While from the bounded level of our mind Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind, But, more advanced, behold with strange surprise New distant scenes of endless science rise! – Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, 1709
Alexander Pope may have been addressing an audience of literary critics, but his message is just as applicable to both faculty and students. To judge fairly and wisely – he wrote – be humble, follow nature, and study deeply. So what does it mean to study deeply? Continue reading Learning to learn→
The fundamental question guiding the symposium was: What is most important for students to learn at university? During that time, we listened carefully to your contributions and recorded your input. Today we present a new blog series that builds on the aspirations you shared during the event.
These learning aspirations will be the key focus of this bi-weekly series, as we bring you our thoughts, some fresh ideas, and — most importantly — examples of teaching strategies used by McGill professors that aim to promote student engagement and learning both inside and outside the classroom.
We want to keep the conversation about achieving aspirations going, but we also want to make visible the range of exciting teaching methods used across the McGill campus. We invite you to keep your ears to the ground, to connect and to share ideas about effective teaching strategies.
Filipa Pajević & Marcy Slapcoff, Teaching and Learning Services
Aspirations to Actions returns every other Thursday with new content pertaining to one or more learning aspirations!
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!→
During an informative, brown bag, lunch session on Friday, March 18th, four professors and three students presented 3-minute lightning talks about their experiences with assessments of specific course assignments. The professors described the rationales for their assignments and spoke about their feedback methods, while the students described their perspectives from the receiving end. The lightning talks were followed by a lively question and answer period that allowed the speakers and audience members to share candid opinions about the topics raised. Continue reading Assessment narratives in en-“lightning” style: Experiences from both sides of the table→
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→
What causes natural disasters? Can you avoid them?
To kick off the third run of their Natural Disasters MOOC on edX, Professors John Stix and John Gyakum will be hosting their first Reddit AMA!
AMA mean “Ask Me Anything” so questions about the strange weather we are experiencing, the current ‘Super El Nino’, the chances of another ice storm, the professors’ research, and more, are all fair game.