Posts filed under 'Teaching and Learning'

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

Add 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

Creating a Blend: Enabling Virtual Learners by Design pt 4

It’s been a while since we started this series, but we’ve come back to it.
In the fourth of her blog posts on Enabling Virtual Learners by Design Jennifer Hofmann discusses getting the right blend in blended learning.

We have many options available to us when creating blended training programs. We can build self-paced programs using learning portals, websites, and e-learning. We can develop moderated discussions using social media, discussion boards and email. Finally, we can create real time events using traditional classrooms, videoconferencing, and virtual classrooms. The trick is learning what technologies to use and how to facilitate the blend.

Hoffman points out that while everyone is talking about building the right blend, achieving it requires work; specifically instructional design work; and time to facilitate successful blended learning experiences.

With traditionally delivered courses we often short-cut Instructional design because we feel familiar enough with the medium that we can anticipate how exercises will go, how the audience will respond and what instructional strategies to use; and how to adapt rapidly if the unanticipated occurs.

The online environment doesn’t allow for that.

Instructional Design Basics
Hoffman says designing online learning starts with the basics of Learning Outcomes and assessment techniques.

Once you’ve identified the performance objectives and assessment techniques, think about how you would assess that objective in the online environment. A multiple-choice test? Written essay? Oral feedback? Group application? If the assessment technique is individualized and objective in nature, such as a graded test, then that objective may be effectively delivered asynchronously. If performance is best assessed in an oral or group situation, such as giving effective feedback to a peer, a synchronous delivery method might be most effective for that part of your program.

Keep to the point
A really interesting point she makes is that it is tempting to put background, historical “nice to know” information into the online content. This is a bad idea; if you’re not going to test it, don’t teach it is the rule for online. Why? Maintaining motivation and engagement is a major challenge online. Students need to feel that what they are doing online is directly relevant to what they are trying to achieve or they will lose interest.

There’s a lot more to her challenging and thought provoking article so check it out at this link

Add comment January 5th, 2015

The Educational Support Program: FutureReady at Mohawk

People often talk about the difference between college and university, mainly discussing the difference in hands-on learning. After years of student and work experience at the university level, I have had the opportunity as an Instructional Designer in the CTL to see firsthand what Mohawk is doing right. This doesn’t mean that universities aren’t doing great things because they are! It’s just exciting to see these principles executed in the college environment with a high degree of competency.

You Learn We Grow

You Learn We Grow

Authentic Learning Experiences
Authentic experience is dynamic and engages multiple senses as it “aims to demonstrate the knowledge and skill within a real setting and allow the learner to make connections between the school setting and the demands of the broader communities” (Mantei & Kervin, 2009, p. 4). The balance between applied theoretical and applied learning varies from program to program with some having significantly more ‘hands-on’ and other more ‘theory.’ While theory plays an integral role in student learning, the combination of theory and authentic learning experiences provides a unique opportunity for learning, understanding, and application.

The Educational Support Program
The Educational Support Program (ESP) here at Mohawk is a prime example of the perfect blending of theory and authentic learning. Years ago, the program was mainly theory based, as are a lot of institutional programs. For example, my undergraduate teaching and education program was mainly theory based with placements until the later years. While theory and in-class learning still play a critical role in student learning, in the ESP, the students are carefully and methodically scaffolded into community placements starting in semester one. Karen Falls, a professor for the ESP, shares that students in semester one are paired with CICE students (great co-blending of programs if I might add) to experience educational support in an authentic, yet secure environment. This provides instructors with the ability to able to pop in and out and provide guidance along the way. In the next three semesters, the students experience three different types of placements in the community. They must work in an elementary school classroom, a high-school classroom, and a specialized classroom, which all offer unique experiences to develop their ES skill-set.

A Rich Student Experience
This opportunity aligns well with Jonassen, Mayes, and McAleese (1992) learning continuum where students’ experience unique introductory, advanced and expert learning phases (as cited in Keppell et al., 2002, p. 2). The students in ESP experience introductory learning through classroom learning, advanced learning through first semester CICE preparatory placement, and expert learning through authentic community placements. Combined, the theory matched with the authentic learning opportunities provide for a rich student experience that equally prepares them for the workforce.

Here are Mohawk, we strive to be great and FutureReady. The ESP, and many other programs here, do just that as our graduates are ripe with experience when they leave the college doors.

Alp, A. (2013). How to successful integrate technology into the 21st century classroom – part 1: Web tools. Retrieved from

Keppell, M., Kan, K., Messer, L. B., & Bione, H. (2002). Proceedings from ASCILITE 2002: Authentic learning interactions: Myth or reality? Auckland: New Zealand.

Mantei, J. & Kervin, L. K. (2009). Proceedings from National Conference for Teachers of English and Literacy: “Authentic” learning experiences: what does this mean and where is the literacy learning? Hobart, Tasmania: Australia.

Lauren Soluk - Centre for Teaching and Learning

Add comment September 25th, 2014

Make the Most of The First Day of Class

Another September and a new academic year begins. A good time to revisit some ways to make that first class effective.
Incorporating the objectives listed in this article from  Carnegie Melon University are a sure way to start the class off on the right foot. 

The first class meeting should serve at least two basic purposes:
• To clarify all reasonable questions students might have relative to the course objectives, as well as your expectations for their performance in class. As students leave the first meeting, they should believe in your competence to teach the course, be able to predict the nature of your instruction, and know what you will require of them.
• To give you an understanding of who is taking your course and what their expectations are.
These two basic purposes expand into a set of eight concrete objectives:
1. Orchestrate positive first impressions
2. Introduce yourself effectively
3. Clarify learning objectives and expectations
4. Help students learn about each other
5. Set the tone for the course
6. Collect baseline data on students’ knowledge and motivation
7. Whet students’ appetite for course content
8. Inform students of course requirements

To read more about each of the eight concrete objectives, click here.

What are your strategies for that first day?

Add comment September 2nd, 2014

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