POSTER SESSION WITH WINE & CHEESE
Location: MIP Atrium
“Inquiry-based learning experiences for the promotion of higher order skills”
– D. Bhatt, D. Devcic, J. Atallah
Inquiry learning encompasses a variety of techniques, including structured and guided inquiry (Prince and Felder, 2006). Both strategies begin with presenting a problem. Structured inquiry is followed with a solution ‘model’, whereas in guided inquiry, the student must devise a solution independently. Much research has emphasized the positive relationship between inquiry learning and the promotion of higher- order skills. This association holds especially true when the learning experience is engaging, knowledge- centered, and student-centered (Freeman et al., 2014; Martin et al., 2007; Prince and Felder, 2006). While learning cycles have been designed to optimize such parameters (Martin et al., 2007), the role of structured inquiry in conjunction with or independent of guided inquiry has not been explored in genetics. Our work explores the differences between structured inquiry, guided inquiry, and combinations in promoting higher order skills. The learning experience was designed in the context of Alzheimer’s disease, a topic that is welcome within the population of biology students aiming for medical school. Through the accomplished progress, we hope to share our findings with the teaching and learning community in an effort to promote the development of evidence-based teaching practices that foster higher order skills.
“Teacher Conceptions and Teaching Methods for Creativity in Norwegian Classrooms”
– T. Boyd
Creativity is an important aspect of child development which has been shown to be positively associated with academic achievement. Importantly, teacher conceptions of creativity have a significant impact on how teach creativity and teach creatively which directly affects student development. In the present study, teachers from three elementary schools in the Telemark region of Norway expressed their conceptions of creativity in a verbal interview. Their teaching methods were assessed in their completion an online version of the Creativity-Fostering Teacher Behaviour Index (CFTIndex) and through classroom observation of their lessons. Analyses indicated years of education ( = -.31, t(4) = -7.61, p = .00) and years spent teaching ( = -.03, t(4) = -6.83, p = .00) were both significant predictors of scores on the judgment subscale of the CFTIndex. These results suggest that increased education and experience are more likely to judge students’ ideas prematurely, which may have a negative influence on students’ creative expression. The importance of teacher and student autonomy in creative development, as well as the influence of teacher assessment and feedback on student ownership, motivation and creativity which arose from teacher responses and intercorrelations among CFTIndex subscales were further discussed. These results emphasize the relevance of teachers’ role in creating an environment, which is conducive to student creativity and has important implications in Ontario classrooms.
“A model for promoting course and curricular integrative teaching and learning”
– C. Burzynski, Z. Syed, J. Atallah
One indicator of advanced intellectual development is the ability to integrate new information in the context of prior knowledge (Felder and Brent, 2004). Such integrative learning promotes the establishment of relationships between concepts, priming the mind for innovation when the opportunity arises (Deller et al., 2015).
Current research highlights case studies and problem-based learning as key activities that promote integrative thinking and hence innovation (Felder and Brent, 2004). This is especially the case when these experiences are designed to be engaging, knowledge-centered, and student-centered (Freeman et al., 2014; Martin et al., 2007; Prince and Felder, 2006). Although case studies and problem-based learning are frequently employed in genetics and molecular biology education, students continue to fall short in their initiative and ability to integrate knowledge.
These learning experiences, however, are usually discontinuous in nature and integrate information from proximally related material. Our work has focused on creating a knowledge- and student-centered learning experience that spans a full semester, in order to attain the following features: 1) increased student engagement through semester-long story characters that form the basis of various case studies and 2) semester-long extensive integration of concepts within the course and curriculum. A small-scale pilot was designed to assess the success of such a model.
Through our achieved progress, we hope to share our findings with the teaching and learning community in an effort to promote the development of course and curricular integrative teaching and learning.
“Student Reactions to Team-Based Learning (TBL) in the Arts”
– M. Chaktsiris
Team Based Learning (TBL) is underutilized in humanities disciplines despite evidence that it promotes student learning and critical thinking skills (Espey, 2017; Michaelsen & Sweet, 2008). TBL includes four main pillars that scaffold learning: readiness reassurance (ensuring students have the knowledge to complete tasks), forming students into permanent groups, peer- evaluation, and application exercises (Sweet & Michaelsen, 2012). Despite the popularity of this approach in some disciplines, there are barriers to its implementation in the humanities. These include the lack of evidence-based best practices using content from the liberal arts, a continued focus on the importance of sole-authorship rather than teamwork, and limited practical educator resources around rubric and assessment design.
This paper will explore (1) the process of developing a team-based project for undergraduate learners in History with the goal of creating meaningful evidencebased narratives, and (2) student reactions and reflections on the experience. The objectives and purpose of this paper are to develop educator resources to guide instructors through the development of TBL assessments using primary sources, and to capture student reactions to the experience of creating and sharing their own evidence-based narratives through both written and digital formats.
“Dynamics of Mentorship in Psychology: Building a Learning Community and Fostering Leadership through Mentorship”
– I. Cheung, C. Tsang
A pilot project was implemented in which 4th year Honors students (Mentors) mentored 1st year students (Mentees) enrolled in a first year survey course. The Mentors participated in this program as part of a course examining theories of mentorship. Mentors met weekly over the course of the academic term for at least one hour per week with their assigned Mentees. During the mentoring sessions, each group (1 Mentor + 2-3 Mentees) was charged with developing a research project to be completed by the end of semester. Mentors met weekly as a class with the course instructor to discuss readings related to theoretical frameworks of mentorship and the practice of mentorship. The readings were not assigned in advance of the course—each week, one student in the course was asked to select up to two readings for the class to discuss. The topics were open and up to the individual student who would be leading the discussion. All Mentors were asked to complete learning reflections related to the weekly readings, as well as their own practice of mentorship. This program challenged students’ perceptions of expertise—in this course, the Mentors are the authority with their Mentees, and the Mentors become the authority in class discussions by having autonomy to select their own readings and lead their own seminar. This project operated within several different levels of engagement: micro (course level: peers mentoring peers and faculty mentoring students), meso (program level management of peer interactions) and macro (scaling the mentorship course for the department level program).
“Implementation of a Co-Curricular Record for McMaster University Students to Enhance their Community Outreach Using Reflection and Learning”
– A. El-Sayes, M. Babad, J. Yachouh, A. Khan, Dr. K. Dej, A. Asaf, M. Chau, R. Kamran, B. Naeem, T. Sharma
A co-curricular record (CCR) is an asset used to portray students’ activities outside the classroom pertaining to community engagement, knowledge enhancement and skill acquisition. Many students take time from their academic responsibilities to undertake these activities as they deem them essential contributions for their community and themselves. The implementation of CCRs has been emerging across Canadian universities in the past decades. This asset allows students to list and reflect on their activities, hence enriching their involvement experiences by reflecting and learning on behalf of their commitments. McMaster University has attempted to execute a CCR for its students in 2006 named MacSTAR, however was terminated quite early due to low student buy in and inconsistency with student accessibility. In this study, we implement a CCR that may be applicable for all students at McMaster University. We identified ORBIS to be a suitable software for the creation of the CCR with potential unification with OscarPLUS. By using a CCR, we aspire to enrich the learning of students via reflection of their activities and by extending their community reach to connect with employers, faculty members and fellow students. This essentially will raise a community where individuals are able to thrive, learn and teach one another via deliberation of their co-curricular commitments. We have launched a prototype of the CCR using PebblePad to incorporate feedback before the official launch of the CCR next year.
“BIOMINT: A Digital Interactive Tutorial to Facilitate Deeper Molecular Understanding of Michaelis-Menten Enzyme Kinetics”
– Z. Gu, D. Ng, S. Andreopoulos, J. Jenkinson
Michaelis-Menten enzyme kinetics is a major topic taught in undergraduate introductory biochemistry courses that serves as a foundation for other areas in the life sciences such as pharmacology and molecular biology. Key kinetic concepts and behaviours are typically modeled and explained using simplified reaction schematics, equations, and graphs. However, these abstract mathematical/symbolic representations often make it difficult for life science students to conceptually link pertinent concepts to the underlying molecular phenomena being described. BIOMINT (Biomolecular Interactive Tutorials) is a digital interactive learning module aimed at helping students integrate their mathematical and molecular understanding of enzyme kinetics. We designed this module to supplement existing learning resources by providing a novel inquiry-based platform that allows students to interactively explore and visualize the effects of variable changes (e.g., substrate concentration) on kinetic phenomena at the molecular, textual, and graphical/mathematical levels of representation. A combination of visual and auditory cues were also used to facilitate this bridging. In addition, this platform is accompanied by interactive leaflets and knowledge check/self-assessment questions to help students better contextualize and apply what they learned. We plan to deploy and evaluate BIOMINT in an undergraduate introductory biochemistry course (~1300 students) at the University of Toronto starting fall 2018 in order to determine whether this interactive learning module will facilitate a deeper molecular understanding of enzyme kinetic phenomena.
“Too many voices or not enough of them: can student engagement and leadership in a course go too far?”
– W. Ju
Post-secondary teaching and learning increasingly views partnerships with students as a vital part of their success in a course or a program of study. Over the past 4 semesters, several large 3rd year courses (CJH332, HMB300) have received help from SALT (Student Advisory and Leadership Team) members where students have provided feedback and suggestions in course design, evaluation policies and course content. Results from faculty, administrative staff and students show that while all 3 groups perceive this feedback as a positive endeavor, the resulting impact of having student input and feedback are not always as clear. Data about levels of student engagement from courses designed by student peers will be presented as well as recommendations and lessons learned. Participants will receive different perspectives and insight into whether student-designed courses lead to better engagement, the significant hurdles that result and how some processes might be avoided.