Teaching Innovations

The Faculty of Science is committed to the support and promotion of innovative teaching and learning initiatives. The continuous research excellence within the faculty directly shapes the scientific and technological advances of today, and learning and innovation shapes the great scientific minds of tomorrow. Below are just some of the teaching innovations coming out of the faculty.


Since 2014 and the launch of our first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Dino 101–recently named one of the Top 50 MOOCs of all time–the Faculty of Science has cemented its place as a world leader in the production of MOOCs.


Beyond the release of this first, trailblazing MOOC, the faculty has produced four more general science MOOCs:

with two more MOOCs due to launch Fall 2018.


In offering these general science MOOCs, both as free content to anybody in the world with internet access, and as accredited undergraduate options for Faculty of Science students, we hope to stay true to the university’s philosophy of “uplifting the whole people”.

Betsy Kruk takes her screen test in front of the green screen during before primary filming of Dino101 gets underway. 

The film crew prepares for a taping of Dr. Phil Currie in Dinosaur Provincial Park for Dino101.

Online professional development specializations

In an effort to support industry using the faculty's expertise in science, two online career specializations have been developed:

using the MOOC template, which have thus far attracted hundreds of thousands of learners from around the globe.


Learning innovation does not stop at digital offerings, however, and in 2016 the Faculty of Science launched the pioneering Interdisciplinary Science Threshold Experience course (InSciTE). This unique year-long, first year course, aims to nurture important translational skills for a scientific career, such as:

  • critical thinking
  • problem solving
  • and communication

through an educational philosophy dedicated to active and discovery-based learning experiences. Such innovative educational practices are integral to the faculty’s learning and innovation mission, and have been adopted and supported by many instructors and courses throughout the faculty.


The faculty’s Science Education and Learning Innovation Facilitation Team (SciLIFT) exists to guide and encourage efforts in learning and innovation.

This science-specific teaching and learning team provides continuous support to the faculty through:

  • educational design
  • technological implementation
  • blended learning assistance
  • MOOC development
  • scholarship of teaching and learning collaboration
  • teaching and learning workshops
  • and individual instructor consultations

Interested faculty can learn more by contacting the SciLIFT team at scitl@ualberta.ca.

Learning Enhancement Projects

Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) awards enable educators to improve their courses through substantially redesigning a curriculum of studies, developing educational resources, and/or researching educational outcomes achieved through using innovative educational methods.

Recently funded innovative educational projects out of the Faculty of Science include:

  • Creation and Implementation of Methods Modules in Introductory Psychology Courses
  • Assessing the effectiveness of community service learning and discovery learning to promote intercultural competencies in students who study abroad and students who do not study abroad
  • Trilobite Learning Centre
  • The UAlberta geekStarter Science Hardware Hackerspace
  • Computer-­‐based Content Across the Mathematics Curriculum

See a full listing of innovative educational projects funded by year on the TLEF site.