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Centre for Teaching and Learning
January 2017 Newsletter

Blackboard Connect

Are your Connect courses ready?

Make your courses available to students using these steps:

Contact your department admin assistant if your TA does not have access to your Connect course.

If you would like to copy content from a previous course, please refer to this guide:

Please complete the request form
if you require lab, tutorial or practicum course sections.

For assistance, please come to our weekly Technology Drop-in sessions every Tuesday from 1:30-3:30 pm in Science 200 or email

Welcome to the new CTL Event and Workshop Registration System!!

The Centre for Teaching and Learning has converted its event and workshop registration system to "Event Espresso"

Event Espresso continues to allow registrants to sign up for various events and workshops.  Additionally, it also allows registrants to retain a persistent and interactive record of the events they have attended. This is an ideal benefit for those who need these records for their annual reviews and for tenure and promotion.
Registering for Events and Workshops as a User
  1. Navigate to the CTL Website ( 
  2. Click on the Events and Registration Button (located in the left hand column under Faculty Events and Workshops.
  3. Select the appropriate events from the Events list. 
  4. If necessary, login with your CWL id. 
  5. Select the "Confirm Registration" option, and information as promoted.

2017 Learning Conference

“Engaging Every Learner”

The conference will open with a keynote address by Dr.Sarah L.Eddy, entitled “End of Lecture?  Active learning increases student achievement“.

Dr. Sarah L. Eddy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and the STEM Transformation Institute at Florida International University.  Trained as a behavioral ecologist, Sarah has shifted from studying behavior in the field to behavior in college classrooms.  Her research focuses on understanding how college instructors can contribute to the goal of equal participation of historically underrepresented groups in science careers, specifically documenting current disparities in student classroom experiences and working with instructors to deploy interventions to addressing these.  In addition to scholarly publications, Sarah’s work has been featured in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Science, and Insight into Diversity.

To register for the conference check back January 16, 2017 for the live link.

For more information, please contact:

John Parry

Learning Conference Proposals will be accepted
starting January 9, 2017
What will happen to the chocolate?

Peter Newbury, Director CTL
Take a moment answer this question:

No, seriously, think it over and deliberately pick A, B, or C. Maybe even write it down on a scrap of paper.

I’ve helped many instructors integrate peer instruction to their courses. Peer instruction, recall, is an evidence-based, active learning strategy where
  1. the instructor poses a conceptually challenging, multiple-choice question
  2. students think about the question on their own and vote for one of the choices using a clicker (at UBCO, we use the i>clicker brand of clickers)
  3. students turn to their neighbors and discuss the question and their answers
  4. students may vote a second time, depending on the nature of the question
  5. the instructor leads a class-wide discussion where students share their thinking, finishing with
  6. the instructor models expert-like thinking and confirms why the right answers are right and the wrong answers are wrong
Each episode of peer instruction can take anywhere from 2 to 10 or more minutes, depending on the question, the answers, and the richness of the discussion.

This question about chocolate is one of my favourites because it reveals how a good peer instruction question can spark and drive discussion. A learning outcome behind this question might be,

students will be able to name the six phase changes (evaporate, sublimate, freeze, etc.) and translate back and forth between the technical name (“melt”) and plain English (“when something changes from solid to liquid”)

When I demonstrate peer instruction to instructors, after the second vote I start the class-wide discussion by asking student to tell me what “evaporate” means. “Great, yes, liquid to gas! What’s the opposite called when it goes from gas to liquid?” They have to give me the technical name, “condense.” Together, we touch on all six processes before going back to this particular question about chocolate. Sure, you could put up a PPT slide with a table showing all the phase names and changes but students could simply scan the table without activating the ideas and practicing saying the words. And imagine giving a 50-minute lecture only to discover there are students who misinterprets what you mean by “condense” -- the technical definition (gas to liquid) is different than the plain English meaning in “condensed milk.”

So what will this chocolate do? It’ll change from liquid to solid. In other words, C) it will freeze.
“What!?! How can it freeze? It’s not even cold!!!”

That’s the other beauty of this question, and peer instruction questions in general. If there’s a strong misconception (“freezing is cold because, you know, ice”), you can build that misconception into the question, giving students low-stakes opportunities to activate and then confront their own misconceptions.
A good peer instruction question is not simply an assessment of fact. Instead, peer instruction allows the instructor to drive a discussion, giving each student an opportunity to think on their own and then practice talking like an expert with their peers.

For more information about peer instruction, check out:

If you’re interested in talking more about peer instruction, feel free to contact me
TA Credentialing Workshop

Please advise any new TAs that a credentialing workshop will be held on January 3, 4, 5, 2017.  9 am to 12 pm. Room: SCI 331.  TAs are required to attend all three days.
TAs can register at:

Training for TAs: Marking Multiple Choice Bubble Sheet Exams
ARTS 338, Wednesday January 25, 2-3 pm
This training session is designed for TAs who will be marking multiple choice exams administered on bubble sheets.  The scanning and marking process will be demonstrated with sample exam sheets.  This workstation is also referred to as the Optical Mark Reader (OMR).  Space will be limited to 6 participants or less – please RSVP.  More sessions will be added in the new year.  Please check the website for updates.  *Does NOT count towards the TA Credential qualification.
Maeyellem Weimer on How to Keep Your Teaching Fresh

Free Podcast

Teachers do a lot of teaching, and they often teach many of the same courses again and again.

It's only natural that even the most committed faculty member, at some point, will hit the wall—feeling as if his or her teaching methods are getting tired or that once reliable procedures are falling short.

What techniques keep your teaching fresh?

In this recorded interview, Maryellen Weimer, PhD, offers some effective teaching strategies you can try that will inject new energy into your courses and refresh your teaching.
BCcampus welcomes proposals for the 5th annual Open Textbook Summit, May 24-25, 2017 at SFU Harbour Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada). 
Confirmed Keynote Speakers for the 2017 Open Textbook Summit:
Ryan Merkley, CEO Creative Commons
Kory Wilson, Executive Director, Aboriginal Initiatives and Partnerships at BCIT
BCcampus Advisory Group
BCcampus is establishing an advisory group to inform their work. The role of this group will be to provide feedback and suggestions that help us accomplish that. Click here for information on the nomination process.
January 2017 Workshops
Sessional/Adjunct Orientation to Teaching Workshop
Tuesday, January 3, 2017, 1:00 - 3:00 pm SCI 331

Academic Integrity and Working With Turnitin
Wednesday, January 4, 2017 1:00 - 3:00 pm SCI 331

Introduction to Classroom Technology
Monday, January 9, 2017, 12:30 - 1:30 pm ART 386

Register Now
Your CTL Team

Peter Newbury, PhD
SCI 200B
Twitter :@polarisdotca


Vania Chan M.Ed.
e-Learning Instructional Support Specialist
SCI 200D
Janine Hirtz,
e-Learning Instructional Support Specialist

SCI 200E
Heather Hurren, M.Ed.
Manager, Academic Development
SCI 200C

Tricia Lalli, B.A.
CTL, Office and Technical Support Coordinator
SCI 200

Bill Latta, M.Ed. 
Learning instructional Support Specialist
SCI 200

Lynne McPherson
Communication and Teaching Evaluation Coordinator
SCI 265

John Parry, M.Ed. 
Coordinator, Graduate and Teaching Assistant Program
SCI 259

Brian Powell, M.A.
e-Learning Instructional Support Specialist
SCI 200

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


University of British Columbia Okanagan
SCI 200 - 3333 University Way
Kelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7

Ph. 250 807 9293

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University of British Columbia Okanagan · 3333 University Way · Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 · Canada

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