STLHE 2015 has ended
Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice

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Curriculum Design and Learning Outcomes [clear filter]
Tuesday, June 16

1:30pm PDT

Want your students to learn more? Designing your courses for more significant learning
Most college teachers would like their courses to be an experience in which their students achieve some kind of significant learning that lasts. But we feel frustrated and uncertain about how to get that to happen – for more students, more of the time.
This workshop will (a) expand participants’ vision of the kinds of learning that are possible and (b) familiarize participants with a process for designing courses for Significant Learning, i.e., learning that truly makes a difference in the way students think, act and feel after college.

In this workshop, we will:

- Examine the place of instructional design in the “big picture” of teaching,
- Take a close look at what each of us really wants our students to learn,
- Work through the model of Integrated Course Design that enables us to systematically design significant learning into our courses, and
- Conclude by looking at some case studies that address the question of whether this more intentional way of designing courses really makes a difference in the way students respond.

Tuesday June 16, 2015 1:30pm - 4:30pm PDT
Salon 1
Wednesday, June 17

11:15am PDT

CON01.04 - Play it: Impacts of experiential learning and authentic assessment in undergraduate music theory
This presentation describes an innovative redesign of undergraduate music theory curricula, which traditionally rely on written exercises for assessment, to feature hands-on music making at the piano as a central component of the instructional design (implemented following Wiggins and McTighe 1998). Using technology, students learn experientially (following Kolb 1984) and aurally through activities that apply their theoretical understanding to creative tasks at the highest levels of Bloom's taxonomy (Anderson and Krathwohl 2001), such as improvisation and composition. Quantitative and qualitative results from an impact study completed in fall 2013 are shared, which show not only a marked impact on how (and how well) students learned music theory, but also a dramatic expansion of what (i.e., which skills) they acquired in the course and a positive shift in their attitudes about the value and relevance of music theory. Broadly speaking, this curricular innovation produced far more significant learning results (in the sense of Fink 2013). This study responds to an ongoing dissonance between the applied, artistic matters of musical performance and the academic, systematic tasks of music theory. By learning about this pedagogical intervention and its documented results and engaging in a dialogue about them, participants will be able to articulate the value of creative activities and applied, authentic assessment to the teaching and learning of highly technical and systematic concepts. Though focused on disciplinary teaching within music theory, the presentation emphasizes findings that can be applied just as well in other pedagogical fields.

Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. New York, NY: Longman.

Kolb. D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Wednesday June 17, 2015 11:15am - 11:45am PDT
Chairman Room

11:15am PDT

CON01.07 - From caving to robots: Integration of experiential learning into a curriculum
The coalescence of experiential and interdisciplinary learning opportunities in conjunction with the traditional classroom experience is an important aspiration for Universities but one that involves careful instructional planning and strong institutional (and faculty) support (Porter et al., 2012). The creation of Interdisciplinary Experiences (IE) courses at McMaster University in 2013 has provided students in the Arts & Science and Integrated Science programs with an opportunity to take courses offering unique learning experiences that significantly complement more traditional, lecture-based courses (Davis, 1995; McMaster University, 2015). The courses are for credit towards degree requirements and open to students from both the Faculties of Science and Humanities. This discussion aims to cover the creation, implementation, logistics, assessment and resulting student feedback from IE courses.

There have been nine unique IE courses run over the last two years, covering a diverse range of topics. Some courses, such as the aptly named ‘Electronics for the Rest of Us!’ have been based around a task, such as designing and building an electronic device of choice while others, like the ‘Kentucky Caving Field Course’, take students into the field, experiencing the science and culture of the Kentucky, USA cave system.

This discussion will give participants an opportunity to actively participate in sharing reactions and feedback to the challenges and successes of the IE courses. Within the session we will work through the process of creating such courses based upon discussion around the room while taking into account potential logistical challenges and assessment methods.

Davis, J. R. (1995). Interdisciplinary Courses and Team Teaching: New Arrangements for Learning. Phoenix: American Council on Education and Oryx Press.

McMaster University. (2015). Experiential Learning – Arts & Science Program. Retrieved from http://artsci.mcmaster.ca/experiential-learning/

Porter, G., King, J., Goodkin, N., & Chan, C. (2012). Experiential Learning in a Common Core Curriculum: Student Expectations, Evaluations, and the Way Forward. International Education Studies, 5, 24-38.

Wednesday June 17, 2015 11:15am - 11:45am PDT
Salon 2

12:00pm PDT

CON02.09 - Using curriculum mapping to help institutions visualise change
STLHE members have a long history of working to inspire institutional change, not least through curriculum review, (re)design and transformation (Wolf and Christensen Hughes, 2008). We (the authors) wanted a simple, non proprietary and user-friendly method for visually mapping academic-program courses in order to support our university-wide curricular work with departments and faculties. Curricular maps: save time by allowing curriculum committees to visualise the implications of potential curricular changes before the substantial work of making them is actually undertaken; have the advantage of motivating change, as colleagues can see the logic (or otherwise) of the existing course sequence and where there are barriers to student progress; and represent a clear way of communicating to students regarding their program choices, best path to degree and progress to-date. The goals of this session are to: (i) help others who might wish to develop something similar, (ii) document the potential of visual curricular maps for motivating change and (iii) have participants share experiences and think about possible opportunities for implementation at home. The session will be interactive and experiential. Participants will have a chance to: (i) try out the curricular mapping process our academic departments go through (ii) directly experience how visualisation of curricular issues can save time and resources, as well as supporting a faster transition to a student-centred curriculum and (iii) ask questions and establish community. 

Dawson, T. (2013). A guide to program and curriculum planning. Victoria, BC: The Learning and Teaching Centre, University of Victoria.

Wolf, P. & Christensen Hughes, J. (Eds.). (2007, Winter). Curriculum development in higher education: Faculty-driven processes and practices. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 112. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass.

Wednesday June 17, 2015 12:00pm - 12:30pm PDT
Salon 2

1:45pm PDT

CON03.CreativeDiscussion01 - Go outside and learn
Join this session to leave the four walls of the conference session, explore ways to apply the ‘outside world’, be it the natural or the built environment, to aspects of your teaching and your students’ learning. Nesbit and Mayer (2010) point to the affective learning gains, especially student beliefs about the course topic, as a result of field trips. Other studies (e.g., Matsuoka, 2010) show that exposure to nature enhances academic performance. Activities conducted in green space can reduce the symptoms of Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD (e.g., Taylor & Kuo, 2009). 

This session, which will take place entirely outdoors (rain or shine) has an application for teachers of any discipline, and for educational developers working with teachers. At times, you might take your students outside, while at other times, maybe you can bring the ‘outside’ in. We will work through individual and small group work and by modeling of techniques I use in my own teaching and facilitation.

This session might also help you to find new ways to motivate students by making connections to their daily lives and interests. Could these strategies enhance your students' understanding of course material and help them achieve the learning outcomes of the course? Leave with at least three ideas you can apply to your teaching and/or facilitating that brings the inside out, or the outside in, as a way to add some ‘fresh air’ to your next course or seminar. We will even get some fresh air and do a bit of ‘nature-watching’ in the process!

Matsuoka, R. (2010). Student performance and high school landscapes: Examining the links. Landscape Urban Planning, 97, 273-82

Nesbit, S. and A. Mayer. (2010). Shifting Attitudes: The Influence of Field Trip Experiences on Student Beliefs. Transformative Dialogues. Volume 4. Issue 2. November, 2010.

Taylor, A, & Kuo, F. (2009). Children with attention deficits concentrate better after walk in the park. Journal of Attention Disorders, 12, 402-9

avatar for Alice Cassidy

Alice Cassidy

Principal, In View Education and Professional Development
Alice Cassidy is an educational developer, science educator and wildlife biologist. She has designed, taught and coordinated courses at the University of British Columbia, and led large-scale educational programs. As a consultant, she leads workshops on teaching and learning. She... Read More →

Wednesday June 17, 2015 1:45pm - 2:45pm PDT
STLHE Registration Desk

3:00pm PDT

CON04.CreativeDiscussion01 - YO-GAgné’s events of instruction (Achieving harmony – tuning into practice)
Limited Capacity seats available

For intentional learning to occur, we have to attend physically to the learning environment, to be mentally prepared to learn, and to be tuned into the present moment. Whether we are in the classroom or at the computer, such body-mind harmony is a desirable state conducive to learning. Today, more than ever, students are faced with numerous distractions while trying to engage in the learning process. Many believe that they are capable of successfully navigating this challenging new environment, but it is often not the case. While we need to think of innovative ways to help students tune into the learning process, we might also look for inspiration in traditional and even ancient forms of teaching, learning, and practice, because while the technology evolves rapidly, human brains and behaviors do not change at the same pace. Yoga is a millennia old practice of achieving harmony of the mind, body, and spirit. Similarly to Gagné’s “Nine Events of Instruction,” a traditional Hatha Yoga class has, at the core of its structure, several mandatory events that aim to bring practitioners into the present moment, to prepare them for learning and practice both physically and mentally, and to guide, reinforce, and enhance retention. In this session, we will examine a traditional Hatha Yoga class in light of "events of instruction" and discuss possible strategies for helping students immerse in and get most out of the learning experience.

Farhi, D. (2006), Teaching Yoga: Exploring the Teacher-Student Relationship. Rodmell Press.

Gagné, R.M. (1985). The Conditions of Learning and Theory of Instruction (4th ed.). New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Kirschner, P. A., & Van Merriënboer, J. J. G. (2013). Do learners really know best? Urban legends in education. Educational Psychologist., 48:3, 169-183, doi: 10.1080/00461520.2013.804395

Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2005). Instructional Design (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

avatar for Maristela Petrovic-Dzerdz (Carleton University)

Maristela Petrovic-Dzerdz (Carleton University)

Instructional Design Coordinator, Carleton University
Education, Pedagogy, Distance Education, Instructional Design

Wednesday June 17, 2015 3:00pm - 4:00pm PDT
STLHE Registration Desk

3:00pm PDT

CON04.CreativeDiscussion03 - Applying a concurrent experiential learning model: Peer leadership within an outdoor orientation program.
Brock BaseCamp has operated an outdoor orientation program for incoming students at Brock University from 2009 to 2015. From the program’s inception, peer leadership has been a foundation for the program model and delivery. Each orientation trip is facilitated by upper year students whose main tasks are delivery of the orientation program curriculum, leadership of the wilderness experience, acting as ambassadors for the institution and building relationships for future transitional support throughout the incoming students’ university experience. Peer mentorship has been shown to have a positive impact on academic success (Tremblay & Rodger, 2003), ability to foster personal and professional growth (Glass & Walter, 2000), and social support (Allen, McManus & Russell, 1999). The BaseCamp approach to peer leadership is influenced by a concurrent experiential learning model, with both the learners and leaders achieving educative and personal goals together. By employing a concurrent experiential learning model, the BaseCamp program is able to focus on the learning experiences for both the incoming students and the peer leaders. This workshop will present our concurrent model, offer suggestions for pedagogical design and delivery, and speak to some of the lessons we have encountered throughout our five years of program delivery. Expect both a presentation of our program model and small group discussions regarding experiential learning techniques and their relationship to peer mentorship.

Wednesday June 17, 2015 3:00pm - 4:00pm PDT
STLHE Registration Desk

4:00pm PDT

POSTER.01 - An interdepartmental curriculum map as a foundation for undergraduate life sciences curriculum reform
The Faculty of Science at Simon Fraser University is home to three life science departments: Biological Sciences (BISC), Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology (BPK), and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (MBB). The BISC and MBB departments are in charge of the core lower division life science courses that serve to prepare undergraduates from all three departments for program-specific upper division courses. In order to ensure that these core courses are meeting the needs of students and faculty across the life sciences, we have conducted a systematic review of the undergraduate curriculum. This process was challenging due to the diversity of programs that undergraduates go on to complete (seven majors across the three departments) and the volume of information that was analyzed. We generated one large curriculum map with extensive input from faculty in all three departments. Instructors were guided through the process of writing learning outcomes for all of the core courses and many of the electives. We mapped learning outcomes from each course against those from core prerequisite courses and against program-level learning outcomes. This process allowed us to identify key concepts that were redundant between courses or that were omitted or under-emphasized in the curriculum. These areas of redundancy and overlap will be used as the foundation for change in the curriculum.

Wednesday June 17, 2015 4:00pm - 5:30pm PDT
Bayshore Foyer

4:00pm PDT

POSTER.02 - Discovery, redesign and fine-tuning: Laying the foundations for leadership competency building within students pursuing a four-year undergraduate business degree program.
In recent years, research has supported the need for undergraduate business students to be exposed to the attributes of leadership and the responsibilities of being a leader in the world of business (Kosicek, 2008; Getz, 2009). The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a cumulative development in leadership competency building amongst undergraduate business students in a Canadian university as they progress through each of their four years within their program. Results were to inform the necessary curriculum design changes thus ensuring this needed leadership foundation. Data was collected using focus groups comprised of students from all four years. A series of open ended questions were asked with respect to the areas of content, continuity, connection and flow from year one organizational behavior, to year two human resource management, to year three management skills leading up to a new year four leadership capstone course. Results revealed deficiencies in all areas and therefore strongly supported the need for better coordination, integration, and sequencing to produce the scaffolding for successful leadership competency building. The new fourth year capstone course will allow the students to apply first, second and third year principles of transactional leadership capabilities to the identification and improvement of their transformational leadership capabilities. The course will require students to build a leadership learning portfolio (LLP) comprising a number of reflections on their four-year commerce program journey, in and outside the classroom (courses; career building experiences; community engagement initiatives; exchange and cross-cultural experiences; volunteer work; professional relationship building).

Wednesday June 17, 2015 4:00pm - 5:30pm PDT
Bayshore Foyer

4:00pm PDT

POSTER.04 - New interdisciplinary science course for first-year faculty of science students: Overview and results from the pilot
Transitioning to university can be a daunting endeavour, with student success dependent on a myriad of effects (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). Understanding how to navigate university systems, who to meet, how to get help, how to study and what goals to set can be hard to grasp (Valle et al., 2003). This session provides an overview of the new interdisciplinary foundations course, which piloted in Fall 2014, for first-year Faculty of Science students that i) provides a taste of research-based learning and develops essential skills that are important for their undergraduate degree and future academic or career plans, ii) exposes students to a wide range of departments and programs in the Faculty of Science, and iii) invites students to reflect on their academic journey and how it may be changing as a result of the course. This customized approach that intentionally teaches about institutional resources and expectations while offering opportunities to create networks of support is essential for student success and retention (Kuh, Cruce, Shoup, Kinzie, & Gonyea, 2008) and speaks to a number of considerations highlighted in the literature (e.g., Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, & Norman, 2010). Other factors considered included balancing the needs of the Faculty, the resources available, and the goals, demands and interests of the students. In this poster presentation, we will describe the course’s design, structure and implementation, a key component of the course (week-long mini-research projects completed in small groups with support from upper-level science students), and preliminary results from a pedagogical study looking at student impact and perception.

Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (1st ed.). Jossey-Bass.

Kuh, G. D., Cruce, T. M., Shoup, R., Kinzie, J., & Gonyea, R. M. (2008). Unmasking the Effects of Student Engagement on First-Year College Grades and Persistence. The Journal of Higher Education, 79(5), 540–563. http://doi.org/10.1353/jhe.0.0019

Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How College Affects Students: A Third Decade Of Research. Jossey-Bass Higher & Adult Education.

Valle, A., Cabanach, R. G., Núnez, J. C., González-Pienda, J., Rodríguez, S., & Piñeiro, I. (2003). Multiple goals, motivation and academic learning. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 73(1), 71–87. http://doi.org/10.1348/000709903762869923

Wednesday June 17, 2015 4:00pm - 5:30pm PDT
Bayshore Foyer

4:00pm PDT

POSTER.46 - A comparison of selected undergraduate physiology programs in North America and the United Kingdom
_x000D_Introduction: There are few resources that provide a systematic comparison of the structure and content of undergraduate physiology programs from different institutions. We used web-based resources to examine the content currently covered in the undergraduate programs of established physiology departments in North America and the United Kingdom._x000D_ Methods: Institutions were selected using online university rankings. Data acquisition was performed in two steps. First, preliminary data were collected from an online search conducted using available websites for the institution and department/program of interest. Secondly, a member of the department (usually an undergraduate advisor) was contacted and asked to confirm/correct the details collected online._x000D_ Results: We found that: i) most degree programs require a similar quantity and variety of prerequisite basic science courses; ii) the number of core physiology courses required varies greatly from institution to institution, but the average student will take 5 core physiology courses as part of their degree program; iii) a large number of physiology-specific courses are offered in most departments; however, only a relatively small proportion of those courses are lab-based, animal-based, or have a distinct cellular focus; iv) all programs studied appeared to use a systems approach to instruction, with common key physiological systems identified._x000D_ Discussion: Overall, we have illustrated important demographic and program features from 15 institutions across North America and the United Kingdom. We believe this information may help provide better reference guidelines for educating undergraduate physiology students, to promote consistency within the degree level expectations of undergraduate physiology majors, regardless of the institution attended.

Wednesday June 17, 2015 4:00pm - 5:30pm PDT
Bayshore Foyer
Thursday, June 18

11:30am PDT

CON06.03 - Solving the puzzle of learning outcomes and curriculum: How do the pieces fit?
Effective student learning begins with well-designed programs. Integration of a learning outcomes and assessment approach into a curriculum improvement cycle is now the norm in curriculum design. Careful attention to constructive alignment in courses and programs clearly enhances the understanding of links between learning goals, learning activities, and assessment (Biggs, 2014; Hubball et al., 2007). It is essential for faculty to understand the elements and sequence of the curriculum improvement cycle. What is the cycle? Where are learning outcomes situated in the cycle? What is involved with program assessment? When does all this have to be done? Intended for faculty, curriculum committees, and administrators, the purpose of this session is to present and engage participants in developing a curriculum improvement process appropriate for their use. A continuous improvement model for curriculum development, based on published literature, will form the basis of the session. In small groups, participants will discuss the elements of an effective program assessment plan with emphasis on program learning outcomes in the context of their institutions. At the end of the session, participants should be able to name and describe the key stages in curriculum design and improvement, and make recommendations for direct and indirect assessment of their program-level learning outcomes. Well written program learning outcomes presented in the context of curriculum improvement benefit students, faculty and other stakeholders in understanding the rationale and structure of program design. Making transparent a fine-tuned curriculum design and assessment plan provides evidence of high quality educational experiences for students. 


Anonymous, The educational value of course-level learning objectives/outcomes. Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, Carnegie Mellon. Retrieved from http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/resources/Teaching/CourseDesign/Objectives/CourseLearningObjectivesValue.pdf
Biggs, J. (2014). Constructive alignment in university teaching. HERDSA Review of Higher Education, 1, 5-22. 

Hubball, H., Gold, N., Mighty, J., & Britnell, J. (2007). Supporting the implementation of externally generated learning outcomes and learning-centred curriculum development: an integrated framework. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Winter 2007, 112, 93-105.

Lizzio, A., Wilson, K., Simons, R. (2002). University students’ perception of the learning environment and academic outcomes: implications for theory and practice. Studies in Higher Education, 27, 27-52.

avatar for Peter Arthur

Peter Arthur

University of British Columbia Okanagan
avatar for Stephanie Chu

Stephanie Chu

Vice Provost Teaching & Learning, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Passionate about advancing teaching and learning and related University community and culture. Imagine what we can do together!
avatar for Gary Hunt

Gary Hunt

Coordinator, Teaching and Learning Support, Thompson Rivers University
avatar for Liesel Knaack

Liesel Knaack

Director, Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning, Vancouver Island University
Liesel is the director of the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning at VIU. The centre supports faculty and students with learning technologies, pedagogical design, online learning and scholarly teaching and learning. Liesel was formerly a K-12 teacher and Associate Professor... Read More →

Thursday June 18, 2015 11:30am - 12:30pm PDT
Bayshore Salon EF

1:45pm PDT

RTD.50 - Harmonizing the curriculum: Linking first-year writing with content courses
Students dread the first-year writing class, often considering it a hurdle to jump before they can get on to the real work of the university. Linking the writing course with a content course in a student’s major or general education requirements is a way of positioning writing as central to learning, particularly if writing is not just performed in the composition class but is also woven into the fabric of the content class. The presenter will describe efforts to create a linked course (first year writing and art history, a requirement for all first year students) at an art and design university, illustrating that writing is key to every learning environment, inside or outside of the academy. As Mauk (2003) has suggested, we need to imagine writing as something that happens outside the confines of the composition or other academic course by “recasting the classroom as the place where(ever) the student is carrying out the practices of writing” (p. 385). This interactive presentation uses this course as an example of ways that writing faculty can reach out and collaborate with counterparts in other disciplines to create linked courses (Luebke, 2002) The presenter will give a brief overview of the course and will engage participants at the roundtable in an activity to help them envision connections among writing and content areas in order to establish similar pairings on their own campuses.


Cargill, K., & Karlikoff, B. (2007). Linked Courses at the Twenty-First Century Metropolitan University. Teaching English in the Two Year College, 35(2), 181-190.

Luebke, S. (2002, May 7). Using Linked Courses in the General Education Curriculum. Retrieved January 5, 2015, from http://aw.colostate.edu/articles/luebke_2002.htm

Mauk, J. (2003). Location, Location, Location: The ‘Real’ (E)states of Being, Writing and Thinking in Composition. College English, 65(4), 368-388.

Thursday June 18, 2015 1:45pm - 2:45pm PDT
Seymour Room

1:45pm PDT

RTD.51 - Are we graduating global citizens?
In recent years there has been increased rhetoric regarding the supposed outcomes of internationalization activities producing global citizens. In this discussion, Kyra will outline the findings of a mixed methods study which investigated the intercultural development scores and perceptions of intercultural and global learning of upper level students in regional British Columbian universities. The results indicate that participants significantly overestimated their intercultural development. Furthermore, focus group discussions revealed student perceptions of the influence of curriculum and pedagogy on their intercultural and global learning was intermittent and that in some cases administrative, curricular and pedagogical choices may even entrench stereotypes and strengthen biases. These findings will be outlined and followed by round table discussion to address the following questions:

1. How can higher education better prepare students across disciplines to be effective professionals and citizens in increasingly multicultural and globalized settings?

2. Which elements of programs designed to foster “global citizenship” should be addressed in order to meet learning outcomes?


Andreotti, V. (2011). The question of the “other” in global citizenship education: postcolonialanalysis of telling case studies in England. In L. Shultz, A.A. Abdi & G.H. Richardson (Eds.). Global citizenship education in post-secondary institutions: Theories, practices, policies (pp.140-157). New York, N.Y.: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.

Brunstien, W. I. (2007). The global campus: Challenges and opportunities for higher education in North America. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11, 398-413. doi:10.1177/1028315307303918

Lee, A., Poch, R., Shaw, M.,& Williams, R. (2012). Engaging diversity in undergraduate classrooms: A pedagogy for developing intercultural competence. ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 38, Number 2.

Otten, M. (2009). Academicus interculturalis?Negotiating interculturality in academiccommunities of practice. Intercultural Education, 20(5), 407-417. doi: 10.1080/14675980903371266

Thursday June 18, 2015 1:45pm - 2:45pm PDT
Seymour Room

3:00pm PDT

CON07.03 - Tuning into the practice of first year foundations courses
In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to student transitions and the first year university experience (Crisp et al., 2009; Nelson, Smith & Clarke, 2012). Innovative pedagogies designed to ease transition, promote engagement, and help students develop foundational skills have been implemented with varying degrees of success (Levy & Petrulis, 2012; Nelson et al., 2011). This 30-minute presentation will tune into practice that supports transition by engaging participants in interactive discussion about one innovative course aiming to improve the first-year experience. Social Sciences 1T03 is a blended (online & face-to-face), Foundations Course that was introduced at McMaster University in September 2014. The course aims to provide students with an overview of Social Sciences fields and the learning skills needed to succeed at university. Among the key skills that students develop in the course are critical and reflective thinking, study habits, time management, and conflict resolution. The small size of tutorials and the learning activities employed facilitate connections between first-year students and the Faculty, University, and broader Hamilton communities. A longitudinal research project has been launched to explore the impact of Social Sciences 1T03 on participating students and to determine whether the course is meeting its objectives. Students’ academic achievement, skill development, and perceived integration into the McMaster community are assessed through online surveys, focus groups, and academic data (such as course and term GPAs). Attendees will learn about preliminary findings from this study and discuss potential applications for curriculum design related to easing first-year transitions and developing foundational skills. 


Crisp, G., Nettelbeck, T., Sarris, A., Palmer, E., Ward, L. Strelan, P., Turnbull, D., LeCouteur, A., & Schneider, L. (2009). First year student expectations: Results from a university-wide student survey. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 6(1), 13-26.

Levy, P., & Petrulis, R. (2012). How do first-year university students experience inquiry and research, and what are the implications for the practice of inquiry-based learning? Studies in Higher Education, 37(1), 85-101.

Nelson, K.J., Smith, J.E., & Clarke, J.A. (2012). Enhancing the transition of commencing students into university: an institution-wide approach. Higher Education Research & Development, 31(2), 185-199.

Nelson, K.J., Quinn, C., Marrington, A., & Clarke, J.A. (2011). Good practice for enhancing the engagement and success of commencing students. Higher Education, 63(1), 83-96.

avatar for Elizabeth Marquis

Elizabeth Marquis

McMaster University
Beth Marquis is an Assistant Professor in the Arts & Science Program and the McMaster Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (MIIETL).

Thursday June 18, 2015 3:00pm - 3:30pm PDT
Mackenzie Room

3:00pm PDT

CON07.11 - Rich learning outcomes by design in a science citizenship course
Pollution. Violence. Cancer. Global warming. Poverty. Rarely do we teach these subjects in Science courses at University. Instead, we teach Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, etc. At a deep level, the structure of our Science courses and programs instill a bottom-up philosophy of knowledge construction that is at odds with what we understand are some of the engaging ways that university students learn [Martin & Dowson, 2009] and in which Science is performed [Alberts, 2009]. This presentation will showcase how multi-domain course learning outcomes that integrate translational skill development with disciplinary and interdisciplinary curricular learning can be easily designed in a project-based course, "Science Citizenship". This novel community service learning course for Science students asks them to choose a global issue. Working in groups, they research the science behind the issue, write a proposal for seed funds to implement a local solution, and present their work creatively at the end of the year. In this workshop-like presentation, the participants will work in teams to develop their own mini-course that integrates multi-level and multi-domain learning outcomes, guided by the experience and research results from Science Citizenship at our university which we will present in parallel with this activity. This activity will be facilitated by the instructor and a student peer mentor from the Science Citizenship course.


B. Alberts (2009) Redefining Science Education, Science 323(5913), 437.

A. J. Martin & M. Dowson (2009) Interpersonal Relationships, Motivation,Engagement, and Achievement: Yields for Theory,Current Issues, and Educational Practice, Rev. Educ. Res. 79(1), 327-365.

Thursday June 18, 2015 3:00pm - 3:30pm PDT
Cypress 1 Room

3:45pm PDT

CON08.01 - From learning outcomes to competencies to careers: A case study of a team based approach to curriculum redesign
Universities and Colleges are under increasing pressure to provide real-world relevance or ‘skills’ to their undergraduates to increase student success and transition into the workforce. This is especially crucial for programs in Humanities and Social Sciences. In support of the development of these ‘skills’, some institutions and faculties have mandated curriculum redesign through the development of program learning outcomes and competencies that are applied to curriculum mapping across courses in the program. Some institutions are also increasing experiential learning opportunities for students, supporting e-portfolios, and increasing career services. These projects are often developed in isolation from each other, with faculty working on course redesign, staff on experiential learning opportunities and career counselling, and administrators finding funding. This session will provide a case study of an integrated project in the Faculty of Arts at University of British Columbia where staff, faculty and experiential educators work together to redesign curriculum through the development of learning outcomes and competencies which are mapped to existing curriculum. Enriched educational experiences—such as capstone community based research courses, field courses and e-portfolios—are being integrated into curriculum. The intention is that students in this program will build skills and competencies as they go through their undergraduate degree, and will have opportunities for structured reflection on this learning so they build the capacity to see and represent themselves as young professionals with unique expertise. We aim to graduate students who feel empowered about their futures, clear on the potential of their degrees, and confident about the transition out of university.

Abner, B., Bartosh, O., Ungerleider, C., & Tiffin, R. (2014). Productivity Implications of a Shift to Competency-Based Education: An environmental scan and review of the relevant literature. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.

Klein-Collins, R. (2012). Competency-based degree programs in the U.S. Postsecondary credentials for measurable students learning and performance. Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. Retrieved fromhttp://www.cael.org/pdfs/2012_CompetencyBasedPrograms

Zubizarreta, John. “The Learning Portfolio: A Powerful Idea for Significant Learning.” IDEA Center: Idea Paper #44. Manhattan, Kansas. 2008.

Thursday June 18, 2015 3:45pm - 4:15pm PDT
Bayshore Salon ABC

3:45pm PDT

CON08.03 - Multiple stakeholder perspectives on the value (and challenges) of community-based experiential learning in human services-oriented programs
Community-based experiential learning opportunities, such as student projects and placements within community organizations (CACSL, 2014; Moon, 2004), are highly valued by undergraduate recreation students (Powell, Johnson, Anderson & Paisley, 2013), but they also describe these experiences as time-intensive, harried, and stressful (Johnson & Pate, 2013). The purpose of this project is to explore possibilities for less resource-intensive experiential experiences, (from the perspectives of students as well as faculty and community organizations) while expanding opportunities for student-centred skills development and reflection . Interviews and focus groups are currently underway to capture the multiple perspectives of key stakeholder groups; preliminary results are based on: interviews with academics who have designed experiential learning initiatives (n= 10), debriefing with practitioners who have facilitated experiential learning for students (n = 4), and focus groups with undergraduate recreation students (n = 17). All stakeholder groups valued experiences: (a) that provided opportunities for students to develop practical work and interpersonal skills, (b) when students were actively supported in their learning (e.g., through onsite mentoring, debriefing) and (c) when there was a shared understanding of the purpose/goals of the students’ involvement. Unique perspectives were also evidenced, such as, for students, the importance of achieving a sense of ‘closure’ when the project ended. All noted multiple challenges, including: the time required to develop and maintain relationships, constraints of sustaining partnerships across academic terms, and matching student abilities and needs to community needs. This session will provide opportunities to discuss these challenges (and those experienced by delegates), and will facilitate discussion of approaches to community-based experiential learning that may help to address these issues.

Canadian Alliance for Community Service-Learning (CACSL). (2014). Web site accessed February 25, 2014 at www.communityservicelearning.ca

Johnson, C.W., & Pate, J.A. (2013). Three course connections: Integrated event design. Schole: A Journal of Leisure Studies and Recreation Education, 28(1), 32-43.

Moon, J.A. (2004). A handbook of reflective and experiential learning: Theory and practice. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.

Powell, G.M., Johnson, C.W., Anderson, D., & Paisley, K. (2013). Together we can: Integrated program design in recreation and leisure studies education. Schole: A Journal of Leisure Studies and Recreation Education, 28(1), vii – xiii.

Thursday June 18, 2015 3:45pm - 4:15pm PDT
Bayshore Salon EF

4:30pm PDT

CON09.05 - Understanding the role of undergraduate research mentorship in influencing student identity development
There is considerable literature on mentoring relationships in higher education, on undergraduate research (UGR) experiences and the identity development of university students across the spectrum of academic, professional and personal identities (Wuetherick and McLaughlin, 2011; Laursen et al., 2010; Luyckx et al, 2010; Ralph and Walker, 2010; and Trede, Macklin and Bridges, 2010). There is, however, little previous work that brings these three diverse literatures together. This presentation sets out to examine how mentoring relationships in undergraduate research experiences influence student identity formation in personal and professional communities. This multi-institutional and multidisciplinary effort introduces work in progress developed at Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning Seminar on Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research. While this work aims to explore how students negotiate shifting identities across personal and professional communities, its preliminary exploration will be on the most important values of mentoring relationships in UGR, and on the mentoring practices that shape students’ identity development. We propose that students’ ability to understand themselves as researchers is largely shaped by the ways in which they navigate/negotiate between personal and professional identities. We would also suggest that mentors might not be aware of the challenges that some students—particularly from under-represented populations—face in negotiating personal and professional identities. Therefore, an outcome for our research is to develop resources for faculty preparing to work with undergraduate researchers.


Laursen S, Hunter A, Seymour E, Thiry H, and Melton G (2010). Undergraduate Research in the Sciences: Engaging Students in Real Science. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Luyckx K., Schwartz S. , Goossens L., Beyers J. Missotten L. (2010) Processes of personal identity formation and evaluation, In: Handbook of Identity Theory and Research (Vols 1 and 2). Schwartz, Seth J. (Ed); Luyckx, Koen (Ed); Vignoles, Vivian L. (Eds); New York, NY, US: Springer, 77-98.

Ralph E., and Walker K. (2010). Rising with the tide: Applying “Adaptive Mentorship” in the professional practicum. Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, 3.

Trede F., Macklin R., and Bridges D. (2012) Professional identity development: a review of the higher education literature. Studies in Higher Education. 37 (3), 365–384.

Wuetherick, B. and McLaughlin, L.(2011). Students’ Perceptions of the Learning Environment: A Partnership to Enhance Our Understanding of the Undergraduate Experience. In Little S. (ed.). Staff-Student Partnerships in Higher Education. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.

avatar for Brad Wuetherick

Brad Wuetherick

Executive Director, Learning and Teaching, Dalhousie University
Brad Wuetherick is the Executive Director, Learning and Teaching at Dalhousie University, and is an active researcher in teaching and learning in higher education in areas including undergraduate research, educational development, SOTL, facilitating change in teaching and learning... Read More →

Thursday June 18, 2015 4:30pm - 5:00pm PDT
Seymour Room
Friday, June 19

8:30am PDT

CON10.05 - Breathing life into the syllabus: The collaborative development of a first-year writing course for nursing students
This session will describe and reflect on the ongoing multi-disciplinary collaboration that led to the creation and evolution of a writing course for baccalaureate nursing students at Fanshawe College. The diverse backgrounds of the presenters, a nurse and an English professor, illustrate this collaboration. We will briefly describe our initial study assessing the writing skills of nursing students in relation to the developing body of literature on the importance of these skills in nursing (Andre & Graves, 2013; Smith & Caplan, 2012; Troxler, Jacobsen Vann, & Oermann, 2011; Zorn, Clark, & Weimholt, 1997). Most importantly, we will also reflect on how we fine-tuned our pedagogical practices in light of our shared experiences teaching the course. As such, this session is relevant not only to writing and nursing educators but also to anyone who needs to address the writing needs of students in any program of study. There will be a strong, continuous interactive component, via such dialogue-inspiring techniques as think-pair-share, as we will invite participants to reflect on, discuss, and articulate strategies for building bridges between writing teachers and disciplinary experts. 

Participants will 

• describe the development of the writing course, including our initial study.
• share strategies and practices for assessing the writing needs of students in specific programs and designing curriculum to meet these needs
• reflect on these strategies and practices
• articulate problems, solutions, and new, innovative approaches


Andre, J.-A. D., & Graves, R. (2013). Writing requirements across Nursing programs in  Canada. Journal of Nursing Education, 52(2), 91–97.

Smith, Y. M., & Caplin, M. (2012). Teaching the literacy of professionalism: When clinical skills are not enough. Nurse Educator, 37(3), 121–125. 

Troxler, H., Jacobson Vann, J. C., & Oermann, M. H. (2011). How baccalaureate nursing programs teach writing. Nursing Forum, 46, 280–288. 

Zorn, C. R., Clark, W. J., & Weimholt, C. J. (1997). Educating the nurse scholar for the 21st century: How an interdisciplinary writing course can help. Journal of Nursing Education, 36, 244–249.

Friday June 19, 2015 8:30am - 9:15am PDT
Seymour Room

9:30am PDT

CON11.11 - Learn to use the Delphi method to harmonize program competencies
Graduate students in chemical sciences at our institution may apply to participate in one of several NSERC CREATE programs that provide additional career-related training experiences. We have facilitated the designation of competencies relating to interdisciplinary research skills, knowledge, and attitudes to guide the program and to allow for formative and summative program and trainee evaluation. Determining competencies in this setting was challenging for two reasons: 1) a lack of literature on interdisciplinary research competencies, and 2) the need to harmonize a wide range of expert viewpoints, since stakeholders include research faculty and also industry and government professionals. We used a modified Delphi process based on the work of Gebbie et al. (2002), who designated competencies for health science programs. The Delphi method, frequently used in forecasting and policy making, is a method of communication for consensus building (Adler & Ziglio, 1996). The method is a two-stage process involving exploration and evaluation. The advantages of this method include the ability to build consensus within a group of people separated by geography and/or time. In this interactive session, we will discuss the range of possible contexts that may benefit from a Delphi study. Attendees will then participate in a mock Delphi process, using a hypothetical degree program as the sample context. At the end of the session, participants will decide whether a Delphi process may be useful in their own context and determine what adjustments to the process they would like to make to better suit their needs.


Adler, M., & Ziglio, E. (Eds.). (1996). Gazing into the oracle: The Delphi method and its application to social policy and public health. London, U.K: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Gebbie, K., Merrill, J., Hwang, I., Gupta, M., Btoush, R., & Wagner, M. (2002). Identifying individual competency in emerging areas of practice: An applied approach. Qualitative Health Research, 12(7), 990-999.

Friday June 19, 2015 9:30am - 10:15am PDT
Salon 3

10:45am PDT

CON12.01 - Flexible classroom trends in Biology: Promoting active learning with appropriate supportive scaffolding – the BioFlex approach
As part of the Flexible Learning Initiative (FLI) at the [University of British Columbia], two of the first-year Biology courses were transformed to a semi-flipped classroom format. The goal of the FLI is to promote deeper conceptual understanding in Biology, along with an emphasis on relevant and rewarding learning experiences in the classroom (Bergmann & Sams, 2014, Freeman, S., et al., 2011, Hamdan, N., et al., 2013, Strayer, 2012) . A variety of content delivery methods were introduced to make the flipped classroom approach feasible and sustainable (Taylor, J., et al., 2010). A major part of the in-class time is devoted to group work, problem solving and discussions that are supported with timely and appropriate scaffolding. The in-class activities were designed to include mini lectures, group activity, intermittent follow-ups for the group activity, and at the end a final check-in to summarize and conclude the activity, as a way to help students make meaning of the activity and learn from the experience. The success of our approach in the first year courses was systematically assessed using validated concept questions as pre- and post-tests. Pre- and post-surveys on student involvement, motivation, and engagement were also used to document student perceptions of the approaches being implemented. Lessons learned from the transformation of the two large enrolments, multi-section, 1st year biology courses, are informing similar transformation of 2nd year and other upper-level courses in Biology. Data from the assessments of the project, our triumphs, and our challenges will be shared in the presentation.


Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2014). Flipped learning: Maximizing face time. Training & Development, 68(2), 28-31. https://www.td.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TD-Archive/2014/02/Flipped-Learning-Maximizing-Face-Time 

Freeman, S. Haak, D, Wenderoth, M. P. (2011). Increased Course Structure Improves Performance in Introductory Biology. CBE Life Sci Educ. 2011 Summer; 10(2): 175–186. doi: 10.1187/cbe.10-08-0105

Hamdan, N., McKnight, P., McKnight, K., & Arfstrom, K. (2013). A review of flipped learning. Retrieved from http://www.flippedlearning.org/cms/lib07/VA01923112/Centricity/Domain/41/LitReview_FlippedLearning.pdf

Strayer, J. F. (2012) How learning in an inverted classroom influences cooperation, innovation and task orientation. Learning Environments Research 07/2012; 15(2):171-193. doi: 10.1007/s10984-012-9108-4

Taylor. J. L., Smith, K. M., van Stolk, A. P., Spiegelman, G. B. (2010). Using invention to change how students tackle problems. CBE Life Science Education 2010 9: 504-512. doi:10.1187/cbe.10-02-0012

Friday June 19, 2015 10:45am - 11:15am PDT
Bayshore Salon D