Enhancement Grant Initiatives

Dalhousie Language Instructors Professional Development Retreat

Recipient                                    Magali Dam-Mazzi, Taghrid About Hassan,
Brigid Garvey, Jennifer Thompson, Anna Maier
Amount                                      $2000
The second-annual Dalhousie Language Instructors Retreat, scheduled for June 7, 2019, has the objectives of providing an opportunity for practice-focused professional development for instructors of foreign/additional languages at Dalhousie University. Two guest speakers will facilitate the development of a community of practice of Dalhousie language instructors via networking, collaboration and shared learning across traditional departmental and faculty lines. Betsy Keating, of the Dalhousie University Centre for Learning and Teaching, will lead a practical language teaching workshop focusing on assessment and participation. Elke Rühl is the regional supervisor and 'Fachberater' (expert advisor and mentor) in the Toronto office of the German Federal Agency for German school-programs abroad. She will lead a session differentiated instruction or corrective feedback. This event objectives align with Dalhousie's Strategic Area 1.5: Foster and support innovation in program development and excellence in teaching and pedagogy.

Fostering Creativity in Engineering Students by Teaching and Using a Creative Thinking Process and Learning Environment

Recipient Amyl Ghanem
Amount $2936.40
Creativity is considered an essential skill for engineers, leading to ground-breaking innovation, solution to society’s most pressing problems and incremental improvement to existing systems. However creativity is rarely explicitly taught to engineering students, and a typical course environment is not always conducive to creative thinking. In CHEE 4885, Polymer Engineering, the students will be taught a creative thinking process, with specific tools used for each stage of the process. Students will then apply this process to a Term Project to develop a polymer re-use prototype, conducted in groups. Deadlines and credit will be allocated to stages in the creative process, as well as the quality of the content and the final product. A review of the creative process framework employed will be conducted at the end of the course, with student feedback used to improve and expand the process.

Dalhousie Science Book Club

Recipient Jennifer Stamp, Marc Whelan, Alexandria Arnott, Gabrielle Tompkins
Amount $2500
Undergraduate science curricula commonly present a series of models as dryconnections and human drama which make science interesting and necessary to humankind. We are proposing to expose undergraduate students to these stories through a monthly science book club, which we hope will enhance interest in science and ultimately increase the quality of knowledge that is obtained. To maximize accessibility of this book club we will hold multiple monthly discussion sessions as well as an online platform for participation. We also plan to purchase audiobooks for students with reading challenges.

Blending face-to-face and online learning to support self-reflection in a first-year course in International Development Studies

Recipient Matthew Schnurr
Amount $2970.24 
The goal of this project is to radically revamp INTD1103: Halifax and the World into a blended learning course that prompts students to reflect on how their daily consumption habits impact the world around them.  INTD 1103 is a course that was developed seven years ago to explore the connections between contemporary global issues and daily life in Halifax.  It was then and remains now the only first-year offering in the department of International Development Studies.  The current make-up of the course follows a more traditional mode of teaching, relying on a combination of lectures, readings and tutorials. This proposal seeks to reinvigorate this offering by integrating a series of e-learning technologies based on a flipped classroom model, in order to increase enrolments and offer students a more dynamic, flexible and engaging mode of instruction.  

Integrated Online Analytical Laboratory Tutorial

Recipient Alan Doucette and Roderick Chisholm
Amount $2986.47
Chem 3203 (Advanced Analytical Lab) presents an entirely new approach to course delivery, transforming the instrument-intensive laboratory into a discovery-based environment where students gain an appreciation of fundamental scientific principles while completing a series of experiments. Technical skills are important, but secondary to the theoretical concepts being demonstrated. To ensure students appreciate the learning objectives of the course, they are regularly engaged during lab to ensure they reflect on these principles. As a new resource for this course, this project proposed the development of an integrated video series which merges analytical theory with experimental practice. This video series will simultaneously engage students on both the how as well as the why behind each of their experiments and integrated into an interactive online Analytical laboratory tutorial. The proposed funding is for a senior student to assist with video creation.

On-the-Land Learning in Mi’kmak’i 

Recipient Debbie Martin and colleagues from St. Francis Xavier University
Amount $2999
We are proposing a field course called ‘On-the-Land Learning in Mi’kmak’i directed towards upper level undergrad and Master’s students in the health professions. The course focuses on the human environment relationship, using the examples of food and medicine, to develop a deeper and more ‘whole’istic interpretation of health. It will draw heavily from Mi’kmaw ways of knowing, advancing thethe course, and b) liaise between Dalhousie and St.FX to develop a partnership agreement to co-deliver the course to ensure its sustainability. This work is also being funded by the Atlantic Indigenous Mentorship Network.

Get in the Game! Developing Pre-Clinical Simulation Scenario Games to Increase Student Confidence and Preparedness

Recipient Shelley Cobbett, Kelly Lackie, Danielle Bryne-Surette
Amount $3000
Simulation-based education in health professional programs, including nursing programs, is expanding exponentially. Game-based learning accomplishes pre-clinical simulation education that involves didactic learning, behaviour acquisition, and simulated practice, prior to the clinical simulation (Stokowski, 2013), that moves the student beyond merely “reading about it”. Virtual simulation games (VSGs) can be used to complement behaviour and knowledge acquisition prior to exposure to the clinical simulation, maximizing student engagement, preparedness, and optimal learner outcomes. The enhancement project is a VSG capacity-building workshop at Dalhousie with the Canadian Alliance of Nurse Educators Using Simulation (CAN-Sim) educators. The enhancement project is directly related to the University’s, the Faculty’s, and the School’s Strategic Directions related to learning, teaching and educational scholarship. The project deliverable is a VSG, created and filmed at Dalhousie, and the capacity to continue to develop VSGs. Continued sustainability can evolve with the development of interprofessional VSGs using the project deliverable- VSG template.

Development of whiteboard animations to support the implementation of a novel flipped classroom approach to teaching psychopharmacology

Recipient Cheryl Murphy, Mark Bosma, Mandy Esliger, and David M. Gardner, Department of Psychiatry
Amount $3000

A key responsibly of residents is to provide teaching and supervision to junior learners and patients. Although residents receive teacher training, it is unknown if the learning is applied. Ensuring our residents are prepared for their teacher role has many implications: meeting accreditation standards, enhancing resident teaching abilities, enriching patient care and increasing the likelihood students will acquire the residents’ professional values and behaviours. Thus, a key component of Dalhousie University’s Department of Psychiatry residency program is preparing our residents for their role as teacher.

Through group interviews and self-assessments, this project aims to understand “What are psychiatry faculty and resident tutors’ perceptions of the utility of the departmental faculty-resident clinical skills co-tutoring model for enhancing resident teaching skills?” The findings will expand the literature on co-teaching and application of knowledge from Resident-as-Teacher programs and inform our co-tutoring model improvements; further enhancing resident teaching skills and thus medical student learning.

Experiencing the real-world challenges of working on issues that cut across the spheres of global security and development

Recipient Dr. Jenny Baechler
Amount $2962.00
This project looks to build upon a new role-play simulation introduced in a course designed for students  from the arts and social sciences and/or with an interest in public sector management. The in-class experience simulated an interagency simulation amongst various government actors with the purpose of introducing students to the practical challenges inherent in developing a shared understanding of a region or country experiencing both insecurity and underdevelopment. To add more richness to the simulation and, therein, further deepen student learning, this proposal looks to incorporate more real-world elements to the simulation by providing the primary instructor with an opportunity to travel to Ottawa to shadow part or all of a joint conflict analysis. Insights from the experience will be incorporated into the design of the simulation for its next offering (Winter 2019).

Lethal Weapon: creating double gene knockouts with CRISPR

Recipient Debra Grantham and Andrew Schofield
Amount $2912.00
CRISPR (clustered regularly-interspersed palindromic repeats) has revolutionisedmolecular genetics in a way that captures the imaginations of students and researchers alike. This technology has been adapted as a precise molecular scalpel that provides a simple mechanism to genetically modify organisms by “knocking out” and “knocking in” specific genes. In this course-based undergraduate research experience, students will use CRISPR to discover genes that interact with VPS35, a protein that is important in both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’sdiseasein humans. In a yeast model system, students will create a double-mutant for both VPS35and a candidate gene that they select from the literature. The students will use CRISPR to “knock-out” VPS35and insert a “repair-GFP” DNA strand that introduces a new gene where CRISPR has caused a DNA break.  Students will assess success of the CRISPR procedure by observing GFP fluorescence and identify gene interactions by measuring rates of growth or lethality.

One Chemistry Course for All: Implementation of Interactive Online Modules via Inclusive Design

Recipient Jennifer MacDonald, Angela Crane and Mark Wall
Amount $2995.20
In  2006,  the  Dalhousie  Chemistry  Department  implemented Concepts  in Chemistry:  a complete,  focused,  and  integrated  First  Year  Chemistry program. While  students make excellent use of our custom built resources, the significant variance in student’s incoming foundational chemistry knowledge in the Chem 1011/1021 class have many students asking for  further  guidance outside  of  lectures/labs,  the  textbook  and  practice  questions.  For instance, 30-35% of our incoming class each Fall semester has no formal chemistry training prior to entering our course. To circumvent this issue, the First Year Chemistry Team is pursuing  the  creation  of  interactive  online  tutorial   modules  to  supplement  our  already customized program, specifically regarding core learning outcomes that are essential for student success in the course.The goal of this project is to build interactive online modules for  each  of the  core  learning  outcomes  in  the  First  Year  Chemistry  Program  while incorporating practices outlined by Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

The L’nuk Teaching and Learning Circle: Developing a Postsecondary Teaching Strategy rooted in Mi’kmaw Values

Recipient Margaret Robinson
Amount $3,000.00
The L’nuk Teaching & Learning Circle (L’nuk TLC), will gather Mi’kmaw postsecondary educators together to discuss how our teaching incorporates Mi’kmaw cultural values, and to develop concrete principles of curricular Indigenization for use in Mi’kmaki (the traditional Mi’kmaw territory). This project will enhance teaching by drawing out the implicit values undergirding Indigenous education within Mi’kmaki.

Teaching Others: Science for schools, science for everyone

Recipient Anne Marie Ryan
Amount $2974.40
As students move through their undergraduate years, a number of them discover their interest in science education-and communication-related pathways, such as science in the schools, in science centres, in museums, or other avenues for science outreach more broadly. In response to this, and to the "Pathways for" initiative within the Faculty of Science, this project involves the development of a transdisciplinary blended course in science teaching and learning particularly for students in the "Science for Education", "Science for Communication" and “Science for the World” pathways. Students will inquire into such topics as the nature of science and how we learn; how we might teach such ideas as pattern recognition and scale, complexity and uncertainty, and addressing bias, assumptions, and change through time; the science-society connection, and issues around diversity and inclusion. An integral aspect of the course will involve an experiential learning opportunity where students can work through the ideas they are learning throughout the course.

Using Foldscape for Offline Exploration in Online Biology Courses

Recipient Jennifer Van Dommelen
Amount $2487.68
A Foldscope is a portable microscope that is assembled from paper and a small lens; it can be used alone or in combination with a smartphone camera. Foldscopes can magnify up to 140X with a resolution of 2 microns, producing images comparable to those obtained with a basic light microscope. In the asynchronous online courses BIOL 1020 and BIOL 1021 (Introductory Biology I and II, respectively), the laboratory activities - some online, some conducted away from the computer - are designed to be a meaningful investigative experience for students. With Foldscopes we can provide students with direct access to the microscopic world via a safe, inexpensive activity that they can participate in without supervision, and with the potential to share their discoveries with the world through online citizen science platforms. 

Implementing and Evaluating the HPI Core Competency Framework: Engaging Student Research Scholars of the Healthy Populations Institute in Experiential Skill-Building

Recipient Lori Weeks, Sara Kirk, Maureen Summers, Christie Silversides, Sara Brushett, Laura Miller, and Kirk Furlotte
Amount $2988.80
With the guidance of senior researchers at the Healthy Populations Institute (HPI), student members (HPI Student Research Scholars) researched and developed a competency framework to identify the required skills and knowledge necessary for future population health leaders. Now that the framework has been developed, the HPI Student Research Scholars will continue this initiative by creating and piloting a series of workshops. Each workshop will highlight a core competency and promote skill development among HPI Students Research Scholars and other interested students in health-related graduate programs. Workshops will be facilitated by HPI senior researchers or associated faculty and held throughout the academic year,with additional resources will be available online. Each workshop will be evaluated by the attendees, and upon completion of the series, results will be shared within HPI and at Dalhousie University.

Fostering Student Success Through Experiential Learning and Community Engagement in a New Field Course

Recipient Dr. Ami Amui
Amount $2,964
Field course opportunities are one of Dalhousie's strongest platforms for supportive active, engaging, and experiential learning in a student's chosen field of study. To enhance the current field offerings, a new course ENVS2500 Field Methods in Environmental Science will teach students hands-on skills in wildlife, soil, air, and noise sampling using Dalhousie campus and surrounding regions as a living laboratory and pathway for contributing to the wider community. The goals of the new course are to (1) provide an authentic hands-on experiential learning opportunity through strategic field-based excursions and critical reflection activities, (2) develop materials to support a blended / hybrid course approach allowing students some control over their own learning path, pace, time, and place, and (3) involve the community in field excursions to foster partnerships and interactions with students that reach beyond the academic setting.  

Solving Environmental Problems by “Flipping” the Classroom and Incorporating Team Based Learning into a Third Year Environmental Science Course

Recipient Dr. Tarah Wright
Amount $2,500
In the face of increasing global environmental crises, one of the primary roles of environmental science instructors is to teach students about environmental problem solving. While traditional university lectures have served to inform students in the past, most traditional teaching methods have been criticized for failing to promote a full understanding or appreciation of environmental problem solving as a whole.  Using a Team-based Learning (TBL) approach, this project helps to “flip” the course titled Environmental Problem Solving (ENVS 3501) by developing units of instruction around major course themes in the environmental science classroom and developing Readiness Assurance Tests according to the flipped classroom method (Michaelson and Sweet, 2008). In addition to ensuring that students master the basic course content, TBL enables a number of outcomes that are nearly impossible to achieve in a lecture-based course format (Michaelson and Sweet, 2008).  According to Michaelson and Sweet (2008), students who engage in TBL can progress substantially beyond the simple acquisition of factual knowledge and achieve a “depth of understanding that can come only through solving a series of problems that are too complex for even the best students to complete through individual effort” (p. 5).  It is for this reason that the TBL method is appropriate for this particular course.

Enhancing Undergraduate Writing: Online Modules for a Scientific Research Paper in Biology

Recipients Cindy Staicer, Department of Biology
Debra Grantham, Department of Biology
Gabrielle Tompkins, Integrated Science Program and Department of Biology.
This project will enhance the ability of students to learn to write a formal paper summarizing their scientific research. A set of online modules will be developed, composed of instructional videos paired with quizzes to confirm comprehension of material. Modules will provide a comprehensive and cohesive set of writing resources to support undergraduate research (Dalhousie strategic priority 2.4) and the new “Science for” initiative. Modules will be developed over spring and summer 2018, and tested in three courses, SCIE1506/1507, BIOL2030 and BIOL3614 in 2018-2019. Consultation with the CLT and the Writing Centre will ensure consistent messaging. Effectiveness will be assessed at end of term using the proposed metrics, with the learning outcome of improvement in the quality of student writing. This project will impact 590 students, with the potential to reach all Biology students in the future. Funds will be used to hire an assistant to help develop the modules.

Development of Instructional Videos to Model Pharmacists’ Patient Assessment and Communication Skills

Recipients Kim Sponagle, Dr. Natalie Kennie-Kaulbach,
Heidi Deal, and Lisa Walker (College of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health)
Amount $3,000
Skills Lab at the College of Pharmacy is the primary curricular stream designated to develop students’ skills in patient assessment and communication. Modelling is an important teaching method for patient and assessment and communication skills and is supported through the lens of social cognitive and cognitive apprenticeship theories. The use of videos offers a structured modality for this type of modeling. The availability of existing videos modelling these pharmacists’ skills are limited in both exemplar and production quality and do not adequately match the foundational approaches used at the College of Pharmacy. This project is designed to support the development of five educational videos to model seven specific pharmacist skills. The videos will be used across all four years of the curriculum, as a component of a blended learning model, reaching approximately 360 students. This project will assess student perceptions of video modelling as a teaching and learning support.

Developing Audio-visual Resources to Enhance Teaching and Learning in Psychosocial Occupational Therapy Practices

Recipients Catherine White and Carmel O'Keefe (School of Occupational Therapy)  
Amount $2,440
Students who graduate with an "entry to practice" Masters of Occupational Therapy are required to complete 1000 hours of fieldwork as part of their program. The better prepared they are when they arrive at fieldwork sites, the more likely they are to maximize the learning opportunities afforded by client interactions. OCCU 5001 (Enabling Occupation 1: psychosocial practice) is one of the first courses taken by occupational therapy students. In this course, students often ask "what does occupational therapy look like?" While the course instructor, lab co-ordinator and tutors can describe and demonstrate, this approach is resource intensive and incons istent. This project will focus on the creation of three short videos that demonstrate three core competencies of occupational therapists (initial assessment, goal setting and discharge planning). The process will include collaboration with one or more community-based occupational therapists to ensure current relevance. The "re-usable" videos can model the required skills and provide a forum for discussion and critique.

Developing an Experiential-Learning Field Course in Phytoplankton Dynamics

Hugh MacIntyre, Faculty of Science, Department of Oceanography
Amount $2,965
“Ocean literacy” is critical to an informed public discourse around human impact on the
oceans. One of the best ways to gain ocean literacy is through experiential learning, observing
organisms in their habitats and learning how they respond to environmental change through
hands-on experimentation. The phytoplankton are the basis of marine foodwebs and play a
critical role in planetary biogeochemistry and in structuring marine ecosystems. They can also be
a source of valuable feedstocks, pharmaceutical compounds, and fuels. This project will develop
an intensive 2-week undergraduate course on the phytoplankton. It will use a combination of
shipboard observation and field- and lab-based experiments to examine the forces driving
population dynamics, working with natural populations. Students will use state-of-the-art biooptical
and chemical techniques to demonstrate how autonomous vehicles (satellites, ocean
gliders) can detect phytoplankton and to determine how phytoplankton respond to changes in
their environment.