6 essential topics for the future of Teaching and Learning at Mac

A masked teacher stands at the front of a classroom in front of some seated students. One of the students has their hand up.

Teaching and Learning Month is a celebration of McMaster’s partnered approach, which creates a community of creative problem-solvers, ready to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges.

Educators from across the institution will engage in teaching and learning development and celebration opportunities again this May during Teaching and Learning Month.

A few of the facilitators for the upcoming sessions shared how they see how their topics playing an important role in the future of teaching and learning at McMaster.

Kyle Armstrong, Program Manager (Acting), Engagement & Wellness

On the topic of Identifying, Understanding and Managing Change Fatigue
Date: May 5 from 9:00am – 9:50am

A headshot of Kyle Armstrong“The past two years have been incredibly challenging for all of us. The rapid and seemingly endless changes that we have been experiencing have left us all feeling tired, frustrated, and at times apathetic. It is important to understand that while we have little control of these changes, what we can control is how we manage our reactions to them. Identifying change fatigue can be a cathartic experience, because it puts a name to a new concept we have been feeling for quite some time. Change is constant and learning to manage through it is an important skill in both our personal and professional lives. Once we better understand it, there are ways to manage it, which I look forward to discussing in our session.”

Jenna Storey, Academic Skills Program Coordinator, Student Success Centre

On the topic of Connect with Academic Skills
Date: May 10 from 1:00pm – 2:00pm

A headshot of Jenna Storey“Although GPA is the best predictor of academic success, even successful students can struggle with life skills such as time management, procrastination, staying motivated, goal setting and more. Over the past two years McMaster students may have experienced challenges in both their personal and academic lives. As students continue to adjust to new and innovative ways of learning, it will be increasingly important for educators to be aware of the complementary supports for students to enhance their life and academic skill sets.”

Devon Mordell, Educational Developer, MacPherson Institute

On the topic of Applying Universal Design for Learning Guidelines in Avenue
Date: May 18 from 10:00am – 12:00pm

A headshot of Devon Mordell“A more equitable and inclusive future of teaching and learning at McMaster may see the greater adoption of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles into all aspects of teaching, from course design to the classroom experience to the online learning environment. UDL is one of several frameworks that apply the concept of Universal Design to teaching and learning. It demonstrates that accessible teaching and good pedagogy are aligned. More importantly, designing with the UDL framework in mind conveys to students—particularly those who encounter barriers to participation in academia—that they are being considered in the design process and belong at McMaster.”

Kate Brown, Accessibility Program Manager, Equity and Inclusion Office

On the topic of Accessibility in Online and Technology-Enabled Learning
Date: May 31 from 10:00am – 11:30am

A headshot of Kate Brown“Accessibility has always been essential to those who require it to participate within an educational context. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve witnessed what is possible regarding the broad adoption of online teaching and learning platforms and pedagogies, as well as how intertwined accessibility and teaching and learning skill sets need to be within these environments. Learning has clearly been enhanced through the use of digital technologies, but also through the thoughtful application of teaching and learning and accessible education principles and practice (elaborated upon in McMaster’s FLEX Forward Accessible Education instructional resource). It’s becoming clear now that as we transition back to fully in-person and hybrid environments that accessible educational practices—driven by grassroots and community-led Disabled and accessibility-allied change agents—is now being elevated to a new and institutionally-recognized level of importance as an emerging pillar of McMaster University culture—and that it is here to stay in all variations of McMaster teaching and learning environments and contexts.”

Sarah Whitwell, Educational Developer, MacPherson Institute

On the topic of Giving and Receiving Feedback Effectively
Date: May 31 from 10:00am – 12:00pm

A headshot of Sarah Whitwell“Students are often asked to provide feedback to peers as part of their coursework, and instructors receive feedback on their teaching from both students and colleagues. Feedback is vital for personal growth, however, giving and receiving feedback is a skill. And like any skill, it needs to be developed. This is especially important as our teaching and learning norms have shifted over the course of the pandemic. Feedback can help us reinforce existing strengths, set goals, and increase our ability to identify areas for improvement as we navigate in-person, hybrid, and digital learning. But first, we need to learn how to process and identify actionable next steps.”

Kim Dej, Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning

On the topic of Teaching and Learning Strategy and Grants
Title: Teaching and Learning Month Kickoff and Orientation
Date: May 4 from 2:00pm – 3:00pm

A headshot of Kim Dej“As we mark the one-year anniversary of McMaster’s first ever teaching and learning strategy, it’s exciting to be able to show an institutional commitment to these important initiatives with the launch of new Partnered in Teaching and Learning Strategy Grants. These funding opportunities will be critical to supporting innovative approaches as our educators meet the past, present and future challenges in teaching and learning. To build a thriving teaching and learning community, we must provide tools and opportunities that enable educators to imagine, experiment and think differently. I look forward to seeing how these grant opportunities empower our instructors to enhance teaching and learning at McMaster this coming year and into the future.”

Partners across campus have contributed over 40 different events, programming and workshops on various teaching and learning topics for the month of May. Faculty, instructors and staff can register to attend sessions about teaching tools and platforms, grant opportunities, change management, community engaged teaching, accessibility, virtual resources, and much more.

To learn more and to explore the full schedule of upcoming events, visit the Teaching and Learning Month webpage.

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