President's Teaching and Learning Projects 2007-2008

Projects and Final Reports

Thomas Bredohl & Ian Germani, History

Our project will provide a web-based interactive field guide for HIST 390BP "Capitals of Modernity: Paris and Berlin". This course takes students to the two capitals to study the development of the two cities from a comparative perspective. Experience has taught us that traditional resources are of limited use during a field trip. As an alternative we shall develop web-based material that students can access while abroad. We also intend to give students the opportunity to put their own research material on the website.

Mark Brigham & Warren Wessel, Biology

Final Report: Research into Attrition Rates of the Faculty of Science at the University of Regina

The issue we seek to address is to determine the reason(s) why a large proportion of students who enroll in Science, in particular those who take the first 2 introductory courses in biology, BIOL 100 and 101, appear to leave science and the Faculty after their first year. Preliminary data acquired from Banner suggest that the majority of those students who vote with their feet and leave the biology program after year one, are those who have passed their biology courses, have a reasonable academic standing and are those who entered the Institution with a declared major of Pre-Professional. Anecdotally, we hear from the Faculty of Arts about the large numbers of students who transfer from Science to Arts after their first year in the institution. We perceive that there is a clear break point between year 1 and 2 in terms of how students proceed in Science and specifically biology programs. The issue is that there is a lack of data about why students vote with their feet.

What is required to address this problem is something more than just the anecdotal information we have at hand. We have developed a specific instrument designed to determine why individual students do what they do. The outcome would help clarify whether the Department has to rethink the curriculum it offers, the personnel it uses to teach that curriculum, and the manner in which the two courses are taught. Given the potential conflict of interest of an internal review, we think it fundamentally important that the data and analysis be conducted externally to the Department so that an unbiased viewpoint can be achieved.

Roz Kelsey & Doug Cripps, Kinesiology and Health Studies

Final Report: Phase I – A Faculty Perspective

The purpose of this project is to explore and examine the rationale of including experiential/active education opportunities in courses offered by the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies. Further, this project will review current faculty perceptions and understandings of experiential education or active learning opportunities.

Rosetta Khalideen, Education

Final Report: Exploring the Perceptions and Experiences of Adult Learners in Online Distance Education

This research project will examine the experiences and perceptions of adult learners and their instructors with distance education and educational technology as they apply to both undergraduate and graduate programs. The study will seek to explore whether adult learners in the Faculty of Education Adult Education program are gaining a quality learning experience through online classes and whether this form of distributed learning provides instructors with new and effective ways of teaching. An open ended survey, using the MySurvey tool will be used to gather data from both adult learners and instructors. In addition to the survey, focus group interviews will be conducted with a group of learners and individual interviews done with a sample of instructors. It is hoped that the findings and recommendations from this study would be helpful to all programs at the U of R that utilize on-line delivered courses.

Ken Leyton-Brown, History

Final Report: The History Tree

The History Tree provides a means for learners to teach themselves or it can reinforce things they have already studied, and though it can lend itself to very focused subjects it is especially useful for larger themes. A very high degree of inter–activity makes the learner a full participant in learning, in a manner which is reminiscent of web navigation—something very familiar to many learners—and which can also be presented as a game—again, something very familiar to many learners. Each tree (any number can be created) begins with a question that includes text but may also incorporate images, video, audio and animation; a number of possible answers are then presented. If the correct/best answer is selected a new question is presented and the user progresses up the tree, but if the wrong branch is chosen the user is returned to the base of the tree. A randomizing feature ensures that the navigation of a tree cannot be memorized. Users have the option of tracking their progress by activating a gaming element. Since the design of each tree is entirely in the control of the teacher it is possible to emphasize the most important and the most difficult aspects of the topics presented, thus ensuring that learners direct their efforts in the most useful directions; learners appreciate this since it ensures that they will derive the greatest benefit possible from their time and effort.

James McNinch, Education

Walk the Talk. Gauging Congruency between Statements of Teaching Philosophies and Instructional Practice: implications for faculty teaching and student learning.

The purpose of this research is to examine "congruency" between teaching practices of faculty and their articulated teaching philosophies. The literature on teaching philosophies focuses mainly on helping faculty members to write them (Shore et al, 1986, O'Neil & Wright, 1995, Herteis, 2001). Schonwetter & Taylor et al (2002) have developed a useful rubric for evaluating teaching philosophies by identifying key criteria including definitions of teaching and learning, views of the learner, and of the student/teacher relationship. However, there has been no research conducted to determine the fit or congruency between what a faculty member espouses as their philosophy of teaching and learning on the one hand, and their actual practice on the other.

Marc Spooner, Education

Final Report: Inter-institutional Collaborations and Learning-Enhanced Re-presentations of Lectures

There are three main components to the following pilot project: a) a proposed inter-faculty, inter-institutional videoconference-enabled collaboration, b) a Learning-Enhanced Re-presentation (LER) segment of the digitally-captured videoconference lectures that take into account and utilize both teaching and learning theory and modern technologies, and c) a proposed research study to explore the student responses, insights, and critique of the present project's unique approach to teaching and learning and technology.

Kathleen Wall, English

Final Report: Second-Language Learners at the University of Regina

In April of 2003, the University of Regina Task Force on Internationalization wrote "The University of Regina's vision for internationalization is that of a university community leading advances in scholarship through the interaction and sharing of teaching, research and service experiences across diverse cultures within the global community." As many of us who teach at U of R know, those idealistic goals often lead to the reality of students whose English language skills need our support in our classrooms. My project as a Teaching and Learning Scholar was to learn how faculty members could best respond to the needs of international students, both in our classroom settings and in our responses to their written work. With the help of my excellent research assistant, Ashley Quark, I have been reading about 'best practices" in the classroom. Ashley and I have written a brief document that describes the disorienting experience international students often have when they are immersed in a North American learning environment. We have also created easy-to-use top ten lists of strategies instructors can use in their classrooms, followed by a more leisurely discussion of why these practices are important and how they can be implemented.