by Deirdre Bonnycastle -
Number of replies: 13
I'll kick off this section. smile
I'm Deirdre Bonnycastle and I provide teaching development for the University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine. I am the author of the Medical Education Wiki and the Medical Education Blog under that initiative. I also, as a personal project, edit the Active Learning Blog Carnival, a monthly journal about how teachers at every level are actively involving their students in learning.

I am very interested in this topic because although we are one of the first colleges in Canada that have mandated minimal teaching training as a requirement for tenure, we are finding it difficult to encourage department heads to plan training release time for new faculty. We also run into issues around the scholarship of teaching not being seen as valid research for promotion purposes in colleges other than Education.

We recently started a mandatory two-day teaching program for all medical residents (our grad students) that has been getting very good reviews from participants.
In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Re: Introductions

by Gary Hunt -
Thank you for this Deirdre. The issues you raise can certainly be expanded into extensive discussion and I hope others will comment as we gain momentum in this seminar.

I will make a general comment for people to respond to. Make the rewards for teacher training (educational development) significant--so all faculty will see it as a good use of their valuable time. Build it into promotion and tenure so it will be recognized as having significant value compared to other components of work.

The valuing of traditional "research" compared to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) is a huge issue in BC institutions and I hear elsewhere as well. At my institution, Thompson Rivers University, we have made an important step toward recognition of the SoTL. Embedded in the collective agreement, we have a definition of "scholarly activity" which is broad and encompasses the scholarships of Ernest Boyer (discovery, application, integration, and teaching). We are currently developing criteria for promotion and tenure in each of our faculties and schools. The wording in these documents will determine the extent to which the faculties really buy into the idea of broad scholarship.
In reply to Gary Hunt

Re: Introductions

by Irene Nizzero -

It sounds like I may be the "odd duck" within this group, but I'll jump in anyway.

I am the faculty developer at our community college in Sudbury, Ontario. It's a position I've had for about 1.5 years of a three-year secondment. I was formerly on faculty and retain that designation in this position.

Our circumstances are different from the university setting in many significant ways, but the notion of national credentialing is still interesting to me.

I wonder if there will be room for discussing the community college in this seminar...? Would this warrant a separate thread, perhaps? Alternatively, I'm not opposed to lurking, as I'm sure I'll find the discussions very interesting and helpful.

Irene Nizzero

In reply to Irene Nizzero

Then there were two...

by Valerie Taylor -
Hello Irene

We are two "odd ducks" together - I teach part-time online at DeAnza College - a community college in Cupertino, California. I have facilitated several faculty development workshops about online teaching and learning.

The course I teach is a transfer credit course, so technically it is a Higher Ed course. My students are a more diverse group than traditional university students and far more motivated but that is the most significant difference. ;o)

..Valerie Taylor
In reply to Valerie Taylor

Re: Then there were two...

by Vivian Neal -
Irene and Valerie are bringing up an interesting point about the college system and the need for professionalizing teaching in this realm.  And also Valerie brought up "transfer" courses, as they are called in British Columbia, whereby students take a couple of years at a college, then transfer to a university to complete their degree.  At the University of Plymouth, a subsection of our LTHE students take a course in Higher Education in Further Education Contexts (further education in the UK has some similarity to the community college system in Canada and the US). As far as I can tell, this route for taking HE is expanding quickly and becoming increasingly important and relevant to students. 
In reply to Vivian Neal

Re: Then there were two...

by Irene Nizzero -


You have described exactly the very circumstances that apply to some of our students, as well, in reference to the transfer courses. There are many programs within our system that are well recognized by our local university, so that students who receive their diploma in those particular programs,  often enter into their second year (or beyond) in related degree programs at university. This has been the experience of many students going outside of our city, too, thankfully.

We also have articulation agreements with our local university in one program in particular, which results in our students obtaining a degree while taking all of their courses at our college. The fees are lower, the professor:student ratio is better, and the institution is smaller and more 'intimate' as a result. So, we also have professors among our faculty who are teaching at the university level.

I concur that there are LOTS of reasons to consider the professionalism of college faculty. Most significant is the fact that we're a post-secondary institution that hires people to teach who may not (in fact, likely do not) have a teaching background. That, to me, is the most compelling element we have in common with the university system, that absolutely warrants discussion around establishing a teaching credential for professors - in ANY post-secondary institution.

In reply to Irene Nizzero

students now and in the future

by Valerie Taylor -
Cupertino is about 8 miles south of Palo Alto. If you get to San Jose,
you have gone too far. This a big suburban area so there aren't any
distinguishing features when you transition between Mountain View,
Sunnyvale, Cupertino... DeAnza College and its sister Foothill College
are right smack in the middle of Silicon Valley - geographically,
culturally and spiritually.

DeAnza was one of the first colleges to offer television courses -
huge in the 1980s and 1990s. It was the center for teaching
programming, network administration and everything IT related.
However, offering transfer courses and a flexible, low cost
alternative to 4-year institutions has always been a major focus of
the instructional offerings.

Fortunately, we get to be innovative and are encouraged to explore
options to attract and retain students. There is always the concern
for articulation agreements - courses are reviewed periodically by
some of the state 4-year schools to ensure they continue to accept the
course for transfer credit.

I think a big issue that will come up is assessing student learning.
What are students learning and how do you know this? What are they
supposed to have learned and how is that assessed and evaluated. At
the community college level we see a much broader spectrum of
students, and are much more aware of these differences.

I have students who are amazing learners - full time employees,
parents, community volunteers and full-courseload students. If they
were only graded on standard college-level quizzes and essays, they
would be marginal. With a broader range of assessment and evaluations,
it is evident that they have an outstanding command of the topic and
their analytical skills and critical thinking are exceptional. Their
personal life experiences add another important dimension to the
class. Oh, did I mention that English is their third language?

Welcome to my world. Whatever gets decided must take these learners
into account. They are the future.

In reply to Valerie Taylor

Re: Then there were two...

by Deirdre Bonnycastle -
My roots are in the Community College where I taught/was an administrator for 30 years in Saskatchewan and Ontario. Our provincial college has contracted with the University of Regina to provide a teaching certificate program online that all faculty are required to take unless they have a BEd. They wanted to give teachers recognized university credits in the hope more instructors would continue to at least the BEd level.

In many ways it is easier to implement required training because you don't have the academic freedom or research tradition that shackles universities.
In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Re: Introductions

by Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers -
Hi everyone,
Thanks for starting the introductions Dierdre. We have been on several Scope conferences now together.

By way of an introduction, I want to say thanks for to all the Scope contributors as they help me stay in touch with ongoing learning in the online teaching area.

I am a clinical psychologist in Edmonton Alberta who has been involved in distance learning and education for the past 5 years. I just graduated with the Graduate Diploma in Distance Education and Technology at Athabasca University. I studied about online learning with Pat Fahy at AU and that course was very informative and has influenced my views. I have been taught cognitive behavioural therapy, health psychology, art therapy and dance/movement therapy. I consider myself a life long learner more, even when I teach or therapy in my private practice.

I am learning how others teach about expressive arts, health, learning, teaching and therefore, the topic of quality teaching intrigues me. I look forward to this e-seminar. Jo Ann
In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Re: Introductions

by Barbara Berry -
Hi Everyone,
I am Barb Berry and I currently provide educational consulting to the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU as well as the TechOne program (a first year cohort-based effort). I also teach along with my colleagues from LIDC in the Graduate Certificate Program offered at SFU. I usually co-facilitate the workshops on course design, student assessment and teaching philosophy. I am interested in the topic of this seminar and it seems timely given the current environment at SFU where there is a teaching task force, working groups on teaching and a growing conversation about the scholarship of teaching. I'm curious about hearing the stories from far afield and your perspectives on what seems to be an increasing effort to "mandate" improvements in teaching. Generally I am wondering about the types of strategies that can be deployed to support teaching excellence. I am looking forward to this seminar and hope to join as often as possible. Nice to see you Vivian!

Cheers Barb
In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Nick's Intro

by Nick Noakes -
[waving energetically] Hi folks!

I'm the director of a faculty development unit at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and am interested in this topic for my workplace.

The quickest to find out about me is to Google "Nick Noakes".
In reply to Nick Noakes

Re: Nick's Intro

by Vivian Neal -
Nick, Barb and others share an interest in this topic as it may at some point affect the way we work with teachers in HE. It's great that you are participating in this seminar and I'd like learn more about your perspectives on how a credentialed environment might affect you personally and your workmates.  Barb, of course I know your workplace (my old Canadian workplace), but I don't know your opinions about credentialling....
In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Re: Introductions

by Alice Macpherson -
Alice Macpherson here, aka Alys Obviate in Second Life. Hi Nick and everyone!! (more waving of arms and smiling)

As the PD Coordinator in Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Centre for Academic Growth, I am continually working with and looking at objectives and outcomes for everything we do and how we do teaching competently. It has always intrigued me in this job that many (not all) people in higher education act as if expert knowledge in a field equates with excellent teaching. I think that this conversation is vital to increase the reflection on our teaching and to move into taking our scholarly activities in the classroom to a public arena, perhaps under the "Big Tent" (Huber and Hutchings, 2005) that is pitched on the "Teaching Commons" for the new teachers and scholars to begin and be supported in their self-reflection on 'authentic practice' (Kreber, 2007).

Kwantlen offers a Teaching for Learning program that uses the Instructional Skills Workshop as a foundation and builds up with a number of reflective, theoretical, and practical sessions to provide tools for excellent teaching.

I am looking forward to all of the ideas that will come out.
In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Introducing Wendy Burton

by Wendy Burton -
I am, as of January 2, 2009, the Director, Teaching and Learning at University of the Fraser Valley.

As my newly-minted university considers the issues of rank and tenure, teaching and teaching excellence continue to be important issues. We have a system of teaching evaluation in place, and our probationary faculty process includes classroom observations as well as the review of curriculum materials.

Our "teaching excellence" program is built on the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW), and included new faculty orientation, teaching and learning discussion groups and seminars, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) groups, workshops to do with teaching and learning f2f and online, and a Research Advisory Committee and Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee.

Teaching excellence is part of our goals/outcomes in our strategic plan. Answering the question "What means good teaching" is part of our student recruitment and retention drive.

I have, for many years, been engaged in the informal, grass-roots initiatives to develop an environment where talking about teaching is encouraged and where professional development to do with teaching is acknowledged as an important facet of academic life.