Teaching Theory Thursday

Teaching Theory Thursday


May 5, 2022
“Sell yourself first, if you want to sell anything.” – Burt Lancaster At a loss for what to talk about on the first day of class besides the syllabus? When students are introducing themselves, don’t forget to tell the students about who you are and what you have accomplished in your career. This background information humanizes […]


April 21, 2022
“The future of the world is in my classroom today, a future with the potential for good or bad… Several future presidents are learning from me today; so are the great writers of the next decades, and so are all the so-called ordinary people who will make the decisions in a democracy.” – Ivan Welton Fitzwater


April 7, 2022
“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey As the term comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on your experience of teaching online for the past two years. What practices will you keep from fully online and hybrid teaching?


March 31, 2022
“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” – Theodore Levitt Do you have an idea for enhancing your teaching but feel that you lack support to implement it? Please don’t hesitate to contact The Learning Centre to discuss how we can help you.

Learning Objectives

March 24, 2022
“Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.” – Josef Albers If you are in the midst of creating exam questions, don’t forget to align them with your learning objectives and outcomes.

Course Review Service

March 17, 2022
“It takes humility to seek feedback. It takes wisdom to understand it, analyze it and appropriately act on it.” – Stephen Covey Would you like to have your course(s) reviewed from a student’s perspective? The Learning Centre can help you with our Course Review Service. Contact us and ask for a review of one or more of your […]

Curriculum and Pedagogy

March 10, 2022
“A bad curriculum well taught is invariably a better experience for students than a good curriculum badly taught: pedagogy trumps curriculum. Or more precisely, pedagogy is curriculum, because what matters is how things are taught, rather than what is taught.” – Dylan Wiliam


March 3, 2022
“Assessment is today’s means of modifying tomorrow’s instruction.” – Carol Ann Tomlinson Are you thinking of trying something new with assessments in your course? Please contact The Learning Centre to discuss!

Avoiding Burnout

February 24, 2022
“Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long.” – Michael Gungor Join this week’s Lunch & Learn where we join Nicole Adoranti from LFS Student Services to discuss burnout and how to avoid it.

Checking in with TAs

February 17, 2022
Have you checked in with your TAs lately? Like instructors, the role of the TA has changed significantly with the adoption of online learning technologies due to the pandemic. Read more about the impacts to teaching assistants here.

Trying Something New

February 10, 2022
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn Are you looking to try something new in your class this term or next? Contact The Learning Centre to discuss with us!

Mid Course Feedback

February 3, 2022
Mid course feedback is an excellent way for instructors to collect informal feedback from students about your course in progress. This feedback is an ideal way to check in and find out what students think is going well and what could be changed. Read more information here.

Peer Assessment

January 27, 2022
Peer assessment is a process in which students review each other’s work based on a set of criteria defined by the instructor. Are you thinking of incorporating peer assessment into your course? UBC has many peer assessment tools available, depending on what students are assessing and how. Contact The Learning Centre for more information.

Web Conferencing Narration

January 20, 2022
Whether you are doing an annotation activity or trying to find and load your PowerPoint file in Zoom, always narrate what you are doing and what is going on. For example, “I am going to load my PowerPoint now.” This helps fill the silence to avoid students not knowing why you’ve gone silent or thinking their […]

a Job Well Done!

December 23, 2021
This has been one rollercoaster ride of a year and you’ve made it. You have persevered, adapted, and succeeded – you have grit. “Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it…it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.” (Duckworth, […]

On Self-Reflection of our Teaching

December 2, 2021
“Make self-reflection a part of the end of the term teaching process. Self-reflection helps you retain the insights you’ve gained along the way as you have been teaching the current course, and it will inspire you to seek out new approaches; you’ll feel more comfortable, confident, and engaged next semester.” – Academy of Art University, […]

Review Sessions

November 25, 2021
“Conducting a review lesson or two before every exam will give students a better idea of what to expect on the test and make them more confident with that material. Reviewing topics frequently throughout the course will put less pressure on you and students in these major review lessons.” – Arntsen, 2021, https://busyteacher.org/4012-how-to-teach-review-lessons-success-strategies.html

Communication with Students

November 18, 2021
Are students emailing you on the weekend and expecting an immediate response? Establish a communication policy with your students. Setting boundaries on when you will respond and how you prefer to be contacted by students throughout the term can improve your work-life balance so that teaching doesn’t become a 24/7 job.

Identify the Student’s Needs Early.

November 4, 2021
“Joe Cuseo (2011) identified academic disengagement, absenteeism, and mid-semester grades as some of the tangible indicators to warrant intervention for a student. These factors, if found at the right time, have been proven to have a positive effect on student performance in the classroom” (Winfield, 2018). UBC’s Early Alert helps achieve this goal by helping […]

Teach learners how to organise

October 28, 2021
“Instructors/facilitators can use the previous building blocks to make their teaching/training more effective, efficient, and enjoyable, but they also offer learners tools to organise and carry out their own learning processes in more effective, efficient, and enjoyable ways. Teach learners how to organise, monitor, evaluate, and adjust their own learning process (i.e., self-regulate) and which […]

How is the Teaching Team

October 21, 2021
It’s time to check-in with your TAs, in case you haven’t done so! How are they doing? What support do they need? Are they facing any challenges in grading, office hours, or in life in general? Tags:

Mid-Course Feedback

October 14, 2021
“When teachers get rating results after the course has concluded, the students who gave the feedback don’t see any follow-up. In some cases, they see teachers who they (and many other students) have evaluated poorly continue to teach as they always have. These students then conclude that the feedback they provided wasn’t taken seriously by […]

Students on Hybrid Testing

October 7, 2021
In-person and remote testing occur in very different testing environments. Test design is also very different for each modality. These differences contribute to unequal tests for in-person versus remote and are perceived as unfair comparisons by students. In focus groups on hybrid teaching, students reported a strong preference that everyone take the test in the […]

Foster student comfort with technology

September 23, 2021
Foster student comfort with technology.  Create low- or no-stake assignments so that students can practice using the various technologies and be more comfortable when the technology is used in higher-stake ways.

Clarify the purpose of classwork and assessments

September 16, 2021
“Clarify the purpose of classwork and assessments. What might seem clear to you could be mystifying to your students. Throughout the term, tell them why they’re doing any given task so students see the connections between activities and core objectives for themselves.” – Darby & Lang, 2019, Small Teaching Online, p. 24

Ask students to commit to a plan for success.

September 9, 2021
“Ask students to commit to a plan for success. Have them complete a Goals Contract in the first few days of class. Submission of this contract could release the rest of the class content to underscore its foundational importance in the course.” – Darby & Lang, 2019, Small Teaching Online, p. 150

When students know who you are, students are more motivated to learn.

September 2, 2021
When students know who you, the instructor and/or TA, are, students are more motivated to learn and feel a stronger sense of a learning community. “Prior to the first day of class, post some information about who you are as a person. Create a text-based page with one or more still photos or develop a […]

Reflection on Learning Objectives

August 26, 2021
Have students reflect and respond to learning objectives.“Asking students to respond to the learning objectives also ensures that they know what the objectives say and mean, or alerts you to the need to clarify the objectives if the students struggle to articulate their response.” – Darby & Lang, 2019, Small Teaching Online, p. 19

Supporting Temporarily Remote Students

August 19, 2021
“As UBC transitions to a safe return to campus this fall, many students will be attending classes in person. However, some students may be delayed in their return due to self-isolation requirements, timelines around visa processing, or other circumstances.” The CTLT has put out a great resource and is hosting workshops on addressing this concern. […]

Collaborative Teaching

August 5, 2021
Interdisciplinary teaching, collaboration, and co-teaching can be extremely rewarding for both faculty and students. Introducing interdisciplinary ideas can be very easy such as inviting guest speakers and allows for students to see and connect concepts between different subject areas. Learn more: https://sites.bu.edu/impact/previous-issues/impact-winter-2018/multidisciplinary-teaching/ https://sites.bu.edu/impact/previous-issues/impact-winter-2018/lessons-from-designing-a-co-taught-interdisciplinary-course/

Students’ Reflections on Remote Education

July 29, 2021
The Learning Centre asked students to reflect on the past year of education and what students want moving forward. They shared: “Flexibility is good for mental health.” “Having recorded lectures reduces my anxiety from missing a class.” “Anything synchronous is more engaging” Read about all of our findings here: https://lc.landfood.ubc.ca/students-reflections-on-remote-learning/

Principles of good practice in undergraduate education

July 22, 2021
Principles of good practice in undergraduate education. “Encourage contact between students and faculty. Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students. Encourage active learning. Give prompt feedback. Emphasize time on task. Communicate high expectations. Respect diverse talents and ways of learning.”   – Chickering & Gamson, 1987, Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

Self-Reflection in Teaching

July 15, 2021
“Make self-reflection a part of the end of the term teaching process.Self-reflection helps you retain the insights you’ve gained along the way as you have been teaching the current course,and it will inspire you to seek out new approaches;you’ll feel more comfortable, confident, and engaged next semester.” – Academy of Art University,http://faculty.academyart.edu/faculty/teaching-topics/teaching-curriculum/enhancing-teacher-student-interaction/end-of-semester-reflection.html(visit the website for […]

Open Education Resources

July 8, 2021
There are a lot of amazing open educational resources that you can utilize for your class. From online textbooks to videos and interactive content. Check out some of our favourite libraries:https://h5pstudio.ecampusontario.ca/https://www.oercommons.org/

Promote Interactivity

June 24, 2021
Interactivity in learning can allow for learner control, learner input, and communication. All of which contribute to meaningful learning. Interaction types are between the learner and content, the learner and the teacher, and/or the learner and other learners. Do you utilize all three interaction types? Anderson. (2008). Towards a theory of online learning.

At-a-Glance Course Schedules

June 17, 2021
An At-a-Glance course schedule (or Course Roadmap) is a bare bones visual representation of a course schedule. It supplements a comprehensive course schedule very well as the At-a-Glance course schedule can be understood or referenced in seconds. To see an example of what a course roadmap looks like, or information on how to create your […]

What is Hybrid Teaching

June 10, 2021
Hybrid teaching can mean a lot of things, but for the most part, hybrid teaching offers students the choice in how to participate.There is no fixed definition for hybrid learning — that is students, instructors, and the university may have different ideas of what hybrid is. For more information, see this Discussion Paper on Hybrid […]

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game”

June 3, 2021
A player can take advantage of the weaknesses of a game or system that is flawed, faulty, or has ‘loopholes’. In a classroom, sometimes blame is overly placed upon a ‘bad’ student as opposed to the classroom system itself.  A game designer should design and develop ways to change the environment in order to decrease the opportunity […]

Chunk Content

May 27, 2021
Wherever possible, discuss only one novel idea at a time with a 10 minute lesson. This can be done by splitting a video lecture into a series of videos, organized in a playlist, or adding chapters to a lecture video.   How well could you remember 16048221936?  What about +1 (604) 822-1936?  Learn more here: https://www.uvm.edu/ctl/content-chunking/

“Provide multiple topics and questions in online discussion prompts.”

May 20, 2021
Include some that allow students to relate the topic to their personal experience.”    – Darby & Lang, 2019, Small Teaching Online, p. 177  

“Deliberately build self-efficacy through scaffolded assignment design”

May 13, 2021
Create low- or no-stake assignments so that students can practice the content as well as using the various technologies and be more comfortable when assessed in higher stake ways. – Darby & Lang, 2019, Small Teaching Online, p. 150 

Course Readiness Checklist

May 6, 2021
Utilize a course readiness checklist while creating and delivering your classto make sure you stay on track during the chaos of teaching! This course readiness checklist was developedby the Learning Centre with our faculty in mind:https://lfslc.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2021/05/Course-Readiness-Checklist.pdf

“Add complexity after you build confidence with simple techniques.”

April 22, 2021
To avoid burning out in your online teaching, play the long game.  Make one small change, master it, try something more adventurous next semester.   – Darby & Lang, 2019, Small Teaching Online, p. 219  

“Conducting a review lesson or two before every exam will give students a better idea of what to expect on the test and make them more confident with that material.”

April 15, 2021
Reviewing topics frequently throughout the course will put less pressure on you and students in these major review lessons.”  – Arntsen, 2021, https://busyteacher.org/4012-how-to-teach-review-lessons-success-strategies.html 

“Feedback is one of the most powerful interventions to strengthen learning.”

March 30, 2021
“The goal of feedback is to give learners information about their learning process and to help them achieve the learning goals. However, giving effective feedback is complex. Feedback that doesn’t encourage or make learners think and also act, is ineffective.”  – Surma et al, 2020, https://3starlearningexperiences.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/12-building-blocks-to-use-learning-technologies-effectively-building-block-11-feedback/#_ftn1  

“Seek out cues that indicate students may be confused.”

March 23, 2021
Notice patterns in the kinds of questions students ask you.  Pay attention to trends in student submissions that show misunderstanding or miscommunication.  Take quick action via an announcement, clarification video, or email to the class.  Help students get back on track and stay there.”   – Darby & Lang, 2019, Small Teaching Online, p. 45  

Providing timely and effective feedback is one of the best ways you can show up for your students.

March 16, 2021
One of the main purposes of assessments is to provide feedback.    – Mazur, 2013, Assessment the Silent Killer of Learning   

“Assign concept maps to help students see the connections between ideas.”

March 9, 2021
Let them decide whether to create their map online or on paper.  Students submit a link to an online map or a photo of a physical one.”   – Darby & Lang, 2019, Small Teaching Online, p. 197  

Images offer an instant feeling while text offers depth and context.

March 2, 2021
“The processing of written text is a deliberative process. People know that they’re decoding letters. Images tend to speak very instantaneously … people involved in engineered persuasion view images as thins that work very quickly and bypass reason”   – Yousman, 2016, The Text and the Image.  

“Nudge students in need of a little extra support.”

February 22, 2021
Send targeted, personalized emails at strategic points of the course with reminders about steps they can take to recover last ground.”   – Darby & Lang, 2019, Small Teaching Online, p. 150   Tools such as OnTask  and features built right into Canvas, help you sent targeted messages. 

“Build depth and nuance with existing video content and your own informal video announcements and updates.”

February 9, 2021
Source clips from any number of media forms and outlets ranging from TED Talks to popular films.  Add timely clarification with authentic casual video clips you record.”        – Darby & Lang, 2019, Small Teaching Online, p. 69   You can add to learning with prompting and reflective questions before and after the clips.  Quiz questions can […]

Practice testing and retrieval practice improves student learning.

February 2, 2021
Providing low/no-stakes testing offers students an opportunity to truly assess their knowledge”   – Dunlosky, Rawson, Marsh, Nathan & Willingham , 2013, Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques

Clarify the purpose of classwork and assessments

January 26, 2021
What might seem clear to you could be mystifying to your students.  Throughout the term, tell them why they’re doing any given task so students see the connections between activities and core objectives for themselves.”    – Darby & Lang, 2019, Small Teaching Online, p. 24