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:
Fostering students as partners: An examination of student-faculty partnerships in Science
Dora Cavallo-Medved, Department of Biological Sciences; Laura Chittle, Department of Kinesiology; Chris Houser, Faculty of Science
There has been a growing discourse within higher education to engage with students as partners (SaP) and to transform institutional cultures by harnessing the strength of students and faculty working together (1). Student partnerships are defined as a collaborative and reciprocal process where all individuals are provided with equal opportunities to contribute to pedagogy, decision making, investigation, and analysis (2). Working with SaP can include a range of practices (e.g., curriculum development, community service, and disciplinary research) (3,4); however, underpinning these partnerships is ‘an ethic of reciprocity’ (5), such that there is mutual respect and shared responsibility between students and faculty. Engaging with SaP offers a plethora of benefits to students and faculty (e.g., increased learning, employability, and confidence) (6,7). The purpose of this project is to examine SaP within the Faculty of Science with the goal of promoting the benefits of this approach across campus. This project will include examining the ways in which faculty are engaging with SaP, the key characteristics/values that underpin these partnerships, student and faculty perceptions of the benefits and challenges of working as partners, and an exploration of opportunities for formal recognition for student partners. The outcomes of this project will be used to develop resources for those interested in engaging with SaP, and will be further disseminated through campus-wide workshops and teaching and learning conferences. This project will provide significant contributions towards creating a learning environment that supports student engagement, collaboration, and enhanced student-faculty relationships.
Game-Based Labs for Transforming Students into Data Scientists
Cameron Proctor & Alice Grgicak-Mannion, School Of The Environment
Data science is an interdisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, statistics, and computing to extract knowledge and insights from data. Data science is a foundational element of Canada's information based economy. Many departments in the Faculty of Science (FOS) incorporate data science in their curricula, as these skills are increasingly expected in the workforce. Despite the need for advanced technical skills and computer programming experience, students may lack background training, or feel the subject is beyond their capabilities. Student motivation to continue training can quickly vanish without a supportive learning environment that addresses their unique barriers. Previous pedagogical literature suggests that high levels of abstraction, disparities between content and applications, and lack of instant feedback/rewards are primary barriers. Game-based labs attempt to counter these barriers by taking data science concepts out of the screen and into the real world to improve student interactions and digestion of core concepts. I propose to conduct an environmental scan and develop support tools that will become a resource base to enable interested instructors in FOS to integrate game-based labs into their curriculum. The environmental scan will identify best practices, solutions to implementation challenges, and condense the field into recommendations for beginners, intermediate, and advanced users. The grant will develop game-based teaching support tools as a proof of concept trailed in data science courses within the School of Environment (i.e. remote sensing, scripting and programming, cartography).
Exploring the Factors that (De)Motivate UWindsor Engineering Students to Improve their Writing Skills
Lisa Salfi, Faculty of Engineering
Writing instruction is a critical component of engineering education. In fact, a resounding message from engineering employers is that graduates need to possess stronger writing skills in order to succeed in industry. Still, engineering students generally resist writing instruction, even if to their own detriment. Many assumptions have been made about why this occurs (e.g., engineering students do not see the value in writing, they are poor writers, they do not think they can learn how to write well, etc.); however, research is needed to determine the veracity of these claims. The focus of this study is to investigate the factors that impact engineering students’ motivation (or lack thereof) to improve their writing skills. A qualitative survey of University of Windsor undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral engineering students will be conducted, followed by more detailed interviews in focus groups. The survey and interview questions will be based on knowledge from motivational science, for example, self-efficacy (how competent the students feel to perform writing tasks), task value (whether the students see any utility value in the tasks), attribution theory (perceived causes of success and failure), and goal orientation. The questions will also examine interest levels and unique writing challenges faced by engineering students at the University of Windsor. This research is a first step toward the goal to modify curricula, develop resources, and make pedagogical choices that are learning-centred and will motivate engineering students to improve their writing skills.
Utilizing Simulation to Educate Nurse Practitioners about Opioid Management and Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)
Sherry Morrell, Gina Pittman, Amanda Mcewen, & Debbie Rickeard, Faculty of Nursing
Canada, per capita, is the second-largest consumer of opioids in the world (Canadian Institute of Health Information [CIHI], 2019). From January 2016 to June 2019, there were 13,900 opioid-related events in Canada. In Ontario, 435 opioid-related deaths occurred from January to March 2019 and 1,500 Ontarians died in 2018 from opioid-related causes. In Canada, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) were granted prescribing authority for controlled substances, including opioids, by Health Canada in 2012. Ontario was the last province to grant prescribing authority in 2017 (College of Nurses of Ontario [CNO], 2017). In addition to controlled substance prescribing, NPs in Ontario were permitted to perform Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) for appropriate patient situations (CNO, 2017). NPs can act as assessors and/or providers for MAID. Currently, NP students are limited in participating in MAID and prescribing controlled substances given regulation requirements. Given the tremendous increase in NP responsibilities, ensuring NP students receive the education that builds confidence and adequately prepares them for circumstances is essential. Simulation scenarios permit NP students to learn and practice real-life scenarios in a non-consequential environment. The goal of utilizing simulation in NP education is to increase entry-level NP confidence in their ability to safely prescribe opioids and engage in MAID procedures in their practice. Data gathered from this project will inform educational practices and public health policies to ensure NP preparedness for opioid prescribing and MAID in practice and to focus awareness on patient safety during these acts.