The Centre for Teaching and Learning has established the Centred on Learning Innovation Fund (CLIF) to facilitate projects that contribute to the development, implementation, assessment, and further exploration of learning outcomes and learning outcomes-based practice at the University of Windsor. Click on abstract to read more about this year’s proposals:
BioArt: Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences
Jennifer Willet, School of Visual Arts
BioArt: Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences is an innovative course that will allow for non-specialist students to engage theoretically and practically in the biological sciences towards fostering a critical participatory engagement with the biological sciences from a fine art perspective. This learner-centred course is a studio art and science crossover lab intended for students from various disciplines to foster interdisciplinary exploration of the intersections between art and life through hands-on laboratory protocols, critical readings, and the production of contemporary artwork. Together we will explore the ethical debates, issues of access and accountability, and overspecialization that arise from contemporary biotechnologies and BioArt practices. Lectures will address a range of topics including: the biological sciences, historical crossovers between the fine arts and the hard sciences, and contemporary artists in the art/science field. Practical workshops will provide students with introductory experience with mammalian tissue culture, microscopy, DNA extraction and imaging, and genetic modification (amongst others) with an emphasis on health and safety and proper laboratory technique. This class will be hosted in an art/science lab in School of Visual Arts – but will also include some negotiated access to labs in other departments, particularly the Biological Sciences. This course will be unique in Canada (with only a few others in the world) and will serve as a national and international draw to the University of Windsor.
Collaborative Technologies as Enhancers of the First Year University Experience
Dragana Martinovic, Faculty of Education; Jelena Magliaro, Leddy Library; Kristina Verner, Centre for Smart Community Innovation; & Timothy Pugh, Grand Erie District School Board
The practical understanding and acceptance of technology is extremely important for successful integration of students in concurrent and consecutive pre-service teaching programs. This study focuses on the use of the Information Communication Technologies (ICT) in the first year of the teacher education program in the form of videoconferences and demonstrations of educational usage of technologies such as Skype, cell phones, and SmartBoards. Through these technological means, teacher candidates (TCs) at the University of Windsor will have synchronous discussions with the Nipissing University TCs and observe live in-class teaching demonstrations in the Grand Erie District Public School Board schools. The development of TCs’ technological literacy will be portrayed through their first-hand encounters with ICT, collaborative work with practicing teachers and teacher educators. Furthermore, we emphasize that involvement of TCs with ICT is critical to be introduced early in the program. In order for education to evolve technologically, TCs should not only be complacent observers but participants of the technology integration process from the first year of their university career. Definition of Terms: Concurrent TCs: full-time students that are in the four to five years long teacher education programme. Consecutive TCs: full-time students (that possess an undergraduate degree) in the one year teacher education programme.
Educational Expectations of First Year Students
Jill Singleton-Jackson & Jeffrey Reinhardt, Department of Psychology
In their widely cited tome, How College Affects Students, Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) assert that attending university exerts a lifetime impact on students ranging from income to politics. However, to date there has been little research into how students affect university; meanwhile, it is becoming clear that this street runs both ways. Students are not passive recipients of education, but are active participants in the shaping of contemporary higher education. The proposed project is to create and administer a survey to first-year students in an attempt to discover attitudes and beliefs that first-year students at Windsor have about higher education. More specifically, this survey will be developed with the intent to measure attitudes that students have that might reveal a sense of academic entitlement or a customer attitude toward obtaining an education. Recent research in higher education has identified students as having feelings of entitlement. This proposed survey would be an attempt to better understand the impact students’ customer service orientation has on the institution. This project would be the continuation of a current study that is using focus group data as a way of indentifying categories of questions that should be included in a survey. In addition to indentifying students’ beliefs and attitudes about what they are “buying” when they come to university, ideas for understanding today’s first-year customer/student and ways for faculty to cope and interact effectively with today’s first-year students will be the goal of this research.
Enhancing First Year Biology Labs to Enrich the Student Learning Experience
Dora Cavallo-Medved, Julie Smit, & Kirsten Poling, Department of Biological Sciences
In science, the laboratory (lab) component of first year courses is essential to a positive student learning experience. The lab environment provides an excellent opportunity to introduce students to innovative, active, and reflective experiences in smaller groups than the typical large lecture classroom. Our proposal focuses on the development and enhancement of first year biology lab exercises to ensure that students amass many of the University of Windsor learning outcomes (as outlined in the ‘To Greater Heights’ document). Our goals are to assess a number of current first year biology lab exercises and design new activities in an effort to provide deeper learning of course material. Through surveys of past students and graduate/teaching assistants, exercises requiring improvement within the two first year biology courses will be identified. Assessment of exercises collected during this project will be implemented to achieve a more engaging student experience. Furthermore, the collection of lab exercises will be available for future development. The results from this project will increase the enthusiasm among students for the first year science experience and enhance the effectiveness of the learning techniques associated with biology courses.
Enhancing the First Year Business Communication Experience
Francine Schlosser & Winter 2009 Instructors for 71-100 (Business Communications), Odette School of Business
We propose to augment our 71-100 Business Communications course (required for approximately 500 students annually) with an in-course debate competition. By exposing new students to a variety of extra-curricular clubs and interest groups on campus, this project will encourage students to become active participants and contributors at the University of Windsor. We will also introduce them to many senior student mentors, and allow these senior students new opportunities to develop and sustain their club memberships. The topic of the debates will encourage students to analyze and develop arguments regarding a variety of business areas. They will develop research skills that will be important to future success in the B Comm program. The project will be part of the 71-100 course requirements, and will help us to achieve very specific communication course objectives. We are requesting CLIF funding for rewards that will heighten their motivation and commitment through two rounds. Also, the lunch is an important part of socializing and debriefing after the competition’s first round. Honorariums for the clubs will reward their participation and mentoring of students and contribute to their sustenance.
Enhancing the Teaching and Learning of Physical Assessment Skills: Peer Mentors as Standardized Patients
Judy Bornais & Kathy Pfaff, Faculty of Nursing
Health assessment is an integral component of nursing care. Nursing educators continue to be challenged to provide a program which engages the learner in a systematic approach to assess and diagnosis the needs of the patient. The use of Standardized Patients (SPs) in teaching health assessment has been shown to increase student comfort and confidence when working with patients. In addition the integration of SPs has translated into improved skill, competence, and application of theory into practice. Peer mentoring is a key strategy for supporting nursing students, such that both the mentor and learner grow personally and professionally in this unique relationship. Therefore, it may follow that the incorporation of the peer mentor into the SP role will mutually enhance the learning of both the student and mentor. This innovative idea represents a learner-centred approach to the teaching and learning of physical assessment.
First Year International Students’ Expectations, Experiences and Challenges at the University of Windsor
George Zhou, Faculty of Education; Zuochen Zhang, Faculty of Education; Guoying Liu, Leddy Library; & Enrique Chacon, International Students’ Centre
As the University of Windsor has been making considerable progress toward its goal of becoming an institution known for its learner-centred practices, international students, as a unique group on campus, deserve our attention of understanding their needs. This study will explore perspectives, expectations, and experiences of the first year international students studying at the University of Windsor, paying special attention to the challenges these students face in the process of acculturation. Surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews will be used to collect quantitative and qualitative data. Based on our findings, we hope to generate useful suggestions to academic and administrative units on campus such as the International Students' Centre so that services can be provided to best meet the needs of international students.
Fostering Inclusion Through Peer-Mentoring Programs
Kim Calderwood, Wansoo Park, & Lisa Allison, School of Social Work
This project analyzes recruitment and retention within the School of Social Work with a goal of obtaining a comprehensive collection of data that will inform a more in-depth longitudinal study to be implemented in the 2009-2010 academic year. During the 2008-2009 academic year, the Social Work Student Association (SWSA) at the University of Windsor implemented an innovative peer mentoring program to link first-year social work students to third- or fourth-year social work students. Documentation about its implementation will be reviewed, and through focus groups and a survey, students will provide feedback on how the program was implemented, its strengths and areas for improvement, and recommendations for change. Data from the Registrar's Office will be analyzed to determine trends in the characteristics of students who join and leave Social Work throughout the four years of the program. In addition, a literature search of existing mentoring programs and career decision-making in social work will further inform our next steps toward a more comprehensive longitudinal study. The ultimate goal of this research is to enhance the mentoring program and other recruitment and retention efforts within the School with a particular focus on: (1) reaching students identified to be at most risk of attrition from the Social Work program; and (2) to increase representativeness of students from a broad range of sub-populations typically underrepresented in the 'professional years' (third and fourth year) of the program. This includes but is not limited to Aboriginal peoples, students with disabilities, and visible minorities.
Promoting Success for First Year Students by Developing a Set of Teaching Guidelines Incorporating the Principles of Universal Instructional Design
Irene Carter & Donald Leslie, School of Social Work
“This project will develop a literature review about learning-centred approaches and the principles for Universal Instructional Design (UID). Informed by this literature review, the authors will review the best practices associated with UID and the Learning Opportunities Task Force of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. In this effort they plan to assess the ability of the current Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and Student Disability Services web site information to help first year instructors in creating an inclusive environment for students with disabilities. The outcomes of this assessment will be used to establish a set of guidelines that include compliance with the consumer accessibility standards for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Also, it will inform instructors about best or needed practices to strengthen a learning-centred approach and to maximize inclusion for students with disabilities. The authors contend that creating a learning-centred environment enhances the inclusion and accessibility for students with disabilities and that conversely, incorporating principles of UID to create accessible courses and teaching methodologies, enhances the learning-centred environment for all students. Promoting guidelines for accessibility and accommodation for teaching first year students with disabilities will help resolve barriers to a successful first year experience and transition to further years of study. Focusing on recent literature and examples of current practices, the authors will produce a literature review and set of teaching guidelines for first year faculty, based on learning-centred approaches and principles of UID.
Student Academic Entitlement by Year and Faculty
Ken Cramer, Department of Psychology; Laurie Freeman-Gibb, Faculty of Nursing; Kathryn Lafreniere, Department of Psychology; & Craig Ross, Department of Psychology
The following proposal aims to conduct a replication and revision of a published study of academic entitlement among university students - specifically, student attitudes concerning the role of education and educators as providing tangible and significant deliverables in a commodity model of higher learning. We aim to replicate this study using a Canadian sample, but instead of ethnic group, we hope to identify differences by year of study and home faculty.
Using Computer-Based Resources and Peer Tutoring to Facilitate First Year Students’ Understanding of Physics
Tim Reddish, Department of Physics; George Zhou, Faculty of Education; & Elena Maeva, Department of Physics
The first year introductory physics courses are required courses for many students who major in science and engineering programs. Students’ learning experiences in these courses have a great impact on whether they are going to stay in science-related majors or even persist in post-secondary studies. Many initiatives are under way in successful universities to assist physics learning, such as peer instruction, use of technology, and studio physics. This project aims to use computer-based interactive resources and peer tutoring to enhance the first year students’ physics learning experience. Based on our findings, we hope to generate some useful suggestions to enhance students’ learning experience in first year science.