The Faculty of Arts & Science hosts a Teaching & Learning Community of Practice (CoP), which is now going into its fourth year. This community was established in 2015 to create a forum for faculty to meet and share teaching practices and strategies across disciplines.
Each CoP session is 90 minutes long, with the general format of: 20-minute presentation, 40-minute facilitated discussion, and 30 minutes of networking and social time at the end.
The community’s 2018-19 academic coordinator is David Liu, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream (email@example.com) from the Department of Computer Science, and administrative coordinator is Thuy Huynh, Teaching & Learning Project Coordinator from the Dean’s Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To receive emails and updates on community events, you can join the CoP listserv by sending an email to email@example.com with the following text in the body of the email: JOIN TLCOP-L Your First name and Last name (ex. JOIN TLCOP-L Thuy Huynh). To send emails to the CoP group, please use this email address: TLCOP-L@listserv.utoronto.ca.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018, 1 – 2:30pm in University College, 15 King’s College Circle, Room 253
Andrea Williams, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream and WIT Coordinator
Assignments are key teaching tools that can help students develop research, critical thinking, technical, and communication skills and gain disciplinary knowledge. Simply put, good assignments promote student engagement and learning.
Participants are encouraged to bring to the session examples of their own assignments. The session will begin with a short presentation on the principles and strategies of effective assignment design that apply to all disciplines such as backwards design and aligning assignments with course objectives, how to scaffold assignments, and the importance of formative feedback. We will then discuss assignments that participants are using or in the process of developing and troubleshoot common problems and pitfalls of assignment design and instructions.
Thursday, December 6, 2018, 12 – 1:30pm in Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, Room 2014, Dean’s Conference Room
William Ju, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology Program
Maria Papaconstantinou, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology Program
Alistair Dias, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology Program
One of the most powerful ways to engage critical thinking in our students is to create models where purposeful errors (hence MISTAKES) are used to identify the depth of their learning. We have previously used different methods to introduce purposeful errors as a way to stimulate critical thinking and will present our findings and discuss how best these can be implemented in the classroom within any discipline.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 12 – 1:30pm in Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, Room 2014, Dean’s Conference Room
Suzanne Wood, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Psychology
Undergraduate research experiences are an important experiential learning opportunity for our students. Abundant previous work has outlined the benefits of research experiences for undergraduates, but could there be parallel benefits to our research programs? This session will discuss strategies to foster undergraduate leadership on projects that are best positioned to produce rigorously-collected, publication-worthy data.
Going hybrid: Using Blackboard Collaborate to provide a simultaneous online lecture option for students in a large first year course
Thursday, February 7, 2019, 12 – 1:30pm in Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, Room 2014, Dean’s Conference Room
Sarah Wakefield, Associate Professor, Department of Geography & Planning
Why is an instructor who can barely use her phone giving online lectures, and what happens when she does? Join Sarah Wakefield as she discusses her decision to create an online lecture section within her 350-person first-year class, and her experiences using the new Learning Management System (Quercus) and Bb Collaborate to offer that online experience.
Friday, March 22, 2019, 12 – 1:30pm in Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, Room 2014, Dean’s Conference Room
Sarah Mayes-Tang, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Mathematics
Teaching Assistants are a vital part of the undergraduate teaching within the Faculty of Arts & Science. Previous research has shown that required, sustained professional development programs play a role in developing instructors who are more student-focused, but financial constraints, time limitations, and lack of buy-in often prevent us from offering these to our Teaching Assistants. This session will discuss strategies to implement and sustain TA training within a course. Sarah Mayes-Tang will discuss specific efforts that she implemented in a large first-year calculus course, with 10-12 sections and instructors and 40+ TAs per semester.
Introducing Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences into the Classroom and Laboratory
Thursday, November 1, 2018, 12 – 1:30pm in Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, Room 571
The curriculum within many undergraduate Arts & Science courses provides students with fundamental concepts in the classroom and in most cases students also gain practical knowledge in the laboratory. While these skills are critical to the success of any prospective student, the curriculum can be reinforced through the introduction of early course-based undergraduate research experiences that bridge the gap between the classroom and research practices. These unique learning experiences allow students to gain valuable and transferable problem-solving and critical thinking skills early on in their education. This session will describe methods to implement research experiences into courses at all levels of undergraduate education. The presenters will also discuss the challenges they faced when incorporating research experiences into their own courses, along with approaches to alleviate these challenges.
Teaching Students Study Skills
(Thursday, October 12 from 12-1:30pm in Lash Miller, Room 108)
Andy Dicks and Kris Quinlan will share the support they provide to students to ensure they are considering both what they are learning as well as how they are learning the materials being taught.
Ethics Education Across Disciplines
(Thursday, November 16 from 12-1:30pm in Sidney Smith Hall, Room 571)
Charly Bank and Vicki Zhang will lead a session on ethics education across disciplines, and will use examples from their teaching to illustrate various pedagogical designs as well as opportunities and challenges of implementing ethics education in today’s academia.
Challenges and Perspectives on Inclusive Teaching
(Friday, December 8 from 12:30-2:00pm in Sidney Smith Hall, Room 571)
Tim Sayle will moderate a discussion with Heidi Bohaker, David Roberts, and guests from the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation who will share their Arts & Science, as well as University-wide perspectives, on inclusive teaching. They will discuss the challenges they face when incorporating inclusive teaching practices into their classrooms and ways to mitigate these challenges.
Teaching Strategies to Complement Problem-Solving
(Friday, February 2, 2018 from 12pm – 1:30pm in Sidney Smith Hall, Room 571)
Discussion Leader: Kripa Freitas
Session Description: A challenge for instructors, especially those teaching math-intensive courses, is helping students move beyond viewing the material as a series of separate problems to be solved towards noticing the links between these problems. This takes the focus off the problem-solving procedure and onto how the field uses these methods to approach and answer questions. This shift builds critical thinking skills and a deeper, more transferable conceptual understanding. This session will describe easy to implement teaching strategies used to facilitate this in a large, required, second-year, math-based Economics course.
Experiential Learning: University of Toronto Outdoors Initiative
(Thursday, February 8, 2018 from 12pm – 1:30pm in Sidney Smith Hall, Dean’s Conference Room, SS 2005)
Discussion Leaders: Frances Garrett and Matt Price
Session Description: Frances and Matt have been experimenting with outdoor education, a form of experiential learning that research shows can offer transformative learning experiences that prepare students to take on the challenges of their lives (Hill & Brown, 2014; D’Amato & Krasny, 2011; Walter, 2013; Winter & Cotton, 2012). They will discuss their teaching experiences in three courses where they incorporated this teaching model to develop students disciplinary competencies alongside other transferable skills. They will share how they addressed questions, such as:
- How to design outdoor experiences that fits into a student’s semesterized program?
- What training do instructors need?
- How are outdoor experiences financed?
- How can outdoor programs be diverse?