Cracker Barrel Discussions

Wednesday June 20, 2012  |  2:00pm - 3:15pm

Room: Salon Mont Royal

CB.01 - Everything old is new again:  Re-instituting and re-thinking reference services in a small liberal arts and sciences university
M. L. Atkin, K. Hernden (Algoma University) - Canada

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Long before Jeff Treziack announced on Twitter that the reference desk at McMaster University was gone, Algoma University (then Algoma University College) closed its desk due to a shortage of professional librarian staff.  Algoma faculty, not unlike faculty at other institutions, complained about the lack of student knowledge of academic sources, plagiarism, citation, and the like – with one difference – unlike other institutions, the lack of a reference desk meant that students were more likely to Google or ask friends because they had no visible reference desk (physical or virtual) to go for help.  The presenters argue that this absence of a ‘desk’ has had a negative impact on the Library and the University – one which a new generation of professional and paraprofessional library staff have been trying to address and reverse.   

In April 2011 the Reference Desk re-opened for the first time in a decade.  This cracker barrel session will explore student and faculty attitudes regarding the re-opening of the desk, and the role that reference service plays in the overall academic success of a university’s student population.  Taking the view that valuable lessoned can be learned from the past in terms of traditional reference service, this session also looks to discuss with session participants the future of reference services at Algoma University. 

CB.02 - Exploring science through writing: Recipes for success
A. Cassidy, J. Fox (University of British Columbia) - Canada

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Join us to talk about the value, challenges and opportunities of introducing writing in the sciences. You will be actively engaged through a World Café discussion and sharing model. All ideas and experiences generated though this activity will be shared electronically after the session. Add these resources to your recipe box for writing in the sciences, a topic we feel has the capacity to re-draw boundaries.

Here is our recipe: Invite first year students to explore science as a way of knowing. Blend in-class and other writing, emphasizing the process of ongoing feedback, including through online Calibrated Peer Review. Make sure that no class is greater than 25 students, to allow an interactive seminar format. Create a team of faculty and teaching assistants from a range of science disciplines to teach the sections. Support the teaching team through regular professional development meetings. Assess the course through scholarship of teaching and learning research, using a collaborative approach. Fine-tune as needed, checking for efficacy at each step.

By the end of this cracker-barrel, you will be able to take parts of our experience, add those of others, and then adapt your own recipe for success at your institution.

CB.03 - Interdisciplinary doctoral dissertations: Support for those standing on the dotted line
L. Kinderman, C. Hoessler (Queen's University) - Canada

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What counts as a doctoral dissertation? As the basis of doctoral degrees, dissertations (or doctoral theses) are defined by the expectation of producing original work within a field. For example, McGill’s Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office specifies that a doctoral thesis “must constitute original scholarship and must be a distinct contribution to knowledge…[and] must clearly demonstrate how the research advances knowledge in the field” (2011). Nationally, the CAGS/UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award recognizes “doctoral students whose dissertations make an original contribution to their academic field.” As Comer (n.d.) summarizes, “Two important adjectives used to describe a dissertation are 'original' and 'substantial.' ”.

How is originality defined, and what characterizes a substantial contribution? Does dissertation research need to remain in just one disciplinary field to qualify as original? If it draws on two fields, can it still be considered substantive? Considering that most research stays within a discipline’s boundaries and digs deeper within an area, should research that crosses boundaries to create new theoretical bridges be seen as equally original and equally substantive?

If the answer is yes, and both boundary-crossing and single-discipline research are equally valid, what are the challenges involved in encouraging productive interdisciplinarity? Graduate students in interdisciplinary programs with faculty and students from a variety of disciplines experience incompatible advice, unrelated course offerings, mismatched program requirements and conflicting expectations, along with divided social networks (Newswander & Borrego, 2009). Disciplinary border-crossing research faces the risk of lower quality work due to a lack of readily available support: good interdisciplinary research requires deep knowledge of the premises, aims, and approaches of two or more disciplines. More accessible, according to Metz (2001), are interdisciplinary conversations; however, extra effort is still required for researchers to participate fully and “deeply” in an interdisciplinary conversation and achieve the benefits of creating and meaningfully applying combined research frameworks.

Given the goal of substantive original research and these challenges, how can educational developers, research supervisors, graduate studies administrators, and the higher education community support doctoral students whose dissertation research crosses disciplinary boundaries?


Canadian Association of Graduate Studies (n.d.). The CAGS/UMI Distinquished Dissertation Awards. Retrieved from

Comer,D. E. (n.d.) How to write a dissertation or bedtime reading for people who do not have time to sleep.

McGill Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. (2011) Introduction – Doctoral theses

Metz, M.H. (2001). Intellectual border crossing in graduate education: A report from the field. Educational Researcher, 30 (5), 12-18. doi: 10.3102/0013189X030005012

Newswander, L.K., & Borrego, M. (2009). Engagement in two interdisciplinary graduate programs. Higher Education, 58, 551-562. doi: 10.1007/s10734-009-9215-z

CB.04 -  Establishing boundaries in the open classroom
R. Horgan (Queen's University) - Canada

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The focus of this Cracker-barrel session is to discuss the challenges in maintaining work-life balance when teaching a blended learning course. I have taught a number of online and blended learning courses and have appreciated many of benefits afforded by online learning. Online learning opens up the classroom for teaching and learning opportunities 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. However, such benefits of the open classroom have been realized at the cost of spending too much time online at home managing a classroom: responding to emails, private messages, modifying the course, producing multimedia content for the class website, etc. Supporting students with office hours in the open classroom has changed to supporting students as the “teacher on-call”. Participants are encouraged to suggest frameworks for rethinking the open classroom and practical strategies to find balance in establishing boundaries in the open classroom.

CB.05 - Undergraduate research and creative works: Learning without boundaries
C. Varnhagen (University of Alberta) - Canada

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The goal of this cracker barrel discussion is to stimulate discussion about involving undergraduates in research and creative works. We tend to think of undergraduate research and creative works as mentored research, honors programs, independent studies. But undergraduate research includes describing your research to a large lecture class, teaching the tools of the trade in topical classes and methods classes, providing inquiry-based assignments and learning environments, and, of course, mentored work.

I will pose three questions to participants (hopefully instructors and students):
* What does undergraduate research and creative works mean to you?
* What are some examples you would like to share?
* What are some examples of increased student engagement?

Expected Outcomes
I anticipate that participants will come away with a broader definition of undergraduate research and creative works, validation of their efforts, and ideas for engaging students through undergraduate research.

CB.06 - Expanding the boundaries of faculty development in higher education: Research on good teaching
A. Webb, S. Anderson Redmond (University of British Columbia) - Canada

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The goals of this session are to learn about methods for engaging students in learning without boundaries through undergraduate research and share ways in which we can engage students in undergraduate research. The University of Alberta, recognizing that one of the greatest resources for discovering new knowledge, applying new knowledge, and creating great works, has created the Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI; Because STLHE has been such an important venue for the development of URI, of course, a final goal is to show off some of this important initiative and obtain feedback and examples from other institutions.

We will begin by considering a modified framework for understanding integrating research, teaching and learning (e.g., Brew, 2006; Griffiths, 2004; Hattie & Marsh, 1996; Healey, 2005; Healey & Jenkins, 2009; Jenkins, 2004; Jenkins, et al., 2003; Jenkins & Healey, 2005) that we are using at the University of Alberta. Our framework considers different aspects of the integration of research, teaching and learning (e.g., learning about the latest research, learning methods of the discipline, developing an inquiry-based learning environment, mentored research) from the perspective of the learning environment (instructor-centred to learning-centred) and learning outcomes (based on Anderson & Krathwohl’s update of Bloom’s taxonomy; Anderson & Krathwohl, 2000; Bloom, 1956). We will also briefly discuss different dimensions of undergraduate research (Beckman & Hensel, 2009) that help describe the nature of the experience, namely process versus product centered goals, students versus instructor initiation, curricular versus co-curricular basis.

We will then break into small groups to discuss examples from our own classes and institutions of how we integrate teaching, research and learning in undergraduate courses, experiences, and opportunities. Participants will fit their examples into the framework and consider the dimensions.

Discussion will likely dominate the session but a few participants may be willing to share their examples. Hopefully the discussion will continue beyond the session, especially as we develop a special interest group on integrating teaching and research.

Expected Outcomes
I hope that participants will have a better understanding of undergraduate research (aka, the teaching-research nexus, integration of teaching and research) and recognize ways in which they are engaging students in undergraduate research through discussing their research with students, teaching methods, designing assignments and activities that encourage students to apply these methods, and mentoring students in new research and creative works.

I also hope to learn more examples of engaging students in undergraduate research and develop a network of instructors, curriculum developers, undergraduate and graduate students, and administrators within STLHE.

CB.07 -  Performing marginalization: Unpacking online testimonials of racialized/poor youth from Canadian and American post-secondary access initiatives
Y. Munro (York Universeity) - Canada

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In both Canada and the U.S., the increasing gap in post-secondary education enrolment and attainment among lower-income and racialized youth compared to middle/higher income and non-racialized youth continues to be a topic of ongoing public policy concern. As research indicates a strong connection between post-secondary education attainment (completion of baccalaureate degree) and higher incomes, upward economic/social mobility, greater participation in civic activities, higher occupational prestige and improved health outcomes (Orfield et al., 2005, Karen and Dougherty, 2005, Pasque, 2010), the challenge of increasing access to, participation in and completion of post-secondary education has been taken up in different ways both within and outside of higher education institutions. Supported either through targeted government funding/legislation and/or philanthropy, a growing number of post-secondary institutions in Canada and the U.S. have created special ‘access’ programs and/or initiatives aimed at supporting students (often from racialized communities and/or low-income families) to develop the academic and social skills needed to transition into and complete post-secondary studies. Similarly, philanthropic and/or not-for-profit organizations, dedicated to providing marginalized youth with the social, academic and financial supports, also serve as pieces of the ‘post-secondary access puzzle’. In exchange for the ‘opportunity’ to attend university, students who are the participants of such access programs are increasingly featured in promotional materials (print/video) intended to reference the success of such programs/initiatives.
This paper unpacks the potentially problematic ways that youth of colour/poor youth are portrayed for public consumption under the banner of promoting post-secondary access and examines critically the juxtaposition of racialized/poor bodies within the socio-political discourse of higher education. In examining the testimonials given by racialized/poor youth available in the public domain, videos posted online by philanthropic/ charitable organizations and higher education institutions, several key questions arise. How do these scripted narratives and representations of racialized/low-income youth play into, reinforce and re-inscribe limiting/problematic conceptualizations of race, poverty and marginality? By appearing to willingly offer their highly personal stories for public consumption, what ‘benefits’ or agency, if any, do these young people gain by displaying or performing their marginalization? Theorists have argued that universities are exclusionary ‘contested sites’ that uphold neo-liberal, Eurocentric, hegemonic values (Wagner et al., 2008; Butler, 2005; Simpson, 2003) and favour a “particular selection and ordering of narratives and subjectivities (Giroux, 1992). Racialized and poor students ‘permitted’ entry through special access programs/initiatives challenge institutional/systemic and geographical boundaries and ultimately lead to the blurring/shifting/reconfiguring of the conceptual borderlands that define higher education.
The analysis of online testimonials given by access program/initiative students suggests that ‘performing marginalization’ is indeed complex, multi-layered with meanings/readings that serve political purposes that reinforce neo-liberal, hegemonic values and push the boundaries/borders of how we understand/see race, gender, class within the context of higher education.

CB.08 - Laptop learning with Mathematica
F. Szabo, R. Reilly, J. Barrington, J. Bentley (Concordia University) - Canada

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The Laptop Learning Project is investigating the impact of laptop computers and the new natural-language interface of Mathematica on the way we can teach mathematics and how students are able to learn, verbalize, and use mathematical concepts.

The predictable logic of Mathematica makes it relatively straightforward to recast the “do-as-I-do” blackboard-to-notebook traditional style of teaching and learning into a multimedia, interactive, and lucid experience.

Utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods, this research intends to capture what happens when an introductory mathematics course is transformed in this way.

What does the instructor need to know and do differently?

What do students need to know and do differently?

What, if any, are the actual and perceived benefits to student learning?

And what are the roadblocks in terms of the security of online examinations, in particular examinations written online without blocking out access to the Internet.

A collaborative research team has been formed to support, refine, and learn from this experimental course.

The collaboration is based on the course instructor and primary investigator’s 25 years of sustained technology innovation and benefits from the expertise of one senior professor and two educational developers interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Sources of data include: classroom observations of the enacted curriculum and the creation of the learning space; instructor lesson plans and reflections; and students’ reflective responses to learning.

Preliminary reflections on the first round of data collection will be presented and discussed. Participants will engage in a laptop learning activity with Mathematica.

CB.09 - Fostering student reflexivity in community-based service learning
A. Allahwala (University of Toronto Scarborough), N. El-Hadi (University of Toronto) - Canada

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Continuous reflection is a crucial component in community-based service learning and allows students to examine their positionality as they cross the boundary between the traditional university classroom and the community environment. Critical reflexivity is crucial for understanding and appreciating different conceptions of knowledge and pedagogy in academic and community settings, as well as negotiating uneven power dynamics and potential tensions at the academy-community boundary, in particular when working with or in marginalized communities. Based on the session organizers’ experience as instructors of two community-based undergraduate courses in the City Studies program at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), this session will give participants involved in community-based experiential and service learning the opportunity to share ideas about what activities are best suited to guide students through Kolb’s (1984) “experiential learning cycle” by linking the concrete experience in and with the community to self-reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation.

CB.10 - How can teachers demonstrate that they care about students' learning?
R. Polegato (Mount Allison University) - Canada

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What connects good teaching to good learning? Part of the answer lies in the strong empirical evidence that students respond well when as a teacher you know what you’re talking about, when you are prepared to talk for class, when you communicate well, and when you’re enthusiastic. But what underlies these four qualities, and what makes them so universally accepted as the key measures of teaching effectiveness from the student perspective? Let me suggest that individually and collectively, these measures suggest that the teacher cares – cares about the subject matter and cares about students’ learning. To care means “to be concerned; to feel an interest” (Gage Canadian Dictionary, 1997). Caring in this sense, then, connects teaching to learning; it transforms detached consideration of subject matter into humanized delivery through lectures, assignments, and projects. What are the concrete actions, though, that communicate this caring? Join the conversation; share your ideas. What are the bogus notions, obvious actions, and hidden gems in the demonstration of caring about students’ learning?

CB.11 - Labo VTÉ – un laboratoire de recherche-action pour pédagogues
A. Beaudin-Lecours, L. Lachapelle-Bégin (La Vitrine Technologie-Éducation) - Canada

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La Vitrine technologie-éducation (VTÉ), fondée en 1992, a pour mission de promouvoir et de soutenir l’intégration des technologies de l’information et des communications (TIC) dans l’enseignement. Depuis sa fondation, elle contribue au soutien des activités des conseillers pédagogiques en TIC de même qu’à l’amélioration des connaissances et des compétences du personnel enseignant du réseau collégial.

Depuis l'automne 2011, la VTÉ propose aux enseignants novateurs et aux acteurs du monde de l’éducation une plateforme collaborative pour réaliser des projets de recherche-action axés sur la technopédagogie : le labo VTÉ. Ces projets d’une durée de quatre à six semaines allient travaux collaboratifs à distance et visioconférences. Soutenus par des activités d’animation et l’apport des médias sociaux, ils contribuent à fortifier une communauté de pratique professionnelle. Jusqu’ici, deux projets ont vu le jour : le Cartable numérique en Sciences humaines et un Guide d’utilisation des médias sociaux.

Le Labo VTÉ regroupe des conseillers et enseignants de différentes institutions, en plus de bénéficier de la contribution d’un important réseau d’experts. Dans un environnement éducatif où s’estompent les frontières entre la salle de classe et les autres lieux d’apprentissage, où émergent de nouveaux espaces publics de collaboration et de « cocréation », la formule semble porteuse pour l’enseignement collégial. La cohabitation d’acteurs issus de contextes variés, partageant des objectifs communs, contribue à l’enrichissement de la communauté et favorise le développement de la pensée critique. La présentation fera donc état de l’expérience vécue et explorera dans quelle mesure la formule peut s’appliquer à la formation des étudiants, dans un contexte où le numérique devient omniprésent.

CB.12 - Peer instruction in psychology lecture classes: The structure of student perceptions
R. Cassidy, Y. Li, M. Buyukkurt (Concordia University) - Canada

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 The current study examines how students perceive Peer Instruction (PI) as having contributed to their learning and engagement. We used a questionnaire to measure multiple dimensions of students’ perceptions of the cognitive and affective benefits of PI in three mid- to upper-level psychology courses in which PI was used. We examine student characteristics (age, academic level, course performance, preferences for learning, and assumptions about lecture courses) that predict the perceived value of PI. We used factor analysis to examine the structure of students’ perceptions. We also report qualitative data regarding students’ perceptions. Student perceptions are positive on all five subscales of Learning and Engagement, namely Mastery of Subject Matter (MSM), Metacognition, Motivation, Enjoyment and Involvement. Regression analysis shows age as a negative predictor for only one (MSM) of the five subscales, and academic standing predicts all subscales but MSM. Course performance does not predict students’ perceived usefulness of PI use on any subscales. Student learning preferences is the most consistent predictor of student perceptions. Preference for traditional lecture style is negatively associated with perceived usefulness of PI. Exploratory factor analysis also shows a structure of attitudes beyond the instrument design. Finally, qualitative analysis of participants’ written comments confirmed both designed and discovered structures of perceptions.
Our findings are discussed in terms of theoretical relations between cognition and affect, as well as between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation driving academic behavior. The combination of theoretical relations and our empirical observations raise issues of pedagogical design in PI implementation. Results are discussed in light of relevant research literature and the detailed description of the specific context of PI used in the study.

The objective of this session is for presenters and participants alike to exchange knowledge and experiences regarding peer instruction and how this method may influence students’ engagement in the learning environment. Our method will be to briefly present our contextualized empirical findings and then invite an open discussion for participants to share their own experiences, interpretations and views on the implementation of peer instruction and the teaching and learning opportunities it might create for students and instructors.

CB.13 - Prendre en compte la dimension affective dans la réflexion critique sur la pratique pour améliorer la relation pédagogique
S. Gravel, J. Tremblay, G. Gagnon  (Cégep de Jonquière) - Canada

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Trois projets subventionnés par le Programme d’aide à la recherche sur l’enseignement et l’apprentissage (Paréa) du Ministère de l’Éducation, des loisirs et du sport nous ont permis de réaliser une démarche de recherche-action qui s’échelonne sur une période de 20 ans et dont l’objectif principal est le développement du jugement critique pour favoriser une meilleure pratique professionnelle. La méthodologie utilisée dans le cadre de ces projets s’appuie sur le modèle de la réflexion critique élaboré par Jan Palkiewicz (1990). Le modèle d’accompagnement qui en a résulté est utilisé avec des élèves en formation initiale dans un programme technique pour favoriser l’intégration des compétences et a été expérimenté avec des professionnels œuvrant dans le monde de l’éducation pour les aider à introduire un changement important dans leur pratique. Les derniers travaux effectués ont permis d’intégrer dans le processus de réflexion les enjeux émotionnels sous-jacents aux problématiques vécues sur le terrain. Quatre communautés de pratique, dont une constituée de neuf enseignants du collégial, ont servi de lieu d’expérimentation. Les résultats de la recherche et le modèle d’accompagnement développé pour favoriser la prise en compte de la dimension affective dans la réflexion critique sur la pratique seront l’objet de l’atelier. Dans ce cadre, il sera question de l’interdisciplinarité, de la formation à l’intériorité et au dialogue éthique tout en démontrant l’importance de ces éléments dans la formation des enseignants et des éducateurs.

CB.14 - No one-time solutions: Prioritizing writing as a graduate attribute in professional colleges
L. Marken, S. Yu (University of Saskatchewan) - Canada

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 Despite employers’ ongoing emphasis on the importance of written communication skills from university professional college graduates, many colleges still struggle to meet these expectations (Coyle, 2010; Leggette, Sitton & Blackwell, 2011; Lindner, Murphy & Wingenbach, 2004; Pritchard & Thomas, 2010).  Solutions such as one-ff composition courses, self-guided online grammar tutorials, and referrals to tutoring are not entirely effective. The University of Saskatchewan Writing Help Centre worked with a large (200+ student) first-year course in the College of Agriculture to improve how students are introduced to scientific writing. Peer mentor-led writing group sessions were carved out of existing lab time.  Sessions emphasized writing as process rather than a product; deployed structured peer-review at key stages of the process; built a community of writers; and led to increased confidence with written communication skills.  Utilizing a pre- and post-methodology, the presenters found that writing groups contributed to significantly decreased levels of struggle in scientific writing and improved performance on writing assessment within their courses.  In the future, studies following students’ writing quality and attitudes toward writing will reveal the long-term success of writing groups, and whether writing groups have contributed meaningfully to writing as a graduate attribute. Participants in this cracker barrel session will discuss the barriers to professional colleges’ writing instruction and whether this or similar models are applicable in other institutions.

CB.15 - Employing the backchannel in your classroom
G. Fleet, S. Reed (University of New Brunswick) - Canada

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Can the presence of mobile devices (with all-day batteries and always-on internet) along with social networking applications (such as Twitter) enhance the learning experience for greater collaboration and co-construction of knowledge both within and beyond the walls of the university?

Purpose: The purpose of this cracker-barrel discussion is to collectively explore and interrogate the constructive use of an internet backchannel in our individual teaching environments. 

Method: The fifteen-minute sessions will each begin with a PechaKucha-style literature review of the research on Twitter as a backchannel in education and conference settings. (PechaKucha is a content- and time-constrained slide presentation where only 20 slides are presented each for only 20 seconds. The result is a 6 minute 40 second scripted presentation where the content is highly visual, rich, dense and laser focused.) The goal of the review is to provide the attendees with a balanced overview of the benefits and drawbacks of a backchannel for learning. 

For the remaining 8 minutes, there is both a Plan A and a Plan B (plan A being the preferred course, though it will depend on the particular group of attendees).

All attendees will be challenged to imagine how they might employ Twitter in their own classrooms. Therefore, as they are listening to the literature review, they will be encouraged to jot down some ideas on the back of the bibliography hand-out. 

Plan A: Ask for attendees to share (in 1 to 2 minutes -- strictly timed!) their idea or plan for using Twitter as a backchannel to engage the students during class time, between classes, or engage with others beyond the class (i.e., individuals not registered for the class). With permission, these short sharing sessions will be video captured for posting on the author's blog. Notes will be taken from those who prefer to share only verbally.

Plan B: If the attendees happen to be extra shy, or maybe prefer to engage with questions rather than ideas, then the remaining eight minutes will be used thus. (Plan B will also have recourse to additional summary slides for presentation and/or discussion.)

Outcomes: All attendees of the session will receive an excellent (visual and verbal) summary of the most up-to-date academic research on the use digital backchannels in higher education. As mentioned, a single-page handout with the lit review bibliography on one side and a note-taking, sketch space on the other. Attendees will be encouraged to think about backchannel possibilities that extend beyond both classroom times and classroom attendees. Apart from hearing ideas and questions from fellow attendees, the use of video and note-taking will allow participants from one session to see, hear, read ideas and questions from the other sessions.  

If accepted, I would craft a short abstract for the proceedings fully explaining the format of and goals for the session, and the need for attendees to arrive on time in order to maximize this short yet high energy session.

CB.16 - PD in the fast lane: Exploring the boundaries of synchronous, online learning
L. Robertson, W. Hardman (University of Ontario Institute of Technology) - Canada

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This paper describes research at a university on a training module designed to assist professors with planning to teach synchronous online classes. The professors were experienced in teaching post-secondary courses and with using different affordances of technology for learning. They also had varying degrees of familiarity with online teaching and online learning environments. Most of the professors were making a transition to their first synchronous online course. This research follows them through their online training experiences, documenting their challenges and lessons learned as well as their perceived sources of support, and specific requirements for further support. The professors were offered the opportunity to debrief with the team leaders after one year of teaching in the synchronous online environment. Their comments on the training and subsequent teaching provide some insights into preparing educators for online, synchronous teaching.

Traditional models of training in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have focused on providing information and skills to meet established standards of practice. The success of the training could, conceivably be measured (e.g., Guskey, 2002; Kirpatrick, 1998) by recording the trainees’ reactions to the training, what they learned, and how they applied their learning. These three levels of training were more easily captured than the fourth level, which was to measure the impact of the training on workplace output, or in the example of teachers, improved student achievement. Incorporating technology into teaching, however, pushes the boundaries of training, particularly when the training itself is conducted in the synchronous, online (target) environment.
While new technologies could be used simply to replace earlier technologies (e.g., interactive whiteboard replaces chalkboard), technology can also be used for transformative purposes, particularly for adult learning (e.g., Cranton & King, 2003;Hughes, 2005; King, 2002; Mezirow, 1997).

This research employs qualitative data analysis to examine transcripts of synchronous online recordings of six training sessions, as well as interviews which were held one year post-training to obtain the professors’ views about the efficacy of the preparation. Findings indicate that the learning curve for even experienced professors is steep when adjusting to the synchronous online environment. They also identify a need for ongoing mentoring throughout the process as well as a distinct need for differentiated instruction in different learning environments to make this transition. Findings also indicate that the change requires numerous first and second-order changes (Ertmer,1999) including new understandings of how the affordances of technology can be applied for transformative purposes with adult learners. These findings provide a window into future considerations when planning to assist professors with the change to synchronous, online learning.

CB.17 - Teaching a reflective and iterative design method
N. Dumont (Concordia University) - Canada

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Iteration is used as a successful design method in graphic design. It was at the core of my undergraduate training at Université Laval and I adopted it in my design practice. Students had difficulties in embracing the method when I first started to teach in the Design and Computation Arts department at Concordia University. During the past two years, I have experimented with different teaching strategies to improve students’ understanding of an iterative design method and I have integrated in the course outlines more and more content about this topic. I have observed an important change in students’ acceptance of the method and their ability to integrate it into their practice.

After a brief presentation about the context, the participants will be presented two different exercises similar to those I use in class to introduce an iterative and reflective design method. By analyzing the completed exercises, the group will reflect on the activity. I will conclude the workshop by showing examples of my students’ design works and iterative processes and will present a selection of their reflections on the experience.

CB.18 - Learning and researching without boundaries: Open access and open education in higher education
J. Corrigan (University of Ottawa) - Canada

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Higher education is entering a new era of unprecedented access to information and education. Few technological advances have paralleled Web 2.0’s potential for greater democratization and innovation in research and learning. Some are calling this dawning age an “infotopia” (Sunstein, 2006, p. 5). In the political arena, the changes brought by Web 2.0 have been nothing short of revolutionary—as is evidenced by Egypt’s Twitter Revolution or the blogosphere stirrings of the Arab Spring. Though the changes in education are not making dramatic headlines, they are equally profound. During a cracker-barrel discussion, I propose to discuss how removing the boundaries that typically constrict higher education might be accomplished by Open Education and Open Access movements.

Many institutions of higher education are advocating Open Education, which began in 2001 with MIT’s OpenCourseWare project (Kamenetz, 2010). Each one of MIT’s 1900 courses—from physics to art history—was made available on the web. By 2009, 63 million users had accessed the syllabi, lectures notes, podcasts, and class activities from these courses. To date, more than 200 educational institutions in 32 countries worldwide have followed suit posting courses online under Creative Commons (CC) licensing (Atkins, Brown, & Hammond, 2007). Open Ed has made possible the unbundling of educational services. Prescient educational reformers—or “edupreneurs” as Kamenetz (2010) calls them—will seize the opportunity to offer students a smorgasbord of educational opportunities. In a world where over 70 percent of youth do not have access to tertiary education (Altbach, Reisberg, & Rumbley, 2009), the market potential is enormous.

In a similar fashion to the Open Ed movement, Open Access—a model wherein readers do not pay for access to online journals—offers yet another way to innovate higher education. With regards to academic journals, some 20 percent of the nearly 2.5 million peer-reviewed articles are now Open Access (Harnad, 2005, as cited in Willinsky, 2007). A journal’s decision to offer access free of charge does not devalue its ranking in the way that, say, free access to a designer shoe label might. To illustrate this, I conducted a small-scale statistical study of academic journals in the field of curriculum studies comparing the journal’s impact factor to its accessibility status. The data revealed that there is no significant correlation between a journal’s status as OA and its ranking, r(12) = -.02, p < .05. This result is supported by dozens of studies that have actually found either no correlation, or even a positive correlation between a journal’s OA policy and its impact factor (Harnad
 & Brody, 2004).

While Open Ed and OA movements have begun to subvert traditional, hegemonic icons of knowledge and education, have they gone far enough? What possibilities for learning and research lie waiting for those brave enough to remove the boundaries entrenched around the ivory towers? I look forward to discussing these matters with my fellow delegates.

CB.19 - Boundaries in visualizing mathematical behavior
A. Hare (Saint Mary's University) - Canada

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In their introductory mathematics courses at the undergraduate level, students begin to appreciate the importance of visualizing the various elementary functions that play such a large role in modelling natural phenomena: the polynomials, simple rational functions, the trigonometric functions, exponential and logarithmic functions. They learn, for example, that the sine function is a good model for most phenomena that cyclically repeat themselves, and that the 1/x function models what happens when a dependent variable is inversely proportional to the independent variable. They practice how to graph such functions on an x-y plane, in order to understand their behavior.

It is surprising to students to learn that a natural combination of such simple functions, the
function sin(1/x), exhibits behavior that is more challenging to visualize. When x is large the function is relatively easy to draw; as x gets smaller the function begins to behave in an increasingly wild manner. There comes a point where it is no longer possible to accurately represent the function.

I will discuss my approach to guiding my students to a conceptual understanding of the graph of sin(1/x). For many students, this serves to help consolidate their grasp of a number of topics at once, including the periodicity of the sine function and the meaning of continuity. The sin(1/x) function can serve as one of their first counterexamples, helping them to appreciate better the tamer functions that they normally encounter.

I see three boundaries here, the first two closely related. First, a boundary erected by mathematicians between “nice” vs “wild” functions (captured for example by the concept of continuity). Much hard work went into making this division conceptually clear and rigorous. Second, a boundary between those functions that are most often studied in calculus and pre-calculus classrooms, and those that are more rarely looked at (imitating perhaps the first boundary). It is important to challenge our students, and not decide for them in advance that they will not be able to understand something. Third, the boundary between the drawable and the undrawable. In this example, we can witness this last boundary first hand even as we attempt to sketch the curve. Yet we can also continue the visualization in our mind’s eye beyond what we can represent on paper.

CB.20 - What kinds of boundaries help students improve critical thinking skills?
J. Jones, G. Birol (University of British Columbia) - Canada

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Most educators agree that critical thinking is one of the most universally important skills that students need to develop. However it is also perhaps one of the most challenging learning outcomes to define, teach, or measure. Colleagues at STLHE will have perspectives that can illuminate this issue from different points of view, so the short discussion or cracker barrel format will be ideal for enabling participants to contribute their perspectives on teaching practices and learning environments that enhance critical thinking in their programs and courses. These discussions will explore the value of boundaries for defining, teaching and measuring aspects of critical thinking. Each fifteen minute discussion will start by discovering how broad or “unbounded” the definition of critical thinking can be. Participants will then share strategies for teaching or assessing critical thinking in order to collectively define or draw the boundaries for teaching and measuring those aspects of critical thinking which may lead to higher order thinking.

One motivation for engaging in this discussion is the following hypothesis: clearly defining the intended scope for critical thinking in any situation can increase the likelihood that students will make meaningful and measurable gains. This idea is based on the wide range of literature now available about how experts and novices differ and about how people learn. A short example will be offered, illustrating how literature about “expert scientists” was used to help define explicit learning goals and corresponding activities and assessments aimed at helping students improve “scientific thinking skills” such as posing questions, using model-based reasoning, and synthesizing or communicating their learning. This experience suggests that careful attention to articulating boundaries (i.e. defining specific learning goals) is an important precursor to developing activities and assessments aimed at improving and measuring critical thinking. Using this approach, students can make useful gains at these generic skills even before acquiring significant expertise in a discipline. We look forward to discovering from colleagues whether they use similar or differing approaches to enhancing critical thinking skills of students.

After these discussions, the conveners will prepare a summary for all participants, and eventually make it available as a public resource. The summary will incorporate perspectives heard during discussions into a collection of ideas and recommendations about how to define, teach and assess specific critical thinking skills. These ideas and recommendations will be most effective if a broad range of educators participate in this discussion, and we look forward to benefiting from the experiences of STLHE delegates.

CB.21- Designing and implementing educational games: Engaging college students in research in education
M. Gutica, S. Petrina (University of British Columbia) - Canada

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New technologies and applications, such as games and computer tutoring systems, are reconfiguring relationships between teachers and learners. From elementary schools to post-secondary institutions, the educational process includes technologies for enhancing teaching and learning by improving the presentation of course material, facilitating practice, simulating real-life situations, and encouraging student interaction. Important issues have been raised: the degree of control of the learner, situated learning (cognition) versus the traditional information-processing model, and virtual reality versus reality. Educational games intend to expose players to experiences that improve motivation and the level of engagement in learning processes.

What methodologies of software design should be employed for designing educational software applications that engage the students and respond to their cognitive, emotional, and motivational needs? In working toward this aim, a software framework for educational games that adapts to the users’ needs and includes intelligent pedagogical agents integrated into a set of educational games for grade 5-6 students is implemented. One game, “Heroes of Math Island,” is designed as an island with five possible activities. The game includes game mechanics for play and animation, a set of characters (an avatar (boy/girl), commander, king, queen, wise man, monkey), quests with activities (e.g., divisibility, prime numbers and de-composition), and an animated character (the monkey), which expresses emotions.

One novel aspect of this research study is the involvement of undergraduate students from BCIT. Depending on tasks, students from both the Computer System Technology Diploma and the Bachelor of Technology Gaming Option are involved in this research project. This study gives to BCIT students the opportunity to participate in research activities and collaborate with graduate students from UBC. While the theoretical and methodological aspects are mainly covered by research done by graduate students from UBC, BCIT students are involved in practical aspects of implementation (design, implementation and testing of software) and usability studies. BCIT students also evaluate technologies for performance and efficiency. Students from the Technology Teacher Education program are intended to be involved in design of learning activities and in usability studies. An important benefit for BCIT students is their participation in current research conducted at UBC involving human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence and data modeling.

Ms. Gutica is a PhD student of Dr. Petrina at UBC and also an instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Most recently (November 2011), Ms. Gutica was awarded a research grant from BCIT through the VP Research Seed Fund to continue this game design and research. In the last three years Ms. Gutica has generated student projects addressing some of the aspects of this research study including an adaptive interface for a language tutor (2009), a tutor for Boolean algebra (2010), a prototype for a game design platform (2011), a prototype for a mathematical game for grade 5/6 (2010/2011), and several projects that involve client/server distributed applications and content management, leading to proof of concept prototypes. All these attempts gave her the confidence that BCIT students can contribute and benefit from involvement in research studies.

CB.22 - Rethinking how we teach nursing at Memorial University of Newfoundland
R. Crossman, K. Parsons, C. Porr, A. M. Tracey (Memorial University of Newfoundland) - Canada

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As health care environments and patient care needs become increasingly complex, nurse educators are challenged with not only what content elements to include in program curricula, but how content should be taught. And more precisely, we are asking ourselves, Are nursing students covering content and learning what to think or are they being taught to think about the content through meaningful application and contextually relevant learning environments? That is, are nursing students learning how to think? Are learning environments fostering the higher level thinking capacities required in today’s health care environments? These questions have been on our minds as nurse educators at Memorial University School of Nursing (MUNSON) causing us to take a step back, revisit our program and then embark on a process of curriculum redesign.

The curriculum redesign process has caused us to pose more questions and not so much outward, but inward. Each of us has had to look inward and ask why we are teaching a certain concept and why we are teaching it in a certain way? We came to the realization that there are several personal boundaries including preferred pedagogical approaches that might stifle innovation and impede new ways of teaching. In this session attendees will be presented with examples of the personal boundaries that we have been uncovering during, not just a redesign process, but, a critical self reflective journey. It is anticipated that through sharing our experiences, others will be encouraged to critically reflect on their teaching practices. Through collaboration with STHLE conference attendees we hope to refine our critical journey, deepen our self reflection and continue to challenge boundaries to enhance nursing education at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

CB.23 - Lab spaces without boundaries - designing a new undergraduate lab for an interdisciplinary science program
R. Ellis, C. Harvey, S. Robinson, S. Symons, C. Eyles (McMaster University) - Canada

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The Integrated Science (iSci) Program at McMaster University is an interdisciplinary, research-based program with small class sizes which allow for active learning through group-based projects. Success of the program is dependent upon many factors, including the provision of classroom space suitable for collaborative learning, co-teaching across disciplines, and a multi-functional undergraduate laboratory. This presentation aims to describe the processes involved in constructing lab space designed to provide an interdisciplinary, research-based learning experience for students.

There are many challenges in developing and implementing the lab component of the iSci Program. Space and equipment are required that allow the integration of wet labs (e.g. chemistry & biology), dry labs (e.g. physics & math), and field labs (e.g. earth science). Communication with the instructors and teaching assistants from the various science departments is crucial to ensure the labs are innovative and challenging for the students given the resources available. Unlike other University programs that repeat a set number of labs numerous times throughout the year, the iSci Program only performs a given lab once. Therefore, although the class sizes are small, a much larger assortment of equipment and supplies is required to address the needs of all disciplines and many different instructors. As a result, careful planning of space and equipment usage is crucial.

The iSci Program is currently working to renovate existing campus space to accommodate the laboratory component. This requires an effective and pedagogically-informed design that provides flexibility for both the current curriculum, the evolving requirements of the expanding student population, and the future program needs. Budgetary issues include renovation costs, new equipment purchases, and long-term maintenance costs. Key features of the lab include: 1) custom-built work benches to accommodate labs ranging from cell culture technique to inertial aspects of physics, 2) a media teaching area to include SMART Board technology, large wall-mounted monitors, and white boards, 3) storage areas specifically designed to accommodate the variety of shapes and sizes of equipment needed for each discipline, and 4) an adjacent preparatory room to allow quick set-up between consecutive lab sections and permit laboratory staff to monitor student experiences during lab periods.

Great effort is being made to ensure the latest energy-saving technologies and environmentally-friendly materials are incorporated into the final lab design. The greatest obstacle has been limited air flow capacity to effectively ventilate the required number of fume hoods, and as a result the use of non-ventilated, Neutrodine technology-based fume hoods is being explored; this is a ‘green’ technology that is perfectly suited for an undergraduate lab setting where chemical use is tightly controlled.

The ultimate goal of the iSci Program is to create a multi-use laboratory environment for both research and instructional functions that will promote learning through exploration. This is quite relevant to the overall theme of this conference, and participants in this session will have a greater understanding of the main concepts to consider when designing lab space for both interdisciplinary and more traditional programs.

CB.24 - Teaching at the boundaries: Interdiscplinary perspectives in the law school classroom
H. Kong (McGill University) - Canada

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Law students have expectations about what should be taught in a law school classroom and how it should be taught. These expectations do not often include interdisciplinary perspectives. Yet the insights of other disciplines are essential to understanding some areas of law. The challenge for a law professor is to make a clear case for interdisciplinary perspectives, to integrate the content of those other disciplines into legal materials, and to develop pedagogical techniques that are appropriate to the multiple disciplines. I hope to explore these challenges of teaching at disciplinary boundaries.

CB.25 - There is too much on the curriculum plate! Using the A5 model to streamline, align and redesign
S. Mills, S. Bens (University of Saskatchewan) - Canada

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The purpose of this session is to discuss models of curriculum development and support. Members of the curriculum innovation team at the University of Saskatchewan will open the discussion with a brief introduction to their A5 curriculum and program development model. Participants in this cracker barrel session will have an opportunity to share their ideas and experiences in response to this model.

CB.26 - No longer high school, Not quite a university: What do Quebec’s cegeps do for our youth?
D. Bateman, S. Taylor (Champlain St. Lambert College), K. Robertson (Champlain Regional College) - Canada

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The Quebec college system is unique in North America. It was created in the 1960s to change the face of modern Quebec by providing equal access to higher education to all Quebecers.

When our children finish high school after eleven years, they move into this required step in Quebec’s educational ladder to prepare for university or complete a professional program leading directly to employment. By loosening the boundaries of high school, our colleges help students to gradually become more responsible for their own learning and less teacher dependent. At the same time exposure to a wide diversity of other students and educational programs widens their horizons, extending their personal boundaries, as they begin to emerge as adults.

In this session, we will provide a short overview of our college network, the principles on which it was founded and its advantages. The audience is invited to bring questions, ask for clarifications, and make comparisons with their educational systems.

CB.27 - Civic engagement, democracy and community-based learning: A social justice paradigm
C. Dolgon (Stonehill College) - United States

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The “civic engagement movement” in higher education has gained enough ascendancy in the United States and Canada to be at a crossroads. The initial social and political movements that inspired and informed institutional commitments to community-based research and learning, campus–community partnerships, etc. have waned at the same time that more and more colleges and universities are supporting some variation of centers for civic engagement, community partnerships, service learning, etc. Our current moment is filled with political and institutional crises but ripe with opportunities and possibilities.

In this brief presentation and discussion, I would like to propose a “social justice” paradigm for informing engaged pedagogy and scholarship. In particular, I want to discuss how maintaining a sense of what social justice is or should be in the design and practice of our teaching and research changes the practice of engagement. An emphasis is placed on building transformative—not utilitarian-partnerships—and offering students critical encounters with service and research—not simply doable, self-contained products for to fulfill learning objectives.  

CB.28 - Crossing borders: The personal and pedagogical impact of conducting oral histories
C. Guberman (University of Toronto Scarborough)  - Canada

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In this cracker-barrel informal discussion I will focus on the powerful impact students experienced as a result of conducting oral histories with older women about their experiences of immigration to, and settlement in Canada. I will also explore the potential for incorporating more research-focused experiential learning in our classes.

Students in my undergraduate course "Fundamentals of Research in Women's and Gender Studies" study a range of qualitative research methods both in theory and practice. Their major assignment is an experiential one in which they design and conduct an oral history interview and then write a report that includes a reflection on their learning experience.

Conducting an interview with an older woman about the challenges she experienced and barriers she surmounted from immigration to settlement had a deeply profound impact on the students both pedagogically and in their personal lives.

For most students this was the first research they had actually participated in. As one student in his final year noted, "Instead of having to solely study the findings of others, I was able to conduct my own research. It was exhilarating."

Students had not anticipated that the interviews would move them so deeply. It had such an impact because they had never heard the stories about their family or community's diasporic experience. Over forty percent of the student population at the University of Toronto Scarborough identify as first generation whose families are relative newcomers from South Asia, Southeast Asia, West Central Asia and the Middle East. Students frequently speak harshly about the clash of values between their family elders and themselves, the younger generation raised in Canada. The oral history gave them a much deeper understanding resulting in a new found respect. As one student reflected about her Korean aunt, "I was feeling her experiences as she recalled them. To hear her story was an honour...My narrator had the purpose of just telling me her story- it just so happened that it helped me to understand my mother's experience."

The practice of the oral history helped students develop an understanding of epistemology and the power of research(er) to broker historical boundaries of silence and to create 'knowledge'. The assignment helped them come to terms with their own family's experience of crossing borders.

CB.29 - Enabling open learning: Removing technical boundaries to course access
D. Laurie, C. Goetz, G. Gibeau, T. Jones, D. Sun (University of Alberta) - Canada

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In recent years, there has been a huge increase in the amount of university course content freely available on the Internet. For example, Open Culture ( lists over 400 free courses on a wide range of subjects, many available through prestigious institutions. This trend is clearly at odds with a not-too-distant past where most universities carefully guarded their course content, making it available only in a closed and structured environment. Indeed for most university course offerings, the need to respect student privacy, protect faculty/institutional intellectual property, and control access to the system still outweigh the concern for making the learning ‘open’. Most Learning Management Systems (LMS) do not facilitate providing selective or full release of their courses to people outside of the institution. Given these inherent technical limitations, how can an institution strike a balance between the responsibility for system integrity and offering the capability for instructors to control access to their own course materials? In this cracker-barrel session, we will discuss how the University of Alberta’s transition from Blackboard Vista to Moodle, an open-source LMS, is enabling us to address these challenges.

CB.30 - PREP: Pacing, Reflection, Engagement, Participation – Re-inventing first year business school education by challenging conventional boundaries on learning design
P. Cubbon (University of British Columbia)  - Canada

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Purpose of session: to explain and demonstrate how 100 plus size classes can stimulate participation from all students in contribution and discussion providing data to support participation grading. The session will focus on COMM 101, a new business fundamentals course, first piloted in January 2010, and now delivered to more than 1,000 students.

Method for session: Short slide and web demo (8-10 mins) followed by open discussion.

Outcome for attendees: encouragement and practical guidance to test increased participation in large classes, using a combination of technology and discussion facilitation. Takeaways will include examples of teaching plans that reduce content and build-in deliberate change of pace and activity to increase inquiry, that build in space for reflection, leading to increased engagement and learning.

Purpose/Issue(s) addressed in curriculum design:
• COMM 101 was a new course, code-named “Engagement 101.”
• Graduating students expressed lack of engagement in their first year experience, as a result of large class lectures, and a lack of understanding of how different functional disciplines interacted within a management context.

• Faculty responded by designing a foundation course that maximizes student engagement through 1. Real-world examples 2. Team teaching to create tensions and opportunities for touchpoints and synergies between functional area 3. Blogs that support concept application to business news 4. Space and structure for reflection 5. Emphasis on the development of professional communication (each class treated like a business meeting), 6. becoming more comfortable in dealing with ambiguity and structuring questions to drive research, thinking and analysis to address problems.

• Recruited lead teaching team and supporting guest faculty.
• Recruited and trained T.A.s. to support earlier, rich interim developmental feedback for students.
• Worked closely with Technology Support to build scale and robustness in systems.
• Measured of student learning through a content analysis of blog posts throughout the course, and on students' mindmap and self-assessment of their learning in this course.

• Preliminary results suggest that:
    ◦ critical thinking skills more refined and better able to cope with second and third year course demands
    ◦ oral and written communication skills improved
    ◦ Integration skills more developed
    ◦ Improved student engagement and satisfaction.

• Recommendations for moving forward
    ◦ Design a new course that allows you space and freedom to start with a clean page.
    ◦ Work from program goals and then course learning objectives.
    ◦ Stay focused and be disciplined in building space into the teaching plan.
    ◦ Pilot programs provide a lower-risk way to move rapidly into a test environment, collect feedback, and iterate improvements.

Colby, A., Ehrlich, T., Sullivan, W.M. , & Dolle, J.R. (2011). Rethinking undergraduate business education: Liberal learning for the profession. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Chickering, A.W., & Gamson, Z.F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 39 (7), 3—7.

Kuh, G.D., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J.G., & Whitt, J.E. (2005) Student success in college: Creating conditions that matter. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

CB.31 - Extending the boundaries of professional health care education: Teaching interpersonal skills through student involvement in a community volunteer experience
C. Gros, P. Cooke, M. Obando-Paredes (McGill University) - Canada

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INTRODUCTION: Across professional schools in the Faculty of Medicine, learning to interact with patients in a caring and humane way is a shared curricular objective and a valued learning outcome. Research indicates that the clinician’s interpersonal behaviour significantly affects patient outcomes. It is also clear that the “human” aspects of care are learned; and that they can, and should, be taught in professional programs. However, teaching “caring” attitudes and “relationship skills” in a classroom setting presents a significant challenge. How do students learn to “care”? What knowledge, attitudes and skills are required? What approaches help students learn these skills? How can they be feasibly taught and evaluated given limited resources and increasing student enrolment?

These questions have guided the development of teaching and learning in an undergraduate course for first year nursing students. Course objectives focus on the application to practice of the McGill Model of Nursing, a collaborative, person-centered approach that emphasizes the “human” aspects of care. A variety of classroom strategies are currently used to teach this approach. Theory, content and skills regarding interpersonal interaction and communication are introduced through lectures and assigned readings. Acquired knowledge is further developed and transferred through interactive strategies such as group discussions, role plays, case studies, videotaped demonstrations and interactions with standardized patients. However, learning through classroom exercises is qualitatively different from the experiential learning that occurs through real-time involvement in a developing relationship. For example, demonstrating empathy and building trust represent complex, interactive processes. These skills must be practiced and expressed in the context of a genuine relational experience in which students are intimately and emotionally involved. Similarly, interpersonal attitudes, skills and techniques such as supportive presence, maintaining boundaries, offering self-disclosure, touch or humour, have therapeutic meaning only when implemented within a unique and intensely personal student/client relationship.

SESSION PURPOSE: to describe and discuss the process and outcomes of teaching interpersonal and relational skills by constructing a “classroom without walls” through a community outreach volunteer experience for students.
How the volunteering is structured, managed and integrated into a 3-credit introductory-level course with over 100 first year students will be presented and outcomes evaluation will be discussed.

METHODS: This presentation offers an example of how to expand the boundaries of traditional learning environments by engaging students in a volunteer exercise involving weekly visits with an individual client. The purpose is to establish a meaningful relationship that serves as a context for reflection and practice-based learning. Student volunteering takes place across a wide variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, community organizations and people's homes. Clientele have unique backgrounds and needs, and range in age from children to older adults.
The experience has created strong University-community teaching and learning partnerships, and has also led to the recruitment of students for summer employment.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES: Participants will gain knowledge and insight regarding the “community as classroom” approach for teaching relational skills.
The session is pertinent for educators in the health care field and from other disciplines where interpersonal skills are a valued learning outcome.

CB.32 - Crossing boundaries in the college classroom – Encouraging student self assessment
T. Haye (Douglas College) - Canada

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 Instructors are becoming more aware of the need to cross boundaries in the college classroom and allow students to participate in self-assessment, ‘the involvement of students in identifying standards and/or criteria to apply to their work and making judgements about the extent to which they [meet] these criteria and standards’ (Boud, 1986, p. 5). Students’ understanding of self-assessment can improve their performance by enhancing their ability to assess the quality of their work. This understanding can help to close the gap between students’ understanding of the feedback they receive and their grade expectations, which will allow them to be better judges of high quality work.

In the last decade, there have been more attempts at assisting students to become more involved learners who manage their own learning and get involved in self-regulated learning, an ‘active, constructive process in which learners plan, monitor, and control their own learning process’ (e.g., Winne, 2001.) These attempts have led to more emphasis on formative assessment – the type of assessment that occurs during the process of learning so that it can lead to improvement, rather than assessment of the product at the end – as an active learning strategy. Many of the scholars who write about formative assessment believe that feedback on learning should not be entirely the teachers’ responsibility. They believe that involving students will reduce boundaries and close the gap between the feedback teachers give about students’ knowledge and the expected (desired) learning outcomes.

In response to this need, this instructor conducted a classroom project, seeking to answer these questions: Will students’ self-assessment influence their understanding of the assessment criteria and high quality work? Will this understanding help them to produce better work? The purpose of this project, therefore, was to investigate whether or not self-assessment could improve students’ learning by developing their understanding of assessment criteria and processes. A secondary aim was to record students’ reaction to the process of self-assessment while fostering self-reflection on their own performance.

This project was carried out during the winter 2010 semester in a college business communications class. After discussion and training, students used a marking guide to assess their work. Students’ ability to understand the assessment criteria was then judged based on their ability to assess their performance and to improve their business communication writing performance. The results of the project provided evidence that self-assessment can assist student to understand the assessment criteria and that this understanding can lead to learning and higher quality work as the assessment criteria is demystified.

The purpose of this highly interactive workshop is for participants to model the self-assessment activities the students did and explore:

1. the findings of this project;
2. strategies for incorporating student self-assessment;
3. these students’ perception of self-assessment as an active learning strategy; and
4. how this strategy can reduce boundaries that sometimes get constructed when students see instructors’ assessment in an adversarial, rather than constructive, way.

CB.33 - Developing new models of distance education at Athabasca University
C. Ives, D. Briton, C. Bosse (Athabasca University) - Canada

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 In a recent paper, Terry Anderson and Jon Dron (2011) developed a three-stage, developmental model of distance education. They argue that each generation of distance education "developed distinct pedagogies, technologies, learning activities, and assessment criteria, consistent with the social worldview of the era in which … [it] developed." (par 1). Anderson and Dron are theorists and educators at Athabasca University (AU), Canada’s Open University.

In our work at AU, we are responsible in part for managing and facilitating the organizational changes associated with the transition from the pedagogical, technological and service models of the past. Our roles as educators, administrators and faculty developers have led us to develop communications strategies and development programs that support a new vision of distance education and online learning.

The proposed cracker barrel session builds upon the findings of Anderson & Dron’s paper in two ways. We broaden the scope of discussion from pedagogical models (cognitivist/rationalist, social constructivist, connectivist) to modes of provision (course in a box, online enabled, online enhanced, and online learning environment). We also direct the focus onto our particular institutional context, which is devoted to overcoming barriers to learning.

The session will identify the inherent limitations and boundaries of each generation, as well as the contributions and frustrations each brings to the learning environment and experiences of our students and faculty members. It will describe the solutions AU is developing in response. The session will identify which aspects of each generation should be retained, redefined, and/or surpassed to improve the learning environment.

We will also provide a summary of the reactions of the AU community to our work in this area. The analysis is represented in the form of a poster, which we will be using in presentations and focus groups over the next 4 months to generate discussion among faculty and learning designers about how we should move forward as an institution to meet the needs of our learners. We expect that the original poster will change significantly as a result of our conversations. This work will also help define the goals of our educational development program for the future.

Anderson, T. & Dron, J. (2011). Three generations of distance education pedagogy. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(3). Retrieved January 12, 2012 from

CB.34 - Au-delà des frontières du lutrin en salle de classe
B. Harwood (Skidmore College) - United States

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 Au moment où la technologie mobile se manifeste partout dans la vie des étudiants et des professeurs, on se demande si elle peut avoir aussi une place libératrice dans la salle de classes quant a la pédagogie. A Skidmore College, quelques professeurs ont découvert que le iPad2 leur permet de projeter l’image de leur présentations sans fil. Ainsi libéré du lutrin qui sépare tout le monde, un iPad2 semble désormais dépasser cette barrière tout en réunissant la classe.

CB.35 - The benefits of a graduate professional development program for the university community
E. Lafferty, M. Sornberger, S. Kapchinsky, D. Syncox, L. Winer (McGill University) - Canada

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 SKILLSETS is a suite of professional development initiatives for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at McGill University, developed by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Teaching and Learning Services. The program’s goal is to complement in-class learning with out-of-class experiences; filling in gaps and adding dimension to students’ formal education. With three years under its belt, the benefits of SKILLSETS workshops and resources have been systematically demonstrated through continual positive feedback from participants and facilitators across disciplines. The program has successfully evolved beyond academic borders by bringing together graduate students and faculty to create and deliver programs. It is in this collaboration that boundaries are altered and cross-disciplinary learning occurs for all members of the community.

This Cracker-barrel session will discuss the unanticipated benefits of the offerings provided by SKILLSETS, focusing on the unique structure, organization and methodology of the program. Emphasis will be placed on the collaborative atmosphere between students, faculty, administrative staff, and experts from outside the university that has led to the creation and delivery of all of the workshops and resources offered.

Throughout the session, examples of different techniques employed in SKILLSETS initiatives and how these can be successfully implemented at other institutions will be discussed. Key techniques include multi-disciplinary program and workshop organization, joint student-faculty facilitation of offerings, a combined top-down and bottom-up implementation strategy, catalysts to generate momentum, and continual program assessment.

Participants are expected to leave this session with knowledge of new ways to create and deliver educational initiatives for graduate and postdoctoral students at their institution. They will also develop a greater appreciation for the unforeseen benefits of multi-disciplinary programs such as these on the broader university community and how to reinforce these ties at their institution; breaking down institutional boundaries and strengthening program quality.

CB.36 - Extending the learning environment beyond the walls of a 400 seat classroom
C. Lucy (University of Alberta) - Canada

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 The instructor provides constructive feedback throughout the course. SD D N A SA
The instructor is available. SD D N A SA

These are the questions on many standard evaluations of teaching. Students may strongly disagree (SD), disagree (D), be neutral (N), agree (A) or strongly agree (SA). But the classes I teach contain 100-400 students each term. Talking to each and every student would take hours I just don’t have. Further using traditional office hours, I would spend countless hours with a few individuals, and yet remain unavailable to the majority. In recent years I have utilized a number of techniques which have increased student satisfaction without increasing my workload!

Purpose: This cracker barrel session will discuss teaching strategies and techniques for extending the boundaries of traditional feedback in the context of large classes.

Method: Participates will be given worksheets where they will rate teaching strategies in terms of effectiveness and workload within their own learning environment. We will start off by ranking some of my successful and less-successful strategies: having students join e-mail lists where I send my answer to anonymous student questions to all students in the class (aka, spamming); always arriving 10 minutes early for class to answer questions; strategies to learn student names. Participants will be encouraged to contribute their own strategies, both successful and unsuccessful, which we will discuss as a group, but participants will rank with respect to their personal context.

Outcomes: Participants will leave with a list of strategies for extending the boundaries of feedback within their classes, along with a personal analysis of the cost/benefits of each within their own context.