• General

    A Shared Language

    [social-bio] Recently the topic of “consistent language” came up during a lunchtime discussion here at the Centre. What was the difference between a “course” and a “class?” Our director, Jim Greer recommended the University’s 2011 nomenclature report. The report defines a course as: the smallest formally recognized academic unit of the curriculum is the course – a unit of study in a subject area identified by a description of activities…While ‘course’ is used to identify subject matter, ‘class’ is used to refer to the offering of a course to one or more students within a term (p.3) My interpretation of this is that a “course” has the number and four-letter description…

  • Assessment and Evaluation,  Instructional / Course Design,  Instructional Strategies

    Assessment For Learning

    [social-bio] “Students can, with difficulty, escape from the effects of poor teaching, they cannot (by definition if they want to graduate) escape the effects of poor assessment.” (Boud, 1998) Think back to your experience as an undergraduate.  How did you decide what to focus on in the hours outside the classroom?  What drove your priorities in selecting what work to dedicate time to? If you were anything like me your decisions were driven by what you thought would get you a good grade.  Don’t get me wrong, I was there to learn and was passionate about the subject I was studying.  But I was also practical.  I had limited time…

  • Educational Technology,  Instructional Strategies

    What Do Automobile Engines and Educational Innovation Have in Common?

    [social-bio] Recently, someone recommended that I read “Design Research for Sustained Innovation” by Carl Bereiter. Although, the article was published in 2002, I found it to be very relevant today. The premise of the article is that, “innovative practices seldom win out against those with a long evolutionary history” (p. 321). This is not only true in education, but in all aspects of human life. He makes a thought-provoking comparison between innovation in education and innovation in the automobile engine. The automobile engine has drawbacks related to the reciprocating piston that were recognized early. Bereiter explains that the a “better engine” called the Wankel engine was invented in the 1920s,…

  • Academic Integrity,  Assessment and Evaluation,  Curriculum Development,  General,  Instructional / Course Design,  Instructional Strategies,  Program Evaluation

    The Academic Honesty Bonus: Another Advantage of an Aligned Curriculum

    [social-bio] In my role as a Curriculum Development Specialist, I get to talk with faculty about their programs and the many reasons to examine and renew curricula in higher education.  In recent months, another advantage to an aligned curriculum has come to mind for me:  academic honesty. I posit that the three following relationships hold generally true, and promote academic honesty among students. When faculty alert students to the progressive nature of the curriculum and convey to students how what they are learning now prepares them for, not only life after graduation but for future courses, students can better recognize the benefit of deep learning.   For example, students can come…

  • General

    Annual Fall Orientation to Teaching and Learning to Be Held

    [social-bio] Every year since the early 1990’s the U of S has offered an orientation to teaching for new instructors. In past years our attendance has been amazing, with some years having 200 people attend. But no matter the number of attendees over the years the response to the orientation has always been extremely enthusiastic and evaluations have told us that the program offered really helps new instructors get a glimpse of what it means to teach at the U of S. Learning your way around a new institution whether you are new faculty, sessional or grad student teacher can be daunting but our goal has always been to offer…

  • Curriculum Development

    New Bridges and Curriculum Renewal

    [social-bio] On the opening day of Saskatoon’s new bridge, my son insisted that we check it out. I am so glad he did!!!  All the inconveniences of the past few years have come together so elegantly linking parts of the city that seemed so far apart before. What use to be at least a 30-minute drive is now a quick streamlined, pothole-free trip. For a curriculum consultant, the long-term planning of the bridge—100 years apparently—the vision, and the various stages from start to finish offers several lessons for large-scale curriculum construction and renewal: Have a clear purpose and vision. What is it that will be accomplished by this change? What…