Horizon - April 2016

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• Editor's Note

The Perspective Symposium, Kesarwani Lecture and Innovative Use of Educational Technology Excellence Award: Events Coming Soon!

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Spring season at the TLSS also means hosting a number of events, and you are all invited to register for them! This time of year also marks the second edition of Perspective, a symposium on teaching and learning created by our team of experts. It will be a forum for dialogue, and showcase the work of our featured professors. Are you interested in the topic of assessment of student learning? Want to know more on innovative practices that could help you overcome challenges you're currently facing? In this case, you'll definitely want to attend this event which will allow you to network with other professors, participate in concurrent sessions that will address specific aspects of that topic and hear panelists. May 12 is the date to remember, so mark your calendar and sign up today!

The Kesarwani Lecture, which a lot of you already know of, is back with a new theme related to university teaching: Building the Student-Instructor Relationship In The Large Class: What's In It for Professors and Students. Do not miss this annual event which will happen on May 25.

Another event that should not go unnoticed this year is the new Innovative Use of Educational Technology Excellence Award. We launched this award to highlight outstanding courses designed using educational technologies, which include courses designed in a blended format, and positively contributed to the student experience. Submit your application by May 13!

Although May is looking pretty busy as you can see, we promise that this month will be a golden opportunity to learn more about university teaching! On that note, we wish you a happy end of semester!

• Feature News

Teaching | Learning Grants Program: You Have Until June 1st to Apply!

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The TLSS administers funds designated for projects in the areas of teaching and learning. The grants program aims to promote innovation in university teaching through projects seeking to improve the quality of learning and, consequently, the student experience. Proposed projects may be classified into one of the three areas... Read more and submit your application today through our website!

• Did You Know

3 Tips to Make Grading Easier

In mid-April, the exam period is in full swing, and students are focused on their finals. Professors can (finally!) breathe in some fresh spring air in between two last minute appointments, knowing all the while that after the exam period comes the grading period!

Here are a few tips meant to ease this demanding exercise:

· Adjust the grading key: A good grading key accelerates the grading process and insures consistent and fair grading . However, at times, a student may put forth an answer that could be acceptable (at least partially), even though it is not anticipated in the grading key. In these cases, it can be useful (during the grading period) to add a note regarding this alternate response (along with any associated grading guidance), to the grading key. This will provide a grading trace, as well as ensure consistency when marking a similar answer in the future.

· Comments in the exams: Providing constructive comments on the students’ copy is generally useful and appreciated, since it can help the student understand how their response could be improved. To ensure that these comments have the maximum impact, it is recommended that they be presented in the form of questions, allowing the student to bridge the gap between their answer and the expected one indicated in the grading key. To help speed up the grading process, consider compiling a Word document containing a list of recurring comments. Then you can simply cut and paste these comments when grading, or create a check list/numbered version to provide students with feedback.

· Time Blocks: Remember that it is important to take regular breaks during grading activities. Short breaks can help replenish energy levels and refresh the mind, making it easier to focus on the next copy!

For more information on best grading practices, come see our educational developers, or check out our website!

Want to be Part of an Education Journal Club This Summer?

So you're a professor, postdoctoral fellow, graduate student, or summer undergraduate at the University of Ottawa, and you're interested in Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER), as well as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)? Each week, a different article will be selected for discussion. Research articles are preferred, but commentaries and reviews with implications for our fields will be considered. Articles will be chosen from both DBER and STEM education journals. General discussion questions will be included with each article.

If you are interested in participating, please take a moment to take this Doodle poll by April 25 to help us select the day and time.

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