Dalhousie Leading in Teaching Excellence (D-LITE) 

In 2021, a collaborative community of teachers led by Dalhousie's 3M National Teaching Fellows was created. They invited teachers who are passionate about and deeply engaged in their teaching and enhancing students learning across the university, who have a proven track record of recognized innovation and excellence in teaching, and who are willing to be actively engaged in moving the teaching mission of the university forward to join us.  Initially over 60 faculty responded from across all Faculties.   The group divided into six clusters (focused on more specific interests).

The clusters come together to share and discuss questions drawn from their experiences and the teaching and learning literature, to learn from one another, to encourage and support our efforts in teaching, innovation and educational leadership, and to develop, create and support ideas, as well as to give a university-wide faculty voice to the recognition of teaching.

This academic year (2022-23) the following clusters are continuing to actively engage in discussion:

Pedagogy and Engagement in the Active Learning Environment

This group will consider pedagogies of engagement in an active learning environment. This group will build on the momentum of last year's progress that explored the importance of an active learning space that moves from traditional classroom configurations, where the teacher is positioned at the front of the room. With the opportunity to teach in a newly configured space (coming winter 2023), we will discuss and share curriculum and pedagogical strategies that best activate students as participants in the learning forum. Sessions will be led by the interests of the group, touching upon broad themes of 'how to plan curriculum in an active space, sharing experiences from the active classroom, and effective ways of using the space. This session is open to anyone interested in learning more about active classroom learning and curious about how the pilot project.

Please contact Lisa.binkley@dal.ca to join or for more information.

Open Educational Resources

The open educational resources (OER) cluster aims to connect and support faculty at Dalhousie who are currently building--or are interested in building--digital learning materials that are freely accessible to students and other teachers. The cluster will provide a forum to share ideas, strategies and resources for building OER individually and collaboratively. We also hope to create a community of teachers involved in developing and using OER who can advocate for broader support of open resources at Dalhousie. All faculty members welcome. We plan to meet 2-3 times per semester (either virtually or in person).

Please contact linda.macdonald@dal.ca or jamie.baxter@dal.ca to join or for more information.

Educator-focused initiatives to increase teaching effectiveness 

Educator-focused antecedents of teaching effectiveness include professional development (Cinnamon et al., 2021), incorporation of active-learning activities (Bichler et al., 2021), instructor’s energy, enthusiasm, class rehearsal, self-evaluation (Brand, 1980), self-reflection (Campbell et al., 2004), rapport with students (Frisby, 2019), and how the instructor is provided feedback on their teaching (Brinko, 1993), while Klassen & Tsz found “[a] teachers’ self-efficacy is strongly associated with evaluated teaching performance” (2014, p. 73).

Putting your oxygen mask on first (PYOMOF) is a metaphor to remind educators to prioritize our effectiveness and well-being to contribute to a positive learning environment for students. Our cluster will provide structured and unstructured opportunities for educators to unite (in-person and virtually) to discuss a variety of topics, starting with our first session: Teaching, Research, and Service: Exploring the overlap and gaining efficiencies within the University

PYOMOF aims to support educator self-efficacy (which increases teaching effectiveness) and have fun! Cluster members will have the opportunity to formally and informally engage with colleagues, which could result in a variety of outcomes, including a feeling of understanding, support, laughter, and collaboration on projects of mutual interest (e.g., applied and basic research scholarship, and teaching and learning enhancement efforts).

 Please contact Samantha.Taylor@Dal.ca to join or for more information.

Beyond Transactional Teaching

This cluster will attempt to enhance the knowledge of participants by hearing about the experience of others who have been practicing “beyond transactional teaching” methods in the classroom (e.g. flipped classrooms, experiential learning, hybrid learning, etc). The goal is to organize sessions and/or collaborate in research with instructors who practice in these non-traditional teaching methods at Dalhousie. We are interested in hearing from anyone interested in this cluster.

Please contact Saurabh.Dey@dal.ca or Craig.Lake@dal.ca to join or for more information.

The Belong Cluster

The D-LITE Belong Cluster is a teaching cluster that is part of the D-LITE collaborative community of teachers at Dal. This cluster focuses on attributes of student and teacher experiences that contribute to a sense of belonging in our classrooms and in our daily work, including equity, inclusion, culture, celebration of diversity in learning and knowing, accessibility, and well-being.

Cluster leads: Raghav Sampangi (raghav@cs.dal.ca) and Jen Frail-Gauthier (jfrail@dal.ca).