From Practice…to Research…to Practice – Sally Heath

Struggling to find a topic for my blog entry today, I decided that I’d write about my how teaching practice has informed my research, which has, in turn, re-informed my practice! Last winter, CTE colleague Sheila Hannon and I conducted a survey of all UW students who had taken an English course through Distance Education within the past year. Our motivation for undertaking this research stemmed from our own experiences co-ordinating Distance Education courses within our department. The goal of our survey was to determine whether students were satisfied with their distance learning experiences in the areas of interaction and assessment. Continue reading From Practice…to Research…to Practice – Sally Heath

Sally Heath

As the Acting Instructional Developer (2008-2009), Sally Heath oversees all aspects of the Certificate in University Teaching (CUT) program and works with graduate students who are interested in developing their instructional skills and expanding their teaching horizons. In addition to working at CTE, Sally is pursuing a doctoral degree in English.

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Spring Forward: Circadian and Cognitive Shifts – Nicola Simmons

The spring clock change. For me, it’s a time of shifts and re-framing, some of it good, like stargazing for another few weeks on my early morning walk, and some of it challenging, like waking up an almost 14 year old daughter who’s sure it’s not time yet. There’s no question that it also disrupts our patterns – sleep patterns and cognitive patterns (Kamstra, Kramer, & Levi, 2000; Kuhn, 2001)(if you don’t have a teenager you may have noticed these changes in your colleagues or yourself!). Continue reading Spring Forward: Circadian and Cognitive Shifts – Nicola Simmons

Nicola Simmons

As Research and Evaluation Consultant, Nicola Simmons supports the design and implementation of research about teaching and learning at UW. In addition to co-ordinating the Teaching-based Research Group (TBRG) and LIF/PIF grants program, she assists faculty members with research-related activities: grant proposals, ethics proposals, conference proposals, and publications. Nicola pursues her own research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), doctoral student and new faculty identity development, reflective practice, and qualitative research methods and ethics, and holds a number of research grants related to program evaluation. Nicola is also a graduate advisor and teaches part-time in the Faculty of Education at Brock University, where she received her PhD for her study What’s different under the gown: New professors’ constructions of their teaching roles. Nicola and her husband, who live in Burlington, have a musical son and a horse-crazy daughter. Her hobbies include making willow furniture and judging science fairs.

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“If you keep your mind open, stuff will fall in” — Mark Morton

“If you keep your mind open stuff will fall in” — that excellent adage is the invention of Tommy Hunkeler, a grade-six student  at Elizabeth Ziegler Public School in Waterloo. Tommy, along with more than a hundred other people (ranging from elementary school students, to undergraduates, to university faculty members), participated in a contest that was part of the 2009 Loving to Learn DayContinue reading “If you keep your mind open, stuff will fall in” — Mark Morton

Mark Morton

Mark Morton

As Senior Instructional Developer, Mark Morton helps instructors implement new educational technologies such as clickers, wikis, concept mapping tools, question facilitation tools, screencasting, and more. Prior to joining the Centre for Teaching Excellence, Mark taught for twelve years in the English Department at the University of Winnipeg. He received his PhD in 1992 from the University of Toronto, and is the author of four books: Cupboard Love; The End; The Lover's Tongue; and Cooking with Shakespeare.

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The Imposter Phenomenon in Academia – Sally Heath

“I am nothing but an impostor and a fake. I don’t deserve my success; I haven’t really earned it. I’ve been fooling other people into thinking I am a lot smarter and more talented than I really am.”

Does the above quotation sound familiar to you? Have you ever felt that your academic success was undeserved, or the result of luck? In the spring of 2008, I facilitated a workshop called The Imposter Phenomenon in Academia. The Imposter Phenomenon (IP) is a term coined in the 1970s by Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes to describe a psychological pattern associated with fears and fraudulence and undeserved success. Common experiences associated with the Imposter Phenomenon include feelings of phoniness and self-doubt, the fear of being “unmasked,” a fear of making mistakes, and difficulty in taking credit for one’s accomplishments. Continue reading The Imposter Phenomenon in Academia – Sally Heath

Sally Heath

As the Acting Instructional Developer (2008-2009), Sally Heath oversees all aspects of the Certificate in University Teaching (CUT) program and works with graduate students who are interested in developing their instructional skills and expanding their teaching horizons. In addition to working at CTE, Sally is pursuing a doctoral degree in English.

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Living the Student Experience – Donna Ellis

student1In my work as an educational developer, I look to the research literature to provide empirically based strategies to handle the myriad complex issues that we can all face in our teaching. But I also tend to draw on my experiences as a student. How would I like a course where I have three major assessments due in the last two weeks of the term when I have work to do for four other courses? How would I handle reading highly theoretical research articles in second year? To me, there’s a certain amount of teaching intuition that needs to stem from what Continue reading Living the Student Experience – Donna Ellis

Donna Ellis

Donna Ellis

Donna Ellis has supported the teaching development of Waterloo faculty members and graduate students since 1994. In her role as Director, she oversees the development and delivery of all the Centre for Teaching Excellence programming and services, which include individual faculty consultations; events directed at graduate students, new faculty, and established faculty regarding face-to-face teaching, blended learning, and emerging technologies; online resources; curriculum and program review consultations; and research support services. Donna has a PhD from Waterloo’s Management Sciences program and completed her dissertation research on instructional innovations. She also has an MA in Language and Professional Writing from Waterloo, and has taught in the Speech Communication program. Donna, along with her husband, spends time away from work raising three fine boys.

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Announcing a Research Conference on Teaching and Learning at UW – Trevor Holmes

cte_logo_powerpoint-largeOpportunities and New Directions: A Research Conference on Teaching and Learning will happen Wednesday, May 6 2009.

Proposal abstracts are invited from our own community and beyond, and are due Friday January 30, 2009.

The Teaching-Based Research Group (TBRG), in association with the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) at the University of Waterloo and supported by Geoff McBoyle, AVPA, invites you to participate in a one-day conference of research on teaching and learning. We welcome anyone interested in this scholarship to join us for an exciting opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues from multiple disciplines and to engage in conversations about new research, work in progress, and emerging ideas.

The full call for proposals is here.

trevorholmes

As Senior Instructional Developer, Curriculum and Programming, Trevor Holmes plans and delivers workshops and events in support of faculty across the career span. Prior to joining the Centre for Teaching Excellence, Trevor worked at a variety of universities teaching courses, supporting faculty and teaching assistants through educational development offices, and advising undergraduates. Trevor’s PhD is from York University in English Literature, with a focus on gothic literature, queer theory, and goth identities. A popular workshop facilitator at the national and international levels, Trevor is also interested in questions of identity in teaching and teaching development.

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Seeing is Believing: Using Visuals and Demonstrations – Katherine Lithgow

I had the opportunity to attend Richard Wells’  Kin 160 Ergonomics in Industry class this past week and was treated to a variety of demonstrations which gave me a flavour of what ergonomics is all about.

During the last week of class, the students were able to apply what they had learned about factors ranging from furniture to noise and lighting, by using that knowledge to promote well being and system performance in the design of a call centre.  In class, we had a chance to ’feel’ what the various recommendations were like. We tried reading at various light levels; we measured the light level in the classroom to see how it compared to the recommended value; we noted the classroom temperature and compared it to the recommended value. We also got a sense of what it was like to carry on conversations in a number of work place settings by talking at a normal level with our neighbours while various recordings of different noise levels were played ranging from factory noise to household noise. We also ‘heard’ how pink noise could improve the noise levels in work environments.

Demonstrations during the lectures are not new for this class. I looked at the Kin 160 UW-ACE site and

This scene illustrates some of the worst outcomes of poor job design and work organization
This scene illustrates some of the worst outcomes of poor job design and work organization

read some of the weekly blogs that Richard posts for his class and found that the Candy Factory clip from the ‘I LOVE LUCY’ show had been used to ‘sum up some of the worst outcomes of poor job design and work organization.’

The students then participated in their own assembly line process of ‘writing a letter to Santa’ exercise which illustrated how one person could become overloaded while others had plenty of rest time. The Demand/Control Model was used to assess this situation and demonstrate ‘how important job design is to create system performance and human well being.’

Students also are given the opportunity to provide examples which reinforce what they are learning in the class by submitting photos of good and bad ergonomics design.

Throughout the term, Richard has used demonstrations to show how ergonomics concepts are applicable to most work and leisure activities. When you can actually experience to some extent the impacts of good and bad ergonomics design, you’re better able to describe the impact of ergonomic design on people’s health and performance, and from experience can describe how and why this can occur which, it so happens, is one of the course objectives!

One of Richard’s final blogs for the course encourages students to pay attention to ergonomics in their everyday life, ‘Make sure you use the ideas to improve your own well being and performance… there is now good evidence that university age people are developing chronic musculoskeletal problems from their academic computer use and setting themselves up for reoccurrences of these problems; remember, primary prevention is the way to go.’ Learning a lot easier when you can see how you benefit directly from the knowledge.

Katherine Lithgow

Katherine Lithgow

As Senior Instructional Developer, Integrative Learning, Katherine Lithgow facilitates ePortfolio and Integrative Learning initiatives, supporting instructors across campus with the design and implementation of activities that help students integrate learning in academic, workplace, community and social environments. Prior to joining the Centre for Teaching Excellence, Katherine taught Cytology at The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences. She received her BA from the University of Toronto, and a Master’s in Educational Technology from UBC. In what seems like another life, Katherine worked as a cytotechnologist graduating from TMI’s Cytology program.

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