Faculty of Arts
Department of Sociology
Community Service-Learning in a Large Introductory Sociology Class
Community Service-Learning (CSL) is a pedagogical approach committed to transformative learning. Through meaningful engagement with non-profit community agencies and critical reflection of the experience, students are encouraged to integrate both sources of knowledge into a new form of learning. The project is innovative in that it aims to implement CSL in a large Introductory Sociology class (180+ students) for the first time on campus. Six graduate student teaching assistants will each be responsible for small group seminars; each seminar group will participate in a CSL project. Projects might include arranging a Food Bank drive, a Habitat for Humanity project, participating in the annual Homelessness Count, or working with any number of community agencies. The objectives of this pilot project are to 1) introduce CSL to a large classroom and expose many first year students to this transformative pedagogical approach; 2) train new scholars in CSL as pedagogy; 3) contribute to academic scholarship on transformative learning in large classrooms; and 4) produce a short practical guidebook on using CSL in large classrooms for instructors and community agencies.
Department of Philosophy
Building Collaborative Communities for Critical Inquiry
Beginning with four classes in the Department of Philosophy in Year 1 and extending this to classes in the Faculty of Education in Year 2, this project explores the potential that simultaneously integrating collaborative philosophical inquiry into postsecondary and elementary classrooms has for university student engagement. The project will innovatively use the recent implementation in Alberta schools of a leading approach to teaching critical thinking as an integral part of our students’ collaborative learning environment. Building communities of inquiry both within humanities classrooms and between students in those classes and participating schools will advance reflective life-long and community-based learning. Capitalizing on foundational partnerships forged over the past three years between Philosophy for Children Alberta, the Department of Philosophy, Community Service-Learning, and Alberta school boards and schools, this project is geared to translate into lasting benefits to students at the University of Alberta beyond the term of the project itself.
Donald Ipperciel, Georg Peschke, Roger Moore, and Hassan Safouhi
Mathematical Suite for Moodle (MSM)
This project will enrich the University of Alberta’s new Moodle environment by creating and integrating novel tools for upgrading the LMS to full mathematical competency. It will:
- Integrate into Moodle a high-performance content generator and renderer especially designed for mathematical content;
- Develop a comprehensive math editor within Moodle;
- Create a rich math feedback, assessment and engagement Moodle plug-in;
- Integrate into Moodle the powerful math execution and visualization software system SAGE.
These tools are needed to support teaching and learning in mathematically-based subjects since currently no LMS, including Moodle, has such capabilities integrated throughout. Processing symbolic mathematical notation constitutes the critical hurdle, and addressing this challenge promises to have a transformative effect on LMS adoption and usage in mathematical subjects, including physics, engineering, economics, etc. The project’s impact on math/science teaching and learning will reach beyond the University of Alberta, extending to Edmonton high schools, Campus Alberta and, potentially, the wider community.
Health Sciences Council / Education
Sharla King, Mark Hall, LuAnne McFarlane, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Norton, Teresa Paswlaski, Lisa Guirguis, and Kent Stobart
Integration of Interprofessional Competencies in Health Science Programs: Building a Bridge from the Classroom to Practice Environments
Interprofessional education (IPE) and collaborative practice are viewed as strategies to address the current crisis in health workforce1 and service delivery2. In order to prepare a practice-ready health workforce, IPE is a key concept1. IPE has been integrated into accreditation requirements for many health science programs5. Currently IP educational information/concepts are fragmented and isolated across health faculties at this institution. A more integrated approach is required for IPE to result in collaborative practice and improved health outcomes. This project will develop and evaluate the effectiveness of web-based resources to support, document, and connect IP competencies in practice settings and academic courses.
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
Department of Family Medicine
Shelley Ross, Sarah Forgie, Michel Donoff, and Paul Humphries
Evaluating the Competency-Based Achievement System (CBAS): Implementation Beyond Family Medicine
This project is an extension of a previous TLEF-funded research project. In our previous project, we measured the educational impact 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. Throughout 2010-2011, we collected data to validate CBAS in our family medicine residency program. This research project will extend our previous work by evaluating the educational outcomes of CBAS in a different training program: paediatric sub-specialties. Our research questions are: a) To what extent does CBAS help residents target areas for learning and show progression towards competency in those areas? b) To what extent does CBAS improve the feedback given to residents? and c) To what extent does CBAS affect preceptor confidence in their evaluation of 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
Sunita Vohra and Sarah Forgie
CAM Fair: An Interdisciplinary Teaching Intervention for Health Sciences Students
Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) such as therapeutic massage, acupuncture, and herbals are used by many Canadians. Yet Canadian health sciences faculties only provide cursory coverage of CAM material. This project involves a teaching intervention that provides a unique, interactive CAM course for health sciences students. The CAM Introductory (CAMI) Course and CAM Fair will offer an opportunity for health sciences students to work in cooperative, interdisciplinary teams, applying theoretical CAM knowledge to real world scenarios. The purpose of this research project is to evaluate the CAMI Course and Fair as hands-on learning tools, from the perspectives of the learner and the CAM providers. Connecting students from different health disciplines with each other and with CAM practitioners will advance the goal of interdisciplinary communication and increase health and safety outcomes for patients. The Course and Fair have the potential to become a regular part of the curricula of several Faculties.
Faculty of Nursing
Karin Olson, Greta Cummings, Robert Hayward, Manal Kleib, and Anne Sales
Health Informatics in Baccalaureate Nursing Education: Effectiveness of Lecture vs. Online Learning Approaches
Purpose: The aim of this project is to evaluate two strategies for delivering health informatics education to undergraduate nursing students using a randomized crossover design. The project is based on a pilot study completed during the Fall 2010 academic term. Innovation: The project includes two learning modules about health informatics delivered using an online and a lecture format. Impact on Teaching and Learning: The Undergraduate Nursing Program at the University of Alberta offers a number of learning opportunities about informatics; however, to date, a specialized course or unit of study about informatics has not been developed. A systematic and comprehensive approach to informatics education would assist undergraduates to obtain an in-depth understanding about informatics. Such knowledge is critical as the province is transitioning to an electronic health system. Study findings will inform decisions as to integration of informatics in our Undergraduate Nursing Program. Study modules could also be used to orientate new nurses at Alberta Health Services facilities.
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
Department of Physical Therapy
Bernadette Martin, Robert Haennel, Jason Daniels, and Ric Johnson
Evaluation of the Augustana MScPT Project: A Distributed Learning Model for Physical Therapy Education
Purpose: To evaluate the impact of the University of Alberta’s Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy Augustana satellite project on students, faculty, and the broader community. This project involves a distributed learning model in which a sub-cohort of 10 students at Augustana receive instruction from Edmonton via synchronous video conferencing technology. Innovation: Synchronous video conferencing technology is used extensively for virtual meetings, but it is a new instructional method in post-secondary education. The Augustana project uses this technology to link the two campuses, one urban and one rural. This approach is unique in Canada for physical therapy education. This comprehensive evaluation will assess the impact of DL on student learning and engagement, faculty teaching, use of technology, the Augustana Faculty campus, and the surrounding community. Impact: DL has the potential to dramatically change classroom instruction. Networks of satellite sites accessing distant expertise with quality instructor-student communication are possible. Lessons learned in this evaluation project will inform physical therapy education and other programs.
Faculty of Science
Department of Biological Sciences
Development of a Web-based, Interactive, Simulated Fermenter for Teaching Micrb 415 Industrial Microbiology and Renovation of Course Content
As the world seeks sustainable fuels and feedstocks, microbial fermentation of biomass endeavours to supplement or supplant petrochemicals. Cutting edge applications extend beyond conventional (and controversial) ethanol produced from food grains to encompass ‘nextgeneration biofuels’ achieved through genetic engineering: bio-butanol, bio-hydrocarbons and ‘platform chemicals’ for polymer synthesis. Microbial fermentations also produce essential antibiotics, vaccines, enzymes, food additives, bioplastics and biodegradable fibres. Our students, the citizens of the future, should understand the principles and appreciate the scope of applied microbiology, including synthetic biology, in order to contribute knowledgeably to social debate surrounding current and future applications. The renovated Industrial Microbiology will prepare our students for the coming ‘carbohydrate economy’ through web-based assignments, discussion, team projects and exposure to interdisciplinary research. TLEF funding specifically will support development of a simulated microbial fermenter (bioreactor) for classroom instruction and interactive assignments. The fermenter’s performance will respond to operating parameters input by students, based upon fundamental principles.
Department of Physics
Al Meldrum, John Beamish, and Gregory Thomas
Transforming the Undergraduate Physics Laboratory Experience: A Guided Inquiry Approach
We propose to create and implement an entirely new, transformational approach toward the delivery of the undergraduate physics labs. We will develop inquiry-based learning techniques to be implemented into the first-year laboratories, transforming the educational experience of thousands of students every year and ensuring that we get the best results for the time and resources invested. We want to develop new, less rigid approaches that help our undergraduate students to “think like scientists”, by establishing guided-inquiry-based teaching methods, bringing modern scientific research into the labs, and giving students the chance to become an integral part of the laboratory. This work will break with decades-old “confirmatory” methods and lead to the establishment of a new and innovative inquiry-based approach to laboratory learning.
Department of Physics
Sharon Morsink, Craig Heinke, and Gregory Sivakoff
Enhancing Astronomy Education through On Campus Telescopes
The goal of this project is the transformation of the newly built CCIS Observatory into a world-class undergraduate research facility where students will learn how to use telescopes and to design observing research projects using the University's telescopes. We will do this by developing telescope-based laboratory projects that will be added to 5 existing physics and astronomy courses with a total enrolment of about 340 students each year. We will hire undergraduate students to test out the equipment, to write users' manuals and to develop laboratory exercises and projects using the telescopes, in collaboration with the co-investigators. A graduate student teaching assistant will be hired to assist in teaching the new telescope-based labs. Once the pilot project has been completed, the Department of Physics will provide the funding to hire teaching assistants so that the use of telescopes will continue in these courses. This project will provide an exciting learning environment for our undergraduate students, as well as enhancing the use of the observatory for outreach purposes.