A Monthly Newsletter from the Centre for Academic and Faculty Enrichment

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Faculty Spotlight: Sheldon Koufman

Sheldon Koufman

Sheldon Koufman is a marketing faculty member in the School of Business, IT and Management. Sheldon speaks about vulnerability: being vulnerable with your program team, colleagues, and with your students.

The reason? Koufman believes that being comfortable with your own vulnerability creates a safe space for students to learn and share their ideas with the class, deepening their learning. This safe space is one way that he gets students engaged in the learning process, as well as building connections with each other and with him. He facilitates this by being his authentic self, maintaining a sense of self-deprecating humour, telling stories about his own life, and learning more about what his students like to do outside of school. This approach allows him to bring their interests into learning about marketing concepts and principles with examples from real life. For example, if a student expresses interest in gaming, he’ll share case studies on marketing to gamers.

Joining Sheldon’s class, even remotely, you’ll hear music of the day chosen by students at the beginning of the class and during breaks. Some days you might hear Korean pop, other days it might be classical or jazz, and maybe a bit of rap. Students comment that they love it, and they feel appreciated for their individuality.

Reflections on Learning: Supporting metacognition and communication skills in a Computer Programming course

Supporting Metacognition Teams Call

Stephen Forbes

The Computer Programmer Analyst program team at DC is piloting a new approach of teaching and assessment of learning at DC. The idea came out of a discussion among several faculty team members – Thom MacDonald, Kyle Chapman, Samson Chung, and Jen Short – as they started brainstorming during a team meeting.

The team identified several issues in their Introduction to Programming course including a misalignment of test/quiz results with learner knowledge due to testing anxiety, challenges with academic integrity, and low motivation to revisit difficult topics identified through lower than expected quiz grades. After a couple of iterations, they decided to shift the assessment grades from quizzes to reflections on learning.

This new approach facilitates individualized learning for students as well as authentic comprehension checks for faculty. Students are still required to take quizzes but are given an unlimited number of attempts so that they can master the material.

After taking the quiz, students are required to reflect on their learning with a separate DC Connect quiz (available using release conditions), responding to questions such as:

Fall Faculty Professional Development
Day Summary

The CAFE welcomed 193 individuals to Fall Faculty PD Day on October 26th! The day kicked off with author Flower Darby’s presentation that focused on strategies to support student engagement and learning while teaching remotely; concurrently DC hosted a presentation on using open educational resources. The day’s sessions focused on practical topics such as addressing anti-black racism, what to do when the virtual classroom is silent, using technology to create care, teaching asynchronously, and creating an online community – as well as how to use the Microsoft Whiteboard, Flipgrid, Video Note, Video Assignment and DC Connect quizzes. Participants also heard about how to get involved in internationalization and applied research at DC. We would like to thank all of the PD Day participants – and shout-out to the presenters - including the ten DC faculty members who shared their expertise!

All sessions were recorded and available for those unable to attend. If you registered for the event, recordings can be viewed on our Microsoft Team. If you did not register for the event and want to watch recordings, please complete this form.

Teaching and Learning

Feedback provides information to the student about how well they are progressing towards a goal or whether they have met an outcome. The key is focusing on areas of improvement in a constructive, not destructive, manner.

Constructive feedback offers corrective, or instructional, recommendations to improve performance.

Destructive feedback is non-progressive and generally elicits negative reactions or perceptions of worth.

Good feedback:

  1. Helps clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, expected standards);
  2. Facilitates the development of self-assessment (reflection) in learning;
  3. Delivers high quality information to students about their learning;
  4. Encourages teacher and peer dialogue around learning;
  5. Encourages positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem;
  6. Provides opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance;
  7. Provides information to teachers that can be used to help shape teaching. (Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006).

There are several key ways to delivering effective feedback:

  • Student Friendly – the feedback is specific to the student, in language that is understandable and appropriate to the content and level;
  • Specific & Relevant - the student knows exactly what your recommendation is directed at and why;
  • Goal-directed – the outcome and why that outcome is important to the student's knowledge and understanding is apparent.
  • Instructional – describes how the student can make the change;
  • Actionable - the recommendation is something the student can make a conscious decision to revise and do so successfully
  • Timely & Ongoing – feedback is provided before the student is asked to perform the task again, providing time for practice.

Remember to keep your comments relevant, meaningful and actionable. This will assist in framing the feedback as productive, so the student knows how to improve and advance their efforts for the next submission.

Reference: Nicol, D. & Macfarlane-Dick, M. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218.

One Minute Teaching & Learning Tip

There are small things that you can do to support students in receiving grades in a positive manner:

  • If providing audio- or video-delivered feedback, be aware of the tone of your voice, word selection and body language. Something as simple as a smiling, friendly face and lilt in your voice will go a long way. Remember, DC Connect has a Video Note tool that you can use to record your assignment feedback. Automatic captions included! Visit our website for a how-to video.
  • If digitally annotating a submission with text, mark with a colour that elicits positive feelings: green, light blue, pink, light purple – avoid red, black or dark blue. Remember, DC Connect has the annotations tool for easy annotations!
  • Add something fun: a funny comment, smiley face, digital sticker or stamp – you would be amazed at how their inner child responds!
Turtle-y Amazing

Quick Eval Reminder

When preparing to mark final assignments, consider trying out the new Quick Eval tool available on the main navigation bar of DC Connect. All submissions that need to be graded are listed in Quick Eval with the ability to sort, filter or search, allowing you to prioritize. For information and instructions on how to use Quick Eval, please visit our DC Connect support page.

Tech Spotlight: Microsoft Whiteboard

Did you know that all DC faculty and students have access to Microsoft Whiteboard through Office.com? Collaborate with students synchronously in Microsoft Teams or asynchronously in DC Connect. It’s a great way to facilitate remote brainstorming or mind mapping!

Synchronous Teaching Tip

A tip for managing the “chat” function during remote delivery

Dave Beals, START Faculty

Having difficulties separating out questions to the faculty member, and discussion among classmates?

Here’s a student-suggested method for easier chat management. Ask your students to provide their questions/comments for you in ALL CAPS, making it easier for the faculty to see. Or, if you have a student willing to moderate the chat for you, they, too, can watch for the ALL CAPS messages, and unmute themselves to notify you to the question in the chat.

Please note: using ALL CAPS is not recommended if you have a student in your course who uses a screen reader as it may adjust the tone of delivery or read out the letters as an acronym.

DC Connect Tip

We suggest not hiding gradebook items in DC Connect. Hiding gradebook items causes student confusion and will not allow students the ability to easily see how they are doing in your course.

Students appreciate the alignment of the gradebook items to assessments listed in the course outline. If you’re looking to keep grades hidden from students until you’re ready to release all of the grades at the same time, you can save the grade as a draft in the assessment tool (I.e., Assignment Submission Folder, Quiz Tool, etc.).

Student Academic Learning Services (SALS)

SALS values the partnerships we have developed with faculty and student advisors, and we want to continue to support student success through fostering those important relationships. Your referrals and promotion of SALS supports will continue to benefit at-risk students in reaching their academic goals.

We want to remind you that SALS is providing all academic supports remotely: peer tutoring, staff-led individual and small group appointments, subject-specific tutorials, workshops, and SALS ONLINE.

As we enter the second half of this challenging semester, we encourage you to refer your students to SALS or contact us at sals@durhamcollege.ca if you would like more information about the supports available.

Library Supports for Faculty

The Learning Portal is an amazing example of what can emerge from collaboration across College Libraries Ontario (CLO). The Learning Portal provides resources for students on learning online, studying, digital skills, math and more! For faculty, the Learning Portal provides a faculty toolkit on AODA, copyright, indigenous inclusion, etc.

For more details on updates made to the learning portal this fall, you can read more at https://spark.adobe.com/page/AxQwsunX2piMZ/

Monthly PD Opportunities

Internal Offerings

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

External PD Offerings

2020 Virtual Learning Outcomes Symposium. Presentations and Recordings are now on the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance website:

  1. Developing Adaptable and Resilient Lifelong Learners:
    • Honorable Perrin Beatty
    • Matt Rempel
    • Norah McRae
    • Valerie Walker
  2. Learning Outcomes and Assessment in the Context of the COVID-19 Health Crisis
    • Natasha Hannon
    • Bonnie Steward
    • James Skidmore
    • Mary Wabano
  3. Ti Wa7 Szwatenem: What We Know. Indigenous Knowledge and Learning in the Academy
    • Lorna Williams

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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