Strategy Bites: A new blog series with ideas for getting students active in their learning


At the 2018 SALTISE conference held at McGill University in Montreal, keynote speakers Richard Felder and Rebecca Brent spoke on the topic of Understanding and Minimizing Resistance to Learner-centered Teaching. They pointed out that many students are accustomed to and comfortable taking notes while listening to instructors lecture. But being more active in class doesn’t necessarily appeal to students.

Strategies exist for addressing student resistance, such as:

  • being explicit with students about why you’re asking them to do active learning tasks and
  • varying your teaching methods so that students benefit from different types of learning opportunities. Read more.

Another point raised was that active learning strategies often take little classroom time. Over the coming weeks, this blog series will present “Strategy Bites”—a series of 2-3 minute videos produced by Teaching and Learning Services that describe how to implement a number of strategies we’re featuring based on relative ease of implementation, suitability for different class sizes, and their representation of a variety of interaction types. These blog posts will also address students’ perceptions of these strategies and offer links to additional resources. Stay tuned for some practical ideas!

Seeking help deciding which strategies to implement and how they’ll fit with your teaching? If you’re a McGill University instructor, contact Teaching and Learning Services for a one-on-one-consultation.

Featured Image photo credit: Victor Tangerman

Highs and Lows of Course Evaluations


Student ratings and comments in course evaluations can bolster teachers’ sense of efficacy. But even a single less-than-favourable rating or comment has the potential for disproportionately occupying our thoughts. This phenomenon—of focusing on the one or two negative comments among a sea of positive ones—is common.

Continue reading Highs and Lows of Course Evaluations

Getting Students To Distinguish Fact From Fallacy In The Media


Faculty of Management Professor Elena Obukhova is eager for her students to become “discerning media consumers.” In a recent article in The McGill Reporter “How a Desautels professor is sensitizing students to fake news,” Professor Obukhova describes an assignment she gives students to develop their skill at critically evaluating media content so that they can discern facts from fake news.

Continue reading Getting Students To Distinguish Fact From Fallacy In The Media

Exploring issues surrounding The Royal Victoria Hospital site development in a McGill Law course


For the first time, Professors Kirsten Anker, Yaëll Emerich and Tina Piper from the Faculty of Law teamed up to teach the “Property” course (LAWG 220 D1 and D2), a new year-long “integrated course teaching civil, common and Indigenous property law.”[1] Their students’ final assignment was to create a poster related to the development of the Royal Victoria Hospital site. Working in teams, the students had to “explore property issues related to the development of the former site of the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH).”[2] Specific objectives for students were to:

  • “Develop collaboration skills by working together on a project
  • Apply [their] knowledge of property law to an actual situation in the local environment
  • Translate legal knowledge to individuals in a public forum.”[3]

Continue reading Exploring issues surrounding The Royal Victoria Hospital site development in a McGill Law course

My Love Affair with the Document Camera


“Recently, I heard one of my students ask his friend, ‘If you were stranded on an island and could only take one item with you what would you bring?’ I started thinking about the question as it applied to my classroom. The thought came to my mind, ‘What is the one item in my classroom that I absolutely could not do without?’ […] My eyes landed on […] my document camera” (Borel, 2014). I didn’t write that. But I could have. It aptly captures my sentiments about the doc cam, as it’s often referred to.

Continue reading My Love Affair with the Document Camera

Peer assessment within and among teams


A number of instructors at McGill have implemented peer assessment (PA) in their courses and have generously shared some of their reflections on the topic.

Marta-Cerruti-photo

Professor Marta Cerruti teaches Materials Surfaces: A Biomimetic Approach (MIME 515/CHEE 515) to undergraduate and graduate students in the Faculty of Engineering. In a conversation about her experience with PA, she shares how she implemented PA in her course both within and among student teams, reflects on students’ PA experience, and gives advice for instructors thinking about trying PA in their courses.

Continue reading Peer assessment within and among teams

Sharing is Caring: When Colleagues Exchange Knowledge


One of the reoccurring elements explained to me on the first day of my Practicum at Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) was the emphasis the TLS team places on feedback and cooperation. The idea sounded helpful; colleagues working together to support one another. I don’t think I truly grasped the importance of the cooperative working environment they developed until I hosted my first meeting at TLS. Continue reading Sharing is Caring: When Colleagues Exchange Knowledge

Discussing what matters in higher education.