Designing Assignments and Using Online Assessment Tools for Large Courses

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The Educator Exchange is a workshop series for instructors and others

interested in teaching-related topics. Suggestions for topics and speakers

are always welcome and can be sent to us at ctl-educator-exchange@utsc.

Register at ctl.utsc.utoronto.ca/ctl-event-registration/.

Designing Assignments and Using Online Assessment Tools for Large Courses

Wednesday, September 16th, 11am-1pm, IC318

Large courses present unique instructional challenges both in assignment and assessment design. In this session Steve Joordens will discuss scaling writing and feedback assignments for students in any size classroom. using a variety of delivery methods and how Steve has applied these methods. Bill Ju will talk about multi-stage online assessments and e-portfolios and how he has used these in Biology and Neuroscience. Presenters: Steve Joordens (Psychology) and Bill Ju (Human Biology,

St. George).

Facilitating Peer Support to Promote Students’ Mental Health

Thursday, October 1st, 12-2pm, IC318

Creating a positive learning environment in your courses can contribute to student mental health and well-being, which in turn promotes learning. In this hands-on workshop, we will use SFU’s research-based model, Creating Conditions for Well-Being in Learning Environments, as the basis for a wide-ranging discussion. You will come away with a richer understanding of the role of the learning environment, and a range of simple strategies you can use in your courses. Presenters: Elsa Kiosses

(Health and Wellness Centre), Dr. Sarah King (Writing Centre), Dr. Maureen Murney (Health Studies)

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Strategies to Improve and Assess Students’ Oral Presentation Skills

Thursday, October 29th, 11am-1pm, IC318

This session brings together faculty from various disciplines to discuss strategies to support students’ oral presentations. We will explore how to help students

improve scientific presentations; how to create a supportive classroom environment that reduces student anxieties regarding public speaking; and how to use video recording to allow reflection, further study and peer assessment. Presenters: Franco

Taverna (Human Biology, St. George), Kathy Liddle (Sociology), Joanna Heathcote (Management), and Sandra Daga (Management)

Fostering Excellence in TA Practice

Tuesday, November 10th, 11am-1pm, IC318

In many fields instructors rely heavily on the use of tutorials and “wet” lab practicals to help students explore major concepts and develop practical, transferable domain skills. TAs are important partners in this process: it is essential for the teaching

assistant to impart background knowledge, practical direction, and provide excellent and constructive feedback on student work while promoting a safe and inclusive

tutorial/laboratory environment. In this session we will discuss strategies for fostering the excellence of TA work in collaborative teaching teams. Presenters:

Paco Estrada (Computer Science), Anya Tafliovich (Computer Science), and Shelley Brunt (Biology)

Conducting Research Related to Your Teaching

Thursday, November 26th, 1-3pm, IC318

In this session we’ll explore the ‘inquiry/research on teaching’ cycle: scholarly teaching (exploring and engaging research), reflective teaching (using research and reflection to experiment in practice) and the scholarship of teaching and learning (formal

publishing of your teaching research). Support for research on teaching provided by UofT, such as workshops, networking opportunities and resources will also be discussed. Presenters: Cora McCloy (CTSI), Michelle Silver (Health Studies) and Effie

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Improving Reading Skills and Vocabulary with New Online Tools

Monday, January 11th, 1-3pm, AA160

What are the best practices in teaching academic readings and promoting student engagement? To begin, we will introduce issues and

strategies for how to teach academic texts. Participants will be introduced to the newly developed web tool, Vocabulary Expansion Accelerator (VEA). This tool can help students of various English proficiency levels in any discipline and any year. It will help them understand unfamiliar words in texts as well as expand their academic vocabulary with regular practice. Presenters: Elaine Khoo (ELDC), Nancy

Johnston (Writing Centre) and Sarah Fedko (CTL)

Fostering Excellence in TA Practice

Thursday, January 21st, 1-3pm, AA160

In many fields instructors rely heavily on the use of tutorials and “wet” lab practicals to help students explore major concepts and develop practical, transferable domain skills. TAs are important partners in this process: it is essential for the teaching

assistant to impart background knowledge, practical direction, and provide excellent and constructive feedback on student work while promoting a safe and inclusive tutorial/laboratory environment. In this session we will discuss strategies for fostering the excellence of TA work in collaborative teaching teams.

Presenters: Paco Estrada (Computer Science), Anya Tafliovich (Computer Science)

and Shelley Brunt (Biology)

Thinking Made Visible: Using Protocols, Routines and Tools to Build Students’ Understanding

Tuesday, January 26th, 12-2pm, IC318

Student engagement has been a key area of attention in the higher education teaching and learning literature (Barkley, 2010) and large-scale assessment

approaches that aim to measure student engagement, such as the National Survey on Student Engagement (NSSE). Likewise, teachers in higher education are exploring new pedagogies of engagement that strive to motivate students, engage them in active learning and importantly, to promote depth of understanding. In this session participants will experience and discuss a number of pedagogical protocols and thinking routines focused on those goals. Participants will consider applications of these practices in their own teaching contexts. Presenter: Carol Rolheiser (Director,

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Testing in Large Classes: Effective Multiple Choice and Beyond

Wednesday, February 10th, 11am-1pm, IC318

This session will discuss how to construct questions that assess higher cognitive skills, beyond just recall. Attendees will be asked to think of the goals of their assessment and how they might implement them. Tips will be provided on how to use formats that focus marking time to provide optimum feedback to students. Next multiple choice question construction fundamentals will be considered, as well as how to use the Item analysis reports (that accompany scantron test results) to identify weak and strong questions. In the latter portion of the event we will consider using interpretive questions and immediate feedback assessment tools [a type of multiple choice test card that let’s students see if they have made the correct choice and if not try again (for less credit)] as ways to expand the capacity of tests to enhance learning. Presenters: Clare Hasenkampf (Director, CTL) and Sohee Kang

(MSLC)

Engaging Students in Active Learning—Even in Your Larger Classes

Thursday, February 25th, 12-2pm, IC318

In this session, I will share both practical advice and research results from our experience with active learning in two computer science courses. One is an introductory, first-year course with very diverse students, and the other is a third-year course for specialists. Bring your own experiences and questions to share, and expect to try an activity from my own classroom. (You’ll even learn a wee bit of computer science!) Presenter: Diane Horton (Computer Science, St. George)

Using the WebOption Effectively

Monday, March 7th, 11am-1pm, AA160

How do faculty painlessly provide additional course content, practice exercises, review sessions, tutorials, make-up lectures for cancelled classes and lecture review all in one neat little package? In this session, we will explore the various ways in which some veteran WebOption clients are leveraging the service to extend the learning environment to their students. Presenters: Iris Au (Management), Bill

McConkey (Management), Lana Mikhaylicenko (Chemistry), and Wanda Restivo (Chemistry)

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Designing and Giving Lectures that Engage Students

Wednesday, March 23rd, 1-3pm, AA160 The Lecture as Narrative

When I was a novice lecturer, trying to figure out the best way to engage students through this classic and still-central genre of teaching, I drew on memories of those lecturers who had most inspired me as an undergraduate. In preparing to give this presentation, I struggled to pin down what, if anything, these gifted teachers, with their vastly different disciplinary backgrounds and styles, had in common. What they shared, and what I try to capture in my own teaching, was a gift for storytelling. Approaching a lecture as narrative means planning ahead, and using a particular kind of structure, but it also means embracing idiosyncrasy, unpredictability, and student interaction. It may be the case that some people are gifted or natural storytellers, but it is equally true that approaching lecture as narrative is a skill that can be learned. In this presentation, I’ll share a little about my own experience learning to use narrative to increase student engagement and learning in anthropology.

Presenter: Dr. Maggie Cummings (Anthropology)

Lecture Activities that Prompt and Probe Critical Thinking

Critical thinking involves providing primes, problems, and challenges, and helping students to arrive at their own answers. In this talk we’ll look at using student-generated ideas for analysis in Psychology courses. Presenter: Dr. Sisi Tran

(Psychology)

It’s a performance!

Communicating excitement to engage students in large lecture classes.

Effective teaching in classes with large enrollments requires that the instructor is able to capture and retain the attention and interest of a diverse range of students in an environment in which a personal interaction between every student and teacher, or even eye contact with every student, is rarely possible. I discuss some strategies for establishing rapport with students in large lecture classes, with an emphasis on the importance of communicating personal interest and excitement to students, establishing an environment where questions and challenges are encouraged, and making space for spontaneity within well-structured lectures.

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