How important is student engagement in your courses? If you believe it’s important, is it a challenge to increase the level of participation and encourage greater sense of agency in the learning process? If you’ve answered yes it may not be for your lack of trying. While evidence-based pedagogies (aka active learning) provide strategies to promote engagement, increasingly, attention is being drawn to under-examined structural barriers that discourage and impede full participation. This webinar focuses on this topic and ways forward.
Research tells us that student engagement is critical to academic success and persistent in higher education (Barkley & Major, 2020; Kuh, 2001; Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh & Whitt, 2011). If so, can we design instruction to increase engagement? Increasingly, the educational community is beginning to understand the barriers to participation in school. Some barriers are clearly part of the economic system – i.e., the cost of an academic degree. Others are clearly part of the academic system – i.e., the “gatekeeper” course(s) that control who can enter certain disciplines and careers, particularly in STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math). Other barriers, however, are not so easily identified but are nonetheless deeply embedded in the structures of our institutions and society making them challenging to tackle.
Those of us who have tried student-centred instruction (aka active learning) are beginning to realize that while we might provide opportunities for students to become more engaged in the process of learning, we still have a long way to go to make our classrooms more inclusive and equitable. This webinar aims to continue the conversation the SALTISE community has started in the Fall 2021 webinar series. In this session, we will introduce a toolkit produced at Carleton University by Candice Harris, Martha Mullaly and Rowan Thomson, and use it as a launchpad to explore some of the critical questions we have about EDI in active learning. This toolkit is an effort to provide practical suggestions to help instructors integrate EDI into their curriculum and classroom. Join us for this panel discussion as we continue to build a shared understanding of the issues.
Featuring Dr. Martha Mullaly, Carleton University
Martha Mullally is an instructor at Carleton University, Department of Biology. She was named the 2021 Carleton University Chair in Teaching Innovation in recognition of her years of dedication to encouraging new teaching practices and rethinking pedagogy in innovative ways within the STEM disciplines. Between 2013-14 she was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Carl Weiman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) at University of British Columbia, where she began her journey to explore evidence-based pedagogical practices and science education research. Since joining Carleton, she has implemented such practices to positively impact student performance and success rates across the sciences. Martha continues to hone her skills and knowledge by developing a community at Carleton that focuses on a teaching culture that is supportive and encourages efforts to try new approaches in their teaching, often associated with advancing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).
Recently, in response to efforts to address inequities, the inclusive teaching toolkit was developed by Martha along with Prof. Rowan Thomson, Assistant Dean (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion), and student Candice Harris. She states, “I think we really have a responsibility as gatekeepers in science to open up the gate and teaching practices link to that. Improving our teaching practices can reduce failure rates and then it can make the gate open a little wider for more people to come and join.” Read more from that interview.