October 2023

Upcoming Programming on Generative Artificial Intelligence and Teaching 

Several events focused on generative AI and teaching will be held across the UofG campuses over the next several weeks. These events include: 

A Sharing Session on Student AI Use 

The AI Literacy Lab will be hosting A Sharing Session on Student AI Use. The event will be held at the University of Guelph-Humber (GH403) and online at this MS Teams link on Thursday, November 23rd from 1:00-2:00pm. From the AI Literacy Lab: 

As we are past the midpoint of the first semester of wide access to generative AI tools, we thought it would be a good moment to gather together to talk about our experiences. This sharing session invites instructors to discuss their observations and insights about how students are engaging with AI. The focus is not on instructional best practices for AI implementation, but rather on creating a space for educators to collaboratively explore the ramifications and implications of student AI use. Whether it's about academic integrity, ethical considerations, or unforeseen learning outcomes, your insights are invaluable. Join us for a meaningful exchange that aims to deepen our collective understanding of the complex ways AI is influencing student behavior and academic engagement. 

CARE-AI Events 

The University of Guelph’s Centre of Advancing Responsible and Ethical Artificial Intelligence (CARE-AI) is offering several workshops related to generative AI. Check out CARE-AI's website for descriptions and to register for an event to enhance your AI literacy. 

Call for Instructors to Participate in a Study on Student Use of Generative AI 

Our colleagues at McMaster’s MacPherson Institute are looking for volunteers who are currently employed as instructors at a Canadian university or college and teaching at least one course during the 2023–24 academic year. The study is looking at student assessments that have been designed or redesigned to address the widespread availability and use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) like ChatGPT, as well as assessments that instructors perceive as being unaffected by such technology. The study involves an online survey and will take approximately 10-15 minutes of your time.  

By choosing to participate, you would be contributing to the development of effective assessment design principles for the future.  You can access the survey here. Please direct any questions to Ben Lee Taylor at taylob36@mcmaster.ca.

OTL Staff Member Receives e-Campus Ontario Grant to Pursue a Project on Women in STEM
initial UI sample

Recently, Shehroze Saharan, the Educational Resource Developer at the Office of Teaching and Learning, received an e-Campus Ontario Grant to launch "The Matilda Project." along with University of Toronto professor, Shehryar Saharan, and University of Guelph Professor and Associate Director of The Humanities Interdisciplinary Collaboration Lab (THINC Lab), Dr. Kim Martin.

The term Matilda Effect, coined by Yale historian Margaret W. Rossiter, is used to describe the situation of women scientists who have been ignored, forgotten, or denied credit due to sex-linked biases, thus, The Matilda Project, which aims to address this pressing issue, is an initiative to raise awareness of inequality & gender bias towards women in science

This project comprises two pivotal elements: 

  1. Educational Animations: These videos provide accessible insights into the Matilda Effect, with the primary aim of enhancing awareness about the gender bias challenges women face in science. (You can watch the first video here: link

  1. Digital Collection: An open-access website is in the works, housing stories of women scientists impacted by the Matilda Effect, along with interactive activities tailored for learners. (Check out an initial UI sample here: link

The ultimate goal of this initiative is to engage and educate learners, nurturing knowledge and advocacy for gender equality in science. It seamlessly integrates into educational resources, lectures, and discussions. The project's significance in the scientific landscape lies in its dedication to combating gender bias, championing diversity, and serving a diverse range of audiences, all while promoting inclusivity in the scientific community. In essence, The Matilda Project stands as a crucial Open Educational Resource initiative, propelling awareness of gender equality in science education and serving as both a resource and a catalyst for enduring transformation. 

If you would like to learn more or want to know how to incorporate The Matilda Project into your teaching, please reach out to Shehroze Saharan at saharans@uoguelph.ca.

Featured Teaching Resource 

Review Your Assessments Using OTL’s Assessment Checklist 

As you think about upcoming midterm exams and assessments in your courses, consider reviewing them using OTL’s Assessment Checklist. This 1-page document helps instructors examine their assessments through the lenses of student learning, academic integrity, and accessibility. The checklist encourages instructors to consider how well the assessment aligns with the course learning outcomes, the clarity of instructions, and other important assessment characteristics.  

Meet the Educational Resource 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

Image of Christopher Laursen

Dr. Christopher Laursen, Educational Developer

What pathway did you take to your career as an Educational Developer? 

My path started working in community-based media as a journalist and radio producer, and also working at a non-profit organization that represented the technological interests of international broadcasters. I always wanted to deepen my abilities as a storyteller and educator. That drew me into studying History. I did a Master’s in History here at the University of Guelph under the wonderful guidance of Sofie Lachapelle, along with Tara Abraham, Susan Nance, and Jacqueline Murray. For me, my UofG experience sparkled. It inspired me to forge unique paths forward as an educator and researcher. Even through my PhD studies at the University of British Columbia, I always craved returning to the UofG. For four years at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, I taught History and interdisciplinary humanities courses from first-year intros to graduate seminars that I delivered in person, hybrid, and online formats.

I was recognized for my innovation in eLearning through an award given to one instructor each year – quite an honour! I also collaborated to redesign a graduate program’s curriculum there. In this journey, I sensed there was a place for me at this confluence of mass media and higher education. I discovered that the field of educational development perfectly fits this combination of skills. I couldn't imagine a better “pedagogical laboratory” than the Office of Teaching and Learning in which to grow and contribute to our UofG community. 

​What interests you about teaching and learning? 

On a greater scale, I practice bird’s-eye-view holistic approaches in teaching and learning; I cultivate interconnections between things and stewardship – that is, how we take care of ourselves, each other, our world, and in turn, we are taken care of. To make these things tangible on a smaller scale, I seek ways to share experiences and manageably apply practical tools that benefit teaching and learning. To me, grassroots approaches that can be modelled and applied on a greater scale are key to enhancing pedagogies. I’ve always been drawn toward guidance that considers the whole person in relation to their own unique experiences and perspectives, their socio-cultural contexts, and their relations. This is why I focus on Universal Design for Learning in relation to inclusion, access and accessibility, and increasingly, how instructors can optimize their pedagogical wellness, which in turn can benefit the wellness of their students.  

What advice would you give to new instructors?

I have always felt like I am a “new” instructor. I've wondered, “When will I feel like an expert?” But a key tenet in Universal Design for Learning is that our goal as educators is ongoing continuous growth and learning, to be “expert learners.” I conveyed this idea in December 2022's Issue: “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 can bring about more purposeful, motivated, resourceful, and strategic teaching and learning.” There are great benefits in acknowledging that you only know so much, because that fuels your ambitions to learn more – to be an expert learner. If things continually seem “new,” that possibilities continue to surprise you, and that you learn from your students as much as they learn from you, then you’ve hit the mark as an expert learner. 

Featured SoTL Snapshot 

Learning outcomes are statements that describe what students will know and be able to do at the end of the course. Learning outcomes are effective study tools, as they signal to students the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the course. This SoTL Snapshot, summarizes research on whether and how students use learning outcomes (called learning objectives in this study) to prepare for exams. The researchers suggest that instructors should encourage students to use the course learning outcomes to quiz themselves before tests or exams. Not all students will be aware of course learning outcomes, so instructors can let the students know where to find them and how to use them to study. 

Reflections on Pedagogy: Musings for Educators 

On encouraging students to build a practice of self-assessment:

“If the genuine goal of college is to prepare students for life, then it is vital that they develop their own standards. Even when standards are set by professions, workers aren’t generally monitored for every single task... So rather than ask students to submit work with the hope that I’ll think it’s excellent, I encourage them to develop honest standards and self-scrutiny. 

This also contributes to that desirable skill of metacognition, or thinking about thinking. Every assignment is accompanied by students’ written self-assessments of their work. What were they trying to get out of the assignment? What did they learn? What was successful? What was less successful? Why? What might they do differently? What would they like help with?... Sometimes things aren’t perfect—and that’s okay. But it is useful for them to understand and even articulate the reasons.” 

Blum, S. D. (2020). Just one change (just kidding): Ungrading and its necessary accompaniments. In S. D. Blum (Ed.) Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead) (pp. 58 – 59). West Virginia University Press. 

For more teaching resources or to chat with an Educational Developer, visit our website at otl.uoguelph.ca or contact otl@uoguelph.ca.