Checking the “list” twice – Donna Ellis

What is it about top 10 lists?  My understanding of cognitive psychology reminds me that our brains naturally try to categorize information, but lists in relation to instructional development just seem too trite, particularly when they focus on the negative.

My grumbles stem from a fairly recent U.S. News & World Report article called “10 Warning Signs of a Bad Professor“.  It was, in essence, a shopping list of behaviours that students should avoid if they experience them early in a semester.  I can certainly empathize with students, but  the top (or should I say “bottom”) 10 ten list format made the points seem overly simplified.  Continue reading Checking the “list” twice – 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.

More Posts - Website

Educational Fads and Jargon 1 – Trevor the Curmudgeon

smiley_frustrated

It’s Holiday Season. I really should be feeling generous. Everything is going well. However, I’ve been so involved lately in running meetings or workshops that my immersion in educational theories may just have reached the point where I’m gasping for air. Here’s why: “incentivize” — yup, one word. I can’t really see that it is a word, an allowable word, but if it is, it may indeed be one of the ugliest in the English language. Other than “impactful” I guess. I’m not even going to grace the offending word with a citation, as I wouldn’t want to endorse the company that offers it. The context in which I saw it: browsing around for energizers to use with smart grown-ups (rather than off-putting ones that are meant really for elementary kids), I saw a link to a site for a rewards and sanctions system that uses plastic credit cards to “incentivize” students between the ages of 11 and 18. I think it’s a sign of the end of the world. But seriously, the deeper point for me is that humans do not need a newfangled business-speak word to be curious, to be civil, or to be engaged (even if the latest wisdom seems to suggest that millennials need something vastly different than X’ers and boomers did). We just need the right conditions for the people and the topic, and learning itself will be incentive enough to jump in head first.

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.

More Posts - Website

Notes v. Maps: Trading Quantity for Quality – Chris Ray

MTHEL Chapter 2-copyAt the beginning of the fall semester, I showed up to my Thursday night Business Law class ready to soak up all the information that was going to allow me to do well in the course. I’m a ‘laptop student’, so usually once the teacher starts talking, I’m go go go, typing away until the lecture is over. The end result is ten pages of notes that I think will be useful once midterm and final exam times come. Continue reading Notes v. Maps: Trading Quantity for Quality – Chris Ray

Flow, and how it helped me create a web resource — Mark Morton

 I managed to achieve “flow” this morning. This is not, I should clarify, an admission of prostate problems, but rather a celebration of having achieved a cognitive state so engrossing that several hours passed without my noticing. The notion of flow was originated by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, but it’s a state of mind that we all (hopefully) get to experience from time to time, either in our work or while we’re engaged in a favorite hobby. The key to achieving flow is “just manageable challenge”: that is, the task we are trying to achieve has to be one that is not so easy that it seems routine nor so difficult that it becomes frustrating. Flow exists at the upper edge of our skill set. Continue reading Flow, and how it helped me create a web resource — 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.

More Posts - Website

Troublesome workshop invited us over the threshold – Trevor Holmes

door

Relying heavily on one of higher education’s most recent door-opening concepts to run a workshop on, well, door-opening concepts, Gary Poole took a FLEX lab full of people through our paces Tuesday morning, May 5th, 2009. After his Presidents’ Colloquium talk on the Monday, in which he addressed the powerful phenomenographic notion of deep versus surface learning (more on that another post), Continue reading Troublesome workshop invited us over the threshold – Trevor Holmes

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.

More Posts - Website

Multi-modal Learning at Home and Abroad! – Lynn Long

bicycle1Last Tuesday, numerous brave souls trekked through blustery weather to attend the January Seminar in Learning Innovation & Pedagogy (SLIP). The focus of this session was, “The Ethics of On-line Teaching” and our discussion centered around several pertinent articles which had been selected by participants beforehand. One article of particular interest was, “Ethical Considerations in Providing Distance Education in the Light of Massification”. In this paper, Michael Sankey and Rod St Hill of the University of Southern Queensland highlight the movement of their facility towards on-line, multi-modal learning in response to an increasingly diverse student population. Continue reading Multi-modal Learning at Home and Abroad! – Lynn Long

Lynn Long

As a CTE Faculty Liaison, Lynn Long assists instructors in the School of Accounting and the Economics Department in designing innovative learning activities that engage students online and in the classroom. She also serves as guide for instructors to access other CTE resources. Lynn obtained her B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Western Ontario and worked for a number of years as a coatings chemist. Completion of her B.Ed. led Lynn to a position at Fanshawe College where she designed and instructed courses for the Academic and Career Entrance Program. In 2005, Lynn moved with her husband and two children to her current home in Elmira. Consequently, she began and continues to teach distance education courses for Fanshawe College.

More Posts - Website

Techne and Teaching: Is Teaching an Artful Science or a Scientific Art? – Catherine Schryer

Plato

The other day during a discussion someone mentioned that teaching was obviously a techne. From the context of the discussion they seemed to mean that teaching consisted of a set of consistent practices. Just by chance, my research group and I had done a lot of investigation into the history of the term techne. We had been investigating teaching and learning practices in healthcare situations and noted the novice practitioners were often rigorously tested on their knowledge of specific facts and terms while at the same time their mentors sometimes talked about moving beyond facts and negotiating situations of uncertainty. We also tied these two conflicting observations into the debate around medicine as either an art or science. Continue reading Techne and Teaching: Is Teaching an Artful Science or a Scientific Art? – Catherine Schryer

Catherine Schryer

As Director of the Centre for Excellence from 2006 to 2009, Catherine F. Schryer provided leadership in the promotion, development, and advancement of excellence in teaching and learning at the University of Waterloo. Prior to joining the Centre, Catherine was Director of the University of Waterloo's Teaching Resources Office. She has a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition Studies, with interests in advanced literacies in the professions as well as education and healthcare communication. Catherine is now Chair of the Department of Professional Communication at Ryerson University.

More Posts