Creative and Flexible – Marlene Griffith Wrubel

In the past two months, a number of workshops were offered on current trends in teaching and learning, including How to Develop Activities that Incorporate the Concept of a Deep Approach to Learning, Personal Autonomy in Learning, Flipping the Classroom, and the Meaning of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) in Education.

Recurring themes of collaboration and feedback, instructor creativity and flexibility, and injecting elements of fun in courses were addressed. Most importantly, faculty from different disciplines had an opportunity to interact with each other about the learning environments they have developed to support their students.

I was fortunate to take part in some of those conversations. It is clear to me that the successful instructors (instructors happy with how students learn in their course) are those who are creative and flexible in their approach to teaching. These instructors have systematically reworked learning activities to meet their learning outcomes. Their students learn through trial and error, receive feedback from their peers and the instructor, and are given an opportunity to improve in subsequent course activities. The learning activity is structured to emphasize the learning process and encourage students to think about the course material rather than focus on their grade. The instructor may not always be centre-stage or initiate the next step in the life of the assignment but guides the learning process nonetheless. These instructors also recognize that soliciting informal and formal student feedback of their learning experience is an important element of maintaining a good learning environment.

The trends in teaching and learning mentioned at the start of this blog will be present for the foreseeable future. Adoption of some of these trends to the classroom and online environment will take creativity and flexibility on the part of instructors. In some cases, it is already being done by faculty on campus. For anyone looking to boost their creativity quotient, you need look no further than what is happening in your department or on campus. I appreciated all of the conversations that took place in the workshops I attended. I encourage you to attend upcoming CTE events and let us know what you are doing in your class.

Johnson, Steven (2010). Where good ideas come from. Retrieved October 31, 2012, from

Post-Secondary Education: A Forecast — Marlene Griffith Wrubel

I recently attended a panel discussion on Imagining Canada’s Future at Congress 2012. The three speakers, Dan Gardner, Don Tapscott and Diana Carney talked about the difficulties of predicting future changes in Canada over the next twenty years. What is clear is that change will happen and technology seems to be an undeniable force behind these changes. Tapscott encouraged us to participate in the change through his words, “the future is to be achieved”. This panel discussion left me wondering about the future of post-secondary education. I want to share two scenarios. Continue reading Post-Secondary Education: A Forecast — Marlene Griffith Wrubel

Blogs and Eportfolios in Waterloo’s LEARN — Marlene Griffith Wrubel

Waterloo LEARN is the new online learning system. It was introduced in the Spring of 2011 and has been fully integrated in on-campus blended courses since January 2012. There are many activities that faculty can use in this system to increase the learning experience for their students. Continue reading Blogs and Eportfolios in Waterloo’s LEARN — Marlene Griffith Wrubel

Exercise = Brain Power — Marlene Griffith Wrubel

I try not to make New Year’s resolutions. But this year I did;  I’ve decided to improve my cognitive capacity. The first thought that came to mind was to purposely learn something new such as enrolling in a language course this Spring. Instead I’ve decided to accomplish two things with one activity: I’m going to improve my physical and mental health through exercise. Continue reading Exercise = Brain Power — Marlene Griffith Wrubel

Khan Academy: Free and Straightforward Learning Resources — Marlene Griffith Wrubel

I recently found an online resource that even Bill Gates and his children use.  Khan Academy is a website dedicated to teaching.  It is the product of Salman Khan, Harvard MBA graduate and a former hedgefund manager.  The information contained on the site is free, available around the clock, and requires just your time and interest in learning the material presented. Continue reading Khan Academy: Free and Straightforward Learning Resources — Marlene Griffith Wrubel