My first graphic syllabus

Recently, I was introduced to the idea of a graphic syllabus. In her book The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course (available at the OISE library), Linda B. Nilson, suggests that instructors can convey the relationships between course concepts directly through the syllabus.

In the winter 2012 semester, I will be teaching a 4th year course called Integrative Design Project at the Institute of Communication, Culture and Information Technology at the Mississauga campus.  Incorporating a design element into a design course seems like something I should pursue.

The knowledge domains that constitute the integrative design project course for 2012: 1) design research, 2) user centered design, 3) eGovernment

These are the major knowledge domains that constitute the integrative design project course for 2012

To the left, I have posted my first attempt at graphically representing the knowledge domains that are covered in course readings and around which the assignments focus.  For example, the major group assignments will involve students researching and designing a prototype of a website or digital interface to enhance a government service or democratic society more broadly.  Their prototypes are expected to be user and citizen centric.

 

Curriculum guides for film – not just for K-12

Image of film audience

Image by Canadian Film Centre used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

This post addresses a question I have fielded as a TATP trainer who teaches a workshop on video in the classroom.

Partcipants sometimes ask, where can I find video curriculum guides to help me teach in my discipline? This question does not emerge out of thin air. It comes up because when I teach the workshop, I bring along a curriculum kit called Teaching the Levees.  Hurricane Katrina caused devastating damage to New Orleans.  The curriculum guide is intended to support discussion of the associated social and political issues that are raised in Spike Lee’s film When the Levees Broke. 

In my experience, TAs and instructors alike are very enthusiastic that other people prepare discussion questions that may be appropriate for their classroom!  It is often a novel concept that such resources are available.

A challenge for post-secondary educators, is that most curriculum guides for film seem to be directed towards the teachers of kindergarten to grade 12 students. In researching this blog post, Jenaya Webb, Public Services Librarian, OISE Library, indicated to me that they have a collection of curriculum guides to assist their student teachers on placements in the K-12 educational system.  Jenaya also helped me to compile a list of more widely available resources to the U of T community (see below).

In order to find curriculum kits or guides that may be useful in your post-secondary teaching, I recommend using the web as a starting point to find resources that you can adapt to make relevant for your course. Some options in alphabetical order include:


1) Amnesty International Film Curriculum Guides

As a human rights organization, Amnesty has a number of PDF downloadable curriculum guides for films that address issues such as war, race, and gender. I downloaded the curriculum guide for Born into Brothels, an academy award winning documentary, and found that some of the grade 9-12 level discussion questions could be easily adapted by linking to a university course level reading.

2) HotDocs:  Toronto’s own documentary festival has film resources in their HotDocs library for K-12 learning.  Here you may find materials that link to your courses.  In the words of the HotDocs team, “these docs will engage students with issues of our day; with vital ideas, critical questions and new perspectives outside the mainstream media and school textbook.”

3)  National Film Board (NFB) of Canada:
The NFB has a comprehensive section of their website devoted to educators. There is a section of the website where teachers can search for teaching guides on various topics. Additionally, I find the playlists for educators organized thematically (i.e. films about Science and Technology) to be a great resource.

I hope that you are able to find curriculum materials for films that are relevant for your classroom.  If you have experiences or tips you wish to share, please comment.

Caption This!

Enter the 2011 Teaching & Learning Symposium Caption Contest for a chance to win a Dell Streak 7 Honeycomb Tablet.

This year’s Teaching & Learning Symposium, co-hosted by the Office of the Vice-President and Provost and CTSI, will focus on the theme of Cultivating Teaching, Cultivating Learning. The interactive sessions, roundtable discussions and poster displays are all presented by UofT instructors and staff. The Symposium is an opportunity to share research and experiences in the classroom with colleagues, to discuss teaching issues and to learn from each other. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from this year’s winners of the President’s Teaching Award and the keynote address by Roger Martin, Dean, Rotman School of Managment on Cultivating the Opposable Mind.

The day will conclude with our Caption Contest. The CTSI Caption Contest Team will select three captions from all the entries (you can enter HERE) and symposium attendees will vote for the winner. The winner will receive a Dell Streak 7 Honeycomb Tablet (and bragging rights, of course). You don’t have to be at the symposium to win (although we do encourage you to attend!) but you must be a UofT instructor or staff member.

The cartoon was drawn by Tom Gravestock, professional artist extraordinaire. We greatly appreciate his take on the steampunk teaching experience.

Large Classroom Teaching: a new online resource from CTSI

We’re excited to announce that our new online learning module on Large Classroom Teaching is now available. This has been a collaborative project between CTSI staff, Teaching Academy members (winners of the President’s Teaching Award) and Tyler Blacquiere, our work-study student. One of our goals in producing this module was to bring colleagues together via video clips to share their experience and expertise. Walking into a large classroom – whether that’s 60 or 1600 students – can be a daunting experience for students and instructors alike. Rather than reinventing the wheel (and assuming that there is something called the ‘teaching wheel’), we’ve compiled interviews and resources from instructors, staff and graduate students who offer their knowledge and real life experiences working in the large class setting. The module highlights work already happening on UofT campuses. Instructors describe their  methods to engage with students, and how students can engage with each other, even when there are hundreds gathered in a single room.

Our module, divided into four broad categories (planning, strategies, assessment and technology), is designed to help instructors and teaching assistants as they build and deliver their courses. There is so much more to teaching than simply providing content. There is more to assessment than mid-term tests. Visit our module and explore the almost 100 short clips (yes, 100! I was pretty impressed when I added them all up) and resources available online.   They can be used by individual instructors as they refine their teaching approaches, or can  be used by groups in workshop and seminar settings through CTSI or as department-based discussions.

Please keep in mind that we want to continue building this module, highlighting and exploring initiatives across all three campuses. If you have an experience that you would like to share – or have specific questions regarding this module or large classroom teaching – please feel free to contact CTSI at any time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-mKiU6aOe8

Cut down on waste, not trees!

Submitted by Elah Feder – Project Coordinator, Sustainability Office, UofT

A few years ago, a student researcher calculated U of T uses about 10 million sheets of paper each year. That’s just in first and second year courses on St. George campus, and it doesn’t include all the textbooks we use each year, so the real total is much higher.

Paper has its place, and we’re not suggesting everyone needs to go electronic, but we do think there are some great opportunities to cut down on waste. The U of T Green Courses program recognizes those instructors who have made an effort to do so.

So far, over 100 courses have been recognized for choosing basic practices like double-siding, posting lecture slides in compact forms, and choosing environmentally-friendly paper for their course readers.

The Sustainability Office is now accepting applications for spring semester courses. Learn more about the program and download the self-assessment form at uoft.me/greencourses.

Breakdown of paper use in first and second year courses,
excluding textbooks, based on research by Yi-an Chen.