The Faculty of Arts & Science supports teaching and learning initiatives through the Teaching Stream Pedagogical Grants and Advancing Teaching & Learning in Arts & Science fund (that also includes STEP Forward). To provide an opportunity for others to learn about some of these initiatives, we are hosting our 2nd annual teaching and learning projects showcase on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 from 9:00am – 1:30pm in Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2098 (lunch will be provided).
This showcase will highlight a sample of projects developed across the Faculty of Arts & Science. Faculty will discuss motivations for their projects, the outcomes to date and how they see these projects moving forward. Presentations will be informal and there will opportunities for questions and discussions after each presentation.
We welcome Arts & Science faculty and staff to attend some or all of the showcase.
If you have any questions, please contact Thuy Huynh, Teaching & Learning Project Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-946-3890.
Bence Viola, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Edward Banning, Professor, Department of Anthropology
Julia Gamble, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Anthropology
Katherine Patton, CLTA, Department of Anthropology
David Begun, Professor, Department of Anthropology
Over the last years, anthropological research was transformed by the application of virtual methods – techniques that allow the digitization, digital manipulation and analysis of fossils and artefacts. In this project, we wanted to introduce these methods to students, and take advantage of them to improve the undergraduate experience.
We purchased several surface scanners and 3D printers, and integrated them into two 300-level and one 400-level courses. Students used the new technologies to scan bones and artefacts, as well as devise research projects addressing questions of their choice. We were also able to expand our teaching collections using the 3D printer. All in all, both student and faculty feedback was very positive. The project strongly increased student engagement, leading to involvement in research with faculty members.
Alfonso Gracia-Saz, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Mathematics
We just finished the first run of a fully inverted MAT137Y, a calculus course with 1400 students and 7 instructors. I was expecting a revolt, pushback from disgruntled students, and cries of “why are you not teaching us”. Instead, students have bought into the format and have never been so engaged. I am not sure how we got so lucky, but I’ll take it!
There are no lectures in the course. Before coming to class, students watch short youtube videos that I created. They spend class time working on problems, conceptual questions, and proofs, with each other and with my help.
It has been a bumpy ride that has forced me to think deeply about my course, my students, myself, and learning objectives. Of one thing I am certain, though: I never want to go back to lecturing again.
Jacqueline Smith, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Computer Science
Jennifer Campbell, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Computer Science
To improve the sense of community for students newly admitted to a Computer Science (CS) program, we drew on the existing First-Year Learning Communities model to develop a similar initiative for second-year students. With competitive admissions and a notorious lack of diversity in the field, some students report feelings of isolation or of not belonging in CS. Through Second-Year Learning Communities (SLC), we aim to build community among our students, while helping them build connections with upper-year students, faculty, and professionals within UofT and beyond.
SLC activities included discussion of research and career opportunities with CS faculty and alumni, visits to local companies and events, and social events with SLC and other CS students. The first SLC offering was well received by students, and succeeded at connecting students to local opportunities. However, we struggled with attendance and have some work to do on building community. We will be conducting a survey to measure the impact of this pilot offering on CS students’ sense of community.
Stavroula Andreopoulos, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Biochemistry
Derek Ng, Assistant Professor, Master of Science in Biomedical Communications Program, Department of Biology, UTM
Ursula Florjanczyk, Graduate Student, Master of Science in Biomedical Communications Program, UTM
Jerry Gu, Graduate Student, Master of Science in Biomedical Communications Program, UTM
Jodie Jenkinson, Assistant Professor, Master of Science in Biomedical Communications Program, Department of Biology, UTM
Our project focused on the development and implementation of technological tools to support and enrich active learning opportunities for students. We undertook this project as a means to assist us with rethinking the teaching and learning goals and activities within tutorials, especially in large classes. We created an animation that explains enzyme kinetics through a combination of metaphoric and realistic depictions of the underlying molecular players, behaviours, and environment that the mathematical models represent. Our interactive simulation encourages inquiry-based learning by allowing students to dynamically explore and reinforce their understanding of the material.
Jill Wheeler, Lecturer, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Chris Garside, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Cell & Systems Biology
Maria Papaconstantinou, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology Program
Franco Taverna, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology Program
William Ju, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Human Biology Program
Andrea Williams, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Writing Instruction, Faculty of Arts and Science
As instructors in core biology courses, we noticed a growing need for our students to improve and develop their communication skills. With the support of an Advancing Teaching and Learning in Arts and Sciences (ATLAS) grant, we collaborated to create and facilitate a series of workshops for Life Sciences students in the 2015-2016 academic year that taught critical skills needed to communicate effectively in the sciences. Attendees responded positively to the content and delivery of these workshops, but they were poorly attended. For our presentation, we will discuss the successes and challenges of offering these workshops, and how we built on our experience to develop a successful proposal for a Learning and Education Advancement Fund (LEAF) grant (1) to establish learning outcomes for Life Sciences programs with respect to communication, critical thinking and scientific literacy, and (2) to create a series of complementary, scaffolded assignments that will align with and develop these learning outcomes.
Stefan Soldovieri, International Liaison and Associate Professor, Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures
Helena Juenger, Senior Secretary & Graduate Assistant, Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures
The iPRAKTIKUM project arose out of the desire to provide students learning German at the U of T with rich, work-integrated experiences in global contexts. iPRAKTIKUM provides a program structure to support local placements with organizations and subsidiaries from German-speaking countries, as well as international opportunities. Our goals are to augment degree requirements with structured learning contexts designed to develop intercultural competence, promote a profound grasp of global environments, and allow students to apply skills acquired in the classroom in work-related contexts. In the development phases, we met with relevant university offices, created a database of organizations, held student focus groups, researched other internship programs, and familiarized ourselves with best practices. We have launched a pilot project with a GTA high school and received funding to create two internship platforms in Germany: Berlin Social Hub and Eco-Hub Freiburg. We have also established a relationship with a Germany-based software company in Toronto that has been approved for CCR and are now soliciting applications from students.