Supporting new approaches in teaching and learning

DALVision initiative funds 14 new projects

Ryan McNutt - June 3, 2013

(Nick Pearce photo)
(Nick Pearce photo)

To “innovate” doesn’t just mean “to change” — it means changing in ways that work.

The Academic Innovation program of the VP Academic Office ("DALVision"), along with the expertise in the Centre for Learning and Teaching, offers funding and advice to support and encourage the expertise and ideas of faculty members and program staff in curricular and program development.

The initiative’s first set of grants are going to projects designed to implement and evaluate new methods in course delivery, curriculum design and management, and other elements of the academic experience.

“The projects we chose fell into several categories,” explains Fiona Black, director of academic planning. “They had to have a significant impact: on incoming students, on student retention, on careful experimentation with a variety of pedagogical models. In addition, the review committee selected projects that have the potential to offer useful learning across the university.”

The projects include new first-year seminars in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, an Interdisciplinary Minor in Aboriginal Studies and the implementing of online elements for first-year classes in areas like Psychology and the Health Professions.

In total, 14 projects were funded out of 36 applications. The successful projects span six faculties and were awarded an average grant of just over $14,000. Each grant may be expended over three years.

The initiatives will impact both core courses and electives. Each project will evaluate its success to see if other faculties or departments might make use of their lessons learned.

“Part of innovation is being willing to take a risk, to experiment, within appropriate limits,” Dr. Black says. “Sometimes, it takes extra support to make that happen. This program helps ensure that the decisions we’re making about course content and course design are based on evidence we can trust, because our own colleagues have tried it and learned what works and what doesn’t. Through this program, we shall also be enhancing our existing capacities to conduct and disseminate research in the scholarship of learning and teaching.”

Visit the “DALVision” website for more information about these projects. Also keep watching Dal News this summer as we profile some of these initiatives in more detail.

First-Year Seminars Pilot: Integrating Rich Content and Information Fluencies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Team lead: Donna Rogers

Agriculture, Food and Well-Being Interdisciplinary Course Development
Faculty of Agriculture (Extended Learning)

Team lead: Kathleen Kevany

Development of Online and Blended-Delivery Courses in FASS
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Team lead: Donna Rogers

Integrating Statistics into First-Year Science
Faculty of Science

Team lead: Cindy Staicer

Interprofessional Health Education MOOC
Faculty of Health Professions

Team lead: Fred McGinn

Institutional Learning Analytics: Enhancing Quality Teaching, Learning and Student Retention for Online and Blended Courses
Faculty of Management

Team leads: Anatoliy Gruzd and Martine Durier-Copp

Interdisciplinary Minor in Aboriginal Studies
A collaboration of the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Health Professions, Management, the Transition Year Program, and the Aboriginal Health Sciences Initiative

Team leads: Vivian Howard and Patti Doyle-Bedwell
 
Curriculum Renewal and Mapping
Faculty of Medicine

Team leads: Patricia Livingston and Janice Chisholm

Creation of an Online Version of Introduction to Psychology and Neuroscience I: Development of Online Laboratory and Demonstration Content
Faculty of Science

Team leads: Jennifer Stamp and Raymond Klein

Research First: Early Experiential Learning
Faculty of Science

Team leads: Stephen Bearne and Melanie Dobson

Curriculum Development and Research: Service Learning Course on Science Communication and Leadership
Faculty of Science

Team lead: Anne Marie Ryan

Development of a Digital Scoring System
Faculty of Medicine

Team lead: Anna MacLeod

TEDx: Ideas Worth Spreading: What Education Might Look Like in the Future

Team: Dalhousie Student Union

Faculty of Management
Curriculum Mapping
Team lead: Vivian Howard


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