Reflections on the Sustainability Learning Community

There’s a lot of buzz around McGill these days about sustainability. We have an office dedicated to it, hundreds of community-based projects funded by the Sustainability Projects Fund, a major program in Sustainability, Science and Society and numerous courses that focus on various aspects of social, environmental and economic sustainability. Continue reading Reflections on the Sustainability Learning Community

TIPS Journal for innovative, discipline-specific teaching strategies

The Teaching Innovation Projects (TIPS) Journal is an open-access publication from the Teaching Support Centre of Western University that focuses on publishing innovative teaching strategies that can be used in higher education. Many articles are posted by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows pursuing their Advanced Teaching Program. Some very interesting articles from their publication include the following: Continue reading TIPS Journal for innovative, discipline-specific teaching strategies

Finding Direction as a Postdoc – A Leap of Faith

In January this year I made a huge leap of faith in my academic career; sideways in terms of a new field of specialisation, and what sometimes feels like backwards in terms of my professional status. After 8 years of teaching, I started a postdoctoral fellowship here at McGill, took a pay cut, threw myself into many unknowns, and have had moments of excitement as well as utter fear: what if I’ve made a mistake? But I did it in order to have a chance to work at the world-class McGill Faculty of Law, and knowing that many successful careers are made not by climbing a single ladder, but by trying out new things.

Continue reading Finding Direction as a Postdoc – A Leap of Faith

What’s the prof gonna ask?

Every August, I teach a 3-credit course at McGill called Academic English Seminar, which is an academic skills course for incoming undergraduate students who speak English as a second or other language. The course runs 39 hours over 13 days. It’s intended to support students’ transition from high school or CEGEP learning to university learning. Every time I teach the course, I introduce at least one new topic or one new learning strategy. Last year, the new topic was the learning merits of taking handwritten notes versus laptop notes. This year, I introduced students to a study strategy to help them address a question students frequently pose when they’re studying together for a test: What’s the prof gonna ask? The strategy was the application of Bloom’s Taxonomy of levels of learning to the creation of questions as a means for anticipating what information professors might deem important in the readings they assign. I encouraged students to think: Why would the professor have assigned this reading? What are the salient points the professor wants me to draw from this reading? Continue reading What’s the prof gonna ask?

Daring to try new teaching strategies in your course

This post featuring Prof. Rhonda Amsel is the latest installment in our ongoing series about assessment tools for large classes. On June 12, 2015, Rhonda was the guest speaker at a session entitled Daring to Try New Teaching Strategies in your Large Class.

Rhonda Amsel teaches stats … stats classes of 300-400 undergrads from across the disciplines. She’s been teaching stats for over 40 years, and as suggested by the title of her presentation, not only is she not complacent about her teaching, but it’s obvious she still enjoys it. With her wry sense of humour, she quipped that teaching in an auditorium provides many of the challenges of a live performance, like Math-donna in front of an audience (but with more conservative costumes.) Continue reading Daring to try new teaching strategies in your course

How to succeed at University: twelve tips for undergraduate students

Adam Finkelstein:

Another great start-of-term post from regular contributor Chris Buddle (@CMBuddle). Some helpful tips to share with your students.

Originally posted on Arthropod Ecology:

Note: this is an updated/edited post, it was originally published several years ago.

The start of term is an exciting time for those of us who work at a University. There are many new students arriving on campus, full of enthusiasm, hope, and questions.  As an Associate Dean, I meet many of these students, and I am often asked for advice during orientation week. Later in the term, I sometimes see students who are struggling, and looking for strategies to help with balancing their academic work with other priorities, or looking for ways to make their time at University a little easier. So, here are my twelve tips for success at University:

1. Work hard. At the end of the day, hard work pays off. You made it into University, which suggests you have the fundamental skill set required for higher education. However, don’t forget to keep your eye…

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Breaking the ice – 5 tips for getting your discussions started in myCourses

Welcome to our first post of the 2015 academic year! Keep an eye out for lots more in the coming weeks. And now onto some great tips on using discussions in myCourses.

Classes start in just over two weeks, so it’s the perfect time to start getting your myCourses pages ready for the semester. The Discussions tool can be a great way to add an online component to your course. This blog post contains recommendations for creating exciting online discussions, with a focus on how you can leverage online icebreaker activities as an opportunity to introduce students to the Discussions tool. Continue reading Breaking the ice – 5 tips for getting your discussions started in myCourses

Discussing what matters in higher education.


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