Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences
Kathryn Chandler, Deanna Williamson
The Human Ecology Practicum: Explicating Program Theory
This study will explicate the theory of the human ecology practicum program, as it is understood by key stakeholder groups. Although informal evidence suggests that the practicum is successful, it has not been formally evaluated. The study is innovative in that it extends typical post-secondary assessment strategies for improving courses and curricula by applying best practices in program evaluation. Through a document review and an analysis of data from interviews with stakeholders, the theory of the practicum will be described. The study will enhance the practicum program by identifying additional and/or alternative goals and objectives and improvements to program design and logic (i.e., the theory). Also, the active participation of stakeholders in the development of the theory will strengthen community partners’ commitment to offering high quality experiential learning experiences for students. The findings will be of interest to educators in a variety of post-secondary programs offering experiential learning opportunities.
Faculty of Arts
David Kahane, Linda Trimble
Restructuring the Work and Training of Graduate Student Teachers in the Faculty of Arts Through Department-based Dialogue and Innovation
This pilot project seeks to develop a model for department-based programs of training and support for graduate students learning how to teach. The processes through which the program is developed, as well as the program itself, aim to build a culture of curiosity and collaboration around teaching and learning, one that includes faculty members, graduate students, undergraduate students, and others. Careful documentation and evaluation of both the process through which we develop the program and the program’s elements will contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning and allow our pilot project to be scaled out to the Faculty of Arts and beyond.
Art and Design
Adrian Rowe, Bonnie Sadler Takach, Sue Colberg, Tim Antoniuk, Cezary Gajewski, Robert Lederer
Community Design Projects: DesignAid
DesignAid is a pilot project that takes Design Studies students out of the classroom to confront the realities of design needed within a community context. This innovative teaching approach builds upon our success in our practicum courses and client projects—where we bring clients into the classroom—but moves the learning out of the class and into a public space where students assume the roles found within a design studio. Students (from Visual Communication Design and Industrial Design) work in a public setting with the local community on their specific design issues and problems. This alternative teaching and learning approach to design provides an authentic arena for active learning and lays the foundation for life-long learning and professional development. Additionally, working directly with the public forces the students to challenge their assumptions about the community and the people for whom they are designing.
English and Film Studies
Betsy Sargent, David Slomp
Daring to Deliver Differently: Supporting and Assessing Innovations in Writing Instruction
In recent years, the University of Alberta has made significant commitments toward improving writing instruction and writing support at this institution. The funding of a Centre for Writers, the hiring of a Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Director, the development and piloting of a new first-year writing course, the designation of a Director of Writing Initiatives, and the discussion of proposed changes to the writing requirement in the BA core all demonstrate important elements of this commitment. The Writing Task Force and the Writing Initiatives Team have been actively working to support these commitments. Our two-part TLEF proposal seeks support for the continuation of this work. Part one of this proposal requests funding to support faculty development related to planning and teaching writing-intensive courses within the Faculty of Arts. Part two of this proposal requests funding to support the development of a program of research designed to examine the effectiveness of our writing initiatives. This research will provide the foundation for ongoing, systematic program evaluation, will provide information regarding what aspects of our initiative require improvement and further support, and will provide information that will enable us to understand and build on our successes.
Roxanne Harde, Bill Foster
Peer-tutored Communications Initiatives at the Augustana Writing Centre
Following Lev Vygotsky’s theories of proximal development, peer tutoring has become established as a sound learning strategy in which students develop cognitive skills through interaction with others (Kozulin; Hogan and Tudge). Peer tutoring also facilitates the adjustment to university life and aids in locating networking opportunities, building confidence, making friends, and developing team-working and leadership skills (Tudge). Peer tutoring has proved particularly effective in the improvement of all communication skills (Beasley). This proposal sets out a series of peer-tutored communications initiatives for the Augustana Writing Centre (Program for Advanced Communication in English: PACE). The goal of these initiatives is to develop institutional expertise in peer-tutoring programs. These initiatives will provide attractive opportunities for all students at Augustana Campus to improve their communications skills, including ESL students. PACE will thus increase learning options for international students and contribute to research on teaching and learning in these contexts.
Choral Conducting Summer Workshop: A Holistic Approach
Choral conducting is a multidisciplinary activity that encompasses musicianship, pedagogical and educational method, psychology, vocal technique, body awareness, and arts administration. Because of large class sizes, often scheduled in 50-minute blocks, instructors of undergraduate courses in choral conducting during the regular academic year only have time to teach conducting gesture in isolation (i.e. beat patterns with primary concentration on hand and arm gesture and body position) ignoring the other important facets of the discipline. Several universities across Canada have established graduate degrees in choral conducting. As a result of less than ideal undergraduate conducting experiences, students interested in pursuing graduate studies in choral conducting are often not provided with adequate foundational skills. A spring or summer session choral conducting workshop taught by a multidisciplinary team of specialists provides undergraduates with an excellent enrichment vehicle whereby all facets of choral direction can be explored. This course will eventually grow to accommodate not only foundational skills but also intermediate and advanced levels, relying on renowned teaching faculty drawn from the national and international choral conducting community. At this time the University of Alberta offers the only accredited summer course in choral conducting at an undergraduate level in Canada.
Faculty of Education
Discovering Web 2.0 Through Inquiry: An Examination of Graduate Students’ Experiences
This research will investigate two primary questions: First, How effective is a revised graduate level course in helping teachers and teacher-librarians learn about and integrate new Web 2.0 technologies into their practices? Second, What are the knowledge, skills, and attributes that these teachers and teacher-librarians develop as a result of undertaking this inquiry? The purpose of this application is to ask for funding support for a graduate assistant to help complete this research work. I am also requesting funding support to attend the International Association for School Librarianship (IASL) conference in Berkeley, California, from August 2-6, 2008, to present the findings of this study and to offer a workshop on the topic of integrating Web 2.0 into courses. The findings from this research will also be shared with instructors in the Faculty of Education and with University Teaching Services.
Allison Sivak, Lindsay Johnston
A Longitudinal Study of Two Methods of Information Literacy Instruction on Undergraduate Students’ Information Literacy Competencies
This research project will measure student outcomes as a result of an information literacy (IL) program that follows best practices in its planning and delivery. This program will be delivered in collaboration with the new course, Science 100, to start in the Fall of 2008. Science 100 will discourage “silos of learning” within the Faculty of Science, assisting students to develop a more interdisciplinary approach to their learning and research. A class cohort of 40 students will participate in a discovery learning process in this course. The role of the University of Alberta Libraries will be to integrate information literacy instruction formally into the classroom and informally into the study and project work sessions. This research will measure the information literacy levels of students over the course of their undergraduate degrees, studying two cohorts: one of those who are taking the Science 100 course and one who are in the regular Science stream.
Faculty of Engineering
Chemical and Materials Engineering
John Nychka, Suzanne Kresta, Uttandaraman Sundararaj, Qi Liu, Fraser Forbes
Formative Assessment Technique Development in Engineering
Excellence in education cannot be achieved or continue without assessment. Assessment is not just grade reporting. Assessment involves the measure of progress to help students and instructors learn how to improve. We will use TLEF funds to:
a. hold a classroom assessment techniques workshop by an expert leader in the field;
b. assist University of Alberta faculty become formally trained in the techniques of formative assessment;
c. promote culture change from teacher-centered instruction to learner-centered instruction;
d. give instructors the tools and forum necessary to develop their own formative assessment techniques and incorporate them in course re-design;
e. encourage and facilitate instructors to share their research on formative assessment in scholarly venues (i.e. journals).
Our target audience will be the Faculty of Engineering with enrolment in the workshop extending to other scientific disciplines as interest develops (i.e. Medicine, Science, Agriculture, Life and Environmental Science). Faculty, instructors, sessionals, post doctoral fellows, and graduate students involved in teaching will be eligible to attend the workshop and participate in follow up seminars. This proposal is distinct from a previous TLEF proposal awarded to U.T. Sundarararj and F. Forbes (Chemical and Materials Engineering) entitled “Effective Teaching - Active and Cooperative Learning in Engineering Education”. There are various areas in which instructors need to be educated, and the current proposal builds on increasing the familiarity and skill of engineering educators by supplying training in assessment, which like active learning, is a cornerstone of excellent education. This workshop is a natural continuation of effective teaching through active learning in that we need to also train instructors at recognizing student progress by continually developing new techniques.
Faculty of Law
James Muir, Barbara Billingsly, Moin Yahya, Eric Adams, Catherine Bell, Russell Brown, Eran Kaplinsky, Matthew Lewans, Erin Nelson, George Pavlich, Steven Penney, Bruce Ziff
Faculty of Law Teaching Round-table Workshops
The twenty-person Faculty of Law Teaching Round-table intends to integrate current research on the specific possibilities and problems of law school teaching into our own teaching practices. To this end, our group is seeking TLEF support for a series of four week-long intensive workshops at the Faculty in the 2008-09 academic year. The sessions will cover the key areas of legal research and instruction: reading legal decisions, oral communication, writing, and evaluation. Each workshop will be led by an internationally recognized researcher in legal pedagogy. The goals are to develop an even stronger, mutually-supportive pedagogy among current Law teaching faculty, produce materials that can be used by all members of the University of Alberta teaching community, and offer the experience of the Round-table as a guide to other law schools in Canada and beyond.
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
Division of Studies in Medical Education
D Cook, Ramona Kearney
Case Development in Problem Based Learning
The purpose of this project is to develop the cases used for problem-based learning in a fashion that approximates more closely to the clinical situation and to determine whether use of these elaborated cases results in better learning on the part of the students. Recently, changes in student instruction in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry have required the development of almost fifty new problem-based learning cases. In general, the cases ask the students to investigate and manage a patient on the basis of written information. The case is designed to stimulate the students to seek information to help them to proceed with the case and thus enhance their knowledge. Next year we intend that some of the cases will be enhanced using video clips, X-rays, etc., so that they are more realistic. We predict that this will result in improved student learning and intend to test that hypothesis.
Department of Biochemistry
Michael Ellison, Michael Deyholos
Developing a Synthetic Biology Curriculum at the University of Alberta
This proposal presents the rationale and a plan for the creation of an interdisciplinary undergraduate curriculum in Synthetic Biology that builds on an Alberta Ingenuity initiative and the resulting success of the University of Alberta team at the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM) at MIT. The curriculum is designed to lead undergraduates from research theory to practice over three stages (half courses) with the goal of competing in the iGEM competition. Interdisciplinary team-play is fostered by relaxed course prerequisites. Interfaculty governance is maintained by a steering committee of relevant academics representing participating faculties. The first course, “The design and construction of synthetic biological systems”, is under development and begins Fall 2008. TLEF funding is requested for a non-tenurable, full-time academic position under a three-year contract to aid in the coordination, development, and teaching required for each of the three half courses in succession.
Ramona Kearney, D Cook
Measuring the Effectiveness of Faculty Development
The purpose of this project is to measure the effectiveness of a program to help academic staff to improve their facilitation skills in problem-based learning (PBL) in order to improve self-directed learning by medical and dental students at the University of Alberta. Recently, the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry decided to implement substantial changes in PBL in the undergraduate program. This decision required the Faculty to train an additional 250 facilitators as tutors for small group teaching. No published faculty development process met our needs, so a new program was devised. To determine the effectiveness of this program, we will use the Kirkpatrick model of program evaluation. This involves assessment of: the reaction to the program by the participants; changes in participant learning (knowledge, skills, attitudes); changes in teaching behaviour when the participants are facilitating small groups (transfer); and changes in student learning (results).
Faculty of Nursing
Clinical Learning Unit
R Day, P Marck
Transforming Clinical Learning Environments for Undergraduate Nursing Students: The Piloting and Evaluation of a Collaborative Clinical Learning Unit
The goal of this research partnership between the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Nursing and Capital Health’s Royal Alexandra Hospital is to develop and evaluate the outcomes of an innovative Clinical Learning Unit (CLU) for students, faculty, staff, and patients. We envision the Clinical Learning Unit as a place where nursing students and staff nurses learn about nursing practice on a complex hospital unit. To achieve our goal, university teachers and researchers will work with hospital practitioners and educators to create a transformative learning environment where students and staff are supported to develop the clinical knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to research, learn about, and provide quality patient care.
P Paul, J Olson, F Myrick, B Gibson, W Kabotoff, D Jackman, S Gauthier, C Giblin
Preparing Tomorrow’s Nurses Through Nursing Internships: Evaluating Processes and Outcomes
The provision of clinical experience is a hallmark of nursing education. Various models of clinical supervision have developed in an effort to provide the best possible learning opportunities while maximizing existing resources. A summer nursing internship course was developed in 2004 by the Faculty of Nursing (FON) in collaboration with Capital Health (CH). While enrolled in this internship, students are employed by CH and receive a salary. This internship is unique in Canada. It maximizes the use of clinical placements and facilitates earlier program completion which is advantageous given the acute nursing shortage. In Phase 1, a descriptive mixed methods design will be used to evaluate the processes and outcomes of the nursing internship. In Phase 2, a research proposal will be prepared for the evaluation of an expansion of the FON internship to additional CH agencies and to rural areas in other health regions.
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
A Hamilton, Lili Liu, K Pollack, Bernadette Martin
Students’ Perceptions of Collaborating to Create a Wiki, and the Relationship Between Approach to Task and Learning Style
In this interdisciplinary project, we will explore students’ perceptions of creating a Wiki in a group work assignment and use this information to inform best practice in adopting social software tools in group work in higher education. We will also examine the relationship between students’ approach to task and learning style. Students’ perceptions of creating a Wiki and the relationship between approach to task and learning style will be explored using focus groups.
Faculty of Science
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Geoscience Garden: An Outdoor Teaching Installation at the University of Alberta
The Geoscience Garden will be a unique landscaped area in which large (1 – 5 m) boulders and rock slabs will be arranged in a layout that represents the geology of western and northern Canada. The garden will provide a simulated field environment in which Earth Science students can develop observational skills, interpret the geometry 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. The project will add a unique capability for teaching basic field skills to students in a local environment and will prepare them for field courses at more senior levels. The Geoscience Garden will be used by a variety of courses and programs within the University and will be used by K-12 school groups, in teacher education, and by community groups.