“Wellbeing is addressed everywhere on campus EXCEPT in the classroom.”
Seen on a banner at the Building Connections: Wellbeing and Teaching event hosted by SFU Teaching and Learning Centre and SFU Health Promotion.
Ouch, it hurts!
It’s our job TOO in addition to content delivery, classroom management and authentic assessment, but it shouldn’t take too much of our energy, for example:
- Adding pronouns after our name on our syllabus, suggested by Adam Dyck
- Eg. Judy Chan (she, her, hers, and Ms)
- Connecting our students with our land, suggested by David Zandvliet
- Connecting students with each other
- Eg: Nicky Didicher led a meditation activity and asked us to think of the busyness of each other in the room
- Eg: Lara Aknin asked her students to generate study guides
- Connecting with students more ourselves
- Eg: Kate Tairyan adapted virtual and flexible office hours
I heard them all at a M.Sc. defence where the candidate describe his experience developing a web-based tool on forest floor classification and how he used multiple factor analysis to understand the effectiveness of the tool based on surveys gathered from 120 students in a soil science course. Ninety-four percent of students agreed or strongly agreed that the Forest Floor web-based resource was helpful for learning forest floor concepts.
I, as a sessional lecturer for an introductory course of 120 students, had also administrated a 40-question survey to understand how students in my class perceived the effectiveness of the different strategies I implemented. The result is messy.
This strikes me because there has been an active discussion on the POD listserve on quantitative reasoning and and literacy for faculty developers. We are surrounded with data nowadays and data collection is happening the moment our students visit our course sites, click a button, watch a video, and/or simple do nothing. What numeracy skills do we need to make sense of all these data?
‘Observation’ of outside-of-the-classroom experience has become a standard request in recent peer review of teaching even when courses are taught primarily in the face-to-face environment. Reviewees do not only want feedback on how they organize their content online, and they also wish to know if the online discucssion is effective, how the students are engaged, etc. More importantly, they like to know if the transition from the face-to-face classroom to the out-of-the-classroom logical and smooth for the students.
This put a lot of expectations on the peer reviewers. I look for ways to make my feedback more useful. I also look for a more systemic approach. I found this:
Instruments for self-evaluation, peer review and student rating for online courses are available via this Quality Online Learning and Teaching tool developed by the California State University, http://courseredesign.csuprojects.org/wp/qolt/.
Teaching is often an isolated activity at our setting. Getting a group of colleagues together and facilitated rich discussions about course design and designing courses that transform learning is something I deeply care about.
What Do I Consider Essential or Critical?
* An open, safe environment where existing thoughts can be shared, supported, challenged, reinforced, defended, influenced, shattered, changed, etc
* Attention to the diverse needs of our participants
* Framework, theory, evidence in effective course design
* Exemplary teaching practices that work in different context at UBC
* Attenuated to academic culture
* An open, flexible workshop structure modeled based on frameworks such as Dee Fink, Wiggins & McTighe, etc.
* A team of open, knowledgeable facilitators who model the theories and practices
My thoughts generated during our Redesign of the Course Design Intensive offered through the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology.
Planning Online Course cc licensed (BY NC SA) Flickr photo by Giuliana Forsythe