Faculty of Education
Department of Educational Psychology
Cheryl Poth and Lia Daniels
Enhancing the Learning Environment in Large-class, Multi-section Courses: Implementing an Innovative Instructional Approach Modeling Balanced Classroom Assessment
The purpose of this project is to measure the effectiveness of an innovative instructional approach modeling balanced classroom assessment across multiple sections of large classes (n>100) of the same course. The approach, integrating formative assessments in addition to traditional summative assessments, presents evidence as the most effective educational strategy for improving student learning and motivation (e.g., Wiliam, Lee, Harrison, & Black, 2004). Successful implementation of the approach across multiple sections requires creating instructional and team development resources to support instructors’ and teaching assistants’ professional learning. Monitoring the implementation fidelity and measuring the effectiveness of the innovative instructional approach using surveys and focus groups involves 1,400 students per year across nine sections of an Educational Assessment course. Project findings will inform the development of resources for enhancing the learning environment of students, instructors, and teaching assistants involved in multi-section, large class courses in other faculties and higher learning institutions.
Faculty of Engineering
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Vinay Prasad, Arno de Klerk, and Sushanta Mitra
Project Based Global Service Learning for Engineers
This project seeks to develop a pilot program that will introduce our students (undergraduate and graduate) to learning from working in global teams (with students from a partner institution, the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay) on socially relevant projects. This makes uses of their core competence in technical issues and places it in an environment of social responsibility and civic engagement. The possible outcomes include benefits to the students (development of personal skills related to communication and working in cross-cultural teams, understanding of issues at the interface of technology and society, tackling open-ended problems and taking ownership for them by being involved in their selection) and benefits to the faculty involved in the project and the university (the development of new learning models for interaction with students and in collaboration with other institutions). The ideal outcome would be for socially transformative technology to emerge from the projects. While the University of Alberta has entered into an agreement with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, on collaborative activities, this proposal is distinct from that initiative, whose aim is to facilitate graduate student and faculty mobility, and promote joint research activity. However, the complementarity of the two activities and the strong ties that exist between IIT Bombay and the University of Alberta will be beneficial for this project.
Faculty of Law
James Muir and Peter Carver
The Making of the Canadian Constitution
Professors Muir and Carver propose to introduce an innovative course in Canadian constitutional history and law using teaching methods based on game and role-playing theory. “The Making of the Canadian Constitution” offer students a fundamentally different involvement with materials in Canadian history and jurisprudence than has been available in Canadian law schools, and perhaps at the university level in any programme. Students will negotiate and litigate their own drafts of the British North America Act of 1867 and the Constitution Act, 1982. Students will assume the part of different parties representing regional interests and social forces engaged in key moments of struggle, negotiation, and compromise over Canada’s constitutional structure. These interactive activities will be supplemented with lectures and discussions led by the instructors. Each unit will conclude with the students making arguments at moot hearings before invited members of the bench of Alberta.
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
Department of Family Medicine
Shelley Ross, Michel Donoff, Paul Humphries, and Ivan Steiner
Evaluating the Impact of an Innovative Competency-Based Assessment Framework in Medical Education
This project will measure the educational outcomes of a new competency-based framework for medical education called the Competency-Based Achievement System (CBAS). CBAS is learner-driven. Residents use formative feedback from directly observed events to guide learning. CBAS is a practical application of best practices in workplace training and was developed in response to a global movement in medical education away from traditional “time-in-clinical-rotation and exam” based approaches to competency-based assessment. In July 2009, we began a pilot implementation of CBAS in our family medicine residency program.
This research project will evaluate the educational outcomes of CBAS by exploring two research questions:
a) To what extent does CBAS help residents target areas for learning and show progression towards competency in those areas? and
b) To what extent does CBAS improve the feedback given to residents? We will combine quantitative data collection with qualitative data collection to develop a clear understanding of the findings for each research question.
Department of Pediatrics
Jennifer Walton and Anna Oswald
Patterns of Interaction During Discovery Learning: How Do They Impact Student Perceptions and Learning?
“Discovery Learning” (DL) is a clinically oriented problem-based learning (PBL) activity that occurs throughout the pre-clinical MD curriculum at the University of Alberta. The purpose of this project is to explore the patterns of interaction between group members during DL sessions and determine whether there are correlations between interaction patterns, student perceptions of DL, and learning. In addition, we are interested in whether providing groups with a “picture” of their interactions encourages reflection on the impact of group process on learning and ultimately changes group interaction to improve the learning experience.
Faculty of Nursing
Gina Higginbottom, Linda Ogilvie, Vera Caine, Solina Richter, Lisa Bourque-Bearskin, Najla Barnawi, Shirley Mogale, and Annalita Shireen Bell
Providing Culturally Competent Health Care – A Self-Directed Workbook and Digital Resource
All high income developed nations have increasingly diverse populations associated with migration patterns; this presents challenges with respect to the delivery of nursing care. The evidence base is well developed in relation to training of nurses with respect to ethno-cultural diversity and nursing care. However, little attention has been paid to pedagogical resources that facilitate the development of cultural competence by nursing students. This project aims to develop a self-directed cultural competence workbook and digital resource. While we will involve students and faculty in our collaborative program, we will also seek opportunities to enhance cross disciplinary initiatives that aim to improve the cultural competence of students in the Health Science disciplines. The effectiveness of the resource as training material and the awareness of changes in nurses’ consciousness toward cultural competent knowledge will be evaluated. We will foster scholarship and discovery through this project.
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
Department of Physical Therapy
Geoff Bostick, Bernadette Martin, Iain Muir, and Dwight Harley
Development of Authentic Video Case Studies to Enhance Clinical Reasoning in Physical Therapy Students
(1) Develop authentic video case studies delivered electronically as a teaching method to facilitate clinical reasoning in physical therapy students.
(2) Examine transcription logs from students’ work on the case studies to develop a rubric for evaluation of physical therapy student clinical reasoning.
The proposed cases afford the opportunity for students to not only engage in real-life clinical encounters but to also receive real-time expert feedback. Moreover, the program enables instructors to track transactions students make while working through the case, mimicking an electronic ‘thinking out loud’ assessment of clinical reasoning.
Impact on Teaching and Learning:
These authentic case studies provide the chance for instructors to engage students in real-life scenarios that challenge students cognitively and metacognitively. Moreover, given the dearth of literature available on the optimal manner to measure clinical reasoning, the programming in these cases afford an exciting chance for instructors to develop measures of clinical reasoning specific to our students.
Department of Physical Therapy
Trish Manns, Johanna Darrah, Shannon Scott, and Joanne Profetto-McGrath
Validation of the CORxE Models in Physical Therapy: Influence of Educational Curriculum on Clinical Practice
In 2003 the entry level degree designation in the Physical Therapy program changed from a BSc to a MPT (now MScPT). The redesigned curriculum emphasizes evidence based practice skills with clinical skills. The principles of the revised curriculum are reflected in two models of practice designed by the Department. The purpose of this study is to test the validity of the two models by examining the clinical decision making strategies used by baccalaureate graduates and master’s graduates. The study results will reveal if the curriculum changes have influenced graduates’ clinical practice behaviours. We will use this information to guide future curriculum revisions, ensuring sustainability and innovation in our physical therapy program. The project also has national implications; all 14 Canadian physical therapy programs have changed to a master’s designation, but no program has evaluated the effect of this degree transition on clinical practice.
Faculty of Science
Department of Chemistry
Dennis Hall and Hayley Wan
Enhancement of Student Learning and Safety in Organic Chemistry with a Virtual Organic Chemistry Laboratory
We propose to develop a virtual organic chemistry laboratory that can be used by both introductory and advanced level chemistry students as an extra study resource. The main concern for introductory organic chemistry students is that they are expected to enter into the laboratory and carry out experiments when most of them have never been inside a laboratory before. Some students are also not familiar with all the equipment, techniques or reactions used in the laboratory. This can cause some stress and affect the student’s focus as well as become a potential safety issue. With this new virtual lab, the student can become familiar with the equipment and reactions through a series of online simulations prior to the laboratory class. This will allow for better preparation for the lab resulting in a safer work environment as well as increased learning and understanding.
Department of Physics
Ian Mann, Chris Herd, Carlos Lange, and Robert Rankin
Canada-Norway Student Sounding Rocket Laboratory (CaNoRock)
The CaNoRock UofA Student Sounding Rocket Laboratory will deliver an exceptional discovery learning experience using practical, hands-on instruction in experimental space science using student built experiments on sounding rockets. Using an established one-week intensive Student Sounding Rocket course at the Andøya Rocket Range, this pilot project will create a new sounding rocket payload laboratory at the UofA. Students and staff will participate in the existing Norwegian program and then migrate this active learning to a new UofA laboratory. The student built payloads will then be flown by the UofA students on sounding rocket launches in Norway. This program will “enhance discovery learning,” “strengthen student engagement in the learning process,” and “create an exceptional learning experience and environment” at the UofA based on an “empirically sound, practical teaching and learning experience.” A future funding opportunity from the Canadian Space Agency for University-based capacity building is expected to offer sustainability beyond TLEF. Further details on the project background and the November 2009 CaNoRock program are available in two movies online at: http://www.isset.ualberta.ca/media/CaNoRock1.html
Department of Physics
James Pinfold, Aksel Hallin, Ian Mann, Roger Moore, and Wytze Brouwer
FUTURA [FUndamenTal Undergraduate (Big Science) Research in Alberta]
The FUTURA project is an innovative interdisciplinary venture in the arena of undergraduate (UG) research spearheaded by UofA researchers and students and the community, with two main aims. Firstly, using the physical, intellectual and social infrastructure developed, to empower the creativity and imagination of our students in discovery (research) based learning via direct, individual “hands on” contributions to “big science” based research, i.e. LHC Physics with the ATLAS detector at CERN. Secondly, we seek to involve other post-secondary institutions in Alberta in this effort, utilizing UofA faculty/postdocs as ambassadors/mentors to create a provincial research network. In year one of the FUTURA (Phase-1) project, we plan to prototype the required: technology, organization, and project evaluation tools. In years two and three, we engage directly with ATLAS via projects based on the existing ATLAS program as well as enhancements (i.e. the ACME Array) to that program, originating from our own UG researchers.
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
John Waldron and Tom Chacko
Geoscience Garden Phase 2: An Outdoor Teaching Installation at the University of Alberta
The Geoscience Garden, under construction in North Campus, will consist of large (1-5 m) boulders and rock slabs in a landscaped layout representing the geology of western and northern Canada. The garden will provide a simulated field environment in which Earth Science students can develop field observation skills, interpret features of the Earth's crust in three dimensions, and discover Earth history. It will display specimens of mineral deposits in geological context and illustrate their importance to rural and northern communities. Student surveys show a strong desire for 'hands-on' practical experience of basic field techniques. The project will add a unique capability for teaching these skills in a local environment and will prepare them for field courses at more senior levels. The Geoscience Garden will be used by diverse courses and programs within the university, and will also be used by K-12 schools, in teacher education, and by community groups.