Posts filed under 'Teaching and Learning'

Rubrics as Teaching Tools

We are all familiar with rubrics as an evaluation tool, used for summative assessment and to give a grade, but rubrics can also be a teaching tool for feedback and peer learning.
In a recent Faculty Focus article “Rubrics: An Undervalued Teaching Tool Stephanie Almagno outlined five ways rubrics can be used as teaching tools.

1. A Rubric for Thinking (Invention Activity)
When an assignment is given, students use the rubric to stimulate initial ideas and to brain-storm way to approach the assignment

2. A Rubric for Peer Feedback (Drafting Activity)
For first drafts, have students give peer feedback on the each others work, using the rubric to keep them focused.

3. A Rubric for Teacher Feedback (Revision Activity)
For longer more complex assignments, use rubrics to give feedback on work in progress. Scores don’t need to be given. use stars, or emoticons (happy, meh, frowny faces) to indicate “this is good, this need work”

4. A Rubric for Mini-Lessons (Data Indicate a Teachable Moment)
Use the rubric to give feedback to the class as a whole. After marking, scan the rubrics for those criteria done badly or particularly well, and prepare a “mini -lesson” to review the weakest areas.

5. A Rubric for Making Grades Visible (Student Investment in Grading)
When submitting assignments, have students submit a self-assessed rubric for their project. This encourages them to think like how it will be marked and combats the idea that grades are arbitrary. It allows them to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses, and how they can improve.

These ideas all, of course, make two basic assumptions about using rubrics. That rubrics are provided to the students at the same time as the project is assigned; and that rubrics are applied consistently throughout the assessment.

Add comment April 29th, 2016

CTL Workshops Feb 22 to Feb 26 - Register now!

Looking for help in designing authentic assignments, developing new courses or a new approach to creative thinking?
We’re here to help. Check out up-coming workshops from CTL and register now at the CTL Calendar

Tuesday Feb 23rd Room A227 – 10m – 12pm
Design Thinking REGISTER

Not everyone can make decisions for the system they exist within”, however, Design Thinking can engage more people, more often, more efficiently. This human-centred, creative process is based on iterative sequences of prototyping, testing and refinement. Participants will experience the DT method through interactive exercises.

Wednesday Feb 24th Room A227 – 2pm – 4pm
Course design – From Finish to Start REGISTER

How do you create a course with learning outcomes, learning activities and assessments that align? Using the principles of backwards design and constructive alignment this workshop will explore the stages course development.

Thursday Feb 25th Room A227 – 10am – 12pm
Authentic Assessment REGISTER

Assessing your assessments. Do your assessments reflect what will be expected of students in the workplace? Do they reliably measure what students can do? This workshop will explore evaluation strategies that support meaningful learning and reliable assessment of students’ abilities

Add comment February 18th, 2016

Group Assessment Workshop

CTL presents workshops on Group Assessment

Thursday January 21st 2pm;
Wednesday February 10th 10am.

Collaboration and communication are essential skills for graduates. This workshop will explore how can you create and assess group assignments that encourage and measure group-working skills.

Register now at the CTL Calendar

Add comment January 19th, 2016

New Online Faculty PD offerings

Six new online modules for professional development are now available as Open Offerings on eLearn.
These multimedia interactive learning modules were developed as part of the College Educators Development Program, and we are pleased to now make them to all faculty.

The Modules are:

  • Creating a Positive Learning Environment
  • Integrating Technology
  • Introduction to Assessment
  • Lesson Planning and Active Learning
  • Outcomes-Based Education
  • The Teaching Professional

The modules have been designed to allow you to enter and exit the modules as needed to provide “just-in-time” development. Readings, tutorial videos, reflections and hands on activities will help you build the skills needed to help you and your students be more successful. Each module takes 5-6 hours to complete.

Here is a clip from the introduction video of the “Outcomes-Based Education” module.

To enroll in the modules, go to “Open Offerings” in the eLearn Navbar, select ‘CEDP Modules’ and you’re enrolled. Just select the module you want to start with.

Add comment November 4th, 2015

MTCU Proposals for Online Course Development

Third time may be the charm. Once again, the Ministry has put out a call for proposals. Want to collaborate on designing a new online course for province-wide delivery? Inspired to develop an online module to be shared across the province? There is one week left to submit a proposal.

Worry not - you don’t have to go it alone! There will be opportunities to collaborate on the course or module development. Please consult the information previously circulated (and included here for your convenience) to know how to frame your exciting offering. If you have questions or concerns with the initial proposal to your Associate Dean or Manager, feel free to contact Dan McKerrall.

Good luck!

Here is the previously circulate information:

Call for Proposals

Submission Form

Sample Proposal

1 comment October 16th, 2015

Successful Semester Start: Part 1

You CTL is collaborating to share quick tips and information that will jumpstart a successful semester start. Whether it’s a few truths to put you in the proper frame of mind compliments of Beloit College’s annual Mindset List, a short article to share, or a course checklist, these should be posts of interest to new and seasoned instructors. Enjoy!

Beloit College’s Mindset List
We have edited the longer list down to our favourite fifteen, but you can access the list in its entirety here.

New Mohawk students arrive from work, high school, university, and beyond. We remain open to all their experiences and perspectives. However, the majority of students still come from high school directly and the list may assist.

Students heading into their first year of college this year are mostly 18 and were born in 1997.

Among those who have never been alive in their lifetimes are Princess Diana, Notorious B.I.G., Jacques Cousteau, and Mother Teresa.

Since they have been on the planet:

1. Hybrid automobiles have always been mass produced.

2. Google has always been there, in its founding words, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”

3. They have never licked a postage stamp.

4. Email has become the new “formal” communication, while texts and tweets remain enclaves for the casual.

6. Hong Kong has always been under Chinese rule.

7. They have grown up treating Wi-Fi as an entitlement.

9. The announcement of someone being the “first woman” to hold a position has only impressed their parents.

10. Charlton Heston is recognized for waving a rifle over his head as much as for waving his staff over the Red Sea.

14. Cell phones have become so ubiquitous in class that teachers don’t know which students are using them to take notes and which ones are planning a party.

17. If you say “around the turn of the century,” they may well ask you, “which one?”

18. They have avidly joined Harry Potter, Ron, and Hermione as they built their reading skills through all seven volumes.

27. Teachers have always had to insist that term papers employ sources in addition to those found online.

30. Surgeons have always used “super glue” in the operating room.

43. Humans have always had implanted radio frequency ID chips—slightly larger than a grain of rice.

44. TV has always been in such high definition that they could see the pores of actors and the grimaces of quarterbacks.

Add comment August 30th, 2015

GIFT Conference Online


Did you miss the GIFT conference in February? Would like to see the sessions you attended again? Maybe there were sessions you really wanted to attend happening at the same time?

The GIFT Conference is now Online.

Videos and notes from the conference are now available in a GIFT eLearn course available for self-registration.

To register for the GIFT eLearn course: click on “Self Registration” in the navbar; click on “GIFT (Great Ideas for Teaching)” in the list of courses; then click on the “Register“ button.
The GIFT course will appear in you “Employee” Tab under “My Courses”.

Add comment March 24th, 2015

Horizon Report 2015 - New Media Consortium (Post 1 of ?)

You may have noticed that CTL was a buzz last week. The latest NMC report for higher education hit the wires. (Lauren was particularly ecstatic and will no doubt be adding her thoughts to this blog and tweeting up a storm.) This collaboration between the New Media Consortium and ELI (EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative) forecasts the trends and challenges in a variety of educational settings. Of particular note is its three dimensions - LEADERSHIP, POLICY, and PRACTICE - and the detailing of impact and implications from each perspective.

There is so much to discuss! I will limit this first post to two projects on which I am currently involved. These projects address assessment and open educational resources.

Learning Outcomes Assessment

“We are just beginning to understand which data is useful for advancing learning” (New Media Consortium, p. 12). Not that long ago, the Office of the (former) VPA collected data on all Mohawk courses. This first step tracked the presence of basic information for course set-up. With basic course information covered, our next challenge is how to begin to mine data that is useful for advancing learning. From the focus on the LMS and online content over four years ago, we have recommended an adaptation of USC-Chico’s rubric for online instruction. As with most rubrics, it deals with qualitative data, which is time-consuming and labour-intensive to code, analyze, and report. Mohawk’s online learning environments are developing to complement our rich f2f learning environments. As we grow eLearn from a repository of information (uploaded docs and presentations) into a learning environment optimizing eLearn’s powerful space and tools e.g. Discussions, Quizzes, Dropbox, Rubrics the world of quantitative data opens. Insights is eLearn’s built-in tool to harness data.

D2L | Brightspace’s analytics tool, Insights, has numerous benefits:

  • once competencies are mapped, students see their achievement of course and program learning outcomes - allowing them to take more responsibility for learning and for learning to be more transparent
  • instructors, Student Success Advisors, Counsellors, and administration can query for students falling behind and implement intervention strategies early in the semester
  • meaningful data is at-the-ready for outside accreditation - PQAPA or a program’s external standards.

Mohawk is currently in a partnership with McMaster, University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier University, and D2L to improve their Competencies tool and ultimately Insights. We are in year two of a five-year commitment and just beginning to map activities to learning outcomes to vocational standards. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting project and its possibilities.

Open Educational Resources

The cohesive movement gained momentum at the turn of the century (2000) and defined open educational resources (OER) as “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others“(Hewlett Foundation, n.d.). In a recent survey of over 2 000 faculty, only 5% were very aware of OERs, but over 75% expected or would consider using them in the future (NMC, 2015). This hints at an approaching tipping point.

There are great examples of faculty implementing OERs in their course development. Beyond the cost savings for students (free instead of fee-based textbooks) they are participating in a tenet of education - SHARING. Sharing openly and freely is the surest way for knowledge to spread and wisdom to grow.

With Open Education Week approaching (March 9-15) why not commit 30 minutes to learning more about OERs or exploring one of the many OER respositories to see how your students could be enriched - both in their minds and wallets. The granddaddy of repositories is MERLOT ( Beyond being the oldest (established 1997) and the largest (six figures), it also includes a peer review function and great filters to find appropriate resources and activities for your course curation.

Your CTL and Library have teamed up to provide information sessions on OERs to grow awareness. Consult the CTL PD calendar. If you can`t make a session or can`t wait, talk with your Librarian, or shoot Peggy French an email to learn more about using OERs in your courses or for your own professional development.

I`ll leave with a short intro to Creative Commons. I am hopeful it will inspire!

Add comment February 17th, 2015

Musings on the Myths and the Marvels of the Flipped Classroom

Flipping the classroom is gaining momentum for a variety of reasons. In K-12, teachers’ desire to facilitate and ignite students through the more challenging application and analysis phases motivates the flip. Traditionally, teachers provided the foundation or introduction in class and then assigned the practice and extension activities as homework.  The flip allows them to be present for the more challenging aspects of learning (and teaching!).

In higher education, an additional catalyst for the flip is hybrid or blended learning. As higher ed institutions work to increase students’ responsibility for their own learning, provide more flexibility, and grapple with space issues, flipping the classroom is a popular re-design for blended or hybrid delivery.

For the purposes of the blog, I’ll provide a few musings on the myths and marvels that I believe will benefit Mohawk faculty and students. We will start off with one myth buster and one marvel that assists the bust…..

Myth #1: So, I just have to record myself doing my 2 hour lecture and post it?

For student engagement and retention, you will still want to package the information in to manageable chunks. Likely, in your lectures, you take breaks to confirm understanding every 7-10 minutes. This should be replicated online.

If you are concerned about the best way to build your facilitation of course foundational or introductory information, Richard E. Mayer, an educational psychologist, and Ruth Colvin Clark, an instructional designer, have done some wonderful exploration into the science of eLearning. Their cognitive load and design principles research provides recommendations on combining formats (text, audio, video, animation) to optimize processing and knowledge acquisition by students. Get the book at Mohawk Library! If you had to place a hold on the book, this article will whet your appetite.

Marvel #1: With the omni-patient computer it is actually easier to provide appropriate reinforcement of concepts for all learning styles and preferences in the online learning environment. There are many, free educational technologies that can assist. Let’s highlight one of my favourites - Quizlet.

Have terms and definitions or pictures and definitions that would normally have students creating flashcards to commit them to memory? This tool allows you or students to enter the terms | pictures and definitions once and create not only interactive flashcards, but simultaneously other, scaffolded games | challenges.

Take a look at the Quizlet below. I have entered the names of your CTL frontline staff and their titles | areas of responsibilities. I have chosen the Scatter mode. This mode assumes some level of knowledge. If you are new to Mohawk, you may choose the flashcard mode. If you are a regular user, try the harder, Space Race mode.

Your frontline CTL staff

[Note: CTL staff also includes Anna Johnston (Director), Nadine Ogborn (Manager), and Kelly Riley-Dunbavin (Promotions and Events). But we wanted to keep the game manageable and 8 is the magic number!]

Track your time and challenge your colleagues!

Stay tuned for more myths and marvels of the flipped classroom. In the meantime, if you want to continue the conversation or start a collaboration, contact Peggy French.

Wordle of flipped classroom terms

Add comment January 21st, 2015

Teaching Circles at Mohawk

This term Mohawk College Faculty are invited to participate in a Teaching Circles Project, Beginning during the week of February 2nd.
Teaching Circles are a widely used and recognised way of bringing faculty together for mutual support and development.

Kick-off meetings will be held at each campus during the week of February 2nd, to establish the Circles, and the process will take six to seven weeks to complete.

What are Teaching Circles?

The Teaching Circles Project attempts to improve teaching and build community through a structured, non-evaluative process of classroom observation and shared reflection.

A Teaching Circle consists of a small of group faculty participants (ideally from different disciplines) who:

  • Observe at least one class taught by each Circle Partner
  • Reflect on the class observation experience
  • Share reflections with Circle Partners
  • Share Circle observations with Project participants as a whole

Your Teaching Circles experience offers you the opportunity to improve your own teaching by observing your Circle Partners in an actual classroom situation.

By participating in the Teaching Circles Project you will have an opportunity to:

  • observe, analyze and celebrate good teaching
  • increase your understanding of and appreciation for the work of colleagues
  • experience the joy and confusion of being a student
  • formulate a plan for enhancing your own teaching based on your observations and reflections and the shared reflections of your Circle Partners.

Cornerstones for Participants
Teaching Circles is unique in offering a classroom visitation process free from evaluation.

The Cornerstones of Teaching Circles are the positive attitudes and behaviours that create a mutually supportive, energizing environment for sharing the joys and challenges of teaching.

Cooperation and shared responsibility facilitate a team effort and a team result.

Reciprocity Appreciation Reflection Respect

For more information or to register please email
Or call Leslie Marshall at extension 3449

Add comment January 20th, 2015

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