Category Archives: Events

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

Informal Talking Teaching Communities: Spread the Word!

In the 2015-2016 academic year, McGill’s Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) launched The Lunch Spot—an informal lunch-time forum where all of the university’s instructors were invited to bring their brown bag lunches and gather for some informal talking about teaching. Working with the principle “if you feed them, they will come,” TLS encouraged partaking in The Lunch Spot with the offer of home-made sweet treats.*

The Lunch Spot continues this year at McGill’s TLS on the following dates: Friday, September 30, 2016 (please register) and Friday, January 27, 2017.

Given that I practically live for talking about teaching and that I have a sweet tooth, I participated in The Lunch Spot at every opportunity during the 2015-2016 academic year. It was time incredibly well spent: I met instructors from a variety of disciplines with whom I shared some of my favourite instructional strategies and from whom I got some motivating ideas. (I actually got one really cool idea from an Engineering professor about how to encourage students to pay attention to test and exam instructions.) Continue reading Informal Talking Teaching Communities: Spread the Word!

Short writing assignments: something to consider

Many faculty shy away from short writing assignments, considering them to be the poorer cousin of the term paper or research paper.  There is a commonly held assumption that shorter assignments can never match the rigor or substance of longer papers and that faculty are letting students down if they don’t assign a full-length paper (whatever that is according to the conventions of each discipline). Yet, what are faculty to do in a context of increasing class sizes and decreasing TA support? How can we still assess important outcomes such as analysis, synthesis and critical thinking?  Moreover, how can we infuse these elements into courses that have tradtionally relied on quizzes and exams for assessment?  Many faculty at McGill have already discovered one answer to this dilemma: the short writing assignment. These assignments can take many forms – from a 500-word response to a question posed by Prof. Andre Costopoulos in a 200-level evolutionary theory class to a policy brief assigned by Prof. Madhav Badami in a class in Urban Planning.   On Oct. 30th the  workshop “Beyond the research paper – new ways to get students writing”  is being offered by TLS where we will share many more of these of examples and discuss how to design short writing assignments that engage students, provide meaningful tasks, and assess higher order thinking skills. To find out more and register, click here.

Oct. 2 Workshop for Faculty: Designing Effective Multiple-Choice Questions

Would you like to improve the quality of your Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)? Would you like to learn how to use MCQs to assess higher order thinking skills such as application and analysis? If so, join a group of fellow instructors for a workshop about the principles of well-designed multiple-choice questions. During this workshop you will have the opportunity to apply these principles to your own course. Bring existing MCQs exams or course materials for which you would like to develop questions.

Offered by: Teaching and Learning Services

Location: Bronfman Building, Rm. 179 (click here to view map) Register Now!


Sept. 13 workshop for faculty: Bringing research into the undergraduate classroom

Date: Friday, September 13, 2013, 9:30am to 12:30pm

As an instructor of undergraduate courses, have you wondered how to get students to ask better questions or to understand that knowledge is not black and white? In this interactive workshop, you will meet the Inquiry Network, a group of McGill professors who have been tackling questions like this and have created a framework for enhancing students’ understanding of the relationship between research and course content.  Participants will try out this framework and design new strategies for one undergraduate course.  Together, we will share interesting practices and develop new approaches for bringing research into the undergraduate classroom. For more info please contact

Note: Coffee/tea at 9:00am, workshop starts at 9:30am

Register here >>

Aug. 28 workshop for faculty: Writing effective reference letters for student fellowships

28 Aug 2013,  10:00 to 12:00, McLennan Library Building, Room: MS-74

Professors are often asked by students to write reference letters for funding opportunities. This interactive session is designed to help you answer questions such as:

  • Are you obliged to write a reference letter if asked by a student and how might you respond if you are not supportive?
  • How much lead time should you expect in order to write a reference letter?
  • What information should be provided by the student?

What are the key elements of a “good” reference letter and what pitfalls should be avoided?

To register for the workshop, click here and  select “Register for the Graduate Workshop”

Upcoming workshops: Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL)

Supporting Active Learning and Technological Innovation in Science Education (SALTISE) is pleased to announce two free workshops (April 4th and April 5th) in the use of POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) led by Dr. Richard Moog, the Director of the POGIL project, author, and professor at Franklin & Marshall College, Pennsylvania.

POGIL in an inquiry-based approach to learning and uses a “learning cycle”, including exploration, concept invention and application as the basis for many of the carefully designed materials that students use to guide them in their construction of knowledge and understanding of the course content.

1. Thursday, April 4th workshop (6pm – 9pm), Intermediate POGIL workshop. Location: Dawson College, room 3F.37 (Active Learning Classroom):

During this workshop, Dr. Moog will describe and explain the benefits of this student-centered inquiry approach to teaching, where students work in small groups with individual roles to ensure that all students are fully engaged in the learning process. He will also engage participants is hands-on exercises to help them build their own inquiry-based lesson. This workshop is an exceptional opportunity to get moving forward with your efforts to implement active learning pedagogy.

Intended audience: Thursday’s workshops is intended for those who have already begun to use a student-centered teaching approaches and who are looking for answers to specific questions such as: How is an inquiry-based approach different from other active learning approaches? Can I do just a few activities or do I have to commit to an entire curriculum? How do I adapt specific inquiry-based activities and tools to my discipline? What are the benefits of inquiry-based activities compared to other approaches to active learning?

Registration for this workshop is essential; places are limited to a maximum of 45 participants.  A light dinner will be served.

To register:


2. Friday, April 5th, (2-4pm) Introductory POGIL workshop,  Location: John Abbott College & McGill McDonald Campus on the West Island.

This is an entry level workshop. Participants will experience a POGIL-based learning project, analyze activities to understand how guided inquiry is structured in a POGIL classroom, and consider classroom facilitation and other issues related to the implementation of this student-centered instructional strategy.

Intended audience: Friday’s workshop is intended for those who are curious about this student-centered teaching approach and are looking for answers to questions such as: How do I get started? Where do I find tools? How do I get my students to buy into this new way of teaching? What’s in it for me, and what’s in it for my students?

Registration is encouraged: To register: 

These events are sponsored by the SALTISE, a Chantier 3 grant, funded by MELS with a mission to build and support a community of practice centered around pedagogical and technological innovation in the teaching of science.
For any questions, please contact Diana Tabatabai, Research Associate (;  514-398-5781)