Teaching + Learning News 3.01

Semi-regular reports on higher-education teaching and learning from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Arts. By Michael Ullyot, Associate Dean (Teaching + Learning): saving your inbox from overload since 2014. Follow me on Twitter, if you do that sort of thing. Feedback and submissions are always welcome. Leave a comment below, or drop me a line.

Welcome back! The halls and elevators are full, the Tim Hortons lineups are (inexplicably) long, and selfies with the Dean are big again. It must be a new semester. Time to think about your first day of class and how the first week is unlike the rest; time to make your checklists for the semester and your resolutions for the term ahead, like self-forgiveness and mitigating your future stress — or more specific things like learning students’ names.

I have a few projects on my slate, some to launch this year and others to continue from last year. So, without further ado:

2015–16 Plans + Projects

  • The Arts and Science Honours Academy (ASHA) Program Committee will start overseeing and directing our flagship interdisciplinary program. We’ll review the program’s curriculum and retool its requirements, and formalize its relationship with the Faculty of Science. And in January 2016, we’ll welcome Mark Migotti’s appointment as Program Coordinator.
  • There are also a few projects for the Teaching + Learning Committee this year. Soon we’ll launch our annual workshop series on topics that colleagues requested in our annual survey. They’ll address topics like writing great lectures (hint: go off-script) and flipping your classroom (why and how).
  • We’re about to release a provisional draft of the faculty’s Graduate Attributes Framework, which I’ve written about here. This is a list of the skills and knowledge we can expect all of our graduating students to demonstrate, across every program. The draft you’ll see is my effort to synthesize the visions and revisions of colleagues from every department in the Faculty. Now, you can expect multiple opportunities and methods to discuss and debate this draft, in department-by-department consultations and an open-invitation town hall, until it gets as close as possible to summarizing our common goals. We need to get this framework right. It will give us trans-disciplinary aims and a distinct identity and a common commitment to certain outcomes, like field expertise and citizenship and digital literacies. Watch this space for details.
  • This year the Faculty is also launching an external review of our experiential learning programs, from work-integrated co-ops to field schools. We’ll consider a range of models for integrating learning inside and outside of the classroom, and define why these experiences are important to us.
  • And curriculum reviews are in full swing for Sociology, Political Science/International Relations, and the School of Creative and Performing ARts. I’m writing guidelines for review teams so it’s clear what we can expect these reviews to do for us, starting with a list of program-level outcomes (e.g. creative and critical thinking) and a sense of how courses and requirements meet them. This is building on the success of Geography, Art, and Psychology, who used last year’s curriculum reviews to make changes to their programs.

Learning Technologies + D2L

I’m really glad to announce the expansion of our D2L Coaches program thanks to a university-wide initiative from the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. The new Learning Technologies Coaches will have a wider ambit – as their name implies – to give you individual advice and support for all the ways you want to use new tools for student learning.

More details are coming soon, and the coaches are starting later this term. Read D’Arcy Norman on the support model they’ll follow and the goals for the program.


In the meantime if you need D2L support, here are a few avenues. The Taylor Institute has an excellent site on the system that introduces key topics like how to enrol your GATs in courses or how to reuse materials from a previous course. There’s a series of video tutorials here. They’re also offering a series of workshops throughout the term.

Finally, remember that students won’t be able to access your D2L courses until you make them ‘active.’

Here’s how:

  1. Log on to D2L. You may do this by going to D2L directly or by going to the myUofC Portal (choose Desire2Learn under Quick Links).
  2. To view the course(s) you’re enrolled in, click on the Select a course drop-down menu located on the top navigation bar.
  3. Click on the name of the Fall 2015 course you are teaching.
  4. In your D2L course, click on the Edit Course tab.
  5. Select Course Offering Information.
  6. Make sure Course is Active is checked.
  7. Click the Save button at the bottom of the page.
  8. Rinse and repeat for your other courses.

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