Research on Teaching
& Learning Conference 2017

November 16 -17, 2017


Registration is now open for the annual Research on Teaching and Learning Conference: Exploring Teaching and Learning Partnerships in Higher Education, hosted by the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation & Excellence in Teaching. The conference this year will be held at McMaster Innovation Park (Hamilton, ON) on November 16th & 17th, 2017.
The program for the conference will consist of paper presentations, workshops, poster presentations, panel discussions, and keynote presentations. Conference sessions will cover a range of topics, including:

  • Faculty-staff-student partnerships
  • Industry, private sector partnerships
  • Experiential and community-engaged education
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Digital Learning

To register for the 2017 Research on Teaching and Learning Conference: Exploring Teaching and Learning Partnerships in Higher Education, please visit:


Keynote Speaker

Alison Cook-Sather

Alison Cook-Sather Alison Cook-Sather is Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education at Bryn Mawr College and Director of the Teaching and Learning Institute at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. Her research focuses on how differently positioned participants in education can work together toward deeper learning and on how various metaphors and the classical anthropological concept of liminality can be used to analyze how education is and might be conceptualized and practiced. Supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Dr. Cook-Sather has developed internationally recognized programs that position students as pedagogical consultants to prospective secondary teachers and to practicing college faculty members. She has published over 80 articles and book chapters and given as many keynote addresses, other invited presentations, and papers at refereed conferences in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States. She has published five books including Engaging Students as Partners in Learning & Teaching: A Guide for Faculty (co-authored with Catherine Bovill and Peter Felten, Jossey-Bass, 2014), Learning from the Student’s Perspective: A Sourcebook for Effective Teaching (Paradigm Publishers, 2009), and International Handbook of Student Experience in Elementary and Secondary School (co-edited with Dennis Thiessen, Springer Publishers, 2007). She is also founding editor of Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education and founding c-editor of International Journal for Students as Partners. From 2010-2015, she was the Jean Rudduck Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge in England.


“Working toward Greater Equity and Inclusivity through Pedagogical Partnership

A growing body of research asserts that higher education is failing “as the great equalizer” (Carnevale & Strohl, 2013; Devlin, 2013; Hockings, 2010; US Department of Education, 2016) and that, in particular, “noninclusive pedagogies and ineffective college and university cultural programs” ensure that students from underrepresented backgrounds “continue to experience racism, insensitivity, and a lack of intercultural understanding and social support” (Simmons, Lowrey-Hart, Wahl, and McBride, 2013, p. 2). In this keynote I will describe two forms of a partnership approach that aim to address this problem: (1) pedagogical partnerships between students and faculty focused on making classroom practices more inclusive and responsive, and (2) research partnerships through which students, faculty, and staff collaborate to gather, analyze, and present findings regarding inclusive and responsive practices Full Abstract


Sandy Raha

Sandy Raha Sandy Raha is the co-founder of the McMaster Children & Youth University and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University. His PhD is from the University of Toronto and his postdoctoral training took place at the Hospital for Sick Children. His current research focuses on understanding how obesity during pregnancy can affect the future health of the baby. Sandy is a recipient of the Synapse Mentorship Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), which recognizes health researchers who have made exceptional efforts to promote health research among Canada’s students. His knowledge translation activities are directed at helping children understand what happens in their bodies when they eat poorly or don’t exercise enough.Sandy is also the recipient 2010 FHS Graduate Program Teaching Award as well as a 2017 Presidents Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning for his work integrating community engagement and post-secondary student training.

“It takes a community to develop a student  program: McMaster Children and Youth University in action”

The McMaster Children and Youth University (MCYU) is a multidisciplinary community engagement platform, from an idea that originated in Germany, and is the first Children’s University program in Canada. Since its inception, seven years ago, MCYU has developed 3 key components designed to engage youth and their families with the goal of developing engaged citizens who are curious about exploring post secondary opportunities. These components include 1) An on-campus lectures program which allows families to share the research experiences of our faculty, (2) MCYU in the City – which is an outreach program delivered by McMaster students that takes hands-on learning experiences out to the community; developed in conjunction with community partners (3) The MCYU in City facilitator training program – which provides McMaster students training in knowledge communication and community engagement. All of our programming is inquiry-based and follows the credo follows the credo Question, Discover, Create TM . The key to our growth has been the collaborative strategy employed to develop our partnerships that include McMaster-based groups, child advocacy group, the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Wentworth Board of education. The central partners for our program are the youth and families whom we serve. We foster this partnership by giving them an active voice in how the program is developed through the implementation of a youth advisory board. This community based approached has resulted in more than a 200% growth of our program over the last three years.

Patrick Byrne

Patrick Bryne Patrick Byrne is the Project Manager for CityLAB Hamilton, an innovation hub where students from McMaster University, Mohawk College, and Redeemer University College co-create projects with City of Hamilton staff to make the city a better place to live. Patrick is currently on leave from his PhD studies in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster and is a graduate of McMaster’s Arts & Science Program. After completing his undergraduate degree, Patrick continued his studies in the United Kingdom by pursuing a Masters of Outdoor Education degree at the University of Edinburgh, where he received Distinction for his work on the potential of narrative to inform environmental practices and cultures in Ontario. Patrick has taught the level four Arts & Science course, “Environmental Education Inquiry” at McMaster and has also taught in the School of Communication and Literary Studies at Sheridan College in Oakville and Brampton. While teaching, Patrick served for three years as the Program Coordinator for the McMaster Discovery Program, a non-credit, university-level course for adults in Hamilton who have experienced barriers to higher education. Patrick successfully managed and expanded this program and worked to create a transformative learning environment where community members and McMaster faculty, students, and staff, came together to share expertise and create a community of engaged learners.

“Students Take Over City Hall: The Adventurous Partnerships of CityLAB

What if we could take students out of the classroom and into the city to work directly on projects that would make the city a better place to live? This ambitious goal is the idea behind CityLAB Hamilton, a 3 year pilot project that takes partnership as a central organizing principle to create opportunities for students, city staff, and faculty to engage directly in real, complex problems, in a spirit of cooperation. CityLAB, made up of four partners – the City of Hamilton, McMaster University, Mohawk College, and Redeemer University College – is part of a growing movement that seeks to spark innovation at a municipal level by meaningfully involving young people in projects that will shape the future of their cities. Partnerships such as this one are not without challenges, particularly as we endeavour to meaningfully include the unique visions of each institution into a cohesive model. But as we navigate this complexity from an institutional perspective, we are cognizant of the rich example CityLAB provides for students who are likewise leaving their comfort zone and engaging in the difficult, often messy, and always fascinating world beyond the ivory towers.


8:30AM – 9:00AM


Location: MIP Atrium

9:00AM – 9:15AM


Location: MIP Atrium


9:15AM – 10:35AM

Keynote Presentation

Location: MIP Atrium

“Working toward Greater Equity and Inclusivity through Pedagogical Partnership

– Alison Cook-Sather


10:35 – 11:00AM


Location: MIP Atrium

11:00 – 11:30AM


Location: 1A

“Fostering Teaching and Learning Partnerships Through An International Summer Institute On Students As Partners”

– Rachael Guitman, Christine Black and Beth Marquis (McMaster University)

This paper presents findings from an international research project investigating the experiences of students and staff participating in the first ‘International Summer Institute on Students as Partners (SaP) in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education’. While student-staff partnership is becoming increasingly common, and existing research demonstrates its benefits (e.g., Mercer-Mapstone et al., 2017), several scholars have also pointed out the numerous challenges attached to this work (e.g., Bovill et al., 2017). With this in mind, the aim of the summer institute (SI) was to help participants navigate these difficulties and build their capacity to develop initiatives that promote the practice of SaP in learning and teaching. Over 100 delegates participated from seven countries in roughly equal numbers of students and staff. The SI was facilitated by students and staff from Australia, Canada, UK and USA.

Following the SI, we analyzed the challenges participants ascribed to student-staff partnership, and the features of the SI they thought particularly useful in helping them to navigate these difficulties (Authors, 2017). The present study reports on follow-up interviews conducted approximately 10 months after the SI to understand if, and how, participants’ experiences of partnership and their perceptions of features necessary to support it have developed. Where appropriate, we also draw on data from participants in the 2017 SI to corroborate or complicate these claims. Implications for those interested in supporting the development of SaP in HE will be presented.

11:00 – 12:00PM


Location: 1C

“Are we Making a Difference? Building Partnerships to maximize the impact of our work” – Workshop

– Arshad Ahmad, Leah Graystone, Anita Acai, and Nancy Fenton (McMaster University)

Are we making a difference? Answering this question with confidence and rigour has been a long-standing challenge for educators at every level. We have reached a point where isolated, insular studies and anecdotal evidence are not enough—not for our stakeholders, partners, nor for the educational community at large. We are increasingly being asked to describe the ‘impacts’ of the work we do in order to demonstrate and document our achievements (Parsons et al., 2012). The evidence of this impact is, at one level, visible every day; yet, defining, measuring, and comparing these impacts at different levels for sustainable impact on teaching and learning can be daunting. To achieve this, we need to embed our initiatives within disciplinary contexts (Chalmers and Keown, 2006), and build new ways to partner with colleagues to maximize the impact of our work. While the teaching and learning sector is making constant and compelling progress in developing approaches to achieve this type of impact, there is no evaluation established gold standard. In this workshop, a MacPherson Institute student scholar-staff partnership team present a practical “how-to” guidebook for investigating impact in higher education. This guidebook contains a selection of frameworks and case studies that can help administrators, designers, teachers, evaluators, and even learners measure and understand the impact of the work they do.

We will begin the workshop by briefly discussing the importance of evidence-informed impact investigations, provide tips for engaging partners, and share lessons learned from our own partnership in writing the guidebook. Participants will engage in small group discussions to explore the use of frameworks and application of models to plan their own impact study. Whether you are beginning a study, midway through, or looking back retrospectively, we suspect you will find valuable takeaways to help you move forward with engaging others in your own impact investigations.

Location: 1D

“Developing Faculty-Student Partnerships: Reflections on the Student Partners Program at McMaster”- Workshop

– Cherie Woolmer and Kris Knorr (McMaster University)

McMaster’s Student Partners Program provides opportunities for faculty, staff and students from across disciplines to work in partnership on an array of teaching and learning projects. This includes (re)designing courses, conducting research, developing resources and, in some instances, co-authoring academic publications. The program, initiated by the MacPherson Institute in 2013, now supports over 100 students working in partnership with faculty/staff on teaching and learning across campus on an annual basis.

This workshop will provide participants an opportunity to learn about the practice of partnership through local and international examples (Mercer-Mapstone et al, 2017) and to explore the potential benefits and challenges of developing opportunities to work with students within their own contexts. Informed by debates within the literature, participants will discuss the principles underpinning partnership activity (Cook-Sather et al, 2014, Healey et al, 2014) and explore how this may differ from other forms of student engagement.

Location: Meeting Room 2

“Peer Mentorship in Higher Education: Challenges, Innovations, and New Directions” – Panel Discussion

– Umair Majid, Muzammil Syed, Aisha Sallad, Aaron Thomas, Dej Kim, Erin Leonard, Ayesha Khan (McMaster University)

Peer mentorship is a widely utilized teaching method that provides a multitude of benefits to enhance the student learning experience such as better knowledge retention and communication skills (Preston et al., 2014). Educational institutions around the world implement peer mentorship albeit in significantly different ways due to their differences in values, beliefs, institutional objectives (e.g. Tenanbaum et al., 2014). This panel discussion will elicit a critical and integrative dialogue on innovative ideas and emergent trends in peer mentorship. The discussion will begin by reviewing the context of the Life Sciences program at McMaster University, an undergraduate general science program that offers students with a broad and foundational understanding of the scientific disciplines. The curriculum of this program has undergone recent changes, one of which seeks to incorporate a peer mentorship program, referred to as the Science Mentorship Journey, in its paradigm (Majid, 2017). The dialogue will continue with an integrative discussion on the existing literature on peer mentorship including the benefits of peer mentorship programs, specific lessons derived from mentorship models such as the Japanese system, and how the mentoring relationship influences student outcomes. Faculty, staff, and students will offer their personal experiences to provide practical recommendations towards enhancing the role of peer mentorship in not only the Life Sciences program but in other educational programs at McMaster University. Finally, panelists will discuss the diverse ways to measure the outcomes of the Science Mentorship Journey given that it is a three-year program with a multitude of experiences for students.

Location: MIP Atrium

“Finding The Human Element In The Digital Learning Experience” -Workshop

– Dan Piedra (McMaster University-Centre for Continuing Education)

The term “engaging” is used so often today in describing learning needs and expectations that one begins to tune it out as part of the everyday learning lexicon. In a world where more and more of what we do everywhere is in some way linked to technology, it should come as no surprise that the learning and development space would be affected in a similar way. Authoring software seems to have taken over as the flavor of the day in that domain. That being said, technology is not the only way to achieve an engaging experience with learners, in fact in many cases, it is far from that.

There are many tools available which allow one to present information in what we may call the “next generation” of presentation software; authoring tools that have replaced PowerPoint and have allowed a great deal of self-directed learning to occur. However, one should not confuse clicking through a series of screens with talking avatars or videos as being the height of engaged learning. While it is true that one must click their way through such modules, often having to make decisions on the fly, it is far from what we humans would call a high level cognitive learning experience.

Regardless of how well intentioned these tools are, and how easy they may be to replace older, more static content, it will never replace the emotion and value which comes when humans are given a chance to interact. Whether this interaction occurs through simulated environments and scenarios or (preferably) through real life engagement, it will always surpass anything which current authoring software can create. That is because we humans thirst after personal interaction, where we can solve problems, collaborate, and create. How to do this involves techniques, which do not always result in a student working in front of a computer. Whether one is involved in online or F2F education/training, the goal is the same: create learning solutions, which allow for human interaction and bring the experience as close as possible to real life. Therein lies the secret to providing an engaging and highly challenging learning experience for all.

This presentation will provide an overview of a recent partnership between Riipen and McMaster’s Centre for Continuing Education (CCE). An experiential learning model which allows students to implement theory into real-life corporate projects within the setting of a Human Resources Certificate program will be explored.
Time will also be allotted to allow participants to share similar examples of experiential learning or other such examples that increase humanization within the digital learning space.

11:30 – 12:00PM


Location: 1A

“Weaving With Foucault: Power And The Co-Construction of The Subject Positions of Staff, Student, and Faculty in Health Professions Education”

– Morag Paton, Ayelet Kuper, and Brian David Hodges (University of Toronto)

Successful partnerships are important to operations in any university, including health professions education but there is scant literature about the relationship between staff and faculty. As unionized staff in a university and as a student of education, I became increasingly interested in the lack of scholarship about staff roles. As I became exposed to the work of Michel Foucault, I went from being interested in this issue to being unsettled by it.

During my Master’s degree, I was presented with the opportunity to work with faculty on a study related to their academic interests. However, through Foucault’s work, I came to problematize the ways in which my subject positions of student and staff were being co-created. Rather than write about the subject suggested by these supervisors, I proposed a new subject: a Foucauldian-inspired exploration of the co-construction of the subject positions of staff and graduate student. Through this auto-ethnographic study, I demonstrate how the subject positions of staff and student are co-created along with the subject position of teacher. Using work from my Masters and introducing my more focused doctoral work, the audience will see that the hierarchically constructed roles of staff, student and faculty can be deconstructed, and through understanding the flow of power, can be seen as non-hierarchical.

Participants will be introduced to Foucault through small group exercises around how different discourses construct different ‘truths’. Individually or in pairs, they will then problematize how these ‘truths’ may affect their ‘given’ place in the hierarchy of higher education.

Location: 1B

“An Industry Partner In Residence Program For User Experience Design Courses”

– Olivier St-Cyr (University of Toronto)

This presentation describes an industry partner in residence program that we created to promote professional development to students enrolled in our professional Master Information degree with a focus on User Experience Design (UXD). We believe that UXD courses are particularly well-suited for this kind of industry-academic partnership due to the practical nature of the discipline. The goals of our program are to bridge the gap between theory and practice and enhance the students’ experience in the classrooms. Our industry partner is the Director of Design at a design agency located in Toronto. Throughout the summer, we have developed a variety of activities to foster formal collaborations between our program and our industry partner. Those include: guest speaking engagements, delivery of design workshops, reviews and critiques of design assignments, speed-dating activities, and recruitment into our coop program. We are now entering the pilot stage of the project. Our industry partner will visit campus at six occasions during the Fall-2017 semester. She, and her team, will engage with students in the classrooms, provide 1 on 1 mentoring, provide feedback on design portfolios, lead and participate in class discussions, and provide students with an opportunity to network in the field of UXD. In return, students are expected to learn how to communicate to industry professionals and deliver work that makes steps towards industry standards in the discipline of UXD. Moreover, through this partnership, students are expected to take control of their professional development to maximize their opportunities to successfully obtain employment upon graduation.

12:00 – 1:00PM


Location: MIP Atrium


1:00 – 1:30PM


Location: 1A

“The International Mentorship Program: A University Partnership to Reach Underserved Populations”

– Mohammed Inam Khan (McMaster University)

Canada has accepted over 40,000 Syrian refugees, many of whom are youth with limited access to university programming and career development opportunities. Overcome the Gap (OTG) is a Canadian organization with University branches that develops educational programming to empower local youth.  OTG partnered with multiple stakeholders: McMaster University curriculum designers, educators, and members of the Syrian community to design a one-day conference entitled ‘Connecting to Students’.  The conference focused on the Canadian educational system, Canadian culture, and career development. The aim of the conference was to facilitate the development of leadership skills, communication strategies, and professional growth using evidence-based education strategies.

Syrian newcomer youth were engaged via community leaders, settlement agencies and grassroots organizations. The conference was free, and 32 Syrian newcomer youth attended. The conference was effective in bringing university quality programming to a demographic that may not have access to such educational opportunities. Thus, partnering the university’s educational infrastructure with underserved populations.
Challenges encountered included targeting the specific needs of the audience, presenting community resources in a culturally competent way, and language barriers, which limited the capacity to acquire feedback.
We believe that our work with Syrian newcomer youth is an important case study to explore the co-designing, development, and implementation of essential programming to underserved populations.  Future directions include using similar strategies to develop leadership conferences and workshops for other populations to strengthen university partnerships with communities who have limited educational opportunities.

Location: 1B

“Cross Disciplinary Group Projects”

– Emanuel Istrate and Shawn Soobramanie (University of Toronto)

Teamwork in undergraduate courses is recognized as a valuable learning experience. It allows students to tackle more complex projects than an individual could handle. Equally valuable, however, is the learning experience in managing the inter-personal relations.
Most courses with teamwork assume that all team members bring similar skills. For example, in an upper year science course, all team members are expected to have a solid knowledge of the scientific discipline. Collaboration in these “symmetric” cases has been widely studied [1-4], with reports in the teaching literature, and in the literature on productivity.
A different case exists, however, for courses where students bring very different skills to a team [5]. In the course IVP210, Holography for 3D Visualization, at the University of Toronto, students are expected to form teams spanning arts, sciences and social sciences. Collaboration in the case of such cross-disciplinary teams brings new challenges: How should students divide the work? Are both students expected to develop the same skills in the project? How should such teamwork be assessed?
We will present a study of student attitudes towards cross-disciplinary group projects in the course IVP210 at the University of Toronto, where we look at issues such as: how effective cross-disciplinary teams are in delivering a project that combines aspects of both sciences and arts; what skills students value in their partner; etc. This work will inform the larger body of work on group projects available in the literature, from the unique perspective of “asymmetric teams”.

Location: 1C

“Transforming Learning Spaces Through Student Engagement”

– Robyne Hanley-Dafoe (Trent University)

Educational Developers can play a critical role in supporting system improvements through collective capacity building initiatives (Dawson, Britnell & Hitchcock, 2009; Harris, 2011). The Centre for Teaching and Learning at Trent University supported a collaborative partnership between the Sociology department, IT, and upper-year students, to explore creative and sustainable approaches to activity-based learning for first-year students. This pilot project was aimed at providing a small classroom learning experience in a large lecture hall for first-year students using a student ambassador model.

Professor Gillian Balfour and Educational Developer Robyne Hanley-Dafoe worked on a student engagement and innovative pedagogy project for a first-year sociology course with enrollments of 300 students delivered in a large lecture hall with fixed theatre style seating. Upper-year sociology students were recruited to serve as student ambassadors to offer peer-led support. Each week, ambassadors attended the 3-hour lecture and supported active learning exercises and course embedded assessments. The goal was to provide small groups of students (n=20) direction, support, and immediate preliminary feedback as the students completed the work during the lecture period. The authors explored the effectiveness of using upper-year students to support the first-year academic experience for the students. The preliminary results suggest that the upper-year students had the most impactful learning experiences, whereas first-year students reported dissatisfaction with group dynamics. Recommendations include how a student ambassador program can provide experiential education opportunities for departments that do not have practical components within their curriculum, as well as how to prepare first-year students for activity-based learning.

Location: 1D

“Community Based Learning Through The Dental Outreach Community Service Program At Schulich Dental”

–  Les Kalman (University of Western Ontario)

The impact of oral health to total health and personal well-being has been well documented. Unfortunately, many individuals suffer from the effects of poor oral health and cannot seek dental care due to financial limitations. The Dental Outreach Community Service (DOCS) program at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University functions to provide free dentistry to those individuals within an educational context. The DOCS program is a unique out-of-clinics approach to community-based learning through several strategic community agency partnerships within the city of London. The program aims to alleviate oral health disparities, provide social awareness and responsibility through experiential learning, strengthen community relationships and maintain active community involvement of the dental school and university. This report will examine the decision-making process, challenges and rewards of implementing an outreach program into the senior dental curriculum.

1:30 – 2:00PM


Location: 1A

“Different Ways of Teaching and Learning Together: Facilitating Equity and Inclusion Through Student Faculty Partnership”

– Srikipa Krishna Prasad, Alise de Bie and Beth Marquis (McMaster University)

Scholars have demonstrated that pedagogical partnerships between faculty and students can contribute to transforming higher education institutions into more egalitarian learning communities (Matthews, Cook-Sather, & Healey, 2017) by destabilizing existing hierarchies and increasing students’ sense of belonging to institutions and disciplines (Moore-Cherry et al., 2015; Cook-Sather & Luz, 2015). Partnership thus has particular potential to support efforts to enhance equity and inclusion on university campuses, though work exploring this contention directly has thus far been rare.

Both McMaster University and Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges have established programs that engage students and faculty/staff as partners in educational development and research. This presentation, based on an analysis of interviews conducted with current and past student partners from both programs who self-identify as disabled/Mad, racialized, LGBTQ+, persons of faith, and/or from other equity-seeking communities, will describe how students from marginalized groups experience their participation in these partnerships, and consider the ways such programs can contribute to the development of more egalitarian, equitable, and inclusive learning communities on campus. Our analysis draws on critical disability studies, critical race theory, social justice in education, and other formulations that argue for the need to centre the experiences of members of traditionally marginalized groups (e.g., Solòrzano & Yosso, 2002), especially given how students from equity-seeking communities are often excluded in teaching, learning, and research, as “holders and creators of knowledge” (Delgado-Bernal, 2002, p.106).


Location: 1B

“The Best of Both Worlds: Library Services Within The University-College Partnership “

– Nancy Birch (University of Guelph-Humber)

Growing out of a need for an increased number of enrollment spaces for post-secondary education in the late 1990s, universities and colleges began exploring increased institutional collaboration and the development of newly formed institutions. The University of Guelph-Humber is one such partnership. Established in 2002 on the Humber College North Campus in Toronto, the University of Guelph-Humber has thrived and now has nearly 5000 students in 7 undergraduate programs. The curricula leverage the strengths of the parent institutions with programs that are fully integrated from entry. After 4 years of study, students receive both a University of Guelph degree and a Humber College diploma. Using Library Services as a case study, the presentation will examine key elements within the partnership model: shared services, staffing, space, efficiencies, and benefits to students. Participants will gain, not only an understanding of key success factors from a departmental perspective, but also best practices for partnerships at the institutional level.


Location: 1C

“Students As Experts – Design and Implementation of a Novel Student Expert Panel At An Educational Conference”

– Sarah McLean and Tom Haffie (University of Western Ontario)

Although Student Panels are common features of educational conferences, they often consist of a handful of students simply sitting at the front of a room fielding questions for an hour. Then, the students go home and the conference participants tick off the “capturing the student voice” box on their Program. However, the Western Conference on Science Education (WCSE) takes a different approach. The WCSE Student Panel (called the Expert Panel) is designed to build productive relationships between undergraduate students and faculty around educational issues by weaving the Panel into the daily infrastructure of the conference. The Panel distributes a dozen students as experts across all venues: social events, workshops, presentations, and poster sessions. The students assume the roles of active participants, creative consultants and invested advocates rather than simply representatives of a stakeholder group. Student Panelists also attend mentoring sessions on networking, providing feedback, and reflection. In this session, participants will have the opportunity to see behind the scenes of the WCSE student Expert Panel, obtain the mentorship and training materials, and hear perspectives from a former WCSE Expert Panelist. Audience members will also have the opportunity to discuss and assess this novel approach to student engagement in their own events in a think-pair-share breakout.


Location: 1D

“Motivations, Facilitators, and Barriers: Student Perceptions of Participating in Student-Faculty Partnership”

-Beth Marquis, Anamika Mishra, Ajitha Jayaratnam, and Ksenia Rybkina (McMaster University)

This session presents results from a mixed-methods pilot study exploring the ways in which students understand the notion of student-faculty partnership and perceive a program designed to support such work. The ‘student partners program’ (SPP) at our institution is run by the central teaching and learning institute, and creates opportunities for students to partner with faculty and staff on a wide range of teaching and learning projects. Since the program was developed in 2013, undergraduate and graduate students from across campus have participated, though we remain conscious of the fact that only a small percentage of the total student population applies in any given term. Literature suggests that selective, extracurricular partnership initiatives tend to involve only a small group of high-achieving students (Felten et al., 2013; Moore-Cherry et al., 2016) and that individuals involved in many partnership opportunities may be a distinct cohort, not representative of the larger student population (Bell, 2016; Flint, 2016; Matthews, 2017). With this in mind, this research seeks to understand what factors influence students’ participation in the SPP, with an eye to what this might indicate about making extracurricular partnership opportunities more inclusive and equitable Drawing on data from a survey and focus groups, we present insights about students’ motivation to participate in partnership opportunities, and about the potential barriers to and facilitators of such participation. During the presentation, attendees will have an opportunity to respond to some of the questions asked of students in our study, and to participate in discussion of our findings.

2:15 – 2:45PM


Location: 1A

“Parting From Partnership to Enable Collaboration: Disabled Student Perspectives”

– Alise de Bie , Shaila Kumbhare, Jessica Evans, and Sarah Mantini (McMaster University)

In 2015, members of the Disability Action Group (DAG) in McMaster’s School of Social Work compiled a report of recommendations for enhancing accessibility and disability inclusion in the program. Since then, faculty and students have been working together to respond to the report and incorporate changes within the School.As a second wave of this work, DAG students are now evaluating disciplinary-specific social work assessment practices (e.g. process recordings, filmed/audio-recorded interviews, role plays, case studies, self-reflections) in order to understand how disabled students and students with experiences as service users experience the completion of these assignments, and ways they can be made more accessible and inclusive.Faculty often have control over whether partnership happens or not. In this presentation, we will discuss the absence of partnership and student/service user perspectives in the literature on assessments in social work education, and our work as disabled students to respond with a student-led literature review and survey of student experiences. Rather than begin this project in partnership with faculty, it has been important for disabled students to work together first, without faculty, to name our experiences, before connecting with faculty to address them. We will speak about how a premature pressure to “partner” can ignore inherent power imbalances, privacy/confidentiality concerns, and access issues, and suppress student perspectives. We will then offer strategies for facilitating well-timed, accessible, and inclusive partnerships with students with disabilities, and the importance of faculty assistance in gaining resources for student partnerships that don’t fit the faculty-focused mold required for most institutional support.


Location: 1B

“Layered Curriculum Maps: A powerful tool for forging partnerships in teaching and learning “

– Fiona Rawle and Dianne Ashbourne (University of Toronto Mississauga)

Curriculum maps explicitly document and disseminate the intended connections between what is taught and assessed in courses and programs. As such, they have traditionally been tools exclusively created by, and shared with, faculty members to help them design courses thoughtfully aligned with program goals. However, the information that curriculum maps provide can also be used to shine a spotlight on student-faculty-staff partnerships that contribute to the student’s learning experience. Curriculum maps can help make instructional choices more transparent, allowing students and staff to access information they need to approach faculty to provide input or garner feedback. Curriculum maps can also help partners hold each other accountable for their respective responsibilities in the learning process. In this way, layered and multi-tiered curriculum maps satisfy two requirements of a meaningful partnership, a high level of equality and contribution, which are often barriers to meaningful partnerships between students, staff and faculty in postsecondary education (Bovill, 2017). Our session will explore the potential of expanding the intended audience of multi-tiered curriculum maps to include both students and staff, and we will showcase a new format for presenting curriculum maps so that the information can be more easily utilized by staff and students.


Location: 1C

“The Position of Student Partners In Conversation About Teaching-Conceptualizing Partnership”

– Cherie Woolmer (McMaster University)

Understanding how and where faculty discuss and develop their understanding of teaching and learning is a central concern to scholars engaged in research on higher education. A social-cultural perspective on this issue emphasizes the importance of understanding the micro-level interactions, often between individuals, and the context in which they operate (Trowler, 2008; Bamber et al, 2009). More recently, there is a growing body of literature, which explores how conversations about teaching and learning can be enhanced through meaningful dialogue with students (Ashgar, 2016; Bovill et al, 2016; Cook-Sather et al, 2014; Werder and Otis, 2010; Woolmer, 2016) Roxå and Mårtensson’s (2009) research on conversations about teaching found that they took place in small networks, across organizational and physical boundaries, and were underpinned by trust and reciprocity.  Research on faculty-student partnerships reveals there are noticeable similarities with conversations that occur within faculty-student collaborations. Cook-Sather et al (2014) note the importance of trust and reciprocity in partnerships. However, the interchange between the networks that emerge through faculty-student partnerships and those that already exist for faculty have not previously been explored. This paper explores the topic of significant conversations between faculty about teaching and learning and the extent to which these are influenced when faculty engage in pedagogical partnerships with students. It presents interim findings from data gathered in two Universities (in UK and Canada). This presentation will provide an opportunity for participants to discuss the methodological approach, emerging data, and to explore the implications for practice.


Location: 1D

“Navigating The Aspirations and Anxieties of Faculty Development In Post-Colonial Contexts”

– Jennifer Blaney and Michael Agnew (McMaster University)

Recent scholarship has attended to the prevalence of internationalization initiatives in higher education and the motivations that underlie this shift at the institutional level (Altbach & Knight, 2007; Brandenburg & de Wit, 2015). In line with its own prioritization of internationalization within its mission, McMaster University has recently engaged in a five-year partnership with T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) in Grenada. A central component of this partnership is a faculty development program, set to building capacity and teaching skills at TAMCC through the provision of an internationally recognized training and certification program known as the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW). The ISW is a comprehensive teacher development program that serves to enhance the teaching effectiveness of both new and experienced educators. By November 2017, TAMCC will have 30 of 150 faculty members certified in the ISW program. Moreover, 10 of those 30 faculty members will have dual certification in both the ISW and the Facilitator Development Workshop (FDW), which will enable them to provide ISW trainings independently and allow for a sustainable faculty development culture to grow at TAMCC. The international partnership developed between TAMCC and McMaster offers a unique opportunity to assess the process of designing and implementing a partnership of this scale. Engaging the complexities of faculty development within an international partnership is vital as universities prioritize internationalization in their academic and research missions. This session will provide an overview of the partnership between TAMCC and McMaster, and will invite participants to engage in a facilitated discussion about the potential risks and benefits of international faculty development initiatives.


2:45 – 3:45PM


Location: 1A

“We All Have A Role To Play: Partnering With Students To Facilitate Accessibility in The Classroom” –  Workshop

– Alise de Bie, Rachal Bolger, Kate Brown, Sameera Singh, and Michelle Sayles (McMaster University)

Required by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, commissioned by the McMaster Accessibility Council, and produced by the MacPherson Institute and the Equity and Inclusion Office’s AccessMAC program, the Forward with FLEXibility project on accessibility in teaching and learning has involved a host of cross-campus partnerships to enhance the accessibility of teaching and learning at McMaster.Now that the research-informed FLEX Forward resource has been created and shared, we’re excited to explore new and next steps for partnering to advance Accessible Education. Unlike academic accommodations, where hierarchical and non-reciprocal faculty-student relationships tend to be maintained through the requirement that students submit private documentation and a one-way provision of supports, Accessible Education principles and practices encourage faculty-student collaboration in the classroom to proactively design and facilitate accessible learning environments. This workshop will focus on how instructors can partner with students in our classrooms to put accessibility principles into practice. How might we invite students to participate in identifying social and environmental barriers and suggesting and enacting ways to mediate them? How can we best involve students in facilitating accessibility within group work, class discussions, peer feedback, and other active learning methods where students are engaged in creating and sharing knowledge with each other rather than solely relying on the instructor to do so?  As a group, conference attendees will collectively brainstorm and share ways of partnering with students to facilitate Accessible Education, and will then practice putting these into practice.


Location: 1B

“Reflections On An International Summer Institute For Students As Partners: A Student Perspective” – Panel Discussion

– Anita Acai, Rachel Guitman, and Sabrina Kirby (McMaster University)

In May 2016, the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation & Excellence in Teaching at McMaster University hosted its inaugural Summer Institute (SI) on Students as Partners. Over the span of 4 days, teams comprised of faculty, staff, and student partners had the opportunity to participate in either the workshop program or the Change Institute, both of which were organized and facilitated by students and faculty/staff partners. Student partners played an instrumental role in the SI—from organizing and planning, to facilitating workshops and sessions, to conducting research on the outcomes and impact of the initiative. The philosophy of Students as Partners was therefore threaded throughout, making the SI a unique opportunity for all involved. In this panel discussion, we will share our experiences as student facilitators, consultants, and researchers of the MacPherson Institute’s SI. We will also use our experiences to help guide a conversation on broader Students as Partners-related questions, such as: What elements make a successful partnership? How can we turn challenges in partnership into opportunities for learning? How do we engage more (and a more diverse body of) students in partnership? What role do international events like the SI play in helping faculty/staff and staff implement partnership? We hope that those who attend our session will join in on the conversation and share their partnership-related questions, experiences, and challenges with us as we continue building upon, and strengthening, our partnership practices at McMaster and beyond.


Location: 1C

“6 Steps To Building Community Engagement Into Your Class” –  Workshop

– Janet Pritchard and Ayesha Khan (McMaster University)

This interactive session will include a critique of the literature on community engagement/service learning activities and student learning outcomes and attitudes. Advantages, disadvantages and challenges will be discussed. A comprehensive 6-step approach to implementing community engagement activities in the classroom will be presented. After attending this session, participants will be able to: 1) explain the rationale for bringing community engagement activities to the classroom, 2) describe the steps needed to execute a community engagement assignment, 3) apply the 6-step method to create community engagement activities.


Location: 1D

“Community Engagement In The Context of University Continuing Education: An Intersection of Partnership and Co-Creation” – Workshop 

– Lorraine Carter and Patricia Wright (McMaster University-Centre for Continuing Education)

Developed in collaboration with Hamilton Community Foundation, the Neighbourhood Leadership Institute, the School of Social Work, and the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Leadership in Community Engagement program launched by McMaster’s Centre for Continuing Education in 2016 is an exceptional example of the principles of partnership and co-creation, and a demonstration of commitment to the values of inclusion and diversity. Learning is enabled by drawing on the experiences and professional lens of all participants including those of course facilitators and co-learners. Together, they work to discover respectful and effective ways of knowing and engaging with community for social betterment. In this workshop, discover how partnership and co-creation are integral to learning about collaborative leadership and grassroots governance in communities; communication and conflict; evaluation, community-based research, and persuasive asks; and the practice of engagement. Learn too how this program is a co-creative response by community partners and McMaster educators to strengthen the Hamilton community.


3:45 – 4:15PM


Location: MIP Atrium

“Strategies for Success: Partnerships to Support Non-Traditional Learners in Online History Classes”

– Karen Balcom and Andrew Kloiber (McMaster University)

We are near the beginning of a year-long project to develop online resources to support the learning of students who are new (or newly returned) to university academic work or who are new to the discipline of history. For the past four years, the Department of History at McMaster has partnered with our Centre for Continuing Education to develop ten online history courses open to CCE diploma-to-degree students and to the McMaster student population more generally (including our history majors). Bringing together traditional history students, traditional students form other parts of campus who are new to history, and non-traditional learners from CCE together has brought challenges. To support the learning and success of all these students—but especially the CCE online population—we are developing a suite of online research and writing skills modules designed to guide students through thinking, research, and writing tasks necessary for university work in the discipline of history. To develop these modules, we are working in partnership with our three target groups of students and with experts from the history department, the library, the MacPherson Institute and CCE. Our poster will lay out the priorities, process and collaborations in this ongoing project.
We expect to return to the conference in 2018 with completed modules and our first feedback from users.
This project is supported by funds form the Paul R. MacPherson Teaching Fellowship. Dr. Balcom is the 2017–2018 Paul R. MacPherson Fellow.



“Faculty Development on Interprofessional Education: Strategies for Effective Facilitation”

– Zoraida Decastro Beekhoo (University of Toronto)

Interprofessional education (IPE) in health sciences is when different professions learn ‘about, with and from each other’ to achieve collaborative care and improve health outcomes (World Health Organization, 2010). At the University of Toronto, since 2002, approximately 1000 students from the health sciences participate in 3 days of an Interprofessional pain curriculum, culminating in facilitated case discussions.
Faculty development and standardization of IPE facilitators is critical to provide effective IPE sessions and establish a foundation for collaborative practice in the healthcare environment. Most importantly, it is essential that strong partnerships between faculty and clinicians are in place during the development and implementation of IPE sessions within a health sciences curriculum. It is the establishment of these partnerships that will lead to the sustainability of this new approach to teaching future healthcare providers.
The purpose of this poster session is to provide highlights from an interfaculty workshop focused on strategies for the delivery of effective and standardized IPE facilitation. After completion of the workshop, participants (facilitators) are able to provide an interprofessional approach to case-based scenarios, apply facilitation skills to effectively approach small group issues which may occur within an Interprofessional practice environment, and obtain further understanding of the components of an integrated care plan focused on the management of pain.



“Implementing Partnerships that have IMPACT”

– Lovaye Kajiura, Robert Fleisig, Elizabeth Hassan, Brenda Vrkljan, Colin Beswick, and Akiv Jhirad (McMaster University)

The IMPACT (Interdisciplinary, Mentorship, Practice, Applied, Community, Transformative) Team implements unique partnerships involving over 1000 participants: faculty, students, and community healthcare networks. These partnerships encompass undergraduate and graduate Engineering, Science, Occupational Therapy, Medicine, working together to solve the real-life challenges of clients, who live with special needs in the local community. Over the past 6 years, our team has provided collaborative teaching and learning opportunities that encourage faculty, students, healthcare partners to apply their knowledge to invent customized accessibility devices. The goal of our poster presentation is to share the process for successful implementation of partnerships on a large scale. We will reveal our team’s scaffold of educators, students (undergraduate, graduate, professional alumni), healthcare partners, and clients. We will emphasize how our partnerships serve to build the professional skills of our students as they learn to focus on the needs of others. Our objective is to provide conference attendees with a practical model to implement for their future projects. We will describe our partnership maps illustrating the structure, logistics, timelines, and resources that facilitate the use of our IMPACT model for addressing the needs of community partners while engaging educators and students in the learning process for innovation.



“The importance of undergraduate researchers in understanding the benefits of exercise breaks in university lectures”

– Michelle Ogrodnik, Barbra Fenesi, Joe Kim, and Jennifer Heisz (McMaster University)

Student attention typically declines as university lectures progress, reducing memory for presented material and subsequent academic performance. With the help of undergraduate researchers, our recent work revealed that exercise breaks during instruction may be a cost-effective intervention to improve student learning. We found that during a 50 minute-online lecture, three intermittent exercise breaks (5-min of high intensity exercises) improved on-task attention throughout the lecture, which translated into improved learning compared to taking cognitive breaks (playing a computer game), or no breaks. Critically, this improvement continued following a 48-hour delay. However, high-intensity exercises may be an entry barrier for a growing population of sedentary university students. Additionally, understanding the optimal number and duration of exercise breaks is important to ensure classroom feasibility. Thus, our current work aims to investigate 1) whether lower intensity exercise breaks are equally as effective as their higher intensity counterparts (and more feasible for a sedentary population), and 2) the optimal duration and number of exercise breaks that yield a learning benefit. Presently, we are comparing a no breaks condition to exercise breaks of high, medium, or low intensity—a project requiring hundreds of hours of research. Our undergraduate researchers are integral to this research and contribute to all components of from brainstorming methodology, collecting data, data analysis, and communicating findings. While this project aims to explore the beneficial effects of exercise breaks on learning in university classroom, it has also fostered meaningful student-faculty relationships that are essential for moving the field of science forward.


“Roadmaps to creating a HIT (Healthy Industry Team) partnership”

-Maria Papconstantinou, Ron Wilson Jr., Daw Kilkenny, Laurie Harrison, Samuel L Butcher, and William Ju (University of Toronto)

Industry and academic partnerships are becoming increasingly important in developing pedagogical tools for use in the classroom. However, guides and roadmaps creating successful partnerships between industry and academia remain sparse. In this poster presentation, we will highlight how to find and establish appropriate industry connections, identifying the barriers between academia and industry that might lead to less successful partnerships and how to balance the interests of both groups. Although short, our session will include participant interaction in online “conjecturing” surveys related to perceived challenges and barriers.


“A Multimodal Orientation program for Professional Practice Nursing”

-Maria Pratt, Lynn Martin, Ruth Chen, and Richard Huang

The ‘failure to fail’ phenomenon of students in clinical practice has become a serious issue in nursing education, as passing students who have demonstrated incompetence during their clinical courses can significantly impact patient safety and quality of care. Professional practice instructors (PPIs) are nursing faculty members generally employed by schools of nursing on a sessional basis to teach small groups of students in clinical practice settings. PPIs play a pivotal role in evaluating the learning and development of students as they relate to practice standard and professional competencies. A recent doctoral research study at McMaster University revealed that novice nursing PPIs tended to pass students who did not achieve the required outcomes of the course due to multiple and complex challenges associated with assigning a failing grade to a student who is struggling in the course. Such challenges include ‘subjectivity of evaluation’, ‘role conflict’, assessment of borderline student performance’, missed opportunities to asses other students’, fear related to personal consequences of failing a student’, insufficient instructor orientation’, and ‘unsupported decision to fail’. This quality improvement project aims to deliver a multimodal orientation program for novice PPIs consisting of didactic, interactive, and mentorship experiences to help alleviate the personal and professional challenges PPIs may face when evaluating students in clinical practice.


9:00AM – 9:15AM


Location: MIP Atrium


9:15AM – 10:35AM


Location: MIP Atrium

“It takes a community to develop a student  program: McMaster Children and Youth University in action”

– Sandy Raha

Students Take Over City Hall: The Adventurous Partnerships of CityLAB”

– Patrick Byrne

10:35AM – 11:00AM


Location: MIP AtriuM

11:00AM – 11:30AM


Location: 1A

Undergraduate Research Partners: “working” curriculum to integrate campus and community

– Michael Buzzelli (University of Western Ontario)

This paper reports on the development of a new approach to experiential learning curriculum and pedagogy for the senior undergraduate student. Couched in an experiential learning-by-doing philosophy, the piloted model reported here creates new professional and metacognitive experiences for the learner (and indeed the professor). The defining features of ‘working’ curriculum with undergraduate research partners are: (1) collaborative student groups working on term-length major projects that are research-driven and experientially-based, (2) the professor’s role as an embedded (Socratic) project member and (3) engagement with an identified community professional / expert acts as project mentor. Given the desire amongst students for greater experiential learning opportunities, along with Ontario’s policy drive for more experiential learning options in the university sector, the proposed model is an innovative way to address these needs. A ‘tech transfer for the social sciences’ spirit motivates this model, an approach to teaching and learning that ‘works’ curriculum to integrate campus and community. This model brings professionals and organisations to campus and to students for research-led learning within the existing infrastructure of scheduling, class time and degree requirements. This presentation provides an overview of the model as piloted in different undergraduate courses and sections and reflections on development and refinement for further implementation.

Location: 1B

Educational Program Development Between Universities in Norway and Canada

– Catharine Dishke Hondzel and Christine Tsang (Thompson Rivers University and Huron University College)

In 2015 Huron University College at Western and the University of South East Norway were granted project funding by the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education. The purpose of this funding was to establish and strengthen program development between Norway and Canada in collaboration with a community partner. The project undertaken by the investigators in this project was to develop a sustainable model for collaboration under the umbrella of undergraduate research learning. Components of the project included student and faculty mobility, research development, and knowledge translation. During the period of this grant (January 2016 to June 2017) the two-partner research teams met face-to face three times (twice in Norway and once in Canada) and two students from Huron (Canada) travelled to Norway to work with the community partner, a local elementary school. During this presentation, the Canadian investigators will discuss some of the major opportunities and challenges facing international partnerships, and will bring forward questions to consider when beginning a partnership in order to ensure sustainability. These include issues related to cultural differences in nomenclature and educational policy; credit transfer and articulation; maintaining close connections during major institutional change; managing transitions in research team membership; and building a stable foundation for continued work.

11:30PM – 12:00PM


Location: 1A

Ethics of Community Engaged Learning Partnerships in Large Urban Studies Courses

– David J. Roberts (University of Toronto)

I facilitate an optional community engaged learning placement as core component of the coursework in a large, second-year, introduction to Urban Studies course. Each year, I work with a variety of community partners to design short placement opportunities for my students (~10 hours total). I place ~50-60 students each year. The logistical elements and short duration of the placements create particular challenges in terms of facilitating an ethical relationship between students, community organizations, and me, as the professor. As such, I have worked to devise key principles through to ground and guide this relationship. In this presentation, I plan to discuss and provide examples of three of these principles in practice. First, do no harm. Some may recognize this as a key tenet of the Hippocratic oath, but it is also a key commitment in ethical community partnerships. I work, with partners, to design partnerships that minimize, if not eliminate, the possibility of harm to the community, the partnership organization, or the student engaged in the placement. Second, community driven projects. This principle works to both insure that placements will be beneficial to the hosting organization, while also placing the power to decide community needs, priorities and processes squarely with the community partner. Third, public dissemination of findings. In an attempt to encourage students to avoid the pitfalls of extractive community-based research, I require students to present their findings in a public forum open to their peers, the community organizations they were placed in and the wider university community.

11:00AM – 12:00PM


Location: 1C

“Cultivating An Online Community of Scholar-Practioner Practice” – Panel Discussion

– John Scott Lowrey and Beate Planche (University of Western Ontario)

In this panel discussion, contingent faculty members teaching part-time in an online educational leadership program discuss their perceptions of how navigating and cultivating an online community of practice among fellow adjuncts has improved their instructional capacity and indirectly supported student achievement. Drawing upon experience as scholar-practitioners, the Limited-Duties instructional team sought to determine characteristics of high quality collaborative approaches that were congruent with leadership dynamics taught in the EdD in Educational Leadership program. Preliminary findings of two questions will be shared: (1) What are the characteristics of a high functioning collaborative team in an online professional doctoral program; and (2) How does an effective online instructional team build and sustain individual and collective capacity?

The model of program delivery and instructional faculty development, created and developed by, and for, Limited-Duties instructors is significant insofar as it provides a new “value proposition” for professional programs and those who teach within them. In contrast to the perception that university programs are diminished by contingent faculty instruction, this model highlights the advantages of scholar-practitioners instructing in a program that aims to develop scholar-practitioner capacities. Furthermore, this model showcases the increased knowledge, skills, and attitudes of contingent faculty who are empowered by program administration to develop the very collaborative learning environment they seek to create in their own courses. With participants, our panel will consider the ethical role that universities play in purposefully increasing opportunities for professional development and community among part-time instructors, given the increased dependence on contingent faculty for online program delivery.

Location: 1D

“When Should Students Have A Say In Their Own Courses” – Panel Discussion

– Sabina Trebinjac, Anna Iankovitch, Summer Lee, Maksym Shcherbina, Monica Emili Garcia-Segura, Tina Keshavarzian, and William Ju (University of Toronto)

Teaching and learning in higher education is at an interesting cross-roads between empowering learners through novel methods of delivery where students teach themselves in inverted learning environments, yet also maintaining the status quo of having the instructor as the lead course designer. However, if institutions truly want to have student engagement in their courses, the model where students become co-designers and partners in course design and delivery must take precedence. In this panel discussion, students and faculty will discuss the barriers to this co-design principle from different vantage points, and provide suggested guidelines on how student-faculty partnerships can produce a more engaging learning community within the classroom.

Location: Meeting Room 2

“Experiential Learning for Faculty & Staff: Exploring Ojibwe Arts” – Workshop

– Amy L. Farrell-Morneau (Lakehead University)

As universities move toward incorporating Indigenous content into courses across many faculties and departments, supporting faculty and instructors with the skills and knowledge needed to deliver Indigenous curriculum to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners in a good way is paramount. As a part of this support for faculty, instructors, and even staff, building understandings of Indigenous knowledge, culture and traditions is provided through experiential learning workshops of Ojibwe arts and crafts. In this workshop, participants will create small pine needle baskets, learn the history and purpose of the craft, and engage in discussion about the need for such partnerships within higher education.

Dr. Amy Farrell-Morneau is the Indigenous Curriculum Specialist at Lakehead University who develops partnerships with faculty and instructors who are tasked with meeting the Indigenous Course Requirement for identified courses, and opens her workshops to any faculty or staff who are interested in broadening their understandings and learning about various aspects of Indigenous culture and traditions.


Location: MIP Atrium

“Social Media As a Teaching & Learning Tool In The Post-Secondary Classroom” – Workshop

– Liam Stockdale (McMaster University)

Social media is an integral part of almost every student’s life outside the classroom. It’s how they make plans for the weekend, start new relationships, follow the news—and almost everything in between. While some educators still struggle to consign these tools to the realm of leisure, many are exploring innovative and rewarding ways to integrate social media into the engaging pedagogical environments they create. This workshop will offer participants a practical introduction to the productive use of social media as a teaching and learning tool. It will consider the myriad benefits, some potential pitfalls, and a variety of strategies for leveraging enthusiasm for social media to enhance the student learning experience in any discipline or subject area. Building on the conference theme, the workshop will pay particular attention to how integrating social media can enhance the co-creative dimensions of post-secondary teaching by enabling students to actively contribute to shaping the learning environment. Attendees should bring a digital device (e.g. smartphone, tablet, laptop) to the workshop to fully participate in the interactive components.

12:00PM – 1:00PM


Location: MIP Atrium

1:00AM – 1:30PM


Location: 1A

“Student Authorship of SOTL Annotations: A Web Resource For All”

– Nicola Simmons (Brock University)

A frequent challenge for SoTL scholars is finding ‘point of entry’ literature on a topic that provides starting points for further exploration. Further, disseminating teaching and learning research in ways that connect it to practice continues to be a challenge (Poole, 2009). In order to address these challenges, a website of SoTL annotations has been created to outline key literature about teaching and learning. Each entry comprises a brief topic overview including ongoing debates, annotations of 3-4 peer review articles, and a further reading list. Initially, each student author chooses a key article and then enters keywords into Google Scholar. Two to three additional articles are selected that have relatively high citation counts for this topic, at least one of which represents a counterargument. An invited panel of key scholars of teaching and learning from across Canada reviewed the pilot website of 10 entries and their comments were integrated. Currently, and with the assistance of my wonderful graduate students, there are now over 85 entries on the site on diverse topics such as e-portfolios, mobile learning technologies, SoTL identity, and universal instructional design. This session will provide a show and tell of the website, which is intended to be of use to anyone conducting SoTL. It is an evolving tool, and I welcome your recommendations and contributions, with authorship noted. I hope it will serve as a point of entry to the literature on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.


Location: 1B

“The Importance of The First Nation’s Voice in Post-Secondary Education”

-Cat Criger and Sherry Fukuzawa (University of Toronto Mississauga)

In this presentation, we will discuss the importance of the first-person voice of First Nations people in the curriculum design of undergraduate education. This will be exemplified as the Indigenous Aboriginal Elder at the University of Toronto Mississauga outlines his unique contribution to a first-year undergraduate anthropology course in archaeology and biological anthropology (N=800 students). It is through his perspective that the students challenged their own biases and stereotypes regarding First Nations people. Students furthered this discussion by reflecting on the historical relationship between anthropologists and First Nations people as researchers and subjects. Students also wrote critical reflections on their changing assumptions regarding the role of First Nations people in the anthropological re-interpretation of artifacts as sacred symbols that are part of a living culture. In this presentation, we will give a demonstration of the discussion that is generated by the first-person perspective of the Aboriginal Elder. An overview of the students’ reflections in this particular course will be presented to emphasize the positive impact of his involvement on student engagement in the course material. We will discuss the obstacles and opportunities for expanding this perspective across the curriculum.


Location: 1C

“Creating Authentic Tasks For Business Students”

– Matthew Metzgar (University of North Carolina)

This session will detail my experience in creating partnerships between business majors and local businesses.  I have worked with the Small Business and Technology Development Center on campus to find businesses in need of assistance.  I have then been able to translate these needs into course tasks for my students. This session will focus on two elements of creating partnerships: 1) creating authentic tasks, and 2) using authentic assessment techniques. My intention was to create tasks that were as authentic as possible for business students.  This included addressing actual business needs rather than creating contrived tasks.  This also meant designing projects that were within the students’ ability but that still provided value for the business. The second emphasis was to use authentic assessment.  This means using a heuristic grading scale, similar to what managers actually use when evaluating projects.  The student work was primarily graded by the business leaders using a simple, realistic rubric.  This gives students some initial experience as to how their performance will eventually be assessed in the workplace.

Location: 1D

“Teachers, MOOCS, and Continues Access To Professional Development”

-Hedieh Najafi, Laurie Harrison, and Will Heikoop (University of Toronto)

“Teaching with technology and inquiry” (INQ101x) is a MOOC designed specifically to support teachers and educators in exploration of inquiry pedagogy in practice. The course was developed and co-taught by a team that combined expertise in educational research with practical experience in a “lab” secondary school affiliated with the University of Toronto. In its original offering, INQ101x was designed as a highly collaborative professional development opportunity that would lead to a co-constructed community knowledge base that included co-designed technology and inquiry integrated lesson plans. The course was later redesigned as a self-paced MOOC and is now available on edX. We will share the process of course redesign, in which scaffolds were added to deepen participating educator’s professional reflections.  One of the recurring learning activities of this course were weekly personal reflections based on prompts about the topic of discussion. Our analysis of personal reflections revealed that the majority of reflections were descriptive and lacked deep connections to teachers’ knowledge and experiences. Thus for the self-paced offering of INQ101x we created a self-assessment reflection rubric and encouraged participants to write action-oriented vs. descriptive reflections. Beyond this specific intervention, we also discuss how a highly collaborative course was redesigned as a self-paced course while striving to maintain the progressive lesson design activity that showcased participants’ application of their learning to their instructional setting. This project highlights the benefits of collaboration across a community that includes university, secondary school and broader MOOC community participation.


1:30AM – 2:00PM


Location: 1A

“New Horizons: Exploring and Effecting Change Through a Non-Traditional Leadership Fellowship Program”

– Melec Zeadin, Whitney Ross, Nancy Fenton, Julia Evanovitch (McMaster University)

We present preliminary research on the cohort of Leadership in Teaching & Learning Fellows – a non-traditional Fellowship program designed to promote and build capacity through innovation and excellence in teaching leadership. The Leadership in Teaching & Learning Fellowship program is conceptualized using a socio-cultural framework whereby the relational and contextual aspects of leadership are emphasized, which brings into focus the “close interdependence between individual, group and organizational development” (Bolden et al., 2008, p.370). The Fellowship program is grounded in an evidence-based philosophy that views faculty involvement as key to leading change in teaching & learning to enhance overall students’ learning experiences in higher education. The program is structured to bring cross-disciplinary voices together to strengthen the discourse on teaching and learning. The primary goals of the program are for fellows to: (1) plan a course-level impact project or a program-level change project; (2) disseminate project outcomes; (3) mentor peers; and (4) extend conversations about teaching and learning towards building networks. The preliminary findings presented here build upon Roxå and Mårtensson’s (2009) research investigating the conversational partners that university teachers have and the nature of these conversations. The broader aim of this study, however, is to explore how the Leadership in Teaching & Learning program at one Ontario institution influences the conversational patterns of individual Fellows in the program. In doing so, we bring together a conceptual foundation to explore and assess the value creation through our leadership program by employing two frameworks: the ‘interdependence’ (Little, 1990) and ‘value creation’ (Wegner et al., 2011) frameworks. The aim of this presentation is to highlight the Leadership in Teaching & Learning Fellowship program model, to discuss the research design, and to share early preliminary findings.

Location: 1B

“Praxis, Praxis, Practice: Towards a Critical Pedagogy For Medical Education”

-Alice Cavanagh (McMaster University)

Nearly fifty years after Paulo Freire’s foundational text Pedagogy of the Oppressed defined its central dialectic, critical pedagogy stands as a vital force in contemporary educational theory and debate. Although critical pedagogy has helped to engender meaningful shifts towards philosophies of “emancipatory practice” in nursing, the rehabilitation sciences, and social work, tacit curricular assumptions about the immutability of social health inequities and the narrowly individualized scope of modern medical practice have helped to foreclose the widespread recognition of medicine – and medical education – as a emancipatory social endeavor. Affirming the value of trans-disciplinary pedagogical collaboration for all parties, this paper sets an agenda for new partnerships between critical pedagogy theorists in the humanities and social sciences, and scholars of medical educators in the health sciences. Using McMaster Universities pioneering Problem-Based medical curricula as its case study, this paper explores the pivotal role intra-academy partnerships might play in efforts to educate the care providers of the future to both perceive and combat the “hidden curriculum” at work in medical education that dehumanizes both patients and providers alike.


Location: 1C

“A+ or C- Mentor: Exploring Prior Academic Success As An Indicator of Peer Mentoring Ability”

-Erin Leonard, Kris Knorr, Kim Dej, Lori Goff, and Aaron Thomas (McMaster University)

Increasingly, McMaster University is developing and offering credit courses that allow upper level students to act as peer mentors to students in associated lower-level courses (e.g., Science 2A03 – Peer Mentoring In Science, Life Science 3YY3 – Peer Mentoring in Laboratory Skills Development, Humanities 3LM3 – The Art of Leadership: Mentorship, etc.).  In admitting students into these courses, a variety of approaches have been employed in the selection process, including minimum GPA, supplemental written applications, and/or instructor or Associate Dean’s permission.  It is unclear, however, both from the authors’ experiences in teaching these courses and from the scholarly literature whether incoming grades of mentors has any predictive indication of the mentor’s success in their role (Terrion & Leonard, 2007). In this presentation, we present a review of the available literature that investigates academic achievement as a selection criterion for mentors into credit-based courses, and we will share our interpretations of how this can inform admission of peer mentors into the peer mentoring courses offered at McMaster University.  Additionally, we will present a proposal for a mixed-methods research project to begin in December 2017, which will investigate mentors’ own perceptions of the importance of incoming grades on their ability to act as a peer mentor.  To involve participants at this session, we will call on them to offer their experiences and insights of teaching students with histories of varying academic success, and we will invite commentary on the proposed research.

2:00PM – 2:15PM


Location: MIP Atrium

2:15PM – 2:45PM


Location: 1A

“Extended Reality And The Microsoft Hololens: A Hollow Tool For Anatomy Education”

– Giancarlo Alexander Pukas (McMaster University)

We have previously shown the superiority of physical models in anatomy education. Our most recent findings have demonstrated that stereopsis is a critical component to the success of the physical model as an anatomical learning modality. Recent technological advancements in extended reality (XR) systems, such as the Microsoft HoloLens, seem to create convincing stereopsis for anatomical education. Several organizations have adopted these technologies as primary educational tools in anatomy as an alternative to traditional cadaveric laboratories, despite a lack of research regarding the efficacy of XR systems. In the current study, we compared the efficacy of the Microsoft HoloLens to a physical model in anatomy education. Unlike previous studies, we quantitatively measured the stereoscopic ability of each participant using the Titmus Fly Test. Our assessments found that participants learning on the physical model performed significantly better in both nominal and functional measures in comparison to their HoloLens counterparts (p = 0.0051 and p = 0.0134, respectively). There was no significant interaction found between the nominal test scores of each modality and the stereo depth perception scores measured by the Titmus Fly Test (p = 0.8263). Ultimately, our results indicate that the HoloLens is not an effective tool for anatomy education when compared with traditional physical models. Based on our previous investigation, this discrepancy in performance is likely a result of inadequate stereopsis. Our future directions involve the assessment of other XR systems, such as virtual reality headsets (ex. HTC Vive) in the context of anatomy education.

Location: 1B

“Faculty-Student Field Collaborations To Enhance Accessibility And Inclusion In Social Work Placements”

– Janice Chaplin, Eminet Dagnachew, Alise De Bie, Randy Jackson, and Jennie Vengris, (McMaster University)

Collaboration is fundamental to social work education.  Undergraduate social work students spend 790 hours in the community learning to practice – in order to accommodate this practice learning, field-focused social work faculty must build strong partnerships with students, community agencies and other faculty.  Equity-seeking students completing field placements experience barriers to their learning.  Place-me(a)nts: Enhancing accessibility, inclusion, and justice in field education for students from equity-seeking groups is a project, funded by the MacPherson Institute, that endeavours to better understand the experience of Indigenous, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirited, disabled, mad and students of colour (in all of their intersections) in field education settings.  This paper presentation will offer insight into our methodological approach and provide some initial findings from students.  We will focus on the use of collaboration to translate the concerns students raised to change in the classroom, broader faculty and field settings. We will talk about the collaboration at the core of our project team model – how field faculty, academic faculty and student partners worked together over the past year to design a research process and how we intend to create change in the School of Social Work together.   Beyond the project team, we will need to continue to collaborate with community agencies, social workers, students and faculty in order to realize the change that equity-seeking students are calling for.  While specific to social work education, we will describe how the process and lessons learned from our project may translate to other community-engaged educational settings.

Location: 1C

“MacChangers: fostering problem-based experiential learning via student-led Design Thinking projects”

– Ana Naranjo and Beth Levinson (McMaster University)

The MacChangers program, a partnership between the Faculty of Engineering and MacPherson Institute, is an extracurricular activity that provides resources, coaching and support to interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students as they propose innovative ideas for current challenges facing our community. Using the Design Thinking approach for their research, MacChangers are tasked with identifying the “right” problem and finding the appropriate solution through conversations with and validation from the users. Given this, partnerships, both on campus and in the Hamilton community, become crucial in placing the user at the center of the process. As the only extracurricular initiative that has secured a certificate of ethics clearance from MREB, MacChangers are able to gather insight into their users’ needs and wishes in an ethical manner. In this presentation, we would like to share how our program provides McMaster students a unique experiential learning opportunity to test what they have learned in their classrooms and apply it to solving real problems, while building valuable skills and connections for their professional growth. Finally, we would like to learn from our attendees about their programs and what they can share with us as we grow our program.


2:45PM – 3:45PM


Location: 1A

“Impact of Instructional Innovation Through Community Outreach: Success Stories From Our 4 Community Partnership Initiatives” – Panel Discussion

– Rosa Junghwa Hong and Elizabeth Coulson (University of Toronto Mississauga)

This panel discussion looks at the impact of instructional innovation through community outreach by sharing success stories from four community partnership initiatives currently underway in the Department of Language Studies at the University of Toronto, Mississauga (UTM).  This includes the “Learn to Lead” summer leadership program for Chinese high school students, a French summer camp for school children from the surrounding community, a Syrian Refugee English language program for newcomer adults and their children and a research based empathy project in partnership with Narrative 4, an international education through story-exchange program and UTM’s Education Studies undergraduate program.  Situated in one of the most culturally diverse areas of the world, each initiative at UTM leverages community partnerships to advance skill development, support the internationalization of education, create and implement opportunity for experiential learning, and promote interdisciplinary collaboration between French program and Education Studies program. In working with and serving the community and other stakeholders, each program enhances opportunities for pedagogical experimentation and social inclusion while advancing key instructional, social justice and global fluency functions of the university. Each panelist will highlight their personal involvement in the development and delivery of each project and share lessons drawn. With a solution-focused mindset, this session will also provide an opportunity for panelists and participants to discuss the unique innovation challenges that confront community-based project initiatives and strategies to overcome them.

Location: 1B

“Teaching Freire’s Critical Pedagogy As An International Field Course: A College-University Partnership” –  Panel Discussion

Allyson Leigh Eamer, Luxshan Ambigabaigan, Isaac Simms and Caylin Metcalfe (UOIT and Durham College)

This panel will involve a discussion of a project that partnered Durham College’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies and UOIT’s Faculty of Education in the development of a field course offered in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  In May 2017, ten students from each institution were offered the opportunity to participate in a uniquely designed course entitled Poverty, Access, Resistance and Resilience in Latin America.  The course (which served as a General Education course for Journalism and Broadcasting students in Durham College’s School of Media, Art and Design; and a course credit for UOIT’s Bachelor of Education students) explored how students could implement Critical Pedagogy’s calls to action in their respective fields. Brazil, the homeland of scholar Paulo Freire, was chosen as the setting for the course, and Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” was a foundational part of the content. This project brought together faculty, students and International Offices from two Canadian post-secondary institutions with those of two Brazilian universities. Partnerships were forged with the University of Sao Paulo and Universidade Estadual Paulista, which resulted in classroom space for our students, guest lecturers, and multiple opportunities for Brazilian and Canadian students to interact. An additional partnership with The Freire Institute resulted in an opportunity for our students to meet Freire’s son who provided an engaging talk on his father’s work. This panel discussion will include some of the faculty, staff and students involved in the project, and will present the lessons learned, challenges and rewards associated with the project.

Location: 1C

“Program Review: Nightmare? or Dream Come True With Student-Staff-Faculty Partnerships” – Workshop

-Paige McKenny, Julia Varanese, and Catherine Anderson (McMaster University and UBC)

All academic units at Ontario Universities undergo a periodic quality assurance review (called IQAP at McMaster), a necessary but often daunting process. In our department, undergraduate student partners are collaborating with faculty and staff in all stages of this review. This workshop offers an overview of our process and the opportunity for participants to begin to envision their own program review partnership. We invite participants into a conversation about the goals and potential challenges of program review and their attitudes toward the process. In this conversation, we share the goals and challenges of our process and our rationale for working in partnership: We wanted to engage the IQAP process in a scholarly way while integrating students’ voices authentically. Our partnership achieved this goal by supplementing the institution-standard dataset, and by giving depth to both our interpretation of the data and our recommendations for potential enhancements to the program Throughout the discussion of our collaboration, we invite participants to consider potential opportunities for partnership in their home departments, and encourage them to discover how researching and writing in partnership enriches the review process.

Participants will leave with:

  • An understanding of the value of integrating student partners into program review,
  • Ideas about the roles student partners can play in a cyclical review, and
  • Optimism about the rewards of collaborating with student partners.


Location: 1D

“Reimagining Curriculum: Identifying Our Values In Teaching & Learning Within A Multi-Disciplinary And Multi-Departmental Faculty” – Panel Discussion

– Deborah Tihanyi, Estelle Oliva-Fisher, Allison Vanbeek, Tom Coyle, Pamela Kennedy, Annie Simpson, Mindy Thuna, Don MacMillan, and Phil Poulos (University of Toronto)

This panel will explore a reimagining of “curriculum” through the integration of two traditionally separate spheres in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto: the curricular and the co-curricular (and support services). With a professional program, considerations of accreditation, professional practice, and preparation for the workplace are on equal footing with more traditional academic pursuits. Students are required to develop multiple literacies to enter their profession. Instruction in these literacies hinges on the integration and valuing of diverse areas of expertise—and communication and coordination among the faculty and staff who possess them—to create a coherent student experience. Add to that Faculty- and University-wide priorities and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development’s new requirement for experiential learning, and the need to move beyond ad hoc relationships between these spheres is particularly timely.

This year, we have begun a process to formalize the relationships between, among others, the Engineering Communication Program, the Educational Technology Office, the Engineering Computing Facility, the Engineering and Computer Science Library, the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering, the Registrar’s Office, and the Vice-Dean, Undergraduate Office. In this panel session, we will share some of our first steps in formalizing this network across the curriculum. We will discuss both our process of identifying challenges and opportunities, as well as the ways in which we have begun to address them.


3:45PM – 4:00PM


Location: MIP Atrium


McMaster Innovation Park

McMaster Innovation Park
175 Longwood Road S., Suite 105
Hamilton, ON L8P 0A1
View map & directions


We have reserved room blocks at four different hotels close to McMaster Innovation Park (location of RTL 2017).

Research in Teaching and Learning Conference 2017
Staybridge Suites:
10 rooms, offered at the McMaster Rate of $135 per night.
Click here to reserve rooms. Or call and refer to the RTL Conference.
Rooms will be held until November 1st.
Address: 20 Caroline St S, Hamilton, ON L8P 0B1
Phone: (905) 527-1001

Research in Teaching and Learning Conference 2017
Visitor’s Inn:

20 rooms, must call  to make a reservation and refer to the RTL Conference or CONF #212504
Offered at the McMaster rate of $109 weekday, $129 weekend. Rooms will be held until October 16th .
Address: 649 Main St W, Hamilton, ON L8S 1A2
Phone:  (905) 529-6979

Research in Teaching and Learning Conference 2017
Homewood Suites:
 10 rooms, offered at the McMaster rate of $139 per night.
Reserve online and enter the code “RTL”. No cutoff date was provided.
Address 40 Bay St S, Hamilton, ON L8P 0B3
(905) 667-1200

Research in Teaching and Learning Conference 2017
Admiral Inn:

10 rooms, must call to make reservation and refer to the RTL Conference or
Group #204177
Rooms will be held until October 1, 2017.
Address: 149 Dundurn St N, Hamilton, ON L8R 3M1
Phone: (905) 529-2311