SALTISE Community Newsletter
Vol. 1 No.3, March 2013
Member’s photo: First signs of spring, DogwoodsAtlanta, Georgia.



Dear Member,

Hard to believe it’s already mid-semester and winter is making a graceful exit. This month’s newsletter hopes to capture some of the excitement that comes with spring by reporting on the many events SALTISE has in store for the weeks and months ahead. Additionally, we are beginning a new segment that features stories about inspiring and innovative efforts related to active learning.

This month’s theme is “Communities of Practice” and features our growing communities. What’s a community of practice, you ask? Find out in the feature story below.

Best wishes,
The SALTISE team


SALTISE Upcoming Events

April 4 & 5

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) presentations in 3 weeks! Richard Moog, the Director of the POGIL project, author, and Professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, will present 2 FREE workshop events on POGIL:

  • Thursday, April 4th evening (6pm – 9pm)– Workshop held in the Dawson ALC and geared towards intermediate level AL teachers, will describe and expand the benefits of the student-centered POGIL strategy, where students work in small groups with individual roles to ensure that all students are fully engaged in the learning process.
  • Friday, April 5th afternoon  (2pm-4pm)– Workshop , similar to session #1 but geared towards introductory level AL teachers, will be held at John Abbott College & McGill McDonald Campus on the West Island.
  • * Breakfast Friday, April 5th – By request only, a special informal breakfast chat with Rick. Contact Murray Bronet at:

Seating is limited.

Sign up starting Wednesday!
To register, please go to Registration opens Wednesday, March 20th

May 30

SALTISE Day at the CAP-DPE Conference (Canadian Association of Physicists-Division of Physics Education) will be held at the Université de Montréal.

Joe Redish, from the University of Maryland, will be giving a plenary talk: How should we think about how our students think? What we learn from PER.
He will also give a second talk on Monday, May 27How having a theory of learning changes what I do in class on Monday.

Other events that day include:
* David Meltzer from Arizona State
* Bob Hawkes from Mt. Allison University
* Workshops by SALTISE members & special lunchtime event

 Admission is FREE for CEGEP & High School teachers  
Early Registration starts on April 5th


June 10

Pre-conference workshop in preparation for the SALTISE Annual Conference. Workshops to be announced in April newsletter.

June 11

SALTISE Annual Conference, with keynote speaker Manu Kapur.
Invited speakers include international scholars in the field of education, learning, and educational technology.

 Call for papers will open on March 25th (announcement to follow) 
 Early Registration starts April 22nd 


Announcements & Updates


Western Conference on Science Education

Western University in London, Ontario will be holding the Western Conference on Science Education, a  national cross-disciplinary post-secondary science education conference, this coming July 9-11.
This year’s conference follows on the success of the 2011 inaugural conference. Dr. Susan Rundell Singer (Carleton College, MN), Dr. Tony Bates (Tony Bates Associates, BC), Dr. Dietmar Kennepohl FCIC, (Athabasca University, AB), and Dr. Carolyn Eyles, (McMaster University, ON) are scheduled as the plenary speakers. It is sure to be a dynamic event!
Early registration begins April 1st. Conference information and submission guidelines are here. Please contact the Conference Organizers at to discuss a personal timeline for submitting Conference proposals.


SALTISE Goes International!

Akiko Nakazawa, an Assistant Professor in the Division for Active Learning and Teaching Komaba Organization for Educational Excellence (KOMEX) at the University of Tokyo, paid both McGill and Dawson a visit this past February. Conducting research in one of several active learning classrooms at the University of Tokyo, Professor Nakazawa spent a month as a visiting researcher at McGill’s Teaching and Learning Services (TLS). She is interested in ways of supporting instructors and students in active learning classrooms (ALCs), as well as overall faculty development. While at TLS, she met with various staff members to learn about TLS’s approach to a variety of areas. She has visited the ALCs and observed a number of classes in the ALCs, as well as meeting with the ALC members at Dawson and learning more about the research/work being done in these classrooms. If you’re interested in learning more about the University of Tokyo’s Komaba Active Learning Studio and their innovative bean-shaped tables, check it out here.

Photo: Akiko Nakazawa (center), with Dawson professors Chris Whittaker (left) & Kathy Morrison (right) in the Dawson Active Learning Classroom.



“Spring into Science” Photo Prize!!!

Send us your photo that best represents this theme, and enter the photo  prize:  GoPro camera!

Submissions open March 20th and close June 1st.
Send your (a) photo, (b) title, and (c) 1-line description to:

Winner announced : June 11th, 2013.

Recommended Reads & Tools


FREE student response system app can be used with all web-enabled devices (i.e. smartphones, tablets, computers) and any internet browser, Socrative is a simple tech tool to enhance classroom engagement and assessment.
(Thanks to Maria Orjuela-Laverde, McGill University, for sharing!)

Interactive grid offers examples of learning objectives

A Model of Learning Objectives – Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives and the Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing, Iowa State University- Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching’s interactive grid offers examples of learning objectives that connect the cognitive process and knowledge dimensions.
(Thanks to Kathy Morrison, Dawson College, for sharing!)

Collaborative Online Whiteboard Software

Have you ever wanted to work with someone on a shared image or document? Have you ever wanted to model to a student who is at home how to solve a problem? Well, now you can with “cool” software from Groupboard. Groupboard offers several products to choose from: a free online whiteboard (with chat function), a low cost advanced on-line whiteboard (with audio conferencing and mathematics tools), and a web conferencing board (with mathematics formula editing, desktop sharing, and working on shared documents). Any of these can be embedded into any webpage (e.g., Moodle) and accessed via an ipad, android tablet, or wacom tablet. With Dawson College will be purchasing a web conferencing licence for 50 simultaneous users within the next month, contact SALTISE if you’re interested in finding out how it’s being implemented. In the meantime, you can try out Dawson’s advanced on-line whiteboard here
username: user1
password: !dawsongroupworld30401
(Thanks to Silvia d’Apollonia, Dawson College, for sharing!)

Members’ News


Peer Instruction Workshop

On March 5th, Nathaniel Lasry gave a professional development presentation, entitled Apprentissage par les pairs: Rejoindre nos élèves 1-à-1, tous en même temps, to faculty and IT representatives at CEGEP du Vieux Montréal (CVM). With the help of Liz Charles and Mike Dugdale, Lasry spoke about the Peer Instruction model and presented data from studies done at Harvard and various Montreal institutions showing the benefits of Peer Instruction. The workshop was part of a professional development initiative at CVM called “Diner Causerie” that provides teachers with a lunch and the chance to attend a talk or workshop. To contact Nathaniel.

Mini Grant Updates

The SALTISE-funded mini grant projects are off to a successful start! Read more about the progression of each project on our SALTISE Community Blog.

New Feature on SALTISE Website

What Our Teachers Are Doing – This new section on the SALTISE website highlights our teachers’ best active learning practices. Our latest story is about Jean-Fraçois Brière, from the Physics Department at Dawson College.

Feature Story


Our Developing Communities of Practice

Recent efforts to support changing pedagogical practice show the value of working from the ground up. Many of these efforts involve teachers being part of supportive groups, or what we are calling a “community of practice”. SALTISE has promoted such developments among its membership, thus this month’s feature story is about these experiences. We have interviewed key members from our various institutions and documented the role that the CoP is playing at their institution as a model for supporting pedagogical change. Communities of practice at our different institutions have unique characteristics:

Dawson College – “grassroots” model, coordinated by Chris Whittaker (physics instructor and researcher) and Liz Charles (researcher and SALTISE co-coordinator).

Vanier College – “out reaching” model, coordinated by Marielle Beauchemin, Jen Mitchell & N. Loewen.

John Abbott College – “one-man” model, spearheading the initiative is Murray Bronet.

Champlain College, St. Lambert, – “network-focused” model, headed by James Sparks.

McGill University – “joint-venture” model, coordinated by TLS (Dr. Laura Winer & Maria Orjuela-Laverde) and Professor Lawrence Chen, Faculty of Engineering.