SALTISE Community Newsletter, February 2013

Dear Member,

We hope you’ve had a great start to 2013! We are pleased to be sending you our 2nd SALTISE newsletter, which we’ve organized to send out on a regular monthly basis. We’re busy preparing and thinking ahead to all of the exciting Spring 2013 events just around the corner, including our event with guest speaker Richard Moog and our many conferences taking place. Please read on below and remember to pencil in all of these upcoming events!

Thanks for being part of our community,
The SALTISE team

SALTISE Events for 2013

  • April 4 & 5 – Richard Moog, from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, will present the Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) project. Presentations will take place at Dawson College, John Abbott College, and McGill University’s Macdonald campus.
  •  May 30 – SALTISE Day at the CAP-DPE Conference (Canadian Association of Physicists- Division of Physics Education), held this year at the Université de Montréal. Confirmed speakers: Professor Joe Redish from the University of Maryland, Louis DesLauriers from UBC, David Meltzer from Arizona State, and other notable physics education researchers.
    • READ MORE about Professor Redish’s ideas.
    • REGISTER starting March 1st (FREE admission for H.S. &   CEGEP Teachers.
  • June 10 – Pre-conference workshop in preparation for the SALTISE Annual Conference
  • June 11 – SALTISE Annual Conference, with keynote speaker Manu Kapur. Also featuring presentations from SALTISE projects and mini-grants winners. Call for papers forthcoming

Announcements & Updates

John Abbott College’s PED Day Workshop
On January 16th, Dawson Colleges’ Active Learning Classroom (ALC) teachers – Chris Whittaker, Suzanne Kunicki, Kathy Morrison & Liz Charles – presented their perspectives on active learning environments to a multidisciplinary group of John Abbott College teachers. This ALC group discussed the triumphs and challenges of this teaching/learning environment, and presented views of how student engagement increased and deeper student learning resulted. Thanks to Murray Bronet and the team of people from the Pedagogical Development Office for organizing this event!

Vanier College’s PED Day Workshop: Making Active Learning Pedagogy Work
As part of the Vanier Community Connection Day on January 17th, Chris Whittaker and Liz Charles from Dawson College presented a workshop on active learning, called Making Active Learning Pedagogy Work. Chris and Liz began the workshop with a brief review of the theory behind active learning pedagogy. Later, participants were given a hands-on exercise: taking an assignment on writing and adapting it to an AL approach. The workshop was a success and the Vanier community is looking to continue this exchange of best practices in the future. Thanks to Marielle Beauchemin and the team of people from the Pedagogical Development Office for organizing this event!

Jan 18th Webinar – to be rescheduled

John Abbott AL Teachers’ Community of Practice
The first John Abbott Active Learning Community meeting convened on February 7th, with the successful turnout of 15 teachers across several disciplines, from Social Sciences to Correctional (Police) Intervention, attending. This burgeoning community is off to a great start, having already created an on-line community amongst participants for announcements, blogging, and resource sharing – in addition to offering mini-sessions with volunteer speakers. The first speaker is scheduled to discuss the challenges of Peer Instruction. Best of luck to Murray and the rest of the John Abbott AL Community!

Vanier’s New AL Blog
The Active Learning Community is gaining strength and evolving at Vanier College. To help this community grow, and to allow those interested to keep in touch and informed on what is happening, Vanier has launched a new community blog. Aimed at both new and more advanced practitioners of Active Learning, the blog will host news about the community of practice, teachers using the active learning pedagogy in their classroom and in the new Active Learning classroom, and other Active Learning happenings involving Vanier. The blog will also post a calendar of events happening at the College and elsewhere. See the new blog at: and READ MORE about this new initiative. Best of luck to Marielle and the rest of the Vanier AL Community!


  • Peer Mentoring – SALTISE is looking for instructors who are interested in sharing their expertise as an active learning instructor by taking part in the Peer-Mentoring Program. Contact to join the growing list of Active Learning Teachers.
  • Featured Monthly Photo – YOUR photo could be featured in our monthly newsletter! Please send your jaw-dropping science pics, awe-inspiring ALC pics, or marvelous Montréal pics to:
  • Bloggers – The SALTISE website development team < > wants to hear from YOU! Please share your ALC experiences and best teaching practices on the SALTISE community blog. Contact to let us know.

Members’ News

Pedagogical Research Report
We are very pleased to congratulate Dr. Rocco Iafigliola, Marianopolis College, on the completion of his pedagogical research report for CEGEP Physics, entitled Going Back to the Future: A Modernized Personalized System of Instruction (MPSI). The report was funded by the Association des Collèges Privés du Québec as part of the Programme de Recherche et d’Expérimentation. Should you have any questions, please contact Rocco at

2013 Mini Grant Winners 
We are pleased to announce that a total of 9 projects were awarded funding through the SALTISE 2013 Mini-Grant Initiative, spanning six institutions (including universities and colleges – public & private) and eight disciplines. The mini grants winners (in alphabetical order) are:

Justine Bell
Champlain College-Saint Lambert, Biology

Team-Based Learning Approach to Learn About Important Figures in the History of Science – A Team-Based Learning (TBL) approach is used in a History of Science and Scientific Methodology course for Liberal Arts students. The students work in teams to produce an image representing the contrasting world views of two key figures in science.

Murray Bronet and Suzanne Black
John Abbott College, Chemistry

Whiteboards in the Chemistry Classroom – The project investigates the conversion of a “typical” classroom environment, with whiteboards at the front of the class, to one in which eight (8) separate whiteboards are available for students for use in the classroom. These whiteboards, 4’x4′ each, will be spaced around the classroom, so that teachers can form 4-5 person groups and use these boards to encourage active student engagement with the course content.

Yann Brouillette and Christian Viel
Dawson College, Chemistry

Chemical Experiment Videos – A first collection of ten short chemical experiment videos will be produce to illustrate a series of exhilarating chemical processes. Each video will be free, easily accessible online as well as on smartphone devices, and will focus on the chemical reagents, reaction and macroscopic observations.

Priscilla Castillo-Ruiz, Joan Kearvell , and Isabelle Menard
Champlain Regional College, Nursing and Biology

Active Learning in Microbiology for Nurses at the College Level – Our project is based on developing a series of activities that mimic microbial-related infections so that the nursing students get to apply their conceptual knowledge to real life situations. Each topic will be treated as a case study and a maximum of 15 cases will be used throughout the semester, with each case highlighting a specific concept. Microbiology and Immunology for nurses is a course that is part of a 3 year career Nursing Program at the College level. This is a joint project between Champlain Regional College St-Lambert and our Lennoxville sister Campus, where the Nursing Program is also taught and shares similar learning objectives.

Joseph Dent
McGill University, Biology

Developing Web-Based Tools to Promote Learning of Cell and Molecular Biology – By creating a web based graphical user interface powered with “R” statistical computing we plan to expand the potential for student learning in undergraduate Biology laboratory courses at McGill. This software tool will allow data pooling between the 36 parallel lab sections that occur every week and facilitate student driven statistical inquiry and data evaluation. Our hope is that this will lead to a higher degree of student engagement and foster analytic thinking.

Ahmed Ibrahim, Mark W. Aulls, Bruce M. Shore, and Calvin Kalman
McGill University- Science Education

Active Learning Electronic Resources and Tools for Inquiry in Science – The purpose of this proposal is to create a compendium of Active Learning Electronic Resources and Tools (ALERTs) and their effective uses in Science Education. This ALERTs compendium would serve as an ideal learning tool by itself. Knowing about existing ALERTs, their capabilities, and their effective use can direct students towards the appropriate tools and resources, and help them conceptualize alternative learning strategies.

Elizabeth Janik
Champlain College-Saint Lambert, Chemistry

Designing and Producing Chemistry Videos to Support the Flipped Classroom – This teacher created video using Voicethread and writing table technology is intended to be used for a “flipped classroom” pedagogy dealing with a topic in Organic Chemistry BLC. This instructional strategy will provide the student with teacher guided learning outside the classroom as well as an active learning component through the incorporation of learning activities during the video.

Kevin Lenton, Anne Bernard, Edward Awad, and Rhys Adams
Vanier College, English, Biology, and Physics

Graphical Tablets as Active Learning Tools – The goals of the project are to purchase 15 graphical tablets (GTs) and use them as a tool for leveraging active learning (AL) in the Vanier Active Learning Classroom (ALC). We will compare how students interact when using either GTs or Smart Boards: Smart board interactions are very public learning spaces, GTs offer more private learning spaces. The interaction is expected to improve with GTs because of the smaller student group size. GTs will also be assessed as an alternative to Smart Boards in a lower-tech ALC. Finally, we would like to develop expertise for teachers to use GTs to create AL materials.

Marcel Sankeralli and Jean-Michel Cohalan
Marianopolis College, Physics and Geography

Technical Education in the Promotion of International Development (TEPID) – A key element of Active Learning is enabling students to learn at their own pace, with the instructor providing individual assistance only as needed.  The development of learner-friendly software, along with the growing familiarity of students with standard packages, provides a powerful tool to achieve this learning aim.  The present project aims to create learning modules in geographic information system (GIS) software, oriented specifically toward understanding economically, environmentally and socially sustainable international development, to be used by students as self-motivated, self-paced design exercises.