Tag Archives: teaching

Strategy Bites: A new blog series with ideas for getting students active in their learning


At the 2018 SALTISE conference held at McGill University in Montreal, keynote speakers Richard Felder and Rebecca Brent spoke on the topic of Understanding and Minimizing Resistance to Learner-centered Teaching. They pointed out that many students are accustomed to and comfortable taking notes while listening to instructors lecture. But being more active in class doesn’t necessarily appeal to students.

Strategies exist for addressing student resistance, such as:

  • being explicit with students about why you’re asking them to do active learning tasks and
  • varying your teaching methods so that students benefit from different types of learning opportunities. Read more.

Another point raised was that active learning strategies often take little classroom time. Over the coming weeks, this blog series will present “Strategy Bites”—a series of 2-3 minute videos produced by Teaching and Learning Services that describe how to implement a number of strategies we’re featuring based on relative ease of implementation, suitability for different class sizes, and their representation of a variety of interaction types. These blog posts will also address students’ perceptions of these strategies and offer links to additional resources. Stay tuned for some practical ideas!

Seeking help deciding which strategies to implement and how they’ll fit with your teaching? If you’re a McGill University instructor, contact Teaching and Learning Services for a one-on-one-consultation.

Featured Image photo credit: Victor Tangerman

Highs and Lows of Course Evaluations


Student ratings and comments in course evaluations can bolster teachers’ sense of efficacy. But even a single less-than-favourable rating or comment has the potential for disproportionately occupying our thoughts. This phenomenon—of focusing on the one or two negative comments among a sea of positive ones—is common.

Continue reading Highs and Lows of Course Evaluations

Exploring issues surrounding The Royal Victoria Hospital site development in a McGill Law course


For the first time, Professors Kirsten Anker, Yaëll Emerich and Tina Piper from the Faculty of Law teamed up to teach the “Property” course (LAWG 220 D1 and D2), a new year-long “integrated course teaching civil, common and Indigenous property law.”[1] Their students’ final assignment was to create a poster related to the development of the Royal Victoria Hospital site. Working in teams, the students had to “explore property issues related to the development of the former site of the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH).”[2] Specific objectives for students were to:

  • “Develop collaboration skills by working together on a project
  • Apply [their] knowledge of property law to an actual situation in the local environment
  • Translate legal knowledge to individuals in a public forum.”[3]

Continue reading Exploring issues surrounding The Royal Victoria Hospital site development in a McGill Law course

Sharing is Caring: When Colleagues Exchange Knowledge


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

Pedagogy x Support: An Up-and-Coming Collab in the Classroom


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

What is my teaching approach (or philosophy)? Prompts to help you identify underlying beliefs and values.


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.

The Lunch Spot: Let’s talk teaching


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