“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.
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.
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.
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
The passing of a family member and brief hospital admission marked my first two months at McGill. (Please keep reading, I promise I won’t regale you with a tale of woe here.) Thanks to an advisor at the Office of Advising and Student Information Services (OASIS), I was able to withdraw from courses or defer exams, finishing my first year largely academically unscathed. My situation was not unique – almost all of my peers have experienced some difficulty that was detrimental to their wellness. After speaking with more students, I realized that I was incredibly fortunate to have accessed and been supported by resources at McGill (OASIS, McGill Counselling, McGill Students’ Nightline). While a variety of on-campus services for student support exist, many students are either unaware of or are unable to access them for a variety of reasons. As a result, some students do not receive support from McGill and the challenges they face significantly hinder their ability to learn. (Read student testimonials here, here and here.) Continue reading Pedagogy x Support: An Up-and-Coming Collab in the Classroom
If you teach at McGill and give students multiple choice question (MCQ) final exams, you’ll be receiving a “Test Item Statistics Report” from the Exam Office sometime after the end of term. This report, also known as an “item analysis report,” is sent to you along with the exam results. The report lets you know all kinds of interesting things about your exam, such as:
- how difficult your questions were
- how well your questions discriminated
- how well your distractors worked
That’s what McGill Prof. Laura Madokoro wanted to know. Laura teaches Canada Since 1867 – Interrogating the Nation: Moment by Moment (HIST 203). This semester, students working in small groups have been assigned the task of selecting a “moment” they believe really matters to the history of Canada and then presenting an argument to support their choice. Each group has selected one moment from 1930-1979 and one from 1980 to the present. Students present their arguments in class and publish them in a blog called Moments that Matter: Canadian History since 1867, along with photos and embedded videos. Continue reading Which Moments In Canadian History Do Undergrads Believe Matter?
Many instructors putting together a teaching portfolio for tenure or promotion find themselves stumped by this question. Maybe you are still relatively new to teaching. Maybe your approach is part personal experience as a former student, part trial and error. Maybe you have found your groove, but you never actually spent any time pondering about your underlying philosophy. So what are you supposed to write in your teaching portfolio? How do you begin? Continue reading What is my teaching approach (or philosophy)? Prompts to help you identify underlying beliefs and values.