Winter 2010 EDC Resource Review

In this issue:

Website Review:
Open Learning Initiative

Submitted by: Linda B. Nilson, Director, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, Clemson University, USA

The Open Learning Initiative (OLI) is a carefully selected collection of free and publicly available online courses and course materials developed at Carnegie Mellon University. The courses, all at the introductory or intermediate undergraduate level, span a wide range of academic subjects: biology, chemistry, physics, engineering statics, computational discrete mathematics, causal and statistical reasoning, statistics, eempirical research methods (e.g., multiple regression), logic and proofs (modern symbolic logic), economics, French (two course levels), and visual communication design. These courses are designed for the independent learner--none is instructor-led--and have been tested and revised multiple times by an open learning community. They feature high-quality graphics, videos, interactive animations, interactive games, exercises, test questions and problems, case studies, data sets, experiments, and even automatically graded workbooks. Most of these teaching tools qualify as learning objects, which students can play and replay until they understand the material.

Educational developers can refer faculty to the OLI for several purposes. It offers well-designed teaching tools that faculty can freely integrate into their own classroom-based courses for demonstrations, in-class activities (with computers), and homework. As the comprehension checks and other exercises are self-grading, students receive immediate feedback and, in addition to saving grading time, instructors can instantly access the results. Instructors can even play back student laboratories to monitor participation and decision-making. Of course, these tools can also be used in online courses. To prepare faculty for online teaching, educational developers may want their faculty to take one of these courses, instead of enrolling in a standard online course, in order to experience being an online learner. Moreover, both new and experienced online instructors can accelerate the often long process of online course design and development by drawing resources and activities from these course packages.

Keywords: online courses, introductory courses, learning objects, interactive

Personal Research:
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: a new program at UBC, with resources and workshops; your input and assistance is invited

Submitted by: Alice Cassidy Associate Director, TAG; Leader, Network and Teaching Scholars Program, Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISoTL), University of British Columbia

I am very excited to share some details with you about a new program I am leading: the Teaching Scholars Program. You can read all the details at

I provide a few highlights of the program (excerpts from the full overview that you can see at the above URL), at the bottom, and seek your input, ideas, and contributions on the Steps in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

These Steps, noted below, will be an essential part of 3 full days of workshops to kick off the Program (a cohort of 10) and build on some work I have been doing very sporadically over the past couple of years, have presented at ICED and ISSOTL conferences, and that I now will be spending much more time on as I develop the Teaching Scholars Program. These Steps are further described in a chapter Gary Poole and I recently wrote; see the attached PDF.

The Steps will soon be posted to our ISoTL webpages, each one with links to examples, articles, other websites, etc. And of course there is a lot of existing information out there, some written or done by you. I want to make sure to have a Canadian focus, at the same time showing what and how SoTL is done in other parts of the world.

I seek your help with the Steps and related links. Do you suggest other numbered steps? For any of the steps below, or others you suggest, do you have existing material, that you wrote, or know of, that you are willing to share? It would be linked through our web pages, and available to all who want to use it. I will include a list to acknowledge contributions. I look forward to hearing from you, or seeing related material contributed via the EDC Resource Review.

Steps in SoTL: Three Days of Learning to Get You Started
1. What are the many forms of SoTL and how are they related to effective and scholarly teaching?
2. What methods exist for studying learning?
3. What steps can I follow to conduct effective SoTL research?
4. What ethical considerations and processes relate to the use of student data?
5. Where can I share the results of my work?

A few highlights of the Teaching Scholars Program (excerpts from the full overview on the web at the URL noted at the top):


The Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, in partnership with the Centre for Teaching and Academic Growth and the UBC-Community Learning Initiative, is pleased to announce an exciting new program designed to support the development of your scholarly work in teaching and learning. The Teaching Scholars Program will provide financial, educational, and research support for a cohort of individuals interested in developing their research skills in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

The Opportunity

• Develop research skills in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL)
• Learn with a cohort
• Be supported by experienced SoTL researchers while seeing a SoTL project to fruition
• Work in partnership with a student of your choosing, graduate or undergraduate. Student pay (to a maximum of $3500) to be covered by the Teaching Scholars Program
• Disseminate your work by attending the 8th annual conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSoTL), or the 11th conference of the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSCLE) or a comparable SoTL conference that is authorized by the Teaching Scholars Program. Registration, airfare and accommodation to be paid by the Teaching Scholars Program (to a maximum of $2000)

Who is Eligible? Members of the UBC teaching community in charge of a credit course in the Fall term of 2010, Summer term of 2010 or Winter term of 2011.

A Special Opportunity for those studying Community Service-Learning

As a result of the generous financial support provided to the Teaching Scholars Program by the UBC-Community Learning Initiative, approximately 40% of the spaces in the program will be allocated to instructors studying community-based experiential learning. All applications focused on Community Service-Learning (CSL) and/or Community-Based Research (CBR) will be considered. However, of particular note will be those focused on assessing outcomes for students and community involved in either CSL and/or CBR, or the impact of reflection on student learning outcomes. A clear indication that community service-learning and/or community-based experiential learning is the focus of your proposal should be noted with the contact information in your application.

The Commitment

• Attend all 3 days of Steps in SoTL in April, 2010
• Attend at least 2 of 3 Summer Cohort Half-Day events May-July, 2010
• Attend at least 80% of events from September 2010 to November 2011
• Submit a proposal to ISSOTL 2011; IARSCLE 2011 or a comparable conference in a similar timeframe agreed to by the Teaching Scholars Program
• Be able to attend the SoTL-related conference to which you have submitted a proposal


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