Welcome new (and returning) TATP staff


The Teaching Assistants’ Training Program welcomes the 2015-2016 staff – some are new to the TATP and others are returning. Everyone is ready to start a year of training, workshops and new teaching and learning initiatives.

Learn more about the TATP and training options on the TATP website.

Coordinator: Robin Sutherland-Harris, Centre for Medieval Studies

Sandy Carpenter, Department of History
Sasha Kovacs, Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies
Joel Rodgers, Department of English
Kathleen Osgoode, Department of English

Coordinator: Elliot Storm, Department of Political Science

Michael Dick, Faculty of Information Studies
Salina Abji, Department of Sociology
Lia Frederiksen, Department of Geography
Ahmed Kandil, OISE
Alex Motut, Department of Linguistics

Coordinator: Leanne Desouza, Institute for Medical Sciences

David Chan, Department of Psychology
Nick Eaves, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Lauren Norman, Department of Anthropology
Ghazal Fazli, Institute for Health Policy, Management & Evaluation
Darius Rackus, Department of Chemistry
Alexander Stewart, Department of Chemistry

Coordinator: Michael Dick, Faculty of Information Studies

Coordinator: Sandy Carpenter, Department of Histor

Ghazal Fazil, Institute for Health Policy, Management & Evaluation

If you would like to reach any of the TATP staff, call 416-946-3799 or email services.ta@utoronto.ca.



Back To School Teaching Events for Faculty

IMG_1112By Erin Macnab, Programs Coordinator, CTSI

For instructors here at U of T, the end of the summer means the beginning of many things – among them new courses, new students, and new appointments. We at CTSI are here to support instructors through this busy time of changes through an annual series of teaching-related workshops for faculty, taking place this year at the beginning of September.

Open to all new and returning faculty and librarians, these sessions provide an opportunity for all instructors to refresh your teaching or learn new, broadly applicable techniques to deal with frequent issues and support your students. With sessions on active learning, teaching with technology, assessment and first day strategies, we aim to highlight a wide spectrum of best practices and provide a forum for instructors to ask questions, meet people and get geared up for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Below you’ll find the schedule for this year’s Back to School Workshop Series:

Tuesday, September 1st
10am – 12pm
To Be Confirmed

1pm – 4 pm
Strategies to Support Active Learning
Carol Rolheiser, Professor and Director, CTSI

Looking for ways to spark student interest and stimulate active learning? “Classic studies over the last five decades have repeatedly shown that, in discussion, students pay attention and think more actively” (McKeachie, 2011, p.37). Discussion techniques can be applied in classes of all sizes and allow students opportunities to more deeply process new knowledge through explaining, summarizing, elaborating and questioning. As well, through discussion immediate feedback on student understanding is generated to guide future instruction and motivate learning. In this session participants will experience and debrief a number of discussion techniques and consider applications of these techniques to their own teaching contexts (both undergraduate and graduate teaching).

Wednesday, September 2nd
10am – 12pm
Setting the Tone for Success: The First Day and Beyond
Megan Burnett, Acting Associate Director, CTSI/TATP
Cherie Werhun, Teaching Assessment and Course Evaluation Coordinator, CTSI

This session will provide strategies for getting your course off to a great start, including what to do in the first few classes, how to present the course objectives and syllabus to your students, how to initiate and sustain excitement about your discipline, and how to motivate and prepare your students for the requirements and responsibilities of the course. Participants will have the opportunity to generate a plan for their first class.

2pm – 4 pm
Teaching with Academic & Collaborative Technologies at U of T
Saira Mall, Manager, Academic & Collaborative Technology Support, CTSI
Avi Hyman, Director of Academic & Collaborative Technology, ITS and Institutional Strategist for Academic Technology, CTSI
Mike Kasprzak, Curriculum Developer, TATP

When planning a course we often think of a technology we would like to incorporate in our teaching, then determine the activities and assessments the technologies can support. This can result in “technology for the sake of technology” with little or no positive effects on teaching and learning ourcomes (Deal, 2007). This session will discuss how to effectively integrate technology into courses to align with course outcomes. We will also explore student engagement techniques, emerging teaching with technology trends in higher education and university guidelines.

Thursday, September 3rd
9:30am – 12:30pm
How To Keep Teaching & Learning On Track
Carol Rolheiser, Professor & Director, CTSI
Saira Mall, Manager, Academic & Collaborative Technology Support, CTSI

The main purpose of formative assessment (assessment for learning) is to determine the next steps in learning. This session will focus on two ways that formative assessment can keep learning and teaching on track: 1) by providing feedback to students prior to completion of final graded assignments and, 2) by providing feedback to the instructor early in the course. Take-away tools and strategies for monitoring student learning will be shared and explored with workshop participants. Technology-enhanced suggestions for applying some of these strategies online will also be discussed.

2pm – 4pm
Myths and Realities About Grading
Megan Burnett, Acting Associate Director, CTSI/TATP
Cora McCloy, Faculty Liaison & Research Officer, CTSI

In this session, we will discuss a range of myths and misconceptions about institutional grading procedures. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions through a facilitated dialogue on grading policies that will inform teaching practice. Topics include distribution of grades and assignments, managing grading with Teaching Assistants and posting student progress in UofT’s Learning Portal.

Registration is required to participate in the Back to School workshop series, and will be opened in the upcoming weeks. Watch this space for updates.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Erin Macnab, Programs Coordinator, CTSI at 416-946-3325 or erin.macnab@utoronto.ca. We look forward to meeting you!

Syllabus Service: What is it? (and how can it help save you time and your students money?)

Submitted by Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office, U of T Libraries

There have been many changes in Canadian copyright law lately, which has influenced how faculty and students operate in the physical and online classroom. In the U of T Libraries’ Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office, we understand that there is still uncertainty about these changes. To address these changes, our office has developed services to help faculty and instructors navigate this new landscape and remain compliant with Canadian copyright law. One example is the Syllabus Service, (previously known as Course Reserves services) developed in collaboration with units across the University of Toronto Libraries.

What is the Syllabus Service?

The Syllabus Service ensures that course materials distributed electronically to students comply with Canadian copyright law. Library staff will:

  1. Review your course reading list and provide materials that fall under the “fair dealing” provisions.
  2. Purchase copyright clearance, when necessary and at no cost to you, through U of T Libraries’ Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office.
  3. Place print items on reserve, when required.
  4. Scan materials for interested faculty so assigned readings can be made available online to enrolled students.

Submit your syllabus by August 7, 2015 to ensure your course material is ready for September. After this date, this service is still available on a first come first serve basis.

Since the launch of the Syllabus Service, staff in the Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office have become very aware of the rising cost of course material for students. Lowering student costs, when possible, is something we are committed to helping with. When your course outline is reviewed, staff look for the most efficient and affordable way to deliver course materials to your students. If you are interested in how we can help your students, please feel free to ask!

Visit the Course Reserves website for more information and submission instructions.

If you have questions or require additional information about this service, please contact the Library’s Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office at copyright@library.utoronto.ca



Highlights from STLHE 2015

SoTL CTSIFrom June 16-19, many U of T faculty and staff, including members of the CTSI team, participated in #STLHE2015. The Society for Teaching & Learning in Higher Education’s annual conference – this year’s theme was “Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice” – was co-hosted by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. There were two keynote presenters:

  • Dr Marsha Lovett, Carnegie Mellon, Applying Principles of Learning to Teaching – With or Without Technology 
  • Dr. Dee Fink, 5 High Impact Teaching Practices

Dr. Marsha Lovett, Director, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation, Carnegie Mellon University

A highlight to the event is the presentation of 3M Teaching & Student Fellowships. This year, Steve Joordens, Psychology, UTSC, was awarded a Teaching Fellowship and two students – Karen Young, Psychology and Health Studies, UTSC, and Wali Shah, Sociology – won Student Fellowships.

“All of us from the University of Toronto felt a tremendous sense of pride when Professor Steve Joordens, Psychology Department, was presented with one of 10 3M National Teaching Fellow awards, and two U of T students received 3M National Student Fellowships: Karen Young, 3rd Year Psychology and Health Studies, U of T Scarborough and Wali Shah, 2nd year BA Sociology, U of T Mississauga. These awards honour the important contributions to teaching, learning and leadership that these award recipients have made.”
Carol Rolheiser, Director, CTSI, and Professor, Curriculum, Teaching & Learning (OISE)

3M Fellowship Recipients

Steve Joordens, Psychology, UTSC, and Karen Young, Psychology and Health Studies, UTSC

For Erin Macnab, CTSI, Programs Coordinator, this was her first opportunity to attend a faculty and educational developers conference of this size and scale:

“Attending STLHE for the first time was an eye-opening experience. It was so valuable to me to see the range of work being done across Canada in teaching and learning. I’ve come away from the conference with a huge number of ideas for programming and resources for CTSI. It was wonderful to also see the hard work of our 3M Student and National Teaching Fellows recognized – a great acknowledgement of the incredible work being done here at U of T!”
Erin Macnab, Programs Coordinator, CTSI

STLHE 2015

Steve Joordens, Psychology, UTSC, and Carol Rolheiser, Director, CTSI

Over the next few weeks we will continue to share photos and insights on the STLHE conference. Please check back in for more information and/or share your stories if you attended.

What’s New for U of T Portal?

Now that the May upgrade is complete, we can all enjoy the enhanced features and new tools of the U of T’s Learning Portal. Highlights include My Grade Student View, Teaching Assistants and Graders Assigned as Delegated Graders, and Reconciling Grades. The Anonymous and Delegated Grading function in the Assignment tool allows greater flexibility in assigning roles and responsibilities to teaching assistants or graders. This is also a good opportunity to explore the new and improved Portfolio Tool.

You can read more about What’s New for U of T Portal on the portalinfo site.




Have you met this year’s award recipients?

We are pleased to announce the 2015 recipients for the Teaching Assistants’ Training Program Teaching Excellence Awards. This is the inaugural year for the CI award, honoring graduate student Course Instructors at the University of Toronto.


2015 TA Teaching Excellence Awards
Mario Badr (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Kris (Sanghyun) Kim (Chemistry)
Darius Rackus (Chemistry)
Sean Smith (Philosophy)

More information about this award, including a complete list of shortlisted candidates, is available on the TA Teaching Excellence Award page.

You can read more about Mario Badr on U of T Engineering News.

2015 CI Teaching Excellence Awards
Letitia Henville (English, UTSC)

More information about this award, including a complete list of shortlisted candidates, is available on the CI Teaching Award page.

Academic Toolbox Renewal Spotlight

When you are thinking of using a new educational technology, do you ask
yourself, ­ “Does the tool (or company behind the tool), protect sensitive
information, such as student data or your intellectual property from being
put at risk and/or being used by others?”

When considering services and solutions for use with your students, it is
essential to understand the risk that such services and solutions may
present. Risk to you and/or the University through the use of information
services can occur for many reasons, including ­ threats to private or personally
identifiable and other sensitive information, or vulnerabilities in the
software, hardware, out-sourced or built-to-order components.

If you and your students need to log into the tool to use it, or if you
plan to upload content (or have your students upload content), it’s good
practice to use the Information Risk and Risk Management (IRRM) audit
processes to assess the viability of the solution before you use it. The
IRRM covers standards related to the protection of personally identifiable
information as per the Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act,
information security practice, access control practices, business
continuity planning, capacity and scalability of architecture, and so on.

For more on the Academic Toolbox Renewal Initiative, please visit

SoTL Skills Development Workshop: Searching the Higher Education Literature

Thinking of embarking on a SoTL study and/or seeking evidence-based pedagogical research to inform your teaching practices?  Consider registering for this upcoming workshop on May 11th.

SoTL Skills Development Workshop: Searching the Higher Education Literature
May 11th 2015

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) engages instructors along a continuum of inquiry into their teaching. In all cases a reflective, scholarly instructor regularly consults the academic literature to utilize evidence to inform both their own practice and research.  At the University of Toronto we are fortunate to have liaison librarians to provide expert research services for faculty engaged in all areas of SoTL work.

Fiona Rawle, Senior Lecturer and recent recipient of the inaugural 2015 University of Toronto Early Career Teaching Award, has regularly incorporated librarian services into several of her SoTL projects. For example, Fiona and the UTM Science Education and Research group and their students studied assessment of the impact of a Biology course redesign on scientific thinking skills and worked closely with Mindy Thuna, Science liaison librarian to Biology at UTM (currently on secondment to the Gerstein Science Information Centre), to conduct research on this teaching practice. Studies such as this can have immediate and long-term impact both in the classroom and on the academic teaching and learning community. Fiona explains the team approach in this way:

“Support from the science liaison library has pushed the research of our Science Education and Research group forward because the librarian collaborates with each researcher in the group and fosters further connection and collaboration between group members.”

Librarians, faculty and students benefit from the collaborative work that is being undertaken on SoTL research projects. Mindy notes:

“This collaboration has enabled me to explore alongside them the educational literature that supports and expands on the work that they are already doing in their courses. This has been a wonderful opportunity for me to tweak my own skill set while helping them build their own beyond the traditional discipline specific knowledge base into the broader arena of the scholarship around teaching and learning.”

Liaison librarians offer a wide range of services to faculty, including literature searches both within specific disciplines as well as the broader higher education literature. Mindy will be co-facilitating the May 11th workshop with Monique Flaccavento, Education Liaison Librarian, and Heather Buchansky, Student Engagement Librarian. These librarians will share expert tips and tricks, for both the beginner and the seasoned researcher, for SoTL literature searches, as well as search strategies in the sciences, social sciences and humanities.

For further event details please visit:

To inquire more about the SoTL Network at UofT please email cora.mccloy@utoronto.ca

Mindy Thuna
Monique Flaccavento
Heather Buchansky
Cora McCloy

Re/Design Your Course With CTSI: Join us for our Course Design/Redesign Institute This May

by Erin Macnab, Programs Coordinator, CTSI

As the semester wraps up, it’s time to look forward to the summer and start preparing for the fall semester. On May 20th and 21st, faculty members can get a head start on planning their courses when we host CTSI’s 5th annual Course Design/Redesign Institute (CDI). We invite faculty members looking to create a new course or redesign a course that they have already taught to join us for this valuable learning experience.

Dee Fink’s 2003 book, Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses provides the structure of the CDI. Participants will learn about the five phases of course design: situational factors, learning goals, feedback and assessment, and instruction and lesson planning, and focus on aligning and integrating these elements into their own courses.

The Institute emphasizes a backwards design model, encouraging participants to engage with student learning outcomes to develop the basis for their courses. The cross-disciplinary nature of this 2-day workshop, which invites faculty members from all career stages to join, allows for the sharing of pedagogical ideas and strategies among colleagues, and exposes participants to a wide variety of techniques and practices.

Led by an expert facilitation team (with members from CTSI, U of T Libraries, Online Learning Strategies, and ITS), participants will work collaboratively and individually on their own course, and will leave the Institute with a framework that includes a course outline, a sample lesson plan, and an assessment scheme. Individuals and teams are both welcome.

You can read more about Course Design on our website and access resources there, including further information about past Institutes, but for now I’ll leave you with a few remarks from our past participants across campuses, which highlight how the Institute helps faculty members rethink course design strategies while providing the tools to work within unique academic environments:

“I really appreciated the opportunity (fuelled by the workshop agenda) to think and work together with our group on course design and overall program design.  The exercises and tools got me thinking more creatively (making some of my work easier) and at the same time clarified our next steps (still a daunting task).”
Elaine Aimone, Medicine

“The CTSI Course Design Institute was a valuable experience for me…. I particularly appreciated that the Institute allowed participants to work through the ideas while designing one of their courses. I left the institute with a new plan for an upcoming fourth-year seminar course in Theatre Theory at UTSC, and I know that the course will be much stronger for having emerged from this experience.”
Barry Freeman, Theatre and Performance Studies (UTSC)

“One of the strengths of the CDI that I really enjoyed was that I came up with a specific, relevant road-map to design a course that will be a great learning experience for my students. There are so many elements of the CDI that I refer to again and again.”
Tanya Kirsch, Management (UTM)

“The course design institute has attuned me to the importance of ensuring skills and habits taught/practiced in lecture and tutorials are the same I ask students to demonstrate on exams and major projects.”
Jayson Parker, Biology

To join us on Wednesday, May 20th and Thursday, May 21st for two full days of intensive focus on creating or revamping your course, faculty members should register online before April 20th.