Category Archives: Students today

Taking audiences’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds into consideration when communicating at mcgill


A recent publication entitled Twelve tips for promoting learning during presentations in cross cultural settings provides “tips for educators to consider when planning and delivering formal presentations (e.g. lectures and workshops) in cross cultural settings” (Saiki, Snell, & Bhanji, 2017, p. 1). I’d like to highlight the relevance of these tips to communication at McGill—through classroom instruction, meeting presentations, Town Hall talks, etc.—in light of the cultural and linguistic diversity at this institution. Continue reading Taking audiences’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds into consideration when communicating at mcgill

Expectations (of graduate students and supervisors)


A very thoughtful post from Prof Chirs Buddle on the importance of setting expectations for graduate students and supervisors.

Interested in discussing the topic further? Register for the TLS workshop on “Clarifying Expectations in Graduate Supervision” on Feb 25th, 2pm-4pm.

Arthropod Ecology

I have been running a research laboratory for close to 15 years, and I’m ashamed to say that I have not written down, formally, my expectations* of graduate students and their expectations of me. I regret this, especially since there are amazing resources out there to help with this discussion. I would argue that differing levels of expectation is probably a key source of conflict in research laboratories, and having a solid agreement between graduate students and supervisors is key for success.

Here is some context for my laboratory: I run a mid-sized laboratory (currently with three MSc and three PhD students and two undergraduate Honour’s students), focused on studying arthropod ecology. As a Professor, my job involves teaching, research and administration. When running my research laboratory, the three tasks overlap – for example, I’m a lab ‘administrator’ in some ways, including ordering supplies, dealing with budgets, working on…

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Teaching What’s Important: Symposium Highlights


On December 11th, 2015, McGill’s Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) held a symposium for faculty with a focus on translating aspirations for student learning into pedagogical strategies. The event, Teaching What’s Important: Educating Students for Today and Tomorrow, called upon a range of university professors to showcase their strategies and experiences, and join the discussion about the possibilities for undergraduate education at McGill. With a turnout of 135 (a mostly faculty members, but also staff and a few students), the discussion was certainly though-provoking. For some highlights, please see below: Continue reading Teaching What’s Important: Symposium Highlights

How do you talk to students? [The Sandbox]


How do you talk to students is an important question to reflect on as we start thinking about next term. Earlier this Fall, the McGill Office of Sustainability posted a very interesting piece on their blog, The Sandbox, addressing this very issue. Many thanks to them for letting us repost it here.

MOOS Students

A question that staff often bring to MOOS is, “How do you talk to students?” In a campus as siloed as McGill’s, it’s understandably difficult to break down the geographic and cultural boundaries between students and staff. Our secret? We regularly emphasize why students are fundamental to the work that we are doing, and we actively seek out ways to partner with students.

Why are students important? Continue reading How do you talk to students? [The Sandbox]

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

From the Campus to MOOC: Reflections of a Student Assistant


McGillX offered its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the edX platform in January 2014 and has now offered two MOOCs, started a third and has one more more in the pipe.  Serving as a student assistant for CHEM181x: Food for Thought, I was myself a learner in a new environment. To be honest, I had never heard of a MOOC until I was offered the position in November 2013. In joining the McGillX team, my role would be to both assist in the course development and serve as one of two discussion moderators. Continue reading From the Campus to MOOC: Reflections of a Student Assistant