Category: Conversations with Colleagues

  • Blended Learning

    Blended Learning

    There are many ways to describe  blended learning. One of my favourites describes blended learning as a “pedagogical approach that combines the effectiveness and socialization opportunities of the classroom with the technologically enhanced active learning possibilities of the online environment.” The Handbook of Blended Learning : Global Perspectives, Local Designs I like this one because…

  • Backward Design

    Backward Design

    How do you approach the design of your course? Teachers often discuss the broad topics and content we teach in our courses. A standard curriculum and instructional design method is to plan by units or lessons, chunking content into topics, sequencing lessons, and creating assessments to measure learning. However, topic-driven planning may lead to poor…

  • Universal Design for Learning

    Universal Design for Learning

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework we can use to design courses that are more inclusive and accessible. The framework, developed by CAST,  is quite extensive and there are many resources available that can help you implement UDL principles. In this blog post we will provide an overview of the three UDL guidelines…

  • Strategies for Asynchronous Online Learning

    Strategies for Asynchronous Online Learning

    A topic of interest in higher education these days is the future of instructional modalities. Educause describes a trend in students’ preferences for modalities that are mostly or entirely online because of the many benefits for students. Online asynchronous courses are characterized by self-paced flexible design to accommodate the needs of students. Students access course…

  • Flexible Assessment

    Flexible Assessment

    What is Flexible Assessment? Flexible assessment can take many forms. The flexibility may come from format, due dates or topic. It can apply to individual assignments or the assessment plan for your entire course. However, the success of any approach to flexible assessment will stem from the development of clearly established learning outcomes.  Why Adopt…

  • Difficult Conversations in the Classroom

    Difficult Conversations in the Classroom

    We’ve all had (or worried about) that experience where the in-class discussion is lively and productive, until a student says something that upsets everyone.  How to respond on the spot?  How to mend the community that is your classroom after someone has said something ‘out of line’? Or, if the case allows, how to make…

  • UnGrading: What is it? How would you DO it?

    UnGrading: What is it? How would you DO it?

    A few thoughts on grades by people who think deeply about teaching and learning: Grades are not a good incentive.Grades are not good feedback.Grades encourage competitiveness over collaboration.Grades are not good markers of learning.Grades don’t reflect the idiosyncratic, subjective, emotional character of learning.Grades aren’t “fair”. Grades can dampen existing intrinsic motivation, give rise to extrinsic…

  • What Are Rubrics and Why Use Them?

    What Are Rubrics and Why Use Them?

    A rubric is any tool that is used to communicate the criteria and standards for evaluating student work. Rubrics tell students and instructors what it is that is being used to measure achievement in student work. When used appropriately rubrics can be effective teaching tools for the purpose of clarifying expectations for students. They can…

  • Early Feedback Service

    Early Feedback Service

    The Early Feedback Service is a mechanism for gathering feedback from your students around midterm—before it is too late to make changes that might improve your students’ learning experience this semester

  • Building Community in the Classroom

    Building Community in the Classroom

    As we covered in last week’s blog, starting the semester off right includes building community in the classroom, promoting student engagement, co-creating classroom expectations, designing an inviting and inclusive syllabus, and growing considerations of student well-being. This week, we will dive more deeply into the steps you can take to build community in your classroom.…

  • Starting Your Semester Off Right

    Starting Your Semester Off Right

    Our first interactions with our students are an opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the course. Whether we are meeting them face to face, via Zoom or asynchronously via VIULearn we can use this time to connect with students, have students connect with each other, have them connect with the content and…