The purpose of the Centred on Learning Innovation Fund is to stimulate the development, implementation, and assessment of innovative teaching and learning. Click on 'Abstract' to read more about this year’s proposals:
Establishing a Faculty Learning Community Focused on Teaching in Large Classes
Dora Cavallo-Medved, Department of Biological Sciences; Danielle Soulliere, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; and Judy Bornais, Faculty of Nursing
A faculty learning community (FLC) is an organization of cross-disciplinary faculty, trainees and staff who share common interests and are collaboratively engaged in enhancing teaching practices, developing curriculum, and participating in the scholarship of teaching and learning. FLCs are also secure and supportive communities to explore high-impact practices, investigate new assessment tools and acquire constructive peer-evaluation. Although many University of Windsor faculty are actively engaged in enriching their teaching practices, there is a lack of formal FLCs focused directly on supporting those who teach in large classes. In this study, we propose to initiate a FLC consisting of faculty from various disciplines who share a common interest in exploring and addressing key challenges associated with teaching and learning in large classes. Once established, FLC members will be tasked to identify a specific set of objectives to address one or more of these key challenges, devise a plan of action and work collaboratively, within a scheduled period, to meet these goals. Outcomes of this FLC will then be disseminated to others across campus through workshops and to a broader audience at teaching and learning conferences. The project outcomes will generate a positive educational impact on a large student body and serve as a model on how to effectively build and sustain a successful FLC in other areas of teaching and learning. Hence, we intend to create a guide that can be adopted by other faculty groups on campus interested in establishing a FLC in their area of interest.
Tactical Workshops: Professional Practices for Emerging Artists
Karen Engle, Jennifer Willet, and Cyndra MacDowall, School of Creative Arts
With the launch of a new University of Windsor Arts Corridor in Downtown Windsor, we are looking to further incorporate teaching professional arts practices to undergraduate SoCA Students throughout their degrees programs.
To this end, we propose to hire local MFA alumni Luke Maddaford to manage a pilot series of 4-6 professional development workshops for BFA students run by successful emerging artists working across diverse media in the region. We are specifically targeting young arts professionals and entrepreneurs in the Windsor / Detroit region to provide students with peer mentoring related to the specific advantages and challenges of working in Windsor / Detroit. We imagine topics such as “How to get your first grant?” and “Social Media for Artists” or “First steps for filmmakers after graduation.” Student feedback suggests students would like access to this type of training earlier in the degree programs (2-3rd year) and from peer mentors. We will experiment with offering workshops within specific courses, and as advertised events open to the whole student body. We expect to learn from student and instructor feedback surveys strategies for implementing more professional development training throughout SoCA Programs.
These workshops will provide students with professional development skills, encourage graduates to consider remaining in Detroit / Southern Ontario region, and highlight and support local success stories. Additionally, these workshops will build upon existing professional development collaborations with Epicentre and ACWR.
Tools for Teaching Everyday Anti-Racist Intersectional Practice
Cara Fabre, Women’s and Gender Studies
The project asks, what deep approaches to learning – grounded in an analysis white feminist theory and practice – are most effective in teaching anti-racist intersectional theory and practice? It uses a dual-method approach – literature review and pre-test/post-test – to developing one or more pedagogical tools designed to deepen students’ understanding and application of anti-racist intersectional feminist theory in their everyday lives. These tools, along with the literature review, will be made available to the broader University of Windsor community in the form of an online report. The intended outcomes of this project are to measure any changes in students’ knowledge of white feminism and its relation to anti-racist intersectional analysis; to provide social justice educators at the University of Windsor with a comprehensive, systematic survey of evidence-based, deep learning approaches to teaching anti-racist intersectional theory and practice; and to design one or more tools for teaching anti-racist intersectional practice for future testing.
Embedded Information Literacy for Engineering Students
Grace Liu, Leddy Library; and Lisa Salfi, Faculty of Engineering
This proposed program will be conducted through a partnership between the Leddy Library and the Faculty of Engineering. It aims to enhance the information literacy skills of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Windsor. Through this program, students would gain a deeper understanding of information and scholarship in their fields of study. Information literacy sessions and online resources specific to engineering will be developed and integrated into Engineering Technical Communications (ETC) and potentially other engineering courses. The sessions and online resources will be applied to further support Capstone projects and other academic activities in various programs offered by the Faculty of Engineering. Hands-on intense instructions, in-person tutorials and other teaching methods will be implemented to engage students with search strategies and search techniques. The effectiveness of the proposed program will be measured by a comparison of the students’ grades in the ETC course to the grades received by students in earlier course offerings, as well as student feedback. The proposed program will have positive impacts on the development of study and research skills of engineering students at the University, specifically international engineering students. It may also help the Faculty of Engineering satisfy the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board Graduate Attributes.
Digital storytelling to foster engagement and learning in undergraduate physiology courses
Kevin Milne, Matthew Krause, Kenji Kenno, and Cheri McGowan, Department of Kinesiology
While there is substantive diversity in the delivery of knowledge, at its heart, all teaching is the same: “causing another to know something”. The definition is simple, but can gloss over the importance of the receiver in this information flow. There is considerable data to show that students who are unengaged, unmotivated, or uninterested in information will show poor understanding, retention, and consequently, little further use of that knowledge. Consequently, as educators, it is important to not only be information delivery vehicles, but also to ensure that our students are inspired and receptive to learning. Digital storytelling can enhance student engagement and interest in exploring class material and forming theoretical frameworks around the experience. The current project proposes to examine the efficacy of an online interactive digital story in improving undergraduate student engagement and achievement outcomes. We aim to generate 1-3 digital stories according to published design techniques and based on sound physiological theory and practice. Students in middle and upper undergraduate physiology courses will be given online access to interactive digital stories focused on current course concepts. At the end of the semester, the relationships between digital story use, intrinsic motivation, enjoyment, and grades will be examined. Results from this initial study can be used to guide further incorporation of digital stories into the exercise physiology curriculum, promote the design of virtual labs that could be incorporated into future online courses or adjuncts, and become accessible cost effective learning experiences for our students.
Development of a Web-Based GIS Learning Module for Community-Asset Mapping to Improve Service Learning In Social Work
Wansoo Park, School of Social Work; and Xue Luo, Leddy Library
In recent years, service learning–a pedagogical approach that integrates learning and community service, has gained increasing popularity in higher education as a means to enhance student civic engagement. Service learning may be particularly relevant to social work education because of its emphasis on social justice and the amelioration of social problems. The benefits of service learning however, are dependent on its successful integration into the classroom. By developing a web-based learning module, this project aims to explore the possibility of using community asset mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as an integrated tool to promote service learning in social work education. This module will teach students the basic principles of GIS and the necessary skills to create a community asset map by using open source GIS software. The module will be available to students anywhere and at any time, and will be integrated into its targeted courses via course materials and in-class activities. An assessment of this module will be conducted by a student survey where the results will assist in future module improvement and its applicability to larger contexts. This project will involve collaborations between many campus stakeholders, including the Leddy Library’s Academic Data Centre, the School of Social Work, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and the Office of Open Learning. The project supports the University of Windsor’s mission to improve student-centred and innovative teaching and learning and its commitment to enhance the economic and social well-being of the local communities.
Developing a Work-Integrated Learning Model for Human Performance: A Collaboration Between the Department of Kinesiology and the Department of Athletics and Recreational Services
Chad Sutherland and Kevin Milne, Department of Kinesiology; and Lucas Hodgson and David Stoute, Department of Athletics and Recreational Services
The Department of Kinesiology is striving to increase the opportunities for Work-Integrated Learning Experiences (WIL) in the field of Human Performance. WIL placements enhance the undergraduate learning experience and increase the likelihood of successfully obtaining the Registered Kinesiologist designation. The Department of Athletics and Recreational Services requires greater access to advanced Human Performance testing and training for their varsity student athletes. Therefore, the purpose of this project is: (1) provide Kinesiology students with intensive learning experiences related to Human Performance and then the opportunity to apply these skills in a field placement with the Women’s Varsity Volleyball Team, (2) provide varsity student athletes access to technical Human Performance practices to increase their sport performance and reduce their risk of injury (3) develop a collaborative inter-departmental Human Performance WIL Model. Kinesiology student(s) will receive Human Performance training including: (1) exercise physiology testing (Human Performance Laboratory), (2) exercise prescription (Forge Fitness Centre) (3) athletic therapy (Green Shield Sports Therapy Clinic). These high impact learning experiences will provide undergraduate Kinesiology students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they have gained in the classroom to real-world experiences and make them more competitive in the job market. This pilot project will also focus on working with other head coaches and Kinesiology faculty members to increase the number of WIL experiences between the two departments. Ultimately, this inter-department collaboration will enhance (1) the learning experiences for our Undergraduate Kinesiology Students and (2) the services offered to our varsity student athletes.
Vertical Peer Mentoring as a High Impact Experiential Learning Opportunity: Expansion and Evaluation of the SURE Program (Science Undergraduate Research Experiences)
John Trant, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; and Christopher Houser, Faculty of Science
The University of Windsor is facing a recruitment challenge. As the population of prospective students continues to drop in the region, the University needs to compete provincially, nationally, and internationally with other institutions for any growth. The University does however have unique strengths. The science student: faculty ratio of 15:1 is extraordinarily low, and this can be leveraged by involving students in research early in their academic careers. Students want to DO science, not just write multiple choice exams. Our unique balance of size and research activity makes us an ideal institution to integrate students into ground-breaking research.
Introducing undergraduate students into a true research environment where they can work alongside graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and professors can instill a life-long love of learning and be a transformational experience. However, to scale this, we need to find an efficient mentoring method that does not place undue supervisory burdens on faculty. The Trant Group is experimenting with a vertical peer mentoring system (SURE) in which senior graduate students supervise senior undergraduate students who in turn supervise more junior students. As students continue their education, they move up the hierarchy. Consequently, this provides all trainees with meaningful supervisory experience in a research setting-something not currently available anywhere else in Ontario. We believe this system will be scalable across the university and will provide us with an unmatchable competitive advantage while returning to the original promise of a university education: at Windsor, you not only learn, you do.