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!
It is often challenging to engage in productive “difficult dialogues” in the classroom. Faculty Focus just released a very interesting article that discusses seven different strategies to help. Continue reading Strategies to engage in productive difficult dialogues
What happens when students are asked to write for an audience who knows little about the discipline?” Guest speaker Professor Terry Hébert addressed this question at a November 20, 2015 session entitled Developing Engaged Citizens through Critical Thinking, the most recent event organized by the Assessment in Large Classes Advisory Group.
Continue reading Developing engaged citizens through critical thinking
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.
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]
Have you thought of what you are going to do on the first day of class? There are many great resources with both general recommendations on how to approach the first day as well as specific activities that you might want to try. We have gathered a few of these below for some quick reading before the first day. Hopefully this post will give you ideas on creating an open, exciting and engaging learning environment.
Continue reading First day of class… anyone, anyone, anyone?
Welcome to our first post of the 2015 academic year! Keep an eye out for lots more in the coming weeks. And now onto some great tips on using discussions in myCourses.
Classes start in just over two weeks, so it’s the perfect time to start getting your myCourses pages ready for the semester. The Discussions tool can be a great way to add an online component to your course. This blog post contains recommendations for creating exciting online discussions, with a focus on how you can leverage online icebreaker activities as an opportunity to introduce students to the Discussions tool. Continue reading Breaking the ice – 5 tips for getting your discussions started in myCourses
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