• 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…

  • 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…

  • Educational Technology,  Indigenization, Decolonization, Reconciliation,  Internationalization

    USask spaces that flex with the type of learning

    Many USask classrooms have been designed with one thing in mind – successful transmission of information from the faculty member to the students.  Even as technologies changed over time, that model did not – we just added screens, data projectors for our slideshows, and cameras and microphones to capture a lecture. Current theories of learning tell us that people learn some things well by hearing about them, but they need to pair that with talking to others about it, practicing and getting feedback, and actively doing for most types of learning.  We are now designing flexible classrooms that can do each of these types of learning in a sequence, all…

  • Assessment and Evaluation,  Educational Technology,  General,  Remote Teaching

    Elevate Your Course Projects using Riipen

    USask faculty members have been taking advantage of our new partnership with the Riipen project-based learning platform. Riipen provides an all-in-one platform for connecting, communicating, sharing documents, and managing deadlines between stakeholders (instructors, students, and community/industry partners). This post highlights the experiences within two USask courses. Course within College of Agriculture and Bioresources Within the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, faculty member Dr. Sabine Liebenehm, wanted her upper-year Agricultural Economics students to be able to complete a business analysis on a real company and provide a report and an executive presentation. She worked with Riipen to onboard two local companies and connect them to the groups of students within the…

  • Assessment and Evaluation,  SoTL

    Assessment Equity and Alignment with Experiential Learning

    When I met with Sandy and Harold I was stressed. I was worried that I was falling behind. After coming from a very busy workplace with many competing deadlines and defined work hours, starting a PhD program and having to manage my time independently is a huge challenge. Most days feel chaotic and I’m often overwhelmed. Being a student has given me space, mentally and emotionally, to think and to focus on my health. But this “room to think” can also be a dangerous thing. Sometimes hours, even days, slip by in an unfocused haze of meandering reading if I’m not careful. This skill of balancing time and energy is…

  • Inclusivity,  Instructional / Course Design,  Instructional Strategies,  Internationalization

    From Modelling to Designing Intercultural Curricula

    You now know that you have pretty decent intercultural teaching capacities. You have continued to develop an awareness of your own identity and are modelling perspective-taking. Students in your course have the opportunity to interact with different worldviews because you know that makes them smarter. You actively create opportunities to build relationships between ‘others’ and can recognize barriers to student participation – you’ve essentially mastered using your intercultural capacity to inform teaching practices. So now you must be wondering, “What’s next? How can I further internationalize in my course?”  No fear, you are not alone. Dimitrov & Haque (2016) have some suggestions for “curriculum design competencies”. “Effective instructors are able…

  • Educational Theory,  Instructional Strategies

    Getting More Active (and getting more learning)

    The holidays are a time of year that are almost inevitably followed by a feeling that you should be more active after all those treats and large meals.  Many educators want their students to be more active and engaged, but like the post-holiday feeling that you should be more active, it is hard to turn that good will into consistent action in your instruction.  This post focuses on easy changes to make your course more active. Step 1- Clarify the purpose of active learning in your class Active learning is time in your classroom when students are actively thinking, talking, and making sense of ideas.  It is contrasted with passive…