Let students know how course evaluations can improve courses


Each semester at McGill University, students have the opportunity to complete course evaluations for every course they’re enrolled in. Course evaluations are important because they’re an opportunity for instructors to hear from students how their courses are being experienced. Student feedback can provide instructors with ideas about how they can improve their courses for future students. Unfortunately, many students don’t necessarily see the value of taking the time to do course evaluations. In fact, the average response rate received per course is just under 50%.

Continue reading Let students know how course evaluations can improve courses

Students are strategic (Part 2/3): A student talks to a prof about assignments


Have you ever wondered what students look for when they read a course outline? What do they think about the assignments they’ll be asked to do? This 3-part blog series describes one student’s reaction when reading a course outline for the first time and their subsequent conversation with the prof about concerns regarding the outline. In this second post, we see what Dominique says to the prof.  Continue reading Students are strategic (Part 2/3): A student talks to a prof about assignments

Students are strategic (Part 1/3): A student has concerns about assignments


Have you ever wondered what students look for when they read a course outline? What do they think about the assignments they’ll be asked to do? This 3-part blog series describes one student’s reaction when reading a course outline for the first time and their subsequent conversation with the prof about concerns regarding the outline. In this first post, we learn about why Dominique, the student, has concerns about the assignments and how students need to be strategic with their time.

Continue reading Students are strategic (Part 1/3): A student has concerns about assignments

Strategy Bites: 10/2


At Teaching and Learning Services, we regularly receive questions from instructors asking for ideas to enhance their teaching and improve students’ engagement in class. So, we’ve recorded 2-3 minute video bites that describe how to implement some strategies we’ve chosen based on relative ease of implementation, suitability for different class sizes, and their representation of a variety of interaction types. We’ll be sharing these strategies in the Teaching for Learning @McGill University blog over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

 Strategy: 10/2

The 10/2 strategy involves lecturing or presenting information for 10 minutes and then allowing students to work for 2 minutes in pairs to summarize the information or address a question you’ve posed. Continue reading Strategy Bites: 10/2

How many office hours should I schedule?


“How many hours a week do I need to schedule? Do I have to be in my office or can they be online?” These are two questions instructors at McGill University ask us at Teaching and Learning Services (TLS). There are no clear answers, though, as McGill does not have a policy that specifically addresses the question of office hours. However, item 21. (v) of McGill’s Charter of Students’ Rights states that course outlines should include “The instructor’s contact information, office location, and office hours as appropriate” (p. 3). Of course, ‘as appropriate’ is open to interpretation.

Continue reading How many office hours should I schedule?

Strategy Bites: myCourses/Course outline scavenger hunt


At Teaching and Learning Services, we regularly receive questions from instructors asking for ideas to enhance their teaching and improve students’ engagement in class. So, we’ve recorded 2-3 minute video bites that describe how to implement some strategies we’ve chosen based on relative ease of implementation, suitability for different class sizes, and their representation of a variety of interaction types. We’ll be sharing these strategies in the Teaching for Learning @McGill University blog over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Continue reading Strategy Bites: myCourses/Course outline scavenger hunt

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!

Check out the other posts in the Strategy Bites series:

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

Discussing what matters in higher education.