Monthly Archives: February 2013

Your Classroom, Do You Love it or Hate It?

Posted by Bernie Wirzba – Educational Facilitator (Research/Digital Media) – Teaching Centre

Does the type of space in which you teach your class affect how you teach that class or affect how students learn in your class? That is one of the questions that LEE, the Learning Environment Evaluation project, is examining.

LEE is a working group comprised of Faculty members, Facilities – Capital Projects staff, Information Technology Services (ITS) staff, Teaching Centre staff and Graduate Student – Research Assistants. LEE’s stated purpose is to champion the cause of improving teaching and learning spaces on campus and to inform and influence the planning process of future classroom, both newly constructed and renovated.

It became clear from the beginning that what we needed to do before we could affect positive change was to gauge faculty and students perceptions of the current state of our classrooms. The working group has been hard at work for over one year now meeting and planning and consulting various stakeholders to get a good sense of how faculty and students feel about our classrooms on campus. In the Fall of 2012 we began conducting research in classrooms to investigate student and faculty perceptions of the effect of environmental factors on teaching and learning. We have selected two classrooms, L1050 and L1060 as our project classrooms and using student surveys, student focus groups, faculty interviews, faculty focus groups and in class observations, we are gathering data on how things like lighting, sightlines, classroom configuration, space, color, furniture type, instructional technology, etc. affect faculty and students perception on teaching and learning.

That research is continuing in both classrooms through the Spring 2013 semester. Based on some very preliminary findings from the Fall 2012 research, we decided to do some renovations in L1050 during Reading Week in February 2013. This would enable us to query the same group of students and faculty on the environmental effects of the classroom before and after the renovations and collect data on their perceptions of the classroom pre and post renovation. Our hope is that this will provide useful information on whether changes made during renovations have improved the teaching space or did it make things worse.

One of the things that we are also trying to investigate / achieve with the LEE project is to model a process of how to affect change that takes into account the needs and constraints of all the various stakeholders. One of the most rewarding things about this project so far has been how with very little time and a shoestring budget we have been able to get the enthusiastic cooperation and efforts of many different people from carpenters and painters, housekeeping staff and ITS to pull together and within a week transform a classroom that we can be proud of. Our thanks go to all the people involved from Facilities and ITS as well as Faculty and Teaching Centre staff that made this happen.

To learn more about (and to see) how we changed the L1050 Classroom in a week, join us on March 15 for a Talking about Teaching session in L1050 @ 2:00 PM for A Discussion About Your Classroom.

The Teaching Centre. It’s official now.

Posted by Dave Hinger – Director – Teaching Centre

On March 4th 2013, the Centre for the Advancement of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CAETL) as well as the Curriculum Re-Development Centre (CRDC) will merge to become the University of Lethbridge Teaching Centre. CAETL and CRDC have been critical to the U of L’s commitment to excellence in teaching and learning in both our undergraduate and graduate programs. The combination of CRDC and CAETL into a single Teaching Centre department will meet the growing teaching development needs of the University, and supports our U of L Strategic and Academic Plans.

Through its commitment to scholarship, research, and best practice in teaching and learning, the Teaching Centre will promote and enhance the professional development of university level instructors. The Teaching Centre will also advance creativity, originality, and discovery in teaching. A commitment to excellence in teaching will ensure that, in a rapidly changing educational environment, the U of L will provide outstanding learning experiences for its students and faculty that are founded on the principles:

  • Teaching and learning are fundamental to the purpose of the university, and the university community is committed to excellence in teaching.
  • All students must be provided opportunities to learn in ways consistent with most effective instructional practices.
  • Effective university teaching can be defined, learned, demonstrated, and continually enhanced.
  • Scholarly inquiry is fundamental to the enhancement of teaching effectiveness.
  • Teaching development is most likely to occur in a collaborative community characterized by trust and mutual respect.

Teaching Centre Goals:

  1. Foster a culture of excellence in teaching and learning inside and outside the classroom.
  2. Coordinate and facilitate professional development opportunities for the teaching community.
  3. Develop, identify, and support innovative teaching practices.
  4. Deepen the University’s commitment to a scholarship of teaching and learning.
  5. Investigate innovative educational practices, strategies, technologies and processes.

To Learn more about the Teaching Centre and how we can support your teaching, we invite you to explore our website (www.uleth.ca/teachingcentre) or visit our offices on the top floor of the Library L1126.