consultations on in-class workshops to make sure that the desired workshop will be a good fit with your expectations. Janni has also had her Technology & Society students attend a Wikipedia-A-Thon hosted by the DSC, which added to the WikiEducation assignments.
Join us to hear about using Infographics in your courses. We used Canva and Piktochart. Join us to hear about WikiEducation use in your courses. We hope that this conversation cafe can be a place for you as an instructor to ask questions about DSC workshops, and suggest possible new workshops that could be helpful in your teaching practice, and be the basis for new partnerships and collaborations.
- Digital Scholarship Commons (DSC) website: https://uvic.ca/library/dsc
- DSC Email address to request a workshop, or talk about running a workshop for your class: firstname.lastname@example.org
- DSC workshops that can be run via zoom: https://bit.ly/dsc-digital-skills
- All DSC workshop lesson plans, including learning outcomes, pre-workshop videos, and workshop activities: https://oac.uvic.ca/dsc/workshops/lessonplans
- The DSC Data Visualization workshop that provides some more advance visualizations for infographic keeners in your class: http://bit.ly/dsc-datavis
What are our favourite online academic writing/reading resources for students?
Facilitators: Gillian Saunders, Emily Arvay, and Nancy Ami Centre for Academic Communication
One challenge to teaching online is navigating digital academic and study skill resources and selecting the best to link to. We may spend an inordinate amount of time searching for and reviewing resources, only to find a limited number of quality resources to share with students. We face an additional challenge in choosing resources that have not already been frequently recommended. What online resources are available that might provide scaffolded information/practice that we can use for first-year through fourth-year undergraduate students? In this conversation café, we wish to explore the question, “What are our favourite online academic writing/reading resources for students?”
Our session will offer course instructors an opportunity to share their go-to with those attending. The CAC team members look forward to sharing the “CAC Online” CourseSpaces site and a few others we frequently refer students to. We will take notes and share a consolidated “Useful online resources” handout with attendees after the workshop. By session-end, when asked, participants will name three new (to them) online academic writing/reading resources for students, drawing from the shared knowledge of café participants.
Collaboratively teaching an online course using Zoom and LMS
Facilitators: Katy Chan, Technology Integrated Learning, Kathy Sanford, Curriculum & Instruction, and Ruthanne Tobin, Curriculum & Instruction
In June of this year, four Education instructors embarked on collaboratively teaching four interrelated courses in a month-long Summer Institute, using CourseSpaces and Zoom. Three members of the team had not taught an online course before, and all four instructors were new to teaching using Zoom.
A consultant from LTSI guided us through our many questions, as we engaged in discussions about what we were trying to accomplish (learning outcomes), ultimately adapting some familiar pedagogies, and adopting some new ones, for use within the Zoom format.
In our upcoming Let’s Talk Teaching session, we will be sharing our recent experience of learning to teach on Zoom while we navigated our way through this novel collaborative venture, learning to adapt our previous practices and course requirements.
You will get an inside view of how we were able to build trust and rapport with one another in a short amount of time—as well as with our students, and among our students. You will see how we identified the big ideas in each of our courses, and how we designed collaborative assignments that merged CourseSpaces work with Zoom work. We will discuss how we recognized the importance of working collaboratively and collectively with each other as instructors so as to remember what the life of a student learning online would be. We worked to mitigate screen-time overload, and to enable them to find diverse ways to learn and connect.
You will also hear about some valuable lessons we learned regarding how to make breakout groups more engaging, how we handled tech glitches, and how students responded to the challenge of successfully presenting their own innovative work online.
During our interactive session, you will be invited to share—in breakout groups—how you might apply some of the things we learned to your own context for teaching. We will wrap up with a brief Q&A session.
August 18, 2020
Keynote - Experiential learning online: designing skills-based activities for A virtual environment
2020 Gilian Sherwin Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching
Skills-based activities are an effective learning strategy, but how can we develop these for a remote-learning environment? In this keynote presentation I will show you how I have re-designed and delivered hands-on lab activities for anthropology students that meet desired learning outcomes. Using these examples, I will discuss the pros and cons of administering virtual lab sessions and consider alternative methods of instruction, necessarily adapted for an out-of-classroom context, some of which are more successful than face-to-face delivery.
Setting the tone: Engaging students on day one
Facilitator: Shailoo Bedi, Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation
Creating a safe(r) space for learning in online course is critical for student engagement and learning. The first couple of sessions, like in the face-to-face environment, help to set the tone for the term. Ice-breakers are one way to help students get to know each other and for you to get to know your students. But ever wonder how to make ice-breakers feel more natural? Or better yet, use ice-breakers to build on learning outcomes for your course? In this session, we will explore ways to build a learning community and develop collaborative agreements with your students to create a safe(r) learning environment.
Teaching in the open: Supporting open access designs for social justice
Facilitators: Valerie Irvine, Colin Madland, Heidi James, Michael Paskevicius, Rich McCue, Curriculum & Instruction and Technology Integration and Evaluation (TIE) Research Lab, and Katy Chan (Technology Integrated Learning)
The Educational Technology program area has made a commitment to offering courses in an open access format to promote public access to educational resources, learner access to course resources beyond the term of the course, and the development of learning communities that persist beyond the course and even program. Among the benefits of open online course development are the support it may provide to instructors who may otherwise need to design from scratch and the standardization of course curriculum across multiple sections and collaboration between instructors working anywhere.
Learners benefit from the shift from online courses being focused on the content and the instructor to emphasizing the learner blog posts and the discourse that develops around building a network of posts and comments on a particular topic. Supports for learners include the use of blog templates to bypass the learning curve when starting to blog and building-in sample posts, pages, and menus to get started.
Enhancing online interactions and attendance for students
Facilitator: Thanh Phan, Engineering
I teach Engineering Law in the Faculty of Engineering. In this conversation café, I would like to discuss two things:
- How to encourage students to interact in online classes, and
- How to encourage students to be more engaged in group discussions.
Through discussion, let’s find solutions for class attendance issues and address some of the drawbacks of online platforms.
Panel Presentation hosted by President Cassels and Vice-President Academic Valerie Kuehne: The university’s commitment to creating an engaged online student experience: Strategies for instructors
Panel presentation: Valerie Irvine (Education); Thomas Froese (Engineering); Trefor Bazett (Science); & Natalie Fransden (HSD)
This panel presentation hosted by President, Jamie Cassels and Provost, Valerie Kuehne will explore strategies for creating an engaged student experience in the online classroom. The session will be opened by the President and Provost, followed by a short presentation by each of the panelist and an open discussion forum.
Learning and teaching with community when you can’t BE with community
Facilitators: Rhianna Nagel, and Alexandra Haupt, Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation, CEL Office, Bruce Ravelli, Sociology, Hong Fu, Education, Kathy Sanford, Education, Lilaine Galway, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Victoria, Lisa Mort-Putland, Volunteer Victoria
The intention of this session is for participants to assess remote community-engaged learning (CEL) options, compare how strategies can support intended learning outcomes and community endeavours, and choose potential CEL opportunities for their course(s). Session facilitators will share examples and methods for remote CEL and will work with participants to draft CEL approaches that could support their teaching (even in this remote time). Considerations will include relationships with community partner(s), course intended learning outcome(s), and delivery method(s).
Strategies for building community in online courses
Facilitator: Victoria Wyatt, Art History & Visual Studies, 2020 Harry Hickman Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching and Educational Leadership
Literature about on-line teaching often emphasizes the importance of building community among learners, yet developing strategies to do so can pose challenges. A common suggestion is to encourage discussion between participants, either through an online forum or in Zoom breakout rooms. However, in both contexts the interactions between learners take place without the instructor present; for courses on potentially sensitive and/or controversial topics, it may be essential for the instructor to moderate discussions in real time. I would like to talk about diverse approaches for encouraging a sense of community. I do not yet have experience in online teaching and cannot offer tested strategies. I seek to organize a conversation that will involve both those who, like myself, want to know more about building community among online learners, and colleagues who have some experience with effective strategies that they are willing to share.
We acknowledge and respect the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples on whose traditional territory the University of Victoria stands, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.