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Teaching Café to highlight educational innovation

May 6, 2017 — 

The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (The Centre) will celebrate teaching innovation at the University of Manitoba by hosting the first Teaching Café event. Six innovative U of M educators will share their teaching strategies and discuss, in a round table format, the lessons they have learned.

Colleen Webb, team lead in development and consultation at The Centre, organized the event. She says that in working with staff and faculty, she realized how many innovative and interesting approaches to teaching and learning were happening across the campus — and how very few face-to-face opportunities there were to share and celebrate teaching practices and build community.

‘A wonderful occasion to hear from fellow teachers’

“We are really pleased to have this opportunity to celebrate the teaching and innovation by instructors and faculty at the U of M,” she says, adding that that the café will be a wonderful occasion to hear from fellow teachers about what they are doing in their classrooms to engage students.

The event will feature sessions on co-creating your syllabus, engaging classrooms in the health sciences, gamification and using popular culture in the classroom, teaching with a problem-based approach and team-based learning in a large class.

“At The Centre, we see consistently see the commitment by faculty and teaching staff to inspiring learners through innovative and quality teaching, ensuring that our undergraduate and graduate students have an outstanding educational experience,” says executive director Mark Torchia.

He notes that not only will the Teaching Café recognize some teaching innovations already in use in our classrooms, but it also presents a unique opportunity to share teaching strategies and resources amongst colleagues.

This event is open to all faculty and instructors at the university. Lunch will be provided. Please register to facilitate catering.


Teaching Café

May 17

10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Lunch at 12:30 p.m.
The event takes place in room 223 in the Centre’s new home at 65 Dafoe Road (Formerly the Music Building).


Overview of the day’s sessions

Co-Create Your Syllabus: Why design your own syllabus when you can get students to do all the work? Kidding, kidding. Syllabus co-design with upper-level students is not less work for you, but can be an excellent way to make use of the first day of class, to establish a collaborative learning environment, to learn from students’ experiences in other classes, and to try out new kinds of assignments. I would be glad to talk about my experiences with syllabus co-design and/or to discuss your questions, concerns, experiences and ideas. Facilitator: Jocelyn Thorpe (Faculty of Arts)

Team-Based Learning in a Large Class: When implemented properly Team Based Learning (TBL) is a great way to make your large class feel like a small class, encourage your students to come to class prepared, engage your students as active participants during class time. We will cover the good, the bad, and the lessons I’ve learned by implementing TBL into large second-year psychology courses. Facilitator: Amy De Jaeger (CATL)

Gamification in the Classroom: Innovating in the class room through the use of serious play and gamification.  Nathan will share his experiences using live simulations, board games and student designed games as pedagogical tools.  He has used these activities in courses ranging from Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Development, and Managing Innovation; and he is interested to hear from others’ experiences with similar activities. Facilitator: Nathan Greidanus (Asper School of Business)

Engaging Classrooms in the Health Sciences: Clinical medicine subject matter lends itself well to using a case-based approach to delivering interactive lectures incorporating the use of polling technology (e.g. Top Hat).  Real patient data and experiences can be used to illustrate key messages by presenting evolving scenarios and asking multiple choice questions during the course of the lecture.  Audience polling results provide an opportunity to evaluate whether or not students are grasping the material and to adjust the focus of the teaching accordingly. Facilitator: Pierre Plourde (College of Medicine)

Popular Culture as a Way to Engage Students in the Sciences: Trying to connect with science students in a modern and engaging way but finding it hard to think of strategies to do so? Here’s an idea: punctuate your lessons with contexts students are already familiar with! From television, movies, music and literature to YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, Richard will talk about (and show examples) of how he uses popular culture and media as the context from which to teach and learn science. Facilitator: Richard Hechter (Faculty of Education)

Teaching Thermodynamics with a Problem-Based Approach: This discussion will cover how I used a mixed lecture/tutorial, problem-based method of teaching, augmented by an e-based tutorial system in UM Learn, to teach the course: Introduction to Thermodynamics. Facilitator: Dr. Doug Ruth (Faculty of Engineering)


For more about the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, visit:

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