Tag Archives: creative thinking

UBC LipDub!

I *finally* was able to see UBC’s contribution to LipDub and I must say it brought a few tears to my eyes! I continue to be impressed by the energy, enthusiasm, and engagement of so many of our students here at UBC, and it was so fun to see some of my students taking part! Congratulations to all involved on a fantastic celebration of UBC-V!

Check it out here. Ok… break’s over… must get back to creating exams…

Celebrating the end of term!

And what a term it’s been! It’s certainly been busy and challenging, but I feel like I have learned a lot and I have had a ton of fun! This term I taught learners in two courses: the continuation of Intro Psyc (go section 6!) and Psyc 208 (a course I designed called How Social Psych Can Help You Succeed).

This year the students in my Intro Psych class were so wonderfully curious and engaged! I felt such great energy from them every day (some days more than others, but that’s normal!), and they truly inspired me to bring my “A game” every day (which I tried my best to do!). Here are some photos from our last day together. I had asked them to write their most important take-away message from this course. Take a look… 

Last week in Psyc 208 we held the Creative Advertisement Showcase, which was a fantastic celebration of what they had discovered throughout the term! Previously, teams of students had identified a learning challenge they face, investigated primary sources for insight into understanding and addressing the challenge, and summarized those sources in annotated bibliographies and team abstracts. The purpose of the Creative Advertisment was to get the word out to fellow students about research-based techniques and strategies for addressing the learning challenges they face. They truly were creative! Projects ranged from video and live games to posters to live skits and demonstrations to videos and pamphlets… an impressive variety! Check out some of their videos and websites (ordered by team #)…

Team 7’s Learning about Distractions:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lts-wX9L8q4

Team 9’s Learning Environments: http://psyc208.wordpress.com/

Team 12’s Sleep & Learning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaqQkImzagU

Team 15’s Stress Happens, Even for a Jedi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnmYyz61Mys with website: http://ipixels.net/stress/

Team 18’s Technology Crackdown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zBCkhIoS74  

Team 22’s Cultural Differences and Learning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jPW6tRA20w

And here’s a shot of Team 13’s interactive “Choose Your Own Adventure” study strategies station in action!

Thanks to everyone for a fantastic year! Study smartly for your finals… and remember that no matter how you do on them, that’s not a reflection of your worth as a person.


I have spent the last three days at the annual conference of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in Toronto. Wow, I have hit exhaustion. So many ideas. So many engaging conversations. Inspired. Overwhelmed. I can’t do it all. But I can do. The challenge over the next few days for me will be to hold on to the most important nuggets. A list of some key ideas to help:

  • Embrace the Smackdown in Teaching Smackdowns. Try to find out what real issues are facing faculty in our department, and invite conversation. Consider a panel including undergrad and grad students, faculty, and administrators. Ground the discussion in the literature. — from Pedagogical Provocations workshop (e.g., Connie @ U of A)
  • A cat doesn’t come until the can opener sounds. Creative insight doesn’t occur with out work. — a metaphor Amanda Burk heard
  • What in my courses is taught/assessed, taught/not assessed (and so on to fill out the quadrants)? Decision points. — from someone Amanda Burk heard
  • Students learn what they do. What are students in my classes doing?
  • To download a Youtube video, add pwn before youtube in the url.
  • To teach “knowledge-ability” (1) enage in real problems, (2) with students, (3) while harnessing the relevant tools. — Michael Wesch @ Kansas; implications for my 208 assignment; see ideas document
  • To examine  test questions: What is the test question asking? What learning is the question evaluating? How can it be re-written so these align? Consider cognitive load theory. — Joanne Nakonechny
  • “On an exam, I ask you to be competent, not clever. On an assignment you have 2 weeks to think about, I ask you to be clever.” — another participant’s comment re: evaluation
  • Break down a tough exam question. Think out loud as I respond. What assumptions do I make? Can I structure the question so that students demonstrate understanding of the theory, then ability to use it, then ability to apply it, then ability to turn it on its head. — insight from Joanne’s session.
  • Email my former student Gillian about her work on the NSSE.
  • Think about how I can help demystify academia for my students.
  • At the first year level, you are joining the professional academic community. What impact does that have for my first weeks of class? Tie professional communication to job preparation. Email and general etiquette. Give examples of high quality work, compare to poor quality, and differentiate them. — from Professionalism session (Waterloo connection)
  • Celebrate failure: “How fascinating!”  — from Nicola Simmons’ session (Waterloo office of learning and teaching)
  • (How) can I contribute to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning? What will that look like in my career? How can I balance this in the context of my other responsibilities, especially in terms of time? — from Nicola Simmons’ session (Waterloo office of learning and teaching)
  • What excites me about SoTL is the potential for collaborating with students and colleagues, making a meaningful contribution, expanding the impact of my work, staying accountable for my teaching and learning actions. — from Nicola Simmons’ session (Waterloo office of learning and teaching)
  • Grad student teaching portfolio resources: http://www.mcgill.ca/tls/teachingportfolio/
  • Interdisciplinarity: There are more commonalities that one would think. The creative process as described by artists is not unlike the process of developing research and writing it up. We don’t talk about it in the same way, but the processes of attempts, failure, revision, inspiration, feedback/peer review — and the accompanying emotional roller coaster — have many parallels. There are also common issues in teaching people to do really difficult things: e.g., learn technical proficiency and content, critically evaluate their own and others’ work.

This list became much longer than I had anticipated it would, given my fatigue. Yet one of the most important things I’ve learned this year is that whenever I’m close to exhaustion, I can easily be energized by thinking about teaching and learning.

Fun with Research Methods!

What's in the bag?

What's in the bag?

I’m having a blast with my research methods students as we explore the basics of the scientific inquiry process. Here, in small groups, they’re grappling with the “hypothesis generation — collect data — revise hypothesis — collect more data” process by exploring what’s in the bag without looking inside. Today, we were mucking around in the messy world of experimental design. All teams did a great job taking a first stab at desiging a study. Well done and thanks for your participation!