2021-2022 Annual Report

Strategic Priorities, Collaborations, and Initiatives

ACT: Academic and Collaborative Technology
ACUE: Association of College and University Educators
ALC: Active Learning Classroom
AODA: Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
CE: Course Evaluations team
DLI: Digital Learning Innovation
E&A: Evaluation and Assessment team
FAS: Faculty of Arts & Science
FASE: Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
IRDG: Institutional Research & Data Governance Office
ITS: Information Technology Services
KPE: Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education
OISE: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
OVPIUE: Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education
P&C: Programming and Communication team
SGS: School of Graduate Studies
SoTL: Scholarship of Teaching & Learning
TATP: Teaching Assistants’ Training Program
TFM: Temerty Faculty of Medicine
TLT: Teaching, Learning and Technology team
TRC: Truth and Reconciliation Commission
UTM: University of Toronto Mississauga
UTSC: University of Toronto Scarborough

This section highlights collaborations within CTSI and with offices, departments and individuals across U of T and beyond, and illustrates how that work aligns with the following CTSI strategic priorities.

Provide responsive faculty professional development

As a leader in educational and faculty development, CTSI is at the forefront of programming, resource development and initiatives that support and enhance our teaching environments.

When the University responded to the rise in Covid cases in early January 2022 by returning to remote teaching, the TLT team quickly organized and facilitated several last-minute sessions to support instructors and students moving online. All webinars and accompanying resources were made available as asynchronous content on the CTSI Website.

To further expand our instructor professional development resources, a CE team webinar providing strategies for connecting course evaluation results to other sources of information about teaching was included in CTSI’s long-running Demystifying the Dossier Series.

The SoTL team continues to conduct extensive cohort program evaluations to inform future offerings, inviting faculty participants to share feedback at several time points.

The P&C team conducted a program mapping process of a single academic year (2021-2022) to examine the reach and impact of different modes of programming (both one-off offerings and longer multi-part series) and analyse how each session aligned with CTSI’s strategic priorities and desired learning outcomes.

In response to the latest collective agreement with CUPE 3902, the TATP partnered with International Experience, Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office, Academic Success, First Nations House, Health Promotions, and Accessibility Services to introduce six new topics to their programming:

  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) pedagogies
  • anti-oppression and anti-racism pedagogies
  • cultural competency
  • accommodations and crisis referrals
  • online technology
  • online course design and management

Enhance and support digital learning and technology-enhanced teaching and learning

CTSI works to ensure all instructors and students have the support and resources they need to create an accessible and engaging learning environment.

In June 2022, CTSI launched a newly redesigned website that incorporates both pedagogy and educational technology support resources. The P&C team worked closely with ACT’s Projects and Development team, and consulted with CTSI staff and users, to build a more inclusive and accessible site that allows visitors to easily search for information and locate topics of interest.

ACT launched three new Quercus Integration and Academic Toolbox tools (two discussion board tools, Ouriginal Plagiarism Detection, and Zoom) for which the TLT team provided responsive support and programming to our colleagues and the community. 

The SoTL team focused on digital learning for many selections in their Journal Club Series, using both pandemic and pre-pandemic contexts. Topics included LMS data, student engagement, social presence, online workload, and technology use in the physical classroom. Participants engaged with discussion prompts that explored both how to study these topics and pedagogical implications. 

In collaboration with ACT, DLI, IRDG, and OVPIUE, CTSI is leading the implementation work of the University’s Learning Analytics Initiative. This includes both building infrastructure to allow access to data and dashboards that will allow all instructors to better understand how students engage in their courses and organizing and supporting pilot projects that explore and demonstrate how instructors and departments can extract actionable insights from the data to improve course and program design.

Improve teaching support based on evidence-informed practice

CTSI is committed to modelling informed practice – supporting iterative improvement and fueling innovation across all pillars of our work.

This year the TATP team began a program redesign project to review their long-standing certificate programs and how users engage with their services and resources. Beginning with a literature reviews, consultations, needs assessment, and a staff retreat, as well as an environmental scan of graduate student professional development programming across Canada, the TATP developed a framework for seven new specialized certificates (modeled on micro-credentials) rooted in experiential and hands-on practice.

Demonstrating a further commitment to informed practice, the E&A team was awarded a grant from Explorance. Through the support of this grant, the CE Report Study will inform improvements of CE reports and other resources aimed at supporting faculty’s interpretation and use of course evaluations in the cycle of innovation and improvement.

Fully implemented over this past year, Teaching Feedback Services provides instructors with formative feedback on different aspects of their teaching. Quercus Course Reviews and Teaching Observations support instructors seeking to improve their teaching practice and provide an opportunity to reflect on course design and student engagement. This new initiative was a cross collaboration with contributions from TATP, SoTL, and TLT teams.

Support inclusive and accessible teaching and learning at the University of Toronto

Whether in-person or online, CTSI teams provide expertise and experience to make all classrooms and learning environments accessible and inclusive.

CTSI has identified Inclusive and Accessible teaching as one of its areas of focus both through its programming and within its office. Our Equity in the Classroom roundtable sessions (now in their second year) are held once a month and facilitated by faculty members. Topics have included Anti-Black Racism Task Force and its implications for the classroom and Talking Circle on Integrating Indigenous Content in the Classroom.

The TLT team provided new consultation support and drop-in clinics for video captions and ensured all recorded CTSI webinar resources were captioned to meet accessibility standards. By working alongside the AODA office to offer programming on technology and accessibility, the TLT team has furthered its support for accessible learning.

In seeking to support the growing focus on Equity across the University, the TATP accelerated the scope and depth of their EDIA by hiring an EDI Coordinator and seeking to build sustainable partnerships across various units/offices and designing a new Truth & Reconciliation Commission Education Toolkit

The P&C team releases a weekly newsletter to support ongoing initiatives, raise awareness for upcoming events, and bolster the community of teaching and learning we strive to support at CTSI. This newsletter garners high levels of interaction (an above industry average open rate of 44%) with our readership and shares information from departments and Divisions across the University.

Deepen the culture of teaching across the institution 

CTSI fosters connections and relationships with partnerships across the University in order to best serve the community.

This past year, the TATP focused on building their relationship with the new centres of the School of Graduate Studies Academy, including the Centre for Graduate Professional Development (CGPD). The TATP certificate programs and workshops (professional development and pedagogical) are options for GPD participants.

For the ACUE–Certified Faculty Lunch and Learn series, CTSI invited previous ACUE faculty members  to present evidence-based teaching practices or strategies learned through the ACUE course to U of T instructors. This engagement was an opportunity to strengthen and enhance the faculty members leadership and mentorship skills.

The TLT team partnered with the Learning Space Management Office to offer guidance and consultation to the Tech2U, an initiative that sees students trained to proved just-in-time technology support to instructors working in Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs). CTSI participates in the Transforming the Instructional Landscape Advisory Committee, a multi-Divisional initiative supporting classroom technology and ALCs. To further support instructors to leverage the affordance of ALCs across campus, the CTSI Active Learning Classrooms Working Group (further information below) will be launching an Active Learning Classrooms (ALC) asynchronous hub featuring curated resources, best practices and opportunities for self-guided planning.

To build a stronger community around teaching research, SoTL events this past year intentionally integrated community-building activities (e.g., share/articulate one’s curiosity ideas to colleagues). One example is the SoTL Writing Cohort Pilot Program that included three webinars with reciprocal peer-driven feedback opportunities to build connections across disciplines. A program ‘Team” was created to offer further opportunities to share ideas, resources and post comments/questions for the SoTL team and cohort peers.

The 15th University of Toronto Teaching & Learning Symposium invited U of T faculty, staff, and students to consider “Designing for the Future” by placing a broader emphasis on reflection and the intentional design of learning. Through collaboration with an expert in design thinking, the event created a space to consider what new ideas and experiences the U of T community is taking forward, what it is leaving behind, and how this will shape our future.

CTSI Working Groups

This past year, the process of developing and building out CTSI’s strategic priorities highlighted three areas in which CTSI staff wanted to “drill down” to do deeper thinking, gather more information and do some focused planning. Comprising of CTSI team members, three staff-led Working Groups launched in early 2022 and have been working throughout the year to develop recommendations to inform CTSI’s internal next steps in these areas.

The Active Learning Classrooms Working Group conducted an environmental scan of resources and support already available to support U of T instructors and staff with the intention of identifying gaps and determining what CTSI can do to best support student learning in ALCs. After consulting with colleagues across the University and at other institutions, the group is in the process of designing an online, asynchronous hub for resources (both practical and pedagogical) that enable instructors and staff to create inclusive and equitable teaching and learning engagements for everyone in the U of T community. 

The new Data, Evaluation and Metrics Working Group is an interdisciplinary team of CTSI staff focused on critically examining all aspects of CTSI programming and services, prioritizing ongoing evaluation to inform program improvements.  To date, the group has reviewed various frameworks for program evaluation, surveyed the CTSI landscape of current data collection practices with a view to refining them and has began a repository of evaluation survey questions currently used across CTSI.

The Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Working Group has reviewed a series of institutional reports and recommendations from various equity-deserving campus groups. This working group aims to take these report recommendations and apply them to CTSI’s programming as well as its own internal processes and overall structure. By assessing the key areas of focus of these reports and contextualizing their recommendations to CTSI, the EDIA working group plans to prepare recommendations for the 2023 year.

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