2017-18 Events

Understanding Student Stress as an Academic Integrity Risk Factor

Seminar, April 23, 2018 @ 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. in IB 210

Daniela Janes, Senior Lecturer, Department of English & Drama, UTM; Michael Kaler, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream & Writing Specialist, Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, UTM; & Chet Scoville, Assistant Professor, Department of English & Drama, UTM.

The issue of academic integrity is a perennial concern, as students’ unethical use of sources hampers their intellectual growth, inhibits their development into disciplinary insiders, damages their sense of ethics and self-image, and consumes a great deal of instructors’ time and energy. Academic integrity is often approached in a way that emphasizes legal aspects and penalties; however, research shows that the motives for improper behavior are often grounded in contextual factors, such as student stress, more than intellectual criminality. Thus, it seems to us that giving students tools to help them cope with their stress might be useful in addressing academic integrity issues, as well as supporting student wellness and autonomy. In this presentation we will discuss a project (developed for a large, first year English course) in which the goal to provide students with those tools, both for their own wellbeing and to see if this decreases the temptation to plagiarize. In this session, we will present our project, our motivations, the research context, and the (preliminary) results. 

By the end of the session, particpiants will have developed their understanding of the role of wellness and stress management in the fostering of academic integrity, been exposed to some of the research on the topic, learned about one approach to addressing these issues, and shared in our planning and lessons learned. We will also provide an example of a student stress management module for participants to reflect upon.

Daniela Janes has been teaching in the Department of English and Drama at UTM since 2006, and has been working with students as a Writing Instructor at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre since 2013. She holds a doctorate in English literature from the University of Toronto. She has published on historical fiction, social reform writing, reader-writer interactivity, and the short story cycle. Her interest in helping students build skills and confidence in their writing has led to her current pedagogical research, which focuses upon the relationship between stress and plagiarism in the context of her large first-year literature class.

Michael Kaler is an Assistant Professor and Writing Specialist at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, where his research interests include writing program assessment and productive feedback. He holds doctorates from Université Laval (Quebec, QC) in sciences religieuse and York University (Toronto, ON) in ethnomusicology, and a MA in sciences religiouses from U. Laval; he is also TESL-Canada and TESL-Ontario certified and has taught English both in the private sector and with the Graduate Centre for Academic Communication at the University of Toronto. He has published widely on such topics as ancient gnosticism, early Christian heterodoxy, the Grateful Dead, science fiction, and the musical expression of religious experience. He reintroduced the teaching of the Coptic language to the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (U. Toronto), teaching there from 2005-2008, and has taught at McMaster University and York University as well.

Let's get started: Tips from a Quercus Early Adopter

Workshop, April 18, 2018 @ 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. in UTM Library Classroom B, room 190

Barbara MurckAssociate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Geography

Join us for an interactive session where Barb Murck will share her perspectives on being an early Quercus adopter. During the first hour of the session, Barb will cover general information and advice. The second hour will provide participants with an opportunity to open up their Sandbox and try out Quercus!

Exploring the Value of Board Games as Pedagogical Tools

Seminar, April 10, 2018 @ 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. in IB 210

Lee Bailey, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Economics, UTM; & Tom Klubi, Learning Strategist and Program Manager, Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, UTM

In this session, Lee and Tom will describe the approach, outcomes, and lessons learned of the game-enhanced learning project they implemented in Lee's second-year economics course. This project explored the feasibility of scaling up the use of games as teaching tools for use in larger classes (100 students).

Improving the Effectiveness of Feedback

Workshop, March 26, 2018 @ 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. in DH 3050

Mairi CowanAssociate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Historical Studies & UTM Facutly Writing Fellow; Michael Kaler, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream & Writing Specialist, Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, UTM; & Abdullah Farooqi, PhD Candidate, Department of History and the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies

We put a lot of time and effort into providing feedback for our students, because we recognize that good feedback has the potential not only to justify a grade, but also to help students improve in their future assignments. If the feedback is not understood, used, or even read by the student, however, it is not having any of the desired effects. In this presentation, we will discuss some of the recent findings of research into what makes feedback more or less likely to be used by students, and provide illustrative examples of feedback produced in a submit / revise / resubmit assignment from a large first-year History course for group discussion.

Mairi Cowan is an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, and the Program Director for History in the Department of Historical Studies. The question of how to provide good feedback is at the centre of her project as the 2018-2019 Writing Fellow at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre.

Michael Kaler is an Assistant Professor and Writing Specialist at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, where his research interests include writing program assessment and productive feedback. He holds doctorates from Université Laval (Quebec, QC) in sciences religieuse and York University (Toronto, ON) in ethnomusicology, and a MA in sciences religiouses from U. Laval; he is also TESL-Canada and TESL-Ontario certified and has taught English both in the private sector and with the Graduate Centre for Academic Communication at the University of Toronto. He has published widely on such topics as ancient gnosticism, early Christian heterodoxy, the Grateful Dead, science fiction, and the musical expression of religious experience. He reintroduced the teaching of the Coptic language to the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (U. Toronto), teaching there from 2005-2008, and has taught at McMaster University and York University as well.

Abdullah Farooqi is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History and the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. His research looks at relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the medieval Mediterranean. Abdullah has extensive experience as a TA and recent experience as a Course Instructor. He also works as a peer trainer for UofT's Teaching Assistants' Training Program at the Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation, where he is interested in uses of gamification in higher education.

Teaching Critical Reading Across the Curriculum

Seminar, March 19, 2018 @ 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. in DH 2070

Tyler Evans-Tokaryk, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream and Director, Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, UTM

This workshop will present a brief overview of the scholarship on critical reading, focusing in particular on studies testing the efficacy of specific reading strategies and on research documenting the impact of different methods of instruction. It will then take participants through a set of interactive exercises practicing different reading methods using academic texts from across the curriculum.  One of the primary aims of this workshop is to provide instructors with strategies for integrating writing support into their classes without sacrificing or compromising coverage of course content.

Tyler Evans-Tokaryk is an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream and the Director of the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre at UTM. His research interests include Writing Across the Curriculum, English as International Language, and critical discourse analysis; he is also involved in the assessment of RGASC programs to monitor and improve the quality of student learning. Tyler recently spent a year as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Johannesburg (South Africa) where he was introduced to some unique and effective strategies for teaching Critical Reading skills to post-secondary students.

Demystifying the Dossier Series: Preparing the Teaching Dossier

Workshop, March 7, 2018 @ 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. in DH 3075

Megan Burnett, Associate Director, Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation, University of Toronto

At the University of Toronto, teaching dossiers must be submitted as part of the review process for tenure review or continuing status review. This session will provide an overview of the content and structure of an effective teaching dossier, with an emphasis on how to align this document with divisional and institutional expectations. Session participants will review the distinctive qualities of a teaching dossier, and will develop a plan for assembling and strengthening their own dossiers. They will also be led through the first steps of composing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy.

At the end of this interactive session, participants will be able to address the following questions:

  • What is distinctive about my approach to teaching?
  • What have been my major accomplishments as a teacher?
  • How can I effectively present my teaching skills and knowledge to a review committee?

Special note: this workshop will focus on the preparation of a teaching dossier by appointed faculty members for the purposes of undergoing a review process (tenure or continuing status). Teaching dossiers prepared for job searches carry different expectations and will not be the main focus of this session. Instructors preparing job application dossiers are still welcome to participate in this workshop.

Megan Burnett is the Associate Director of the central teaching support office at the University of Toronto, the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI), where she has been actively involved in faculty development for over ten years. Megan has guided the development of key initiatives at CTSI, such as the annual Course Design Institute, and created programming on active learning and lesson planning. Megan has also led resource development, workshops and consultations for faculty members preparing teaching dossiers for the purposes of tenure review, continuing status review and promotion. As Associate Director, Megan oversees a team of staff members who support educational technologies, the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, teaching assistant training and graduate student professional development, as well as the institutional course evaluation framework and online system. Prior to becoming Associate Director, Megan was the Assistant Director of CTSI and coordinated the university-wide Teaching Assistants’ Training Program, overseeing a team of 15 graduate student peer trainers.

Megan has a Master’s degree in French literature and taught for many years as a TA and sessional lecturer at U of T before entering the realm of educational development.

Getting Innovation Up and Running: The Writing Development Initiative, how it works, and how it can help

Seminar, February 21, 2018 @ 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. in IB 210

Michael Kaler, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream & Writing Specialist, Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, UTM; & Nicole Laliberte, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Geography, UTM

If you have ideas about how you could enhance the use of writing or instruction in writing in your course, the Writing Development Initiative (WDI) could help you develop and apply them. In this seminar, we will discuss what the WDI is, why it exists, how to apply, and the criteria for application; we'll also look at ways in which it can give projects the opportunity to be tested and to grow over time. There will also be time for discussion, so please bring your questions and ideas - about writing or the WDI - and be prepared to share!

Michael Kaler is an Assistant Professor and Writing Specialist at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, where his research interests include writing program assessment and productive feedback. He holds doctorates from Université Laval (Quebec, QC) in sciences religieuse and York University (Toronto, ON) in ethnomusicology, and a MA in sciences religiouses from U. Laval; he is also TESL-Canada and TESL-Ontario certified and has taught English both in the private sector and with the Graduate Centre for Academic Communication at the University of Toronto. He has published widely on such topics as ancient gnosticism, early Christian heterodoxy, the Grateful Dead, science fiction, and the musical expression of religious experience. He reintroduced the teaching of the Coptic language to the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (U. Toronto), teaching there from 2005-2008, and has taught at McMaster University and York University as well.

The Teaching Fellowship: A Model for Mentoring Graduate Student Teachers

Seminar, February 12, 2018 @ 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. in DH 2070

Jayne Baker, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Sociology, UTM; & Nathan Innocente, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream and Acting Associate Chair, Undergraduate - CLS, Department of Sociology, UTM

In this session, we present a teaching fellowship model developed in the Sociology department designed to mentor graduate students with little or no teaching experience. Components of this model include discussions about, and instruction in, teaching philosophies, assessment, learning outcomes, course management, and strategies for student engagement and classroom instruction. The model also includes extensive observation, instructor feedback, and one-on-one mentoring. As part of our presentation, we include feedback from graduate student fellowship participants about the strengths and weaknesses of the model. 

Jayne Baker is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Sociology department at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Her research centres on hierarchies among university institutions (Sociology of Education) to increasing student learning in core concepts and competencies including research and writing (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning). She teaches courses at all grade levels and sizes, from 12 to 1,000. In addition to teaching required courses in research methods and introductory sociology, she also teaches courses in education and a course on masculinities. As part of her interest in supporting student learning and engaging students outside of the classroom, Jayne frequently works with undergraduates and graduate students within her own research.

Nathan Innocente is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He teaches introductory and experiential learning courses as well as courses focusing on white-collar crimes and criminal justice. His research examines the organizational antecedents for mortgage fraud and the intersection between mortgage fraud and identity theft, as well as problem-based learning in criminology, the effectiveness of test preparation strategies, and assessments of mentorship models. With a significant focus on mentorship, he has worked with over forty graduate and undergraduate students during his five years at UTM, including through independent study courses, teaching and research opportunity programs, and the graduate teaching fellowship.

Creating a More Equitable Classroom: Questions, Considerations and Practices

Lunch & Learn, February 2, 2018 @ 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. in DH 3050

Marie Vander Kloet, Assistant Director, TATP/CTSI Teaching and Learning, CTSI, UTSG; & Jasjit Sangha, Faculty Liaison, CTSI, UTSG

In this interactive workshop, we focus on how to bring an equity lens to your work as an educator. Participants can expect to troubleshoot case studies in groups, write reflectively on one’s own and identify teaching practices to adopt this semester (together and individually). To do this, we will think through unconscious bias, the role of language and engage in deep listening to draw awareness to power relations in the classroom.

Marie Vander Kloet is the Assistant Director, Teaching Assistants Training Program/Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation (TATP/CTSI) at the University of Toronto. Marie leads the TATP - a peer-training program providing pedagogical support to the three campuses of the University of Toronto for teaching assistants and graduate students. At CTSI, Marie contributes to all aspects of CTSI programming, research and services; her areas of foci include graduate student teaching development and accessibility, equity and inclusion. Prior to becoming an educational developer, Marie completed her PhD in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education and the Graduate Collaborative Program in Women and Gender Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

Jasjit Sangha is Faculty Liaison, Teaching and Learning, at The Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation at the University of Toronto. She supports faculty through individual consultations, providing feedback on teaching dossiers, in-class observations, and support with teaching award files. She is also involved with work related to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the Peer2Peer Faculty Mentorship Project, equity related programming and the development of resources. She completed her PhD in Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

Introducing ‘Learning How to Learn’ Principles: Concepts and Impact on the Student Experience

Seminar, January 26, 2018 @ 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. in IB340

Tanya Kirsch,  Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Management

In combining learning science with pedagogy, a number of “Learning How to Learn” concepts from a Coursera “Massive Open Online Course” (MOOC) were introduced into the pedagogy of a third year Finance course with the aim of enhancing student learning both inside and outside the classroom. This practical session shares and discusses the ideas, tools and techniques of “Learning How to Learn” and highlights its impact on the student learning experience. The session is relevant to a variety of disciplines as the tools are generic, and not specific to the Finance course where they were introduced. The tools were used in a class size of 65 students, but can be applied equally to both small and large class formats.

Tanya Kirsch is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream at the University of Toronto (Mississauga). She teaches Finance and Investments courses, as well as the occasional Accounting course. Tanya studied in South Africa where she obtained her CA CPA and CFA designations. She has worked both in the Accounting profession (with Ernst & Young in Cape Town and in Toronto), and in the Investment profession as an equity analyst and portfolio manager. Tanya has taught Finance and Accounting as a sessional lecturer at Ryerson and The Schulich School of Business, and has taught full time at UTM since 2012.

Students as examiners: crowd-sourced exam preparation

Paul Denny, Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland

Seminar, December 6, 2017 @ 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

In many classrooms, students expend significant effort preparing to be examined.  Self-testing, by answering practice questions, is popular with many students and is known to be effective.  However, large repositories of practice questions are not always readily available and can be very time consuming for instructors to create.  So what happens when students generate their own practice questions, targeting the material they are learning, and contribute them to a shared repository where they can be answered, rated and discussed by their peers?  What do students think about this, how useful are the questions in practice and does the activity help students learn?  It turns out there are many interesting answers to these questions.  This talk will introduce the motivation for having students build and moderate their own practice question banks, and will report on some of the practical challenges and measurable benefits, drawing upon data from popular online tools that host millions of student-generated questions.

Paul Denny is a senior lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Auckland.  His interests include developing and evaluating technologies for supporting collaborative learning, particularly involving student-generated resources, and for exploring ways to motivate students to engage within online learning environments.  Paul is a recipient of the National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award (2009) and the Computing Research and Education Association of Australasia Teaching Award (2010).  His visit to the University of Toronto is supported by an Association of Commonwealth Universities Fellowship.

Preparation and Participation: Strategies for Motivating Students

Dianne Ashbourne, Educational Developer, Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, UTM

Workshop, November 23, 2017 @ 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Understanding how and why students are motivated to learn can help us become more effective teachers. This session will share principles of learner motivation, and will provide an opportunity to consider and evaluate strategies aimed at encouraging students to prepare for and participate in class.

Dianne Ashbourne is an Educational Developer at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre. She holds an M.A. in Education from the University of British Columbia. Her current pedagogical interests include student engagement, articulation of learning outcomes, curriculum mapping, and active learning spaces.

Learning to Learn: Building Academic Tenacity in Our Students

Karen Smith, Faculty of Science, Microbiology & Immunology, The University of British Columbia

Seminar, November 9, 2017 @ 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

There is growing interest and momentum from educators to explore how they can better support students throughout university. Student engagement, academic tenacity and wellbeing can be the foundation for success. This session will explore ways we can increase academic tenacity by encouraging self-regulated learning skills, promoting social belonging and supporting a growth mindset.  We will consider what issues and challenges we face in this role of supporting the whole student and how we can build capacity for all educators.

Demystifying the Dossier Series: Demonstrating and Capturing Teaching Success

Megan Burnett, Associate Director, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, University of Toronto

Workshop, October 25, 2017 @ 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

As part of the Demystifying the Dossier Series, this workshop serves as a pre-‘teaching dossier’ workshop, and is the companion to the Working with Your Course Evaluations session (registration open Fall 2017) and Preparing Your Teaching Dossier session (registration open early 2018). Faculty are welcome to attend one or multiple workshops in the series.

At the University of Toronto, a teaching dossier must be submitted as part of the formal review process for tenure and continuing status. Beyond the information included in an academic CV, a teaching dossier describes and documents an instructor’s teaching expertise and goals and priorities for teaching and learning. It also highlights personal contributions to course and curriculum design efforts in a department or program, evidence of student impact, and evidence of teaching leadership. Given the range of evidence that is possible, and the importance of the narrative that surrounds this evidence, the dossier can be challenging to produce if insufficient time or attention is allotted to the tracking of teaching achievements and the collection of supporting documentation. To build the best case around one’s teaching, a faculty member needs a strategy for identifying and collecting the best possible evidence. This workshop aims to help clarify such a strategy and shed light on the iterative and critically reflective processes needed to gather optimal material for the dossier.

This session offers practical tips on how to produce, document, collect and reflect on the materials necessary for the compilation of an effective teaching dossier, including course evaluation data, teaching support materials, and evidence of professional development and educational leadership. This workshop will not focus on how to draft  the actual dossier, rather, we will examine strategies for ensuring that you are ready to prepare a dossier when the time comes.

Megan Burnett began her time at the University of Toronto as a PhD Candidate in the Department of French. Over the span of 10 years, she taught as a TA, Course Instructor and sessional instructor. She then coordinated the TATP, overseeing a team of 15 graduate student peer trainers and a Curriculum Developer.  In her role as Assistant Director of the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, Megan provided support to faculty members working with TAs as well as guidance to those faculty members preparing teaching dossiers for tenure or promotion, or seeking to design/re-design courses or assignments. Megan routinely lead sessions on lesson planning, documenting your teaching and active learning for both the CTSI and TATP Workshop Series and co-facilitated the annual CTSI Course Design Institute. Nationally, Megan collaborates with colleagues across Canada on issues related to faculty and graduate student professional development. She is founder and Past Chair of a special interest group within the Society for Teaching & Learning in Higher Education that focuses on TA and graduate student development.

Making Curriculum Mapping Meaningful

Fiona RawleAssociate Dean, Undergraduate & Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Biology, UTM

Seminar, October 5, 2017 @ 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Location: DV 2094C

This workshop will outline how to engage in effective curriculum mapping, and will highlight the opportunities that can arise from the mapping process and dissemination of the maps themselves. We will discuss mapping at the assignment, course, and program level, and will explore different ways to both use and disseminate curricular maps.

Fiona Rawle is the Associate Dean, Undergraduate, at UTM, and also an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream in the Dept. of Biology. Her pedagogical research interests include scientific literacy, student engagement, curriculum mapping, inquiry-based instruction, and active learning. She is currently leading the Biology Curriculum Mapping Project, as well as UTM’s Curriculum Mapping Initiative.

Ideas for Working with - and through - Student Writing

Michael Kaler, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream & Writing Specialist, Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, UTM

Workshop, September 28, 2017 @ 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

In this workshop, we will discuss ways to use student writing as a learning tool. We will discuss its use not just as a means of developing discipline-appropriate writing skills (though this is crucial), but also as a means of enhancing student assimilation and retention of course- or discipline-related content and modes of thought; we will also discuss how instruction related to writing can help develop students' critical reading skills. Sample exercises and ideas will be presented, and participants are encouraged to bring their own materials to share with the group.

Michael Kaler is an Assistant Professor and Writing Specialist at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre. He holds doctorates from Universite Laval (Quebec, QC) in sciences religieuse and York University (Toronto, ON) in ethnomusicology, and an MA in Sciences Religiouses from U. Laval; he is also is TESL-Canada and TESL-Ontario certified. He has published widely on such topics as ancient gnosticism, early Christian heterodoxy, the Grateful Dead, science fiction, and the musical expression of religious experience. He reintroduced the teaching of Coptic to the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, teaching there from 2005-2008, and has taught at McMaster and York as well. Since 2012 he has focused on teaching writing skills first through the Office of English Language and Writing Services at U of T), and for the past four years at the RGASC.