2021 Spring Institute

We would like to thank everybody who attended sessions and workshops during the 2021 Spring Institute. From June 7-10, CTLT Spring Institute focussed on purposeful innovation in teaching practices, educational research, student services, and learning technology to support student success and experiences. The theme was Embracing Creativity and Risk Taking in the New Normal. The Spring Institute served as a forum for members of the teaching and learning community to collaborate, network and engage in knowledge exchange.

We would also like to thank all of the presenters and facilitators who shared their time and expertise to make the Spring Institute the success that it is. For those who were unable to attend any of the sessions, please feel free to review the curated workshop materials and resources.

“We define sustainability as simultaneous improvements in human and environmental wellbeing.” – UBC Strategic Plan, Shaping UBC’s Next Century (p. 39).

Please see below for a detailed schedule and to register for sessions.

Building TA Training Programs through Indigenous Engagement and Equity and Inclusion Frames

Monday, June 7 | 9 – 10:30 a.m. | Zoom

TA Training and support at UBC aims to create inclusive and equitable classrooms, as well as to responsibly engage with Indigenous curriculum, which have not diminished since the pivot to remote teaching and learning. Instead, these important needs have been amplified and have shifted to a new context and required creative and responsive approaches. Join facilitators from the CTLT Indigenous Initiatives team and the UBC Equity and Inclusion office for an information session where you will learn about some of the concepts covered and resources available for those supporting TA Training programs at UBC. The audience for this session is TA Training Coordinators, Faculty, Instructors, and experienced TAs. In this session, participants will learn about the opportunities available to support Teaching Assistants at UBC to work in closer alignment with university priorities relating to Indigenous engagement and inclusive excellence.
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Strengthening Formative Training in Group Writing Project Design

Monday, June 7 | 1 – 2:30 p.m. | Zoom

In this workshop, we will discuss how we prepared students for a successful group writing assignment in a classroom of 60 students and how it helped improve student academic communication skills, without putting extra burden on the instructor or students. To address the challenges of group writing projects, such as uneven division of labour, we suggest the following strategies: Introducing various modes of working in a group (such as collaborative vs. co-operative division of work), developing recommendations that help students effectively divide tasks, guiding students build up a positive relationship and interdependence among group members.

By the end of the session, participants will be able to: list several benefits and challenges in group work, design strategies for providing instructor feedback, customize their own work plan for group writing projects within their own classroom context. The workshop benefits instructors in any discipline who are interested in improving student academic writing skills through group work.
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Exploring Ungrading at UBC: A Paradigm Shift in Teaching and Learning

Monday, June 7 | 2:30 – 4 p.m. | Zoom

In this interactive session we will explore the pedagogy of “Ungrading”. Ungrading de-emphasizes grading by refocusing instructors’ efforts on feedback and student support. It also empowers students in the assessment process and develops their metacognitive skills.

Attendees will first be introduced to the principles of Ungrading in a short 30-minute talk. We will discuss how the grading process interacts with students’ motivation and goal orientation. We will also describe examples of successful implementations of Ungrading in the quantitative science disciplines.

Following the talk, facilitators will conduct a guided workshop to help participants reimagine courses they have taken or taught through the lens of Ungrading. As an activity, we will re-design a course step-by-step to incorporate Ungrading principles. Finally, we will discuss the potential of Ungrading as a group to reform higher education.
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Activating the Audience: Teaching Speaking in a Hybrid Learning Environment

Tuesday, June 8 | 9 – 10:30 a.m. | Zoom

The remote classroom has offered many challenges for student engagement with speaking pedagogies. Nevertheless, it has also created possibilities that can apply in terms of how to design a learning environment that allows for guided, interactive, and self-regulated learning experiences as we transition back to the face-to-face teaching and learning context.

This workshop will provide participants with a critical context through which to think about teaching speaking and listening skills.

This workshop is a follow up to “Activating the Audience: Teaching Speaking in the Remote Classroom” (Feb 2021). It incorporates the feedback shared after that workshop, and expands to the context of the hybrid learning environment. All participants are welcome.
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Risk and Reward: Augmenting Teaching Practices to Support Student Wellbeing

Tuesday, June 8 | 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Zoom

The link between student wellbeing and resiliency, academic tenacity, and overall student success is strongly supported in the literature. Research also clearly demonstrates that classroom environment and instructor approaches positively impact student wellbeing, enjoyment and course engagement. The academic environment is a key factor contributing to the challenged state of student wellbeing and as we flipped to virtual learning, student wellbeing has been further threatened. Student wellbeing is highlighted in the UBC Strategic plan and further demonstrated by our commitment to the Okanagan Charter to embed wellbeing into all aspects of campus culture.

The TEACHERS Project was a research initiative developed to facilitate implementation of simple, efficient and effective wellbeing strategies into a variety of classrooms from engineering and psychology and health sciences to chemistry and others. We are excited to share our “best practices,” insights and reflections and engage in discussions about what might work best to embed wellbeing practices for your students in your courses. The goal is to augment teaching practices to address wellbeing in some way; not about having to do more. The risks are minimal and the rewards are high, for both you and your students.

Join us to hear about our research, gain an appreciation for the importance of widespread integration of wellbeing practices in the classroom to benefit student learning and wellbeing, and learn about evidence-based wellbeing practices you can integrate into your classes, no matter what the program, discipline, or class size.
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Promising Practices to Embed Wellbeing in Teaching and Learning

Tuesday, June 8 | 1 – 2 p.m. | Zoom

Everyone plays an important role in supporting student mental health and wellbeing. In this session, participants will have an opportunity to connect with other members of the teaching and learning community and will share creative ideas in embedding strategies that foster wellbeing in their course design and delivery.
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Together, but Apart: Writing, Community and Zoom

Tuesday, June 8 | 3 – 4 p.m. | Zoom

This interactive workshop will feature contributions from instructors of a first-year undergraduate scholarly writing course in Land & Food Systems and Forestry. Participants will hear from panelists about their experiences of building a writing community online in order to mitigate social isolation and help meet student learning goals. The session will explore the practice of weekly free-writing over Zoom, the use of discussion boards for weekly writing assignments, the inclusion of non-scholarly activities such as synchronous cooking, and the creation of transformative writing communities through pedagogy that centers process and storytelling. Participants will be guided in a writing activity and invited to reflect on how they can incorporate some of these strategies into their own teaching practice.
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Exploring and Working with 3D Educational Resources in Your Classroom

Wednesday, June 9 | 9 – 10 a.m. | Zoom

3D models can help facilitate kinesthetic, spatial, and structural understanding of objects and systems for students from a wide range of disciplines. How are instructors incorporating 3D models into their curriculum? How can you use them in your online courses or in-person classes in the future? There is a wide range of 3D models online and available UBC support and services to help you get started, including the website https://3dlearning.ubc.ca/
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CTLT Indigenous Initiatives Virtual Coffee Drop-in

Wednesday, June 9 | 10 – 11 a.m. | Zoom

Do you have questions about how to thoughtfully integrate Indigenous content and representation into your course work? Curious about how to offer meaningful land acknowledgements in online meetings or events at UBC? Indigenous Initiatives’ Virtual Coffee Drop-ins are great place to explore these topics, connect with others on the same learning path, or just get to know our team.
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EDI, Affect, and STEM Classrooms

Wednesday, June 9 | 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Zoom

Classrooms are intellectual and emotional spaces and our disciplines have implicit expectations about the range of emotional expressions that are acceptable to exhibit in our learning spaces; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (often referred to as STEM) and related fields are no exception. Students expect to have very different emotional experiences in women’s studies than they do in courses related to physics, chemistry, soils, nutrition, or animal biology. When bringing in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and de/anti-colonial content into an undergraduate course, we need to unpack social problems in their complexity, emphasizing and confronting painful topics associated with historical and on-going forms of oppression and injustice. The affective load, emotional labour, and potential for re-traumatization that result from engaging in these topics in a STEM classroom is unequally distributed along students based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and class (and other forms of social oppression and discrimination). STEM educators need to be more intentional about curating the affective and emotional dimensions of our classrooms so that we can stay generative when encountering tensions and discomfort.
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From Burning Out to Burning Brightly

Wednesday, June 9 | 1 – 2:30 p.m. | Zoom

Faculty burnout is not a novel symptom of the pandemic, but has certainly intensified because of it. This session will back you up. Drawing inspiration from a video that uses the metaphor of a burning candle, participants will engage in a belonging conversation about faculty’s lived experience, and work together to develop innovative ideas that move your candle from burning out to burning brightly. Easy-to-practice strategies and navigation of relevant resources are integrated into the session.
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Intentional Personal and Professional Growth: Faculty Learning Communities

Wednesday, June 9 | 3 – 4 p.m. | Zoom

Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) create space each week for instructors to deepen their practice of student-centred teaching and learning and foster meaningful conversation that prompts personal and professional growth.

This session will provide an example of a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) in the Department of Biology; loosely described as a diverse team of faculty from various ranks and research areas, most of whom had never taught first year students and all of whom had never used the evidence-based approach employed the large enrolment, multi-section introductory biology courses, who successfully implemented a brand new online laboratory science curriculum!
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Walking the Talk: Sharing Our Practices Engaging with Indigenous Initiatives

Thursday, June 10 | 9 – 10:30 a.m. | Zoom

This has been a demanding year of learning and adjustment for many educators. Yet throughout this, some educators continued to dig into critical classroom issues that centre Indigenous voices, experiences and initiatives, even in the online space. Join us for this panel session with members of the Indigenous Initiatives Learning Community who will share their own stories of how they managed to keep their passion for this work moving throughout these times of pedagogical shifts and important changes. They will share how they engage in this work within their own departments and faculties, and share examples of pedagogical innovations they have been working on during the past year and beyond.
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Student Experience of Instruction: A Focus on the New Metrics and Reported Stats

Thursday, June 10 | 3 – 4 p.m. | Zoom

In this session, the new metrics used in the Student Experience of Instruction (SEI) will be presented, followed by a faculty panel discussion on how best to interpret the data collected in the SEI to improve our teaching practice, and support the development of our colleagues.
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