Professional Learning: Teaching Resources
This section includes specific Teaching Resources that can help faculty get started with their courses. These resources will explore specific areas of teaching and learning that impact contemporary education. Larger teaching/learning topics will also be explored in subsequent sections (e.g., Indigenous Ways of Knowing & Being, Open Educational Resources, Universal Design for Learning, etc.).
We invite you to review the list of curated resources as you reflect on your teaching practice.
The Ontario college sector employs an outcomes-based learning approach by ensuring that students meet specific vocational/program learning outcomes for their chosen discipline or trade. This practice requires faculty to actively engage with the curriculum by relying on the Vocational/Program Learning Outcomes and subsequent Course Learning Outcomes of a course to develop activities and assessment strategies that help demonstrate these outcomes. This process is called Backwards Design and requires faculty to start with learning outcomes/objectives.
As a first step, faculty should familiarize themselves with the structure of learning outcomes and backwards design. This list of resources will help you get started with this exploration!
Planning a lesson can be challenging when the learning outcomes seem broad and you feel pressured to prioritize certain learning experiences. We recommend reviewing the following guide and associated sample templates to review a few lessons. These resources will help you focus on specific areas within each lesson of a particular module.
Janis Michael, Professor, Computer Programming and Analysis - Kingston
"My lessons plans are quite structured. Concepts to be covered and the linking activities are included. Creating a lesson plan helps me organize my thoughts and identify potential pitfalls. I like having a clear definition of the goals and the timing. There is a confidence that goes along with that. The class itself is student focussed. I view the lesson plan as a goal, not a rule. If a significant event occurs relating to the learning outcomes, we may discuss it. If students are struggling, we can adapt. After class, notes record what went well and what changes would be beneficial. The next time the course is taught, the lesson plan is a reminder of what happened previously. It allows me to get up to speed quickly, freeing me up to focus on new field related trends."
Assessments & Rubrics
The focus on outcomes makes is important that faculty are using appropriate assessments that demonstrate these specific outcomes. Moreover, the current Academic Policy states that faculty must use at least three different types of assessments. The use of three different types is not related to debunked learning styles (i.e., auditory, visual, tactile) but rather linked to the promotion of Universal Design for Learning principles.
Jody Souka-Marleau, Professor, Social Service Worker - Cornwall
"One example of authentic assessment that I use is to encourage students to retrieve information (As highlighted in James M. Lang's book, Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning). At the beginning of each class I use an opening question that could be used in person and on-line. A simple question such as, before we move on, can anyone tell me some of the core themes learned last class? This is the warm-up.
In addition, I use closing questions (Reflections) that are prepared ahead of time and handed out or posted in the chat, which the students answer and submit at the end of class. This helps the students extrapolate key points/themes."
During your professional learning travels, you might see many resources that speak to "classroom management". These tend to focus on management strategies that assume studies are disengaged and are being disruptive. With that said, we would like everyone to reframe the discussion by focusing on "classroom engagement" instead of management. Students come to your course with varying challenges so a good way to "manage" the classroom is to keep them engaged in the learning process.
This section highlights a few strategies that can help bolster engagement and enable you to move forward with a positive learning space.
Shannon McCallum, Professor, Therapeutic Recreation - Kingston
"Through my professional contacts I am privileged to host many leading industry professionals in our classroom so that our students can begin to make essential connections with potential employers.
Establishing community partnerships has been pivotal in enhancing the practical learning experiences for our students. For example, I collaborate with the City of Kingston to provide annual community integration transit training, specific to Therapeutic Recreation. Through collaboration with the Southeastern Ontario Stroke Network, our students have had the opportunity to volunteer at local conferences and events. This in turn has led to invaluable professional learning opportunities, as they would receive working in the field.
Lastly, a hands-on approach to learning has been key to taking learning from a one-dimensional lecture, to an experience. We have annual wheelchair skills training, in which our students spend an entire class in a wheelchair. They are then able to practically experience what this might be like from a client perspective, and learn essential skills that they will need as Recreation Therapists while working this population."
The college recently build two Active Learning Spaces (one in Cornwall and another in Brockville). These classrooms include wall to tall whiteboards and movable furniture in an effort to promote more active learning strategies within our classrooms. While the physical classroom enables some elements of active learning, all faculty can engage in these types of activities within their regular courses by using simple strategies throughout their lessons.
Jamie Belec, Professor, Mental Wellness & Addictions Worker - Brockville
"Active Learning means that students roll up their sleeves and grapple with the content. A great activity in our Case Management class is the, "Powtoon Agency Infomercial." Students research and reach out to a local community partner that our mental health and addictions clients might access. Through a series of real-world questions/issues to solve, students create an artifact that has purpose and meaning. The goal is to produce a fun, yet informative, infomercial about their chosen organization that can be shared to promote awareness of these critical partners. This activity requires critical thinking, collaboration, communication, problem-solving, creativity, innovation, and...FUN! The initial fear and trepidation in their eyes is quickly replaced with increased self-efficacy and, ultimately, a sense of pride and ownership as they share their good hard work."
Project-Based Learning / Case Study / Experiential Learning
Consider using project-based-learning in your course by using case studies or tapping into some experiential learning opportunities.
Dr. Maha Othman, Professor Bachelor of Science in Nursing - Kingston
"In my recently designed elective Immunology course for the BScN students, I applied project-based learning (PBL) in the form of critical enquiry/research. Student groups were formulated using a standard tool and healthy efficient group dynamics was monitored throughout the activities, all conducted at the SLC’s Innovation Hub active learning space. Students searched the literature, identified a gap in knowledge, formulated a question, completed a study protocol with sound methodology and presented this via a conference style poster. Three ambitious research projects were completed this year: “immune response and e-cigarettes”, “vit C and sepsis treatment”, “immune modulation and depression”. PBL format brings students to the real-world learning, provides an opportunity for open concept of teaching and learning with careful guidance and facilitates the growth of scientific curiosity and creativity. Two students were invited to present the learning experience at a national conference and a structured survey indicated the engagement, productivity and energy level were incomparable to the regular classroom."
Language of the Discipline
These resource explore key concepts in teaching and the process of learning.