CTL Headlines is the monthly newsletter from the Centre for Teaching and Learning at UBC's Okanagan campus.
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CTL Headlines

teaching and Learning in action


resource of the month

Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time

by Linda B. Nilson

This resource is available for loan from the Centre.

scholarly teaching
Coming in APRIL

April 18
Teaching Portfolios


2016 Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) Conference

Western University along with Fanshawe College will co-host the 2016 Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) conference. Mark your calendars for the 2016 conference in London, Ontario from June 21st-24th, 2016.

Festival of Learning

June 6-10, 2016
Delta Villa Hotel, Burnaby

A variety of events will occur during the week in the areas of course design, open education, SoTL, learning technologies, learning space design, leadership in faculty development and social activities. More information will be available soon, but for now, SAVE THE DATES!!!

Call for Proposals: Open Now until March 14

Ancillary Materials DevelopmentDeadline for Proposals: ongoing
Deadline for Projects: December 31, 2016

Open to faculty and staff from post-secondary institutions in British Columbia


From 2012-2015, The Ministry of Advanced Education funded the BC Open Textbook Project and tasked BCcampus with managing it. The goal of the BC Open Textbook Project is to provide flexible and affordable access to higher education learning resources in BC by making available openly licensed textbooks that align with the most highly enrolled first and second year undergraduate subject areas, as well as in selected skills training and trades subject areas. As of February 2016, BCcampus and its institutional partners have saved BC students over $1.2 million in textbook fees.
In 2016, BCcampus, working closely with BC’s higher education institutions, will continue to advance the Province’s open, affordable education vision by continuing to build the BC Open Textbook collection. In addition, with financial support from the Hewlett Foundation, BCcampus will broaden the efforts in two key ways:

  1. Support the development of engaging, interactive resources that complement the BC Open Textbook collection.
  2. Encourage faculty to incorporate open educational practices in their teaching.

This call for proposals is focused on the first area mentioned above: the development of learning resources that complement textbooks.  These materials, commonly called ancillary resources, are used in conjunction with a textbook to further engage and or assess students in face-to-face and online environments. Individuals and groups of educators are encouraged to apply.

More Information

communities of practice

The UBC Okanagan, Centre for Teaching and Learning, operates a number of Communities of Practice from September to March. All faculty are welcome to join. Please contact the appropriate person if you are interested in joining or attending.

Adjunct / Sessional

Bill Latta

Experiential Learning
Heather Hurren

Team Based Learning
Heather Hurren

Teaching Large Classes
Heather Hurren

Teaching Online
Janine Hirtz

Critical Thinking
Janine Hirtz

Janine Hirtz

Vania Chan

ctl tEAM

Michelle Lamberson, PhD
Acting Director

Heather Hurren, M.Ed
Manager, Academic Development

Tricia Lalli, B.A.
Centre for Teaching and Learning Support

Lynne McPherson
Communication and Teaching Evaluation Coordinator

John Parry, M.Ed
Coordinator, Graduate and Teaching Assistant Programming

Janine Hirtz, M.A.(Education)
e-Learning Instructional Support Specialist

Vania Chan, B.Sc., M.A. (Candidate)
e-Learning Instructional Support Specialist

Brian Powell,
M.A. (Applied Linguistics)

e-Learning Instructional Support Specialist

Bill Latta, B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed
Learning Instructional Support Specialist

Twitter @UBCOCTL

CTL Blog





12th Annual Learning Conference
Engaging and Learning in Authentic Environments May 4 & 5, 2016Register Now!!!

The conference will open with a keynote address by Dr. Linda B. Nilson, entitled "Ensuring and Assessing the Learning in Authentic Experiential Learning".

Check the website for a tentative program in early March.

Click here to register

Engaging Students in Open Education

March 10, 2016
Location: SCI 331
Facilitated by: CTLT UBC Vancouver, Series: Open Education 

Join us for a live streaming event with Vancouver campus on March 10th from 1:30-3:00pm for a panel discussion highlighting open courses, projects and initiatives from UBC and beyond.

Open education is a hot topic on post secondary campuses these days. This year UBC saw the #textbookbroke campaign led by the Alma Mater society – advocating for the use of open textbooks and open practices in the classroom to reduce costs for students; the adoption of open textbooks and resources in large multi section physics and math courses; and the continuing development of open teaching practices with Wikipedia projects and student produced, openly published content.

How do we engage students with open educational practices that go beyond making their work public to making it re-usable or available for others to build on? Why is open education important to students and to what extent can it enrich the teaching and learning environment?

Lighting Talks: Each speaker will present for 8 minutes and respond to questions for 5 minutes. This will be followed by a broad panel discussion about open practice.
Register Now

Teaching Large Classes Community of Practice

Wed, March 16, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: SCI 331
Facilitated by: Heather Hurren

Participants will share experiences and best practices when teaching large classes.
Register Now

Reflective Practice Workshop - Session 3

Thu, March 17, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: SCI 331
Facilitated by: Bill Latta

Enhancing learning for our students involves more than just understanding and being able to apply general learning and teaching principles and guidelines. Most importantly, it involves being able to make sense of what is going on in our classes, which means understanding our students and being able to respond appropriately to their needs and feedback. It also involves understanding ourselves as teachers, which means being aware of why we do what we do and the impact of this upon our students’ learning. We develop this awareness and understanding through engaging in an ongoing process of understanding through engaging in an ongoing process of reflection.(McLean, 2007)
Register Now

Grade Center for the Advanced UserThu, March 24, 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: SCI 331
Facilitated by: Janine Hirtz
Our records show that students visit the "My Grades" pages more frequently than any other page in the learning management system. Setting up your grade centre effectively is a sure way to provide timely feedback to students about how they are doing; moreover a carefully designed grade centre can help keep students engaged and on track.
• Student enhancements for viewing grades
• Grading schemas
• Smart Views
• Grading Categories
• Drop the lowest in a category of grades
• Calculating Bonus Marks
Register Now

Discussion about Teaching Excellence


The student panel consisting of Stephen Wang, 4th year International Relations; Lindsay Spielman, Biology PhD candidate; Ilija Hristovski, 2nd year Engineering; Kristen Morgan, 1st year Computer Science and Shira Sneg, 4th year Psychology and Student Senator, presented some excellent and constructive views based on their experiences at UBCO.

When asked what helped them learn effectively three students identified the professor/student relationship as paramount. The professor’s enthusiasm and organizational skills were important as was the relevancy of the material to the everyday students’ world. The panel generally applauded instructors who involved them in participation although one panelist related how self-discovery was her most preferred way of learning.

When asked what suggestions they each had to increase the effectiveness of their learning it was proposed that a course covering post-university career options would be welcomed; one panelist highlighted the experience of attending UBCO as a high school student, and another liked all the things that were offered over and above the academic program. The importance of mental health was raised several times. When professors integrate mental health information into their courses, students listen. The importance of congruency between the stated outcomes in the syllabus and what was assessed was repeated by three panelists.

The panel suggested that students would like to know more about the evaluation of professors and what is done to assist those who are among the few who are less effective.
The students expressed some frustration with technology not working in the classroom.  Regardless of the cause (faculty training or repairs being needed), valuable class time is lost and students hope that these situations can be addressed.  Faculty in attendance asked many questions of the students and a good discussion took place. The CTL will offer a similar session again.

The students’ comments were thoughtful and insightful.

Blackboard Connect-Summer Courses

Summer course(s) for 2016 S1, S2 and S1-2  have been added in Connect and will be in your course list.

UBC Okanagan has added a generic template to these courses in order to simplify adding course content and setting up your course.  

For additional support please click the links:

Make your course available
Change course start date
Copy course content from a previously taught version of the course.

If you copy in course content, you may wish to delete and duplicates on the course menu.  

If you require assistance, please drop in on Tuesdays from 1:30-3:30 in SCI 200 or email:

Course (Re) Design Seminar

May 9-12
9:00am - 3:00pm daily
Seminar Leaders: The CTL Team
Location: TBA

Faculty are invited to participate in the course (re)design process to refresh a course they currently teach or create a new course with the design process that we will facilitate/provide. The seminar requires a 4-day commitment with whole group instructional sessions followed by small group/team planning sessions, working on a different course aspect each day covering content, learning outcomes, instructional strategies and assessment processes. Individual faculty or course teams may be interested in this opportunity to design a new course or revitalize an existing one. 

The seminar is modeled on a research-based course design process that focuses on learning-centered instruction and constructive alignment. Learning-centered instruction requires that decisions are made with specific reference to the kind of learning that is desired and strategies are chosen because they are the most likely to support that kind of learning. Educative assessment ensures that assessment leads to further learning with more emphasis given to formative rather than summative assessment. Constructive alignment aims to coordinate all the components of the course - content, objectives, strategies and assessment - so that one component reflects another.

Participants will be expected to share their product at various times throughout the seminar (5-10 min lessons/presentations on small samples of their course). 

Take the opportunity to focus on designing your course with CTL staff and colleagues at hand for consultation! Participants will be asked to focus on one course throughout the seminar, but the knowledge gained will assist you in refreshing or creating other courses you teach. 

For more information about the seminar, contact Heather Hurren 807-9288 or heather.hurren@ubc.ca 

Apply now-Deadline April 22

Centre for Teaching and Learning
SCI 200 - 1177 Research Road
Kelowna, BC, V1V 1V7, Canada
Tel: (250) 807-9293