A Monthly Newsletter from the Centre for Academic and Faculty Enrichment

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Faculty Spotlight: Dimitri Stathopoulos

Dimitri Stathopoulos

Dimitri Stathopoulos, a program coordinator in the School of Science Engineering and Technology (SET), encourages faculty to "leverage the collective wisdom of your colleagues. Everyone here is so positive and willing to contribute. Don’t try to do it all when you have a team beside you ready to help". He attributes his success in his teaching to the community of colleagues, as well as ongoing professional development.

Regardless of delivery mode, Stathopoulos believes the foundation of teaching includes making connections with his students. This can be developed through a shared passion like music, as well as expressing passion for what he teaches. Dimitri uses connection activities at the beginning of a new topic that students can relate to. The use of connection activities captures the students’ attention and gets them thinking about the upcoming topic. This allows new knowledge that the students gain to be better understood, retained and retrieved as it is cemented with existing knowledge - this is referred to as elaboration in the learning sciences (The Learning Scientists).

Using debates in the Police Foundations program to develop durable skills

Amy Watt

Amy Watt is a faculty member in the School of Justice and Emergency Services who teaches in the Police Foundations program. As a former police officer and an award-winning career coach, Amy is keenly aware of the importance of providing her students with authentic opportunities to develop the skills that industry is looking for in preparation of their chosen profession. With this in mind, Amy found a creative way to integrate student debates into her remote courses.

Amy leveraged educational technology tools to equip her students with the skills that they needed to fully participate virtually – and the benefit is that many of those skills are transferrable and connected to competencies that employers are looking for. The use of debates, for example, helps bolster students’ confidence. During the online debates, students were encouraging one another in the chat by typing encouraging statements such as “Excellent, point, Jordan” and “Solid Rebuttal, Aaliyah”. In the policing world, much of the communication is done on a computer in the police car; remote learning has allowed Amy to mimic that environment with her students.

The debate topics are hot topics that reflect what is happening in the world. This semester, the topic of the debate focused on the benefits and challenges of online learning. Using the Virtual Classroom, the students were split into small groups so that they could prepare for the debates by working in small groups and brainstorming points for their assigned positions.

Points that were raised by students demonstrated depth of thought and meta-cognition; some points raised by students included:

DC Connect Tip: Final Grades

The final grade submission deadline is Monday December 21, 2020 at 12 p.m. (noon)*. Final grades are submitted through DC Connect, using the Export to Banner button.

Please visit our final grade submission documentation to view step-by-step instructions on how to submit your grades in DC Connect, as well as review to ensure they were exported to Banner successfully.

We will be running virtual final grades drop-in sessions from 1pm - 2pm on December 15th, 11am to 12pm on December 18th and all morning on the 21st. To join please visit our event calendar on our website and register.

We can also be contacted by email at dcconnect@durhamcollege.ca.

*Midterm grade submission date does not apply to Apprenticeship, Professional and Part-Time Learning (PPL) courses, and School College Work Initiative & Academic Upgrading.

Breakout rooms are now available in Microsoft Teams!

Breakout rooms allow faculty to easily divide students into smaller groups for discussion and collaboration. For instructions on how to use breakout rooms, please visit our Teams page. Faculty must be the host of the meeting and using the desktop version of Teams to launch breakout rooms.

Faculty Stories: We Want To Hear From You!

Our faculty are doing creative and innovative things in the remote classroom! We would love to spotlight your successes or lessons learned to share with your colleagues in CAFE Monthly. A short story, a teaching technique that worked (or didn’t!), a cool technology tip – we want to share them all! To submit a short story, please email amanda.maknyik@durhamcollege.ca.

Teaching and Learning

Our next virtual PD Day is just around the corner and we are looking for faculty to share their experiences, ideas and innovations. We want to celebrate you and provide a platform for you to share and collaborate with your peers! We welcome and encourage individual, pair/team and joint (interdisciplinary and cross-departmental) session(s) submissions.

Some example session topics might include:

  • Lessons learned teaching remotely: synchronously and/or asynchronously.
  • Creative solutions to challenges in the synchronous classroom (examples: attendance, missed due dates, low participation, etc.).
  • Tips or tricks developed to support student learning and engagement using educational technology.
  • Your experience with trying a new instructional or active learning strategy.
  • Creating and maintaining your faculty presence and/or encouraging social presence online.

Please complete this form to submit your proposal. You will be asked for a title, short description, and names of co-presenters (if applicable). This information will be used to create promotional materials, but don’t worry, you will have time to revise it!

Deadline for Submission: January 31, 2020.

1 Minute Teaching and Learning Tip

As you are preparing for next semester, don’t be afraid to mix it up and try something new! There are so many instructional and active learning strategies, that combining them in your class, and using different ones in subsequent classes, will create interest and encourage student engagement. Here are a couple of tips when trying something new:

  • Tell your students – let your class know that you are trying a new activity for the first time. You will be amazed at how many of them enthusiastically participate because it is new. Plus, it humanizes the classroom, and shows them that you are trying to make learning fun and engaging!
  • Gather feedback – provide your students a forum to offer constructive feedback about the activity. What did they like? What may not have worked as well as you hoped? What might they propose as a revision to the strategy for next time? If they know it is the first time you tried it, and you want to know if it worked well for them, feedback will be more honest and informative.
  • Give yourself permission to fail – no one ever does something perfectly the first time! We learn from our errors and our challenges, which ultimately improve what we do. So, give yourself some leeway to try and accept that it may not work out perfectly the first time, but that will help you make informed revisions to make it amazing the next time!

Preparing for a New Semester

Not sure where to start when updating your courses for the next semester? The CAFE website has a resource on the recommended process for updating your course(s). Although it is possible to copy directly from one CRN to another without using a sandbox course, using the sandbox as an intermediary allows you to review and update content and dates, carefully consider the release of materials to students, and avoids a flood of confusing (and likely erroneous) notifications to your future students.

Building an Online Community

For faculty considering implementing more community building in their courses in the winter, here’s a great guide on how to build community online in a diverse way: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Minded Practices in Virtual Learning Communities.


There is still time for your students to make this semester successful! Kindly remind your students that SALS offers weekly workshops for Test and Exam Preparation and Study Strategies as well as Academic Integrity offered every two weeks ahead of final assessments. We also offer Exam Review sessions in December for various courses and subjects, and one-to-one appointments in Writing/English, Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, Math, Physics, and Statistics.

As we enter the last stretch of the 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 available academic supports.

As we begin to look toward the winter semester, we want students to start on a positive note just as you do! Providing students with all the resources available to them is one thing we can do to support their transition, and so SALS will be offering several Essentials Workshops for the incoming cohort of new students as part of their transition programming.

Library Spotlight

New Resource: Criterion On Demand

Durham College Library has a new online resource available for students, staff and faculty. Criterion on Demand features more than 1,500 feature films and documentaries, licensed for educational use. The collection also includes some holiday favourites for you to enjoy during the holiday break!

Monthly PD Opportunities

Internal Offerings

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

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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