Instructional Strategies

  • Experiential Learning,  Instructional Strategies

    Gamifying Learning Experiences

    Summary: Discover how gamification can transform your teaching! Learn strategies to engage students and enhance learning through game-like experiences in our latest article. Date of publishing: December 13, 2023 In this blog post, we’ll explore helpful tips on how to incorporate gamification into your own university courses. Dr. Martin Gaal, a Political Studies faculty member, has successfully incorporated gamification into two of his courses, POLS 261 Global Politics and POLS 201 Global Citizenship Cultures and Coexistance. While POLS 261 and POLS 201 are not prerequisites for each other, Dr. Gaal does see value in students taking POLS 261 before 201. This sequential progression aligns with the staircase model of applied…

  • Academic Integrity,  Experiential Learning,  Instructional Strategies,  Sustainability

    Inbox Assignment 

    Summary: Transform your teaching with Inbox Assignments! Engage students and boost learning outcomes through real-world email scenarios. Explore this innovative approach now. Date of publishing: August 16, 2023 How’s your email inbox looking today? This can be a stressful question! We each have different ways of addressing projects but the reality is that email often plays a huge role in how we manage our to-do list. How do we prepare students for this career reality? Simulating a project via an inbox is a way to make a case study more authentic.    Case-based learning helps students address a complex problem. Students often work in small teams each with a different role…

  • Curriculum Development,  Educational Theory,  Experiential Learning,  Instructional / Course Design,  Instructional Strategies,  Uncategorized,  Wellness

    From Stuck to Supercharged: The What and Why of Brain Plasticity

    Your Brain on Teaching and Learning: Series One  What is Brain Plasticity? Brain plasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize and restructure itself throughout a person’s lifetime. It is a result of the brain’s ability to form new neural connections and strengthen existing ones based on the activities we engage in and the information we process. Factors such as learning, exercise, diet, and environmental stimuli can all influence brain plasticity. Recent research has shown that educators who understand the basics of brain plasticity can design courses that promote and accelerate learning and retention. Why is Brain Plasticity Important? Brain plasticity offers several benefits in the field of education, including: Improving…

  • Curriculum Development,  Educational Theory,  Experiential Learning,  General,  Instructional / Course Design,  Instructional Strategies,  Wellness

    Your Brain on Experiential Learning

    “Is disengaged.” “Is easily distracted.” “Shows no interest.” “Never shows up.” No professor wants to use these phrases to describe their students, but disengagement is a persistent problem — making descriptions such as these all too common today. Experiential Learning can help. Experiential learning is a powerful educational approach that helps students remain focused as it promotes active learning, fosters creativity and innovation, and prepares students for the real world. Let me explain: Experiential learning engages multiple parts of the brain simultaneously When learners participate and apply their learning in authentic contexts, it activates different areas of the brain responsible for sensory processing, motor skills, and cognitive functions, such as…

  • Authentic Assessment Grid
    Assessment and Evaluation,  Experiential Learning,  General,  Instructional Strategies

    Defining Authentic Assessment

    Summary: Authentic assessment emphasizes real-world application of skills and knowledge. Learn how it enhances student engagement and aligns with meaningful learning outcomes. Date of publishing: January 13, 2023 The term “authentic assessment” is often misleading as it is not just about assessing a student submission ‘authentically’; rather, it focuses on the context and relevance of learning beyond academia. The following definition considers the interconnectedness of learning tasks, activities, and feedback in designing authentic assessments. Authentic assessments are evaluations of student learning that use real-world tasks or performance-based assessments in authentic contexts. Authentic assessments rely on continuous feedback for improvement in their design. The goal of authentic assessment is to assess…

  • Educational Theory,  Inclusivity,  Instructional / Course Design,  Instructional Strategies

    Increasing Voice and Choice in the Classroom

    By Racquel Biem, Educational Development Specialist, Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning When we think of increasing voice and choice in the classroom we may immediately think of choice in assignments or assessment tasks. Whereas these do increase student choice, these alone do not get to the heart of increasing student voice and seeing students as partners in the teaching and learning process. It is for this reason that supporting student voice and choice requires building a learning environment focused on partnerships, student agency, flexible learning paths, and deep learning tasks. The learning framework is described below. Learning Partnerships occur when students actively learn with and from others. Collaborative…

  • Curriculum Development,  Instructional Strategies,  Uncategorized

    Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement within JSGS

    By Jamie Mayoh-Bauche, Instructional Designer, U of R, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy Keeping up with the latest scholarship on evidence-based practice can be a challenge for instructors who are busy with their own areas of research, amongst all the other things. In response to this challenge, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School (JSGS) embarked on creating a culture of continuous learning by making recent evidence-based teaching and learning practices easy and accessible for our instructors. Throughout the 2021/2022 school year, we organized a series of events and workshops aimed at building a shared understanding of program level competencies and instructional approaches that enhance student competency development. We gathered monthly…

  • Canvas,  Educational Technology,  Instructional Strategies,  Remote Teaching,  Uncategorized

    Perusall or Discussion Boards

    Previous Educatus blog posts have introduced Perusall to turn pre-class readings into social learning. In this post, I discuss how instructors might use Perusall to overcome discussion board fatigue and provide resources on using Perusall along with sample learning activities.  Perusall is a free social learning tool that students can access through Canvas. Students have discussions in the same space as they read course material. The image below shows what a student would see in Perusall, with the reading in the middle and the conversation on the side.  Throughout this post I only refer to the use of readings in Perusall. However, videos, images, podcasts, and webpages can all be…

  • Experiential Learning,  Instructional Strategies

    Experiential Learning Resources – 5 Top Picks

    By Roberta Campbell-Chudoba During the launch of our new USask Experiential Learning framework, we’ve had requests for more information about reflection frameworks, providing efficient feedback, and grading reflection. While we have built some resources around reflection and feedback, other higher education institutions have some gems to support Experiential Learning.  Brock University – Reflection in Your Course and a Critical Reflection Rubric Lays out why and when students should reflect, what reflection could look like, and provides a framework for evaluating reflection with a rubric. Taylor Institute – University of Calgary – Learning Module: Critical Reflection Introduces critical reflection to faculty, instructors, and staff with concise text, videos, checklists, and reflection…

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

    Announcing a New OER – Universal Design for Learning (UDL): One Small Step

    We know that learners bring a wide range of knowledge, skills, backgrounds, and experiences into the classroom. As educators, we can expect to find variability in our classroom. The USask Learning Charter lists, as one of the Educator Commitments and Responsibilities, to Strive for Excellence in Teaching. This commitment means that educators work to develop respectful and inclusive learning environments that support student learning. Honouring this commitment requires that educators co-create with students a shared space for learning in which all participants feel respected, valued, and empowered to contribute as they achieve their goals and share the gifts of their identities in relationship with one another. This approach is also part of…