A Monthly Newsletter from the Centre for Academic and Faculty Enrichment

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An Expanded Team!

I am delighted to welcome the SALS team!  The union of SALS and the CAFE will benefit students and faculty alike and provide opportunities for creative synergies to arise.

As manager of Educational Development, Amanda Maknyik will now have a student-facing aspect in her portfolio. Amanda will work with the SALS team as they continue to support our students. As well, Amanda will carry on with her work with faculty to meet their teaching and learning needs.

The CAFE continues to assist faculty with student engagement strategies, authentic assessments, and the facilitation of deep and durable learning. The eLearning team provides faculty-focused support to meet your educational technology needs including DC Connect, Microsoft Teams, videos, and interactive media. The Quality team supports your program as you engage in program reviews including curriculum mapping, program modifications and new program development.

We are excited to start this new journey with our expanded team – and look forward to supporting you, your students and your programs!

Dr. Jean Choi

Faculty Spotlight

Keri Semenko

Keri Semenko teaches in the Animal Care program in the School of Health and Community Services, bringing her passion for animal behaviour and welfare as well as her expertise in wildlife studies to her courses. Before arriving at Durham College (DC), she spent a number of years in the animal shelter system in Ontario. Keri’s experiences in the sector – and her personality - shines through in her teaching. She is genuine and passionate, and her sense of humor is embedded in her lessons.

Keri engages her students in their learning by “ask[ing] them to think about how the material connects to things they have experienced and the jobs they hope to have. Making the knowledge relevant is key”. She also exposes her students to many different experiences that they may not otherwise have had. She finds it particularly rewarding when a student finds their own passion from what they’ve learned in the program.

“I love to see a new career path appear in front of them”.

Like many of her colleagues, Keri notes that converting course material for remote delivery can be challenging, but also exciting, particularly learning how to do things differently. She’s noticed that, in some ways, there seems to be more connections with her students in the Virtual Classroom than in-person; for instance, students have been using the chat features to “talk” to one another even while she is teaching.

Faculty PD Day

Save the Date: October 26, 2020 for CAFE Faculty PD Day

CAFE Faculty PD Day will be hosted synchronously through Microsoft Teams on October 26th. Join us for a chance to connect with your colleagues and learn about addressing racism in our courses, supporting international students, as well as successes of remote delivery – and lessons learned. Additional sessions that are planned include the use of educational technology tools such as Flipgrid and Video Assignments, and tips and tricks with using DC Connect, Virtual Classroom, and Teams.

Sessions will be recorded and securely available for faculty unable to attend.

Early bird registration form

Sessions can be selected at a later date.

Call for Proposals

Share your teaching practices with your colleagues at the October reading week professional development day!

The CAFE is providing a forum for you and your colleagues to share your practices, successes and lessons learnt with your peers.

The deadline for Proposal Submission has been extended to Thursday October 8, 2020. If you are interested in presenting, please fill out this registration form.

Teaching and Learning

Multiple choice questions are an excellent option for diagnostic and formative assessments leading up to midterms! Consider the following 5 tips when constructing multiple choice items to avoid your assessment becoming “multiple guess”:

  • Keep the question (stem) simple and free of unnecessary information. The stem should stand alone – a student should be able to answer the question in their head without seeing the optional answers (the distractors).
  • Avoid fill in the blank questions (ex. “The colour of a stop sign is ________ and the shape is ______.”) and questions with double negatives (ex. “To ensure a stop sign is not stollen, what should not be done?”). These questions are unclear and can unnecessarily confuse students, thus lower their chances of success.
  • Ensure all your distractors (incorrect answers) are plausible answers to the question. This will improve the discriminatory power of the question, separating the students who have the knowledge from those who do not and eliminating strategic elimination (the test taker is able to determine one element is incorrect and conclude the entire option is incorrect).
  • Eliminate wishy washy answers such as “all of the above”, “none of the above”, “a & b”, etc. These options promote strategic elimination and can be unnecessarily challenging.
  • Be aware of apparent differences in writing and appearance of the distractors (e.g., poor grammar or grammatical shifts/tense variations) or patterns (ex. words at the front of distractors; length of the distractors) that separate the correct answer from the incorrect answers. Students easily identify patterns, which supports strategic elimination and will not appropriately assess the knowledge of the student.

Teaching & Learning Tip: Assessment Questions

Have your students write assessment questions for you! This activity can be done as an active learning strategy at the end of a lesson or as a study strategy leading up to an assessment. This not only supports retrieval practice, strengthening memory and neural connections (making the information easier to retrieve later), but also provides you, their faculty, with a view of what the students took from the lesson or have deemed to be important. This information can be used to identify gaps in learning, direct review or reinforcement activities, and inform future teaching. Bonus? You don’t have to think of 100 different questions on your own!

Have individuals or small groups of students write 5 multiple choice questions at the end of a lesson or module and submit them to you as an in-process activity or “ticket out the door”. You can then modify and enter these questions into the DC Connect question bank for your course.

DC Connect Tip: Stop, Start, Continue

Only a few more weeks and we’re halfway through the semester! This is a great time to gather formative input from your students by using Stop, Start, Continue. Gathering feedback allows you to implement feedback before the end of the semester. We've provided a Stop, Start, Continue survey that can be easily imported into your course in DC Connect. Check out our page on Stop, Start, Continue! Alternatively, you can use Microsoft Forms to easily create online surveys.

Support at CAFE for Synchronous Platforms

Just a friendly reminder that the CAFE provides faculty support for the Virtual Classroom and Microsoft Teams. If you’ve elected to use an alternative synchronous tool, the CAFE cannot provide support.

Adobe Flash Will No Longer Be Supported in January

In February, we reminded faculty that Adobe Flash will no longer be supported at the end of December 2020. This means that any interactive objects developed in Flash will no longer work on all web browsers for January 2021. Please visit the announcement about Flash to learn about to tell if your interactive objects use flash.

If you’ve determined that you’re using a flash object in your course, you will need to find out if there is a newer version you can use. If you can’t find a replacement and require an interactive learning object to support your students, please contact Tanya.Wakelin@durhamcollege.ca to help our team review and prioritize updates to these Flash objects.

DC Connect Tip: Restrictions on Grade Items

Just a reminder, we encourage faculty to not assign restrictions to items in the gradebook. Instead, assign the restrictions only to the activity (I.e. Assignment Submission Folder, Quiz, etc.).

DC Connect Tip: Easily Add Faculty Video With Video Note

The Video Note feature allows faculty to create video recordings (maximum 30 minutes) from a webcam right in DC Connect to content, discussion posts and as assignment feedback. Students can also use Video Notes in discussion posts. Automatic captions included! Visit our website for a how-to video.

The Student Perspective on Remote Learning from SALS

SALS has a unique perspective in connecting with students outside of the classroom, which provides the opportunity to gather their thoughts and feedback around teaching and learning activities at DC. As the academic year has continued the shift to remote delivery, students have expressed their appreciation for faculty being available to answer questions and clarify expectations, as well as recognizing the importance of flexibility as everyone tries to navigate the new learning environment. Students report that they feel supported by each other but are also feeling overwhelmed with the quantity of work and the nature of remote learning. They have established group chats to stay connected, share information and support each other with their transition to college and remote learning.

One of SALS contributions to supporting this transition was through the creation and delivery of 42 unique SALS Essentials workshops during the last two weeks of August. Students have said how beneficial the workshops were and how learning about SALS early on has helped them prepare for their studies. Students are taking advantage of remotely delivered staff-led workshops, tutorials, and appointments as well as virtual peer tutoring. It is crucial that students access academic supports early in the semester and the impact of faculty referrals and promotion of SALS supports cannot be understated. Remember that SALS is here to support your students!

Faculty – SALS needs your help! SALS needs Peer Tutors for the following courses/programs:

  • Practical Nursing
  • Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant
  • Power engineering techniques
  • Graphic Design
  • Biomedical Engineering Technology
  • Massage Therapy
  • Public Relations & Strategic Communications
  • Interactive Media Design
  • Artificial Intelligence Analysis, Design and Implementation
  • Paralegal

Students who are interested must have a 3.0 GPA and a minimum grade of 75% in the courses they want to peer tutor in, and must also be OSAP eligible if they are domestic students.

If you are faculty in one of these courses/programs, we would love for you to please reach out to your students. If you have recommendations for tutors or students who are interested, please contact Kelly Helmer (Kelly.Helmer@durhamcollege.ca).

Global Curriculum Conference Research Project

By Teresa Goff, MAD faculty

This project arose from a mandatory College Teaching Certificate course for DC faculty members, which uses the DC Global Class to focus on how faculty can design and develop curriculum that ensures the personal and professional success of DC students in a globalized world. The project design was developed through follow-up discussions identifying a need to foster global conversation by leveraging the international relationships established by DC faculty members using the Global Class to enhance global competency and intercultural skills of students.

Library Spotlight

DC Connect: Library Online Modules

To support online and blended course delivery, Librarians have developed three e-learning modules in DC Connect. The text, images, videos, interactive quizzes and activities included in these modules support the development of information literacy skills in your course so students are prepared to find, evaluate and ethically use information from a variety of sources in their assignments. These three modules can be used together or individually as part of your curriculum:

New Online Resources

To support faculty’s transition to online and blended learning, the Library team has acquired a number of new online resources:

Monthly PD Opportunities

Internal Offerings

Click on the CAFE October Professional Development Calendar image below for details and to register.

HR PD Offerings

In anticipation of, and in response to, the many impacts of Covid-19 and its impact on employees, Human Resources has been offering a variety of supports to all employees, including professional development and wellness webinars. Building on the series of employee-focused wellness webinars offered over the spring/summer period, please review Human Resources’ Fall 2020 Employee Development flyer for a full listing of free webinars for employees. Topics include stress management, promoting employee health and wellbeing, the importance of unplugging, and much more. For more information about available supports or offerings, please contact Holly Stringer, manager, Employee Development and Wellness.

External PD Offerings

We are pleased to announce that registration for the 2020 Virtual Learning Outcomes Symposium is now live. You may register for each event via the three links below. Please note that you are required to register separately for each event that you may wish to attend, as the links for each event are unique to that particular event. The registration links will also be posted to our website. There is no registration fee required for the events.

  • A Keynote presentation and Q&A by Dr. Lorna Williams, Professor Emerita of Indigenous Education, Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Victoria and Canada Research Chair in Education and Linguistics, entitled: “Ti Wa7 Szwatenem: What We Know. Indigenous Knowledge And Learning In The Academy” on Thursday, October 8, 2020 (1:30 – 3:00 p.m. EST).
  • A Plenary Panel discussion on “Developing Adaptable and Resilient Lifelong Learners” led by the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 (1:30 – 3:00 p.m. EST). The Hon. Beatty will be joined by:
    • Dr. Norah McRae, Associate Provost, Co-operative and Experiential Education and Adjunct faculty member, Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo
    • Valerie Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER)
    • Matt Rempel, Director, Career-Integrated Learning, Sheridan College, and President-Elect, Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada
  • A moderated panel discussion/Q&A led by Dr. Natasha Patrito Hannon, Associate Director, Educational Development, Centre for Academic Excellence, Niagara College on the topic of of “Online/Virtual Learning Outcomes and Assessment in the Context of the COVID-19 Health Crisis” on Friday, October 16, 2020 (1:30 – 3:00 p.m. EST). Dr. Patrito Hannon will be joined by:
    • Dr. Bonnie Stewart, Assistant Professor of Online Pedagogy and Workplace Learning in the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Education
    • Dr. James M. Skidmore, Director of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies and faculty member in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Waterloo
    • Other panelists TBD.

All sessions will be live and will include moderated chat and Q&A. As a reminder, for those who may not able to attend any given session, it is planned that the sessions will be recorded and then posted to the Quality Councils website for later viewing. Please also keep checking our website as further information about the panels will be posted there on an ongoing basis leading up to the events.

Please feel free to circulate this message within your communities as you see fit and please contact me if you have any questions.

TESS 2020 Preview Events

In the lead up to TESS Online 2020, participants are invited to start the conversation early with our TESS preview events where we’ll discuss what it means to humanize learning, hear from students and meet the community.

  • October 6, 12:00 - 1:00pm: Student perspectives on remote teaching and learning practices
  • October 8, 12:30 - 1:30pm: Humanizing learning with social annotation
  • October 13, 12:00 - 12:30pm: Humanizing learning live on voicED Radio

As always, the CAFE is here for you with resources such as Planning to move your course to remote delivery and Achieving outcomes using educational technology.

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