Meeting with UBC-Okanagan’s Dep’t of Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences

August 29th 2017, a lunch time meeting with 9 EEGS faculty (two sending regrets) served to introduce UBC-O faculty and the UCA/UBC curriculum project coordinator to each other. Many thanks to Raina Reddecliff and Craig Nichol for their kind and efficient help in setting up and running the meeting.

In a nutshell, our goal is to generate 22 courses for the University of Central Asia’s new Earth and Environmental Sciences EES degree. The first students at UCA have already begun their 5-year program, and they will be taking our EES courses starting in September 2019 (or 2018 for 3 basic science prerequisites).

The slides used to introduce the project and explain details are available here as a PDF: UBCO-UCAproject-slides. Further details can be seen on pages at our project blog https://blogs.ubc.ca/eescourses/

We hope faculty will be able to engage as consulting subject experts, and to share teaching and learning resources or strategies with our team of 11 course authors (who are themselves experts in their own geoscience or environmental science subject areas).

Course authors (or science education specialists – SESs) will be doing all the work, and faculty subject experts need only meet or exchange communications occasionally (perhaps an hour per week or less on average) over the 2-year duration of this project. And yes, there are some monetary incentives – please ask for details.

Next steps:

  • Details about how faculty can engage with, and benefit from, this project are loosely outlined at https://blogs.ubc.ca/eescourses/files/2017/07/Faculty-expectations.pdf.
  • Project personnel may contact you with a request for an initial conversation sometime in the Fall of 2017. Of course there are no obligations, but we believe this may be an awesome opportunity to connect with researchers working in Central Asia, and to make a significant contribution to education in the Earth and environmental sciences, both at UCA, and here in BC, for our own students.
  • If you have graduate students and/or post-docs or RAs with an interest, by all means please put them in touch with Francis Jones, <fjones@eoas.ubc.ca>
  • AND, if you have questions or ideas, again, please contact Francis by email.

Thank you everyone for your interest and the friendly welcome. Hopefully we can move forward with further interactions between UBC-V and UBC-O faculty who have common interests in Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences.

By the way, if you have concerns about intellectual property (or any other formalities), please ask for details – we have a contract covering all such concerns that was carefully crafted by UBC’s legal council and signed by President Ono and UCA’s chairman of the board of trustees, Dr. Kassim-Lakha on Jan. 10, 2017.


Thinking about program level curriculum

With the kind support from Andrea Han of CTLT, 8 team-members met to begin an ongoing discussion about program-level curriculum. Two principal objectives were (1) to kick-start the project as a whole by getting as many team-members as possible together at the start of the 2017 school year, and (2) to begin mapping common conceptual or skills-related learning threads that will occur throughout the 3-year EES program.

curriculum
Team workshop about curriculum

Here we see the group attempting to articulate learning outcomes for specific courses under the banner of individual “program level outcomes”. This proved challenging, and led to several useful discussions. For example, it may be that this kind of mapping may be more appropriate for curriculum “review” rather than what we are doing here which is curriculum “design” – from scratch.

At this early stage of curriculum design, we do not yet have anything specific to map onto those program-level outcomes. In contrast, in a program “review” situation, there is an existing suite of courses that can be mapped onto the objectives, or pedagogic strategies, or assessment practices, or whatever.

As a next step, we will try having course authors (as experts in their disciplines) articulate key concepts and skills for each course WITHOUT regard for overarching goals. Then we can look for threads, and begin mapping results onto overarching outcomes later. This could be thought of as “bottom up” as opposed to “top down” thinking. Both will be important, and this first workshop was very helpful for getting the thinking started. We will most likely benefit from a sort of “yin and yang” approach that incorporates both perspectives.

Andrea also exposed us to several different types of “mappings” and provided an excellent “curriculum mapping primer” written by staff at CTLT. It’s contents are:

  • What is curriculum mapping and why do it?
  • Data which can be included in curriculum mapping
  • Approaches for collecting the data
  • Questions to ask yourself to help organize the curriculum mapping process
  • Relevant Resources (a short bibliography)
  • Appendix 1: Curriculum map examples
  • Appendix 2: Example of a survey to instructors, less details
  • Appendix 3: Example of a survey to instructors, more details