University Teaching Leadership Fellows Application Deadline Extended to February 6th, 2023
The University Teaching Leadership Fellows (UTLFs) are a distinguished and cross-disciplinary community of educators who act as institutional change agents by engaging in educational leadership, research, advocacy, networking, service, and mentoring to promote educational excellence. This initiative from the Offices of the Provost and Vice President (Academic) will award up to 10 UTLFs to begin 3-year terms on July 1st, 2023. Each UTLF will be awarded $30,000 to undertake scholarly projects to advance teaching and learning at U of G. Apply by February 6th, 2023 for an opportunity to join the inaugural cohort of UTLFs.
Winter 2023 Book Club Registration– What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching
During the Winter 2023 semester, the Office of Teaching and Learning will host a book club to discuss What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching (Addy et al., 2021). Book club discussions are open to all University of Guelph faculty and instructional staff (including sessionals). At each meeting, book club members will take part in a facilitated discussion of one or two chapters of What Inclusive Instructors Do and discuss your thoughts, questions or share experiences from their own classes. Follow this link to register for the book club, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Featured Teaching Resource
Alternative Assessment Options to Remote Invigilation
In response to the President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism's recent recommendation to discontinue the use of Respondus Monitor for remote invigilation, instructors are encouraged to use alternative assessment approaches for the Winter 2023 semester. OTL has curated resources to support instructors to use assessment approaches that do not use Respondus monitor, focusing on effective and inclusive teaching practices. OpenEd also has resources to support a move away from Respondus Monitor, including tools in CourseLink, GradeScope, Zoom, and Teams.
Designing Assessments in a Time of Advancing Artificial Intelligence
Recently, the higher education news has been dominated by stories of artificial intelligence (AI) software including ChatGPT, which produces human-like writing in response to user-generated questions, and Quillbot, an AI paraphrasing tool. This technology may disrupt the way we assess students’ writing skills, because of their ability to quickly generate passable written responses that are difficult to identify as computer-generated. Instructors and educational developers are therefore thinking about how to generate effective writing assessments that cannot be answered using AI.
To test the type of responses that ChatGPT can generate, we asked the following question:
“How can professors craft writing assignments that make it difficult for students to use AI to answer the question for them?”
Within 30 seconds, ChatGPT had produced the following response:
“One way for professors to make it difficult for students to use AI to answer a writing assignment is to ask questions that require a high level of critical thinking, analysis, and interpretation. These types of questions cannot be easily answered by AI because they require a deep understanding of the subject matter and the ability to make connections and draw conclusions from complex information.” The response also included three more paragraphs with more suggestions.
The AI-generated response contains relevant and useful suggestions for creating effective writing assignments. This quick test showed us the power of ChatGPT to mimic human writing and provide plausible responses. We suggest that faculty and instructors think about ways to use AI technology to augment and enhance teaching and learning, rather than replace it.
As we begin to grapple with this new area of technology, consider the following suggestions to assess student writing in an era of advancing AI:
Include elements of personal reflection in writing assignments. Asking students to reflect on personal experiences or their learning process is difficult for AI to replicate.
Use data, case studies, or scenarios as prompts for students to write about. Critical thinking skills such as analyzing, interpreting, and synthesizing cannot be easily replicated by AI.
Use multi-step assessments, where students submit an outline, list of sources, and multiple drafts for feedback. This strategy of scaffolding student learning has been shown to improve writing ability, and would also prevent students relying on AI.
Include real-time assessments of student learning, including in-class hand-written assignments.
Incorporate AI technology into your classes. Have students edit and revise an AI generated response to a writing prompt.
Require students to cite their sources. ChatGPT does not currently include citations.
Base writing prompts on very recent (e.g., current events) or very specific events or information. ChatGPT does not currently have the ability to generate responses to these types of requests.
Discuss the University’s academic integrity policy with your students. Explain why submitting AI-generated work as one’s own is considered academic misconduct.
This resource contains several other suggestions for promoting academic integrity, many of which align with suggestions to reduce student reliance on AI writing software.
OTL will continue to investigate these emerging technologies, and their implications for writing, art, music, and other disciplines. Please reach out to email@example.com with any questions, suggestions, or ideas related to teaching, learning, and AI.
Spotlight on Universal Design
Who Are Expert Learners? We All Are
Who are the experts in your courses? Is it only the content expert instructor imparting knowledge in one direction to students? Expertise involves much more than that. In educational spaces that layer in universal design for learning, both students and instructors have the opportunity to develop learning expertise: to be expert learners.
Expert learners set goals and reflect on the processes involved in achieving them. Practicing, adjusting, and refining the processes as needed creates flexibility in both teaching and learning, with the potential to transform courses and programs into collaborative communities. This process can bring about more purposeful, motivated, resourceful, and strategic teaching and learning. In this online handout, CAST, a nonprofit focused on UDL, offers practical guidance for fostering expert learners – from setting goals and expectations, promoting disciplinary expertise, focusing on the process, not just the outcome, and guiding self-reflection. To further explore how universal design can positively enhance your work as an instructor, connect with our educational developer Christopher Laursen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet an Educational Developer
Each month, we will feature a member of the Office of Teaching and Learning team in a brief interview. For more information about each Educational Developer’s portfolio, please visit our website.
Jennifer Reniers, Educational Developer
What pathway did you take to your career as an Educational Developer?
During my undergraduate and graduate degrees in social psychology, I enjoyed working as a TA and sessional instructor. To develop my teaching skills, I participated in as many teaching and learning-related workshops, courses, and conferences as I could. Taking part in UNIV*6800 (University Teaching: Theory and Practice), the graduate-level course in teaching and learning offered by OTL, was especially inspiring. The course introduced me to concepts including constructive alignment and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). When the position of Educational Analyst because available in OTL in 2016, the role fit my passion for teaching with my knowledge and skills related to research, assessment, and evaluation. Since then, I have been privileged to work with brilliant Educational Developers who have continued to grow my passion for and knowledge of teaching and learning.
What interests you about teaching and learning?
I like applying my knowledge of social science research methods to classroom teaching, curriculum design, and outcomes assessment. I have been involved in many SoTL projects in my work with OTL, from helping to evaluate the EnLITE teaching development program, to working with a faculty member in OVC to assess the effectiveness of teaching cases. Teaching can seem mysterious, but it’s rewarding to know that strong evidence supports effective teaching strategies. I love sharing these strategies with colleagues and contributing to the SoTL literature.
What advice would you give new instructors?
Many new instructors experience the imposter phenomenon (i.e., persistent feelings of intellectual fraudulence) and feel the need to prove their expertise to students (Hutchings & Rainbolt, 2017). In the classroom, this desire to be seen as an expert can lead to dense and detailed lectures that leave little room for active learning. Remember that the most effective learning often happens when instructors give up some control in the classroom, and encourage students to ask questions and grapple with new concepts. It can be difficult to turn the reins over to the students and risk losing the appearance of the ‘all-knowing professor.’ However, I challenge new instructors to incorporate at least a few moments of active learning in each class and observe how this experience impacts you and the students.
Wishing you a restful and safe holiday season!