Back To School Teaching Events for Faculty

By 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 We look forward to meeting you!