Team Profiles

The participating divisions/departments are as follows:

University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) – Department of Psychology         

Steve Joordens
Lead Faculty Liaison: Steve Joordens

Educational Technology Professional: Adon Irani

Together, Dr. Steve Joordens and Dr. Dwayne Pare have developed the award-winning peerScholar platform, an innovative online peer feedback tool that has been highly successful in use with large introductory classes. Students who are now part of Joordens’ Advanced Learning Technology Lab have since developed prototypes of the mTuner assessment tool and Digital Labcoat scientific simulation tool during the past academic year as part of the University of Toronto Online Undergraduate Course Initiative. These prototypes have been deployed as extensions of the Coursera platform in conjunction with Dr. Joordens’ Introductory Psychology MOOC, demonstrating potential for both scalability and flexibility. There is growing interest and uptake of these research-informed tools by instructors of other courses in conjunction with broader strategies for UTSC Psychology Curriculum renewal and beyond, with the tools also being piloted at the University of Waterloo, Washington State University, and the Free University of the Netherlands.

University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) – Language Studies

Rosa Hong
Lead Faculty Liaison: Rosa Hong

Librarian: Simone Laughton (UTM Library)

Language studies has a history of working with media integration within the curriculum and collaboration with both the UTM library and the teaching support centre to develop innovative active learning strategies. The Language Studies program is unique in its adoption of a student-oriented approach and its experiential learning models to ensure engagement of students. For example, the linguistics section has developed an applied stream within which students explore the impact of pedagogy on language teaching, analyze the relationships between language and society or engage in the intensive application of linguistic knowledge to the learning of English. In another example, an innovative joint project between the Library and the Language Studies program has made possible the integration of Google Earth into the existing curriculum.

Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering (FASE) – Materials Science

Scott Ramsay
Lead Faculty Liaison: Scott Ramsay

Educational Technology Professional: Allison Van Beek (Instructional Technology Liaison)

Dr. Scott Ramsay is the recipient of the Wighton Fellowship, a national award that recognizes excellence in the development and teaching of laboratory-based courses in Canadian undergraduate engineering programs. Dr. Ramsay has developed a range of creative in-lecture demonstrations, developed video content and delivered these course materials via social media channels. At present time, teaching of materials science and engineering in the first year is split among three courses that address different program areas across the entire faculty.  In an earlier pilot, “table-top” lab activities were developed to increase student access to online learning. This early success will be extended and enhanced with supporting digital learning resources. The program team will undertake a review to ensure a clear mapping of course content to both learning objectives and graduate attributes expected in this professional program.

The division has a particular interest in developing reusable learning objects for materials science and chemistry that would meet the needs of the various programs.  The eventual outcome of this project might be to unify the teaching of Materials Science in first year into a single course, thereby decreasing the number of separate sections needed for the entire first year student population. This library of reusable learning objects will lay the foundation for investigating a number of research questions and also potentially for development of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

The division recently has taken a leadership role by developing the Practitioners in Engineering Education Research (PEER) initiative, which includes within its mandate the development of strategies to support student success in engineering.


Marg Blastorah
Lead Faculty Liaison: Margaret Blastorah

Educational Technology Professional: Fareed Teja

The Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing has a significant history in the use of web-based learning technologies and was the first to offer an online nursing master’s program, the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program.  This innovative program is offered using a hybrid learning format.  Recently the Faculty of Nursing re-purposed the undergraduate nursing research course – NUR430 – from a classroom-based course to a completely online course offering.  The course launched online September 2013 as part of the Online Undergraduate Course Initiative. The faculty provides a multi-media conference room, a simulation lab and has invested in IT personnel and infrastructure that supports integration of advanced technology, informatics and active learning principles to support experiential opportunities. A new initiative is proposed for launch in the Fall of 2014 is the major modification of the Master of Nursing (MN) – Health Systems Leadership and Administration field of study program, from traditional in-class mode of delivery to a hybrid program using online and on-site institutes.

Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS) – Human Biology Program  

Franco Taverna
Lead Faculty Liaison: Franco Taverna

Educational Technology Professional: Lena Paulo-Kushnir

Dr. Franco Taverna has led the development of online learning strategies within the Human Biology Program (HBP) over the past year. Through his participation in the Online Undergraduate Course Initiative, new synchronous technologies have been introduced to the program, with a focus on active learning in webinar spaces. This allows for scalability and flexibility of access to learning. Dr. Taverna has conducted research on the impact of these methods and is currently piloting new strategies using the Blackboard Collaborate environment.  During his research leave this year, he will be working with colleagues to develop a neuroscience concept inventory identifying critical elements of the curriculum that represent desired learning outcomes. The research will include design of a methodology for evaluating student learning of those concepts before and after taking a course. A key activity of Dr. Taverna and his colleagues will be coordination of focus groups with students to observe and identify common misconceptions.  The resulting concept inventory will inform course re-design, and the creation of active learning modules to support identified learning outcomes in online webinar environments.

One Response to Team Profiles

  1. Pingback: Active Learning: Online Redesign | University of Toronto Online Learning Strategies

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