Teaching Days

Teaching Days

Get inspired! Discover teaching practices to spark your students' curiosity, build your confidence and energize your classroom this fall. 

Join us for two full days of teaching development workshops

Taylor Institute Teaching Days provides a meaningful and concentrated opportunity for instructors, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and staff to prepare for the upcoming academic year, connect, reflect and strengthen teaching and learning practices across campus. 

Teaching Days 2021 will be held on August 25 and 26.

This event will be held exclusively online.


If you are registered for the event as an attendee or a speaker, you should have already received an email with access instructions. If you have not received it, please check your junk mail. 

Learning outcomes

  • To prepare for teaching in the upcoming academic year
  • To connect and network with teaching colleagues
  • To strengthen teaching practices and expertise while reflecting on your practices and approaches

Day 1: Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Click on each time block for session information.

  1. Academic Integrity: Instructional Approaches to Promoting Ethical Learning

    Sarah Elaine Eaton

    Participants will learn about the instructional and assessment aspects of academic integrity and discover how to promote ethical learning through proactive pedagogical choices and assessment. This session will focus intently on student learning and using strengths-based approaches to uphold and promote academic integrity.

  1. How to Support a Student in Distress

    Andrew Szeto & Kevin Wiens

    Research over the past decade or so has pointed to increases in post-secondary students who experience declining mental health and/or may be in distress. Given that instructors and professors work closely with students, they often have to support students that come to them who may be in distress. This workshop will discuss a simple framework to support instructors and professors on how to communicate with students who may be in distress (or they suspect may be in distress) and refer them to appropriate resources. Additionally, this workshop will also discuss how to respond to difficult classroom situations (e.g., disruptive behaviours).

  2. Managing Student Workload through Intentional Design

    Rajeev Sasidharan Nair & Tracey Clancy

    An important area to consider when designing courses is student workload. Overloading students with an excessive workload can detract from learning, or simply encourage surface rather than deep learning. Thoughtful and accurate workload planning is central to course design. There are a variety of strategies for course design and delivery that help to support an appropriate student workload such as estimating the workload expected each week and breaking larger assignments into smaller pieces with interim delivery deadlines. This workshop focuses on strategies to support appropriate student workload and why a consideration of student workload is an important part of course design and delivery.

  1. Experiential Learning through Undergraduate Research

    Mayi Arcellana-Panlilio & Kara Loy

    In this workshop we provide participants with an overview of the UCalgary Experiential Learning framework, Kolb’s EL cycle (1984) and the undergraduate research initiative. Next, we will give an example of experiential learning in undergraduate research at the University of Calgary. In break-out rooms, the participants will discuss the examples of experiential learning and identify other possible scenarios. In a final exercise, the participants will be offered a tool (template) to prompt reflection on what they would ‘take home’ from this workshop to apply in their own practise.

  2. What to Do on the First Day of Your Class

    Allie Wright

    As we return to campus, we may experience the "first day of class" a bit differently than in previous years. What can you do to prepare to welcome students back and set the stage for the term? How do other academic staff prepare for and deliver their first class? What strategies can you use to ensure that both you and your students understand the expectations of your course from that very first day?

    In this panel discussion, three academic staff from across campus discuss their strategies for their first day of class and how they work with students throughout the term. They will share how they have developed their approaches over time, successes and challenges related to preparing for the term, and lessons that they have learned related to fostering student-centered learning experiences from the very first day.

  1. Mokaksin: Self-directed Learning from an Indigenous Perspective

    Gabrielle Lindstrom

    This session distinguishes key concepts such as self-directed governance in personal learning pathways, Indigenous leadership concepts and processes that are necessary for the development of learning strategies central to expanding motivation, independent decision-making, and practices premised on self-directed learning that emerge from central principles.

  1. Problematizing Multiple Choice Testing Using an EDI Lens

    Brenda McDermott & Fouzia Usman

    Multiple-choice testing provides a seemingly objective assessment of student knowledge that may not necessarily be reflective of students’ diverse lived experiences. However, multiple-choice tests also assess a series of non-knowledge-related skills, such as reading comprehension, decision-making, and emotional regulation. Questions may present microaggressions and stereotype bias that impact student performance and result in inequitable outcomes. This workshop will encourage instructors to reflect on these unintended impacts—challenging instructors to consider how they can be mindful and inclusive during the selection, creation, and grading of this form of assessment.

  2. The Power of Video Feedback: a Guide for Absolute Beginners

    Sandra Duggleby & Kim Grant

    The session will focus on how to create and use video feedback to empower student learning and provide firsthand examples of how video feedback can be a transformative experience for both students and instructors. Video feedback is one form of feedback to communicate information about a student’s performance. Feedback, when given in a timely fashion during the learning process, is used to help students improve. Research supports the claim that video feedback that provokes insight on the final product-- indicating what was done well and what needs to be improved--is valued by students. When used effectively, especially in online learning, video feedback can be personable, pleasant and can encourage students to stay motivated, boost their confidence, and provide a safe learning environment where students learn from their mistakes.

  1. Active Learning in Blended and Online Learning Environments

    Nicole Sandblom, Lin Yu & Lorelei Anselmo


    Active learning engages students by promoting higher-order thinking and providing the link between activity and learning. Active learning across teaching modalities requires strategic thought and design. This interactive presentation will focus on active learning strategies that can be implemented in either blended and online learning environments.

  2. Discussions Around Grading: Strategies for Efficiency and Quality Feedback

    Fabiola Aparicio-Ting & Rod Squance

    This interactive workshop will explore ways to mark assignments using efficient strategies to reduce workload on instructors without compromising the provision of quality feedback to students. We will present some hallmarks of good feedback and share strategies that we use for efficient marking, including tips for using rubrics and for maximizing teaching assistant support. Examples from both small and large classes will be used, along with some of the challenges that we face in our approaches to marking. Participants will have an opportunity to share their own strategies and challenges throughout the workshop.

Day 2: Thursday, August 26, 2021

Click on each time block for session information.

  1. Understanding Microaggressions: Strategies for the Classroom

    Fouzia Usman & Lorelei Anselmo

    This interactive session will explore the complexity of microaggressions in the classroom through case studies and share practical strategies to mitigate these difficult situations to create a more inclusive teaching and learning environment.

  1. Beyond the Essay: Exploring Digital Spaces for Critical Reflection

    Victoria Guglietti & Kara Loy

    Meaningful experiential learning is enriched by purposeful critical reflection that is often assigned in the form of an essay. These essays can be challenging for students to write and time consuming for instructors to assess. There are other ways to engage students in critical reflection using multiple modalities such as vlogs, digital assignments, and reflection platform systems. These different modalities open up new spaces for critical reflection that can be more performative, embodied and authentic.

    Join us as we explore two examples of digital reflection that showcase the potential rewards and benefits for this type of assignment in virtual spaces while still attending to the challenges of engaging students in reflecting on their learning. 

  2. Balancing Excellence and Wellness in Research-Focused Supervisory Relationships

    Michele Jacobsen, Hawazen Alharbi, Shawn Fraser & Shauna Reckseidler-Zenteno

    Our focus is to lead conversations and activities that engage supervisors in: 1) exploring strategies for promoting research and academic excellence with graduate students?, at the same time they 2) embody and enact diverse strategies for promoting balance and wellness. This workshop focuses on how to combine research-focused supervision pedagogy with strategies for wellness while supervising graduate students’ progress online.

  3. Supporting Students' Transition to Campus Learning

    Roxanne Ross & Barb Brown

    In this session, we will consider the unique transitional support needs of our incoming first year students as well as those students transitioning to second year after a full year of online learning. Drawing on our understanding of the current high school context and staff experiences supporting current students within the Student Success Centre, we will discuss the potential challenges students may experience. We will also engage in a collaborative consideration of the ways in which we might address those challenges through a combination of teaching and learning practices and academic support programming.

  1. Tips to Enhance Your Teaching Team's Climate and Culture

    Keira Gunn, Karina Hincapie, Alex Paquette & Kayla Dias

    Teaching assistants are a vital part of the success of a course. In this workshop we will discuss how TA mentorship, professional development, mental health and appropriate allocation of duties and hours are key pieces to creating a climate and culture that is beneficial to the teaching assistant(s) and instructor, while respecting that teaching assistants come into their position with a wide variety of experience and backgrounds. When the instructor and teaching assistant(s) have the same understanding of the goals, hours and assessments of the course, these classes typically create a better learning experience for students.

  2. Introduction to Best Practices for Teaching Online

    Jessica Ayala

    There is increasing demand for accessible and flexible learning opportunities from diverse learners locally and internationally. These demands have been magnified in light of the COVID pandemic. In this interactive session, a seasoned online instructor of 20 years will share her “Top 5” list of best practices for teaching online based on her experiences in the online classroom. These practices will be discussed in the context of the literature on best practices in online learning and practical tips for teaching online will be shared with participants.

  3. Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE): Blue Sky Planning to Backyard Investigations

    Kara Loy, Kyla Flanagan & Mindi Summers

    This session will inspire instructors in designing course-based undergraduate research experiences (CURE) for use in courses they teach. Starting with a strategy of “blue-sky thinking” to open up possibilities that tap into student curiosity. We will then learn details of ZOOL 435 Entomology as taught by Dr Mindi Summers (fall 2020) -- students collected and catalogued their own insect samples from Calgary areas, including their own backyards, and contributed to both iNaturalist and our teaching collections.

    Next, we will apply John Willison’s models of engaged teaching and learning (MELT) pentagon as a template to assist with determining what steps we want students to take in pursuing a research project or suite of activities to promote discovery, dissemination and critical reflection on research-based learning. CURE can provide a rewarding way to teach course content and can be deployed effectively in online, hybrid, and face-to-face classes. Concluding with an overview of supports available for CURE implementation. 

  1. Skills Articulation in Undergraduate and Graduate EL at UCalgary

    Tara Christie, Kelly Hogland & Lisa Stowe

    Meaningful and intentionally designed experiential learning is considered a high impact practice where students go through deep learning and acquire competencies such as: communication skills; complex problem solving; team-work and collaboration; and metacognition. Often, though, students struggle with how to articulate and communicate their academic skill sets to different audiences like employers or community partners.

    Two examples of skill articulation programs offered at UCalgary currently are the Transformative Talent Internship program in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, and the FUSION Skill Development Program, which is developed as an online wrap around for EL activities. This session will be an opportunity to hear more about both of these programs and how they benefit undergraduate and graduate students, and it will provide participants with the opportunity to discuss these and other skill articulation initiatives across campus.

  1. Course Design Strategies to Support Student Wellbeing

    Melissa Boyce & Brittany Lindsay

    This interactive session will discuss evidence-based strategies in course design of learning activities, assessments, and policies to support student wellbeing. Of particular focus will be strategies that can be successfully implemented that take into account instructors’ workload.

  2. Blended Learning Models: What's Best For You?

    Allie Wright & Lorelei Anselmo

    There are a variety of ways that you can blend a course and the choices you make will be influenced by discipline, pedagogy, available technologies, and other course-related factors. In this workshop, participants will learn about four distinct blended learning models and how those models could be used in course design. Participants will explore learning activities and assessments in blended course design and collaborate with colleagues to develop engaging course content in blended courses.

  3. Micro-flips: Strategies for Creating Flipped Lessons

    Patrick Kelly & Susanne Cote

    Flipped learning is an instructional strategy that brings the 'homework' into the classroom where students can work together and with the instructor in a supportive environment. By leveraging technology, students can come to class prepared to engage in meaningful dialogue and problem solving. Flipped learning can be applied to a variety of contexts including single lessons, online courses, labs, tutorials and full courses.

  1. Group Exams as Learning Tools

    Jalal Kawash

    Peer-instruction has been shown to be an effective method to support learning. We exploited a form of peer-instruction in an undergraduate course on databases, where students take an exam in teams. Instantly after attempting the exam individually without any immediate feedback, students re-take the exam as a group utilizing immediate feedback instruments. These instruments permit the students to tackle each multiple-choice question several times until a correct answer is uncovered. Our thesis is that this approach provides the students with an opportunity to learn from their mistakes, whether committed individually or as a group, while promoting individual student deep learning. We support this thesis by analyzing data collected from 125 students, 5 group exams, and other assessment instruments, including a final exam.

  2. Tools for Interactive Teaching

    Tyson Kendon & Lorelei Anselmo

    The benefits of providing students with opportunities for interaction in your course include building community, increasing engagement and sustaining motivation. Educational technology tools can help support this participatory environment. Interactive educational tools can be individual, pairs or group-based. This hands-on workshop will share three tools that will support your learning outcomes and excite your students.