August 2022

OTL Announcements

Fall Book Club Selection and Registration

This Fall, OTL will be hosting the OTL Book Club to discuss Infusing Critical Thinking into Your Course: A Concrete, Practical Approach (Nilson, 2021). The book offers concrete strategies related to effectively teaching and assessing  students’ critical thinking skills. The Book Club is open to all current University of Guelph faculty, instructors and staff . The Book Club will meet six times during the Fall semester to discuss the book and share our teaching ideas and experiences. For more information, visit the OTL website, and to register, contact

SoTL Researchers Invited to Participate in a Community of Practice

Beginning in September 2022, OTL will facilitate a monthly Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Researchers Community of Practice. This group is open to all UofG faculty, instructors and staff who engage in SoTL or educational research.  The SoTL Researchers CoP is designed to provide a space to get to know SoTL researchers from other disciplines, to share SoTL literature , and to motivate members to make progress on new or existing SoTL projects. To register for the SoTL Researchers CoP, contact by September 16th. Space is limited.

What's Happening In OTL?

Two Instructional Skills Workshops Facilitated This Summer

This summer, OTL facilitated two Instructional Skills Workshops (ISWs) with a total of 23 UofG participants, including faculty, staff, sessional instructors, and graduate students. The ISW is an intensive experiential workshop designed to enhance teaching effectiveness of new and experienced educators.

OTL partnered with two faculty from the School of Engineering, Dr. Julie Vale and Dr. Stephen Mattucci, to co-facilitate a course-embedded ISW in ENGG*6090. In this graduate-level course focused on STEM Education Research and Practice, students completed all elements of the ISW concurrently with other course components.

Resources for Graduate Student Teaching Assistants

As graduate students receive their Teaching Assistant assignments for the Fall, they may be seeking support and resources related to their TA duties such as leading seminars, labs or tutorials, grading, and managing the classroom. The OTL website offers resources for new and experienced TAs, including an interactive Guide for New Teaching Assistants. This comprehensive guide, developed by UofG TAs, includes information that TAs should know before the semester starts, effective teaching and grading strategies, and reflective exercises to help TAs reflect upon and document their teaching experience.

Featured Teaching Resources

If you are looking for strategies to support student engagement and active learning in your courses this Fall, see our Active Learning Strategies for In-Class Sessions and Asynchronous Active Learning resources. Active learning doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming to be effective. Incorporating brief activities such as collaborative summaries, 1-minute papers, or the pause procedure can strengthen student understanding, build community in your class, and help you see where students are struggling to grasp material. Reach out to an Educational Developer in OTL to discuss what active learning could look like in your classroom.

Spotlight on UoG SoTL Research

A recent publication by Dr. Kate Parizeau, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment & Geomatics, investigated instructor perspectives on undergraduate student mental health. Using survey and focus group data, Dr. Parizeau found that university instructors hold a variety of perspectives on student mental health issues, ranging from supportive to hostile. Most participants reported that student mental health impacted their teaching practice, and that their workload with respect to addressing student mental health concerns was higher than in the past. Many participants described mental health issues as biomedical concerns, and therefore, outside of their purview as instructors. Dr. Parizeau argues that instructors could instead view mental health as a complex, ongoing social issue. The article offers several concrete suggestions for instructors to support students experiencing mental health concerns. These suggestions include providing appropriate academic accommodations, using inclusive teaching strategies, and contributing to a campus culture that supports mental health. Dr. Parizeau took part in the Inquire Certificate for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning while carrying out this research.

Featured SoTL Snapshot

Increasing Student Engagement with Course Readings Using the 3-2-1 Technique

The 3-2-1 Technique can support students with completing, summarizing, and reflecting on assigned course readings. For this quick, low-stakes activity, students write a 3-sentence summary of the assigned reading, a 2-sentence reflection, and 1 discussion question.  This SoTL Snapshot summarizes research by Cserni and Rademacher (2021) showing that students who used the 3-2-1 Technique increased their ability to summarize, analyze, and write discussion questions related to the reading.

For more teaching resources or to chat with an Educational Developer, visit our website at or contact

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