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Goto our new blog at teachingblog.mcgill.ca

If you are here, you are at the old site for the Teaching for Learning Blog. Please go to our new site at: http://teachingblog.mcgill.ca See you there!

Food for Thought – CHEM181x – McGill’s First MOOC has begun


McGill has released its first MOOC, Food for Thought (CHEM181x). This course was developed by Teaching and Learning Services from an on-campus course titled “World of Chemistry: Food” that has been very popular since the mid 1980s…. Read more –>

Five suggestions for improving students’ writing in your course, regardless of the subject


A recent University Affairs article concisely articulates five key points from John Bean’s book Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom, 2nd edition (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011). Read more –>

Social media in higher education: a teaching and learning project

Reposted from arthopodecology.com. This term I will be spending some time with Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) at McGill: instead of doing my normal winter teaching, TLS is offering me a home for 2-3 days a week to work on projects with them. This is an outstanding opportunity as it provides real and significant time to work on teaching innovation. In my opinion, teaching in higher education should constantly be evaluated and re-assessed, and all Professors (regardless of career stage) should be supported and encouraged to improve, change and innovate their teaching. Read more –>

Social media and academic censorship in the USA


I hope I never have to tweet or post to my Facebook page anonymously… although in the “big data” universe there is no longer anything like anonymity since all this is likely scooped up for later use by someone. Read more –>

Robotutor marking student homework


Finally something (someone) who can teach thousands of students at a time. I give you… Robotutor! Is this where our flirtation with MOOCs will lead? What are we trying to achieve with MOOCs anyway? That has never been made clear to me. I could imagine MOOCs as a way to prepare students FOR university but I still have grave concerns about what they mean for the future of universities if we remove the real interactions between professors and students and we stop pushing both to be their best.

McGillX MOOCs – Librarians in the Virtual Classroom


I wrote in a previous post about how librarians were getting more involved in the teaching on university campuses across North America. Now I’d like to offer a glimpse into how librarians are actively playing a role in advancing and innovating teaching and learning right here at McGill. Read more –>

Twenty top tips for interpreting scientific claims from University of Cambridge

From Wikipedia: - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Argonne_lab_education.jpg

We talk about giving students the tools to evaluate research in their disciplines critically. These tools can also be applied to their roles as citizens as well. We are sold a lot of things now- it is more important than ever to judge the claims of our colleagues, our leaders and even ourselves honestly and critically. Here are some really good tips for developing that critical spirit from the University of Cambridge. Read more –>

Turning class participation into short written assignments

class participation

In the entry from the Teaching Professor Blog pasted below, Maryellen Weimer, PhD, suggests that instructors give students a participation grade for writing ABOUT participation, not for talking up in class. What a novel idea! Weimer writes that the common approach to grading participation rewards students who like to talk and know that verbal participation will win them points. Instead, she suggests that writing short papers about the role participation plays in the learning process is a more fruitful strategy to help students appreciate how important interaction is to the learning process. Read more –>

MOOPies – Mini Online Open Projects from Bio-Treatment of Wastes class at Mac Campus


This year, the students in the Bio-Treatment of Wastes class and I are doing an experiment. I have asked the students to do a group project with a twist: each group is producing a 5-minute video, about a bio-treatment topic, to be posted to YouTube. These are our Mini Online Open Projects, or MOOPies. Read more –>

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