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.
A number of colleagues at McGill have been thinking about how peer assessment (PA) can be integrated in courses and have generously shared some of their reflections on the topic.
Dr. Maria Orjuela-Laverde is an Academic Associate at Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) who works on the Faculty of Engineering’s eLATE (enhancing Learning And Teaching in Engineering) initiative. In a conversation about her experience supporting instructors with their implementation of PA, she shares how varied PA assignments can be, describes her collaborations with instructors, reflects on peer assessment of teamwork, and provides advice for instructors thinking about trying PA in their courses. Continue reading Varied approaches to implementing peer assessment
In this post in our new series “Hacking myCourses,” we look at a simple way to print out Quizzes created in myCourses. Just a quick reminder: we’re not actually hacking myCourses; we mean “hacking” the tools in myCourses to make them do something that isn’t obvious to do. Continue reading Hacking myCourses: Printing quizzes
What do 2 prize winning instructors, 10 instructors from a variety of disciplines and TLS staff have in common? They recently came together for an informal lunch to share experiences, ideas, questions, and tips about teaching. As a newcomer to the TLS team, I was glad to be able to join them. It was an opportunity to hear about TLS services in depth, as well as what was on instructors’ minds. Together, they engaged in a spirited exchange on a variety of topics. Continue reading The Lunch Spot: Let’s talk teaching
Welcome to our first post in our new series “Hacking myCourses”. We don’t actually mean “hacking” myCourses (as not to raise eyebrows at IT Security)… but rather, how can you “hack” the tools in myCourses to make them do something that isn’t intuitively obvious to do?
You may be in a situation where you want to grade open-ended questions automatically for completion rather than for correctness. Here is a trick you can use to auto-grade open-ended questions such that anything a student enters in the answer box receives full points. Continue reading Hacking myCourses: Auto-grading open-ended quiz questions
Teaching can be an isolating endeavour. Instructors often prep material on their own, go to class, teach, and then go back to their offices. What they do in class is almost like a hidden act shared only between themselves and their students. Especially at a research-intensive university, instructors don’t always have opportunities or make the time to chat with colleagues about what goes on in their classrooms. But such conversations have the potential for being valuable in that they can inform instructors’ choice of teaching strategies; they can inspire and motivate instructors to innovate in the classroom.
For one week last semester (November 20-24, 2017), eLATE (Enhancing Learning and Teaching in Engineering) held its first Teaching Week, an initiative that addressed the isolation by providing an opportunity for instructors in the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Science to “open” their classes for observation by their colleagues. Faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and senior PhD students could learn from peers and see first-hand the implementation of a variety of teaching strategies. Some 15 professors from Architecture, Chemical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Physics, and Urban Planning participated. Those wanting to observe had to register for logistics reasons, but other than that, the event was fairly informal—there were no articulated learning outcomes and instructors were not being evaluated by their peers! By fostering peer observation and discussion of teaching practices, eLATE’s Teaching Week sought to build a community of practice to enhance pedagogical excellence in the Faculty of Engineering. The initiative included “coffee and chat” and “happy hour” gatherings where colleagues could reflect on and discuss the classes they had observed during the week.
While many students have mastered the art of email, others tend to take “poetic license” – unclear subject lines, omitted course name or student ID, or even an occasional use of an emoticon!
If you’re an instructor, suggest students hone their email communication skills by watching a short instructional video produced by Teaching and Learning Services. Share the link with students through myCourses and add the link to your course outlines!
If you’re a student, get together with some friends, take out some snacks, and sit back to enjoy this brief instructional video.
Interested in knowing more about writing emails to instructors? Check out Re: Your Recent Email to Your Professor and Email Etiquette: Guidelines for Writing to Your Professors.