What makes a first-year class effective and engaging? A team of staff, students, and faculty has been exploring this question with the help of a grant from eCampus Ontario, and it is looking for help from first-year instructors all over campus.
As part of a project focused on making course redesign of difficult first-year courses a little easier, a team led by economics professors Michael Batu and Nurlan Turdaliev has been using two challenging economics courses as a case study.
Supported by the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Open Learning, and the Office of the Provost, they are analyzing course data, developing support materials and supplemental instruction activities, re-examining pedagogy and curricula, and pinpointing trends and student perceptions in an effort to improve the courses and develop a framework others can use to undertake similar projects.
They are currently looking for instructors of first-year courses willing to share the syllabi of their effective courses.
“There is so much good teaching on campus,” says Jeff Berryman, associate vice-president, academic. “But we don’t always have opportunities to learn from each other and borrow effective strategies from each other.”
This project, along with a recently launched faculty learning community on large-enrolment first-year classes, aims to provide opportunities for that kind of information exchange.
“We want to learn more about what’s working well here, with our own community of students!” he says.
To submit your course syllabi or for more information, email the project’s research associate Ashlyne O’Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the faculty learning community on large-enrolment classes, contact Judy Bornais, Dora Cavallo-Medved, or Danielle Soulliere.
The economics course redesign team: Michael Batu, Nurlan Turdaliev, Nick Baker, Ashlyne O’Neil, Beverley Hamilton, Marissa Biasi, Erika Kustra, Brunilda Gjini, Brandon Loshusan, Diana Liskovskaya, Ian Stecher, Austin Mejia, Dora Cavallo-Medved
Large-class enrolment learning community planning team: Judy Bornais, Dora Cavallo-Medved, Danielle Soulliere.