Teaching Tips from the Trenches

A collection of teaching strategies from VIU faculty

How to facilitate presentation sharing in an async environment (Carleigh Randall)

Quote: “I was quite surprised by the richness of questions and the depth of responses.” Challenge: How to maximize collaboration among students, and share out information in a virtual setting Carleigh was looking for an interesting way to meet two… Continue Reading →

How to bring skeletons to life in a virtual world (David Hopwood)

Quote: “How do you get the experience of handling, examining and comparing the material in an environment where you can’t have the material?” Assessment Challenge: Dave Hopwood’s Anthropology labs provide hands-on experiences for students. They manipulate and examine skeletal material… Continue Reading →

How to evaluate 3D student artifacts from a distance (Chai Duncan, Yumin Liu, Maya Florey, and Kylee Bowman)

Photo courtesy of Kylee Bowman

How to take the practical home (Damien Miles and Terry Fedchuk)

Assessment challenge: “How do we take the practical component of this course home?” Students in Damien Miles’s electrical course usually participate in labs where they use tools, materials, parts, and pieces that they have access to on campus. These labs… Continue Reading →

Managing the mountain of grading (Pam Shaw and Mark Holland)

Assessment challenge: How to manage the Mount Everest of grading in online (and face to face) environments Pam acknowledged that within her Introduction and History of Planning (PLAN 501) course, she traditionally has done a mountain of grading including two… Continue Reading →

Using verbal exams to address the “cheat factor” (Rita Gower)

Assessment challenge: How to get around the “cheat factor” for online exams Rita and her colleagues were concerned about the use of online exams, and worried specifically about academic integrity issues. Therefore, Rita wanted to create an effective way to… Continue Reading →

Making group work fair, equitable and participatory (Jessica Gemella)

Key Quote: “Students came up with criteria I wouldn’t have expected, like “creativity” and “motivation”” Assignment challenge: How can I ensure that student group work is being done equitably, and that all members are contributing to the project? Solution: Co-create… Continue Reading →

Quick tip: Replacing quizzes with crossword puzzles (Alison Taplay)

Quick tip: looking for an alternative to quizzes? Try a crossword puzzle Instead of giving students a quiz, Alison Taplay (Education Assistant and Community Support Certificate Program) uses an online crossword puzzle generator to create an alternative, engaging and interactive… Continue Reading →

Growing hundreds of poinsettias while social distancing (Jessica Gemella and Christine Quist)

Assessment Challenge: How can students participate meaningfully in the mass production of poinsettias (in the greenhouse) while also social distancing? Solution: While a technician takes over the mass production in the greenhouse, students can grow their own poinsettias at home… Continue Reading →

Using and understanding field instruments without actually having the instruments (Jeff Lewis and Michele Patterson)

Assessment Challenge: How can geography students become familiar with essential tools of the trade–field instruments, if we can’t get the instruments to the students? Solution: Have each student create an instructional video to teach the rest of the class how… Continue Reading →

Quick tip: Keeping track of student time zones (Enrique Chacon)

Enrique Chacon (International Student Advisor) During this time of online learning, it can be difficult to remember that some of our students may be participating in synchronous classes from a different province or from outside of Canada. In some cases,… Continue Reading →

Covering theory in an asynchronous (VIULearn) way (Rita Gower)

Key Quote: “I needed to do something to make them feel as comfortable as possible.” Assignment challenge: Moving face-to-face theory classes to online Some creative maneuvering allowed baking students to continue to attend face-to-face classes for the skills-based, hands-on portion… Continue Reading →

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