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Universities face a major obstacle in providing professional development on teaching and learning to full-time faculty: getting them to participate in face-to-face sessions. Many faculty members have difficulty carving out time in their schedules for workshops. Many also believe that the generalized advice provided in those workshops does not apply to the unique challenges of teaching in their disciplines or match their experience level. This problem is also common in many colleges.

Recognizing the similarities of teaching in all higher education institutions—including these challenges, Concordia University and Marianopolis College have been working since 2017 on …

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Universities face a major obstacle in providing professional development on teaching and learning to full-time faculty: getting them to participate in face-to-face sessions. Many faculty members have difficulty carving out time in their schedules for workshops. Many also believe that the generalized advice provided in those workshops does not apply to the unique challenges of teaching in their disciplines or match their experience level. This problem is also common in many colleges.

Recognizing the similarities of teaching in all higher education institutions—including these challenges, Concordia University and Marianopolis College have been working since 2017 on a joint project to address the challenges. The project is funded by the Entente Canada-Quebec and aims to produce evidence-based online materials to assist faculty with common teaching challenges. These materials are quick and easy-to-read and are available on-demand, whenever teaching challenges arise.

Identifying Common Teaching Challenges 

Which challenges? Those were identified through an extensive needs assessment conducted at the beginning of the project and that included focus groups and surveys of full-time faculty at both partner institutions.

The materials addressing each challenge are rooted in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL), and provide both general advice as well as advice in broad disciplinary areas (commerce, engineering, fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences).

We have completed research reviews on group work and objective (multiple choice) assessment, with research reviews on the following topics in the works: essay exams, alternative assessment, preventing plagiarism, managing class discussions, responding to different levels of prior knowledge, and better understanding the academic background of our multicultural classrooms.

This type of on-demand support is called electronic performance support (Carliner, 2002; Gery, 1991).

Also in the works are efforts to engage faculty with the online materials in an ongoing way, including:

  1. Virtual meet-and-greets
  2. Regular polls about teaching related topics
  3. Ongoing email communications

References 

Carliner, S. (2002.) Choices and challenges: design considerations for electronic performance support systems. Technical Communication, 49(4), 411-419.

Gery, G. (1991.) Electronic Performance Support Systems. Tolland, MA: Gery Performance Press.

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Literature Reviews, Resources and More

Multiple Choice and Objective Tests

Objective tests are ones that have finite correct answers and can be easily graded without subjective judgement, even by machine. The most common form of objective tests are multiple choice tests. Learn more…

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Group Work

Ideally, group work asks students to work towards a common goal and, while doing so, (a) share responsibilities for achieving the goal, (b) interact with one another, and (c) contribute their individual knowledge and skills to the collaborative effort. Learn more…

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