My farmer, my teacher

Earlier this fall I spent an afternoon in my farmers’ field digging up carrots. Yes, I am part of community supported agriculture (CSA) – this particular group is led by a couple whose farm is in the outskirts of Montreal. Every week, I enjoy deliveries of fresh, local, organic and DELICIOUS vegetables. However, this Sunday was different. Instead of bringing my canvas bags to the neighborhood drop-off point to pick up my veggies, I headed across the bridge to where the vegetables are actually grown. Continue reading

Antique typewrite

Handwritten notes vs. laptop notes: Does one method afford deeper learning than the other?

Apparently, yes.

HandwritingA study entitled The pen is mightier than the keyboard: Advantages of longhand over laptop note taking (Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014) compared the two methods in different experiments. Findings suggest that when tested for factual recall, student performance was about the same for both note-taking methods; however, students who took handwritten notes fared better when tested for conceptual learning. Continue reading

Higher Ed the New Normal

Is today’s university student experience different?

Edtech Magazine has a very interesting article about an infographic  that looks at the college experience then and now. Created from a number of different sources, this infographic focuses on the experience of students then and now across a number of dimensions, including cost, demographics, socioeconomic and others. From their blog:

Technology has helped foster growth in the education world, but it has also increased the workload. According to the infographic, two out of three college students today use a smartphone for school work — a capability that didn’t exist even 10 years ago, let alone 30. The data also shows that 45 percent of today’s students will take at least one online course, whereas learning in the 1980s was confined to classrooms.

Check out the infographic: Continue reading


Click record: Hi, [name]. I’ve just finished reading your paper and I’d like to give you some feedback …

Thus begins the audio recorded feedback I provide students with on their oral and written assignment drafts. When I refer to audio feedback, I mean assignment feedback I give to students in the form of an audio recording. This means of feedback is an effective and efficient alternative to providing students with handwritten comments. Continue reading

PassNote from Purdue University

PassNote: A feedback tool for improving student success

Purdue University has developed a very interesting tool (PassNote) to help streamline formative feedback to help both instructors and students. It was featured in the September issue of Educause Review Online: “PassNote: A Feedback Tool for Improving Student Success“. It is a free tool that can be used by any instructor without a login. Instructors are provided with “feedback prompts” that can be drag and dropped into a message, copied to the clipboard, and sent to students. Purdue provides a summary below: Continue reading


Graduate Student Development: A Student Perspective

I am a second year graduate student in the beginning stages of my Master’s thesis. Although the new academic year has barely begun, I already feel like I am behind – and that I am overburdening my supervisor with questions and material to review. Applying for funding, finding and organizing research, teaching undergrad courses, applying for ethics approval, not to mention writing my thesis, are all causing me to resort back to my old coping mechanism: nail biting. Being a graduate student, I can only begin to imagine the amount of work on my supervisor’s plate before receiving my lengthy email asking to meet for advice on this or that (in some cases, this AND that). One way for supervisors to assist graduate students without burdening themselves is becoming well acquainted with the offerings of McGill’s SKILLSETS program. Continue reading

Discussing what matters in higher education.


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