2022-2023 Annual Report
Strategic Priorities, Collaborations, and Initiatives
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
The E&A and P&C teams work closely together to create new, and refine existing, workshops and cohort programming. Over this past year, the E&A team helped streamline the content for Demystifying the Dossier workshop series (Drafting Your Statement of Teaching Philosophy and Preparing the Teaching Dossier) and both revised the content and co-facilitated the 2022-23 Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Faculty Mentoring for Teaching Program. E&A team members are also centrally involved in the planning, coordination, and facilitation of the online Course in Effective Teaching Practices offered in partnership with ACUE and the associated ACUE-certified lunch and learn series.
The TLT team held responsive virtual drop-in consultation sessions at the beginning of each term to assist instructors setting up Quercus courses and implementing educational technology tools. Additionally, in coordination with the P&C team, the TLT team delivers synchronous online and in-person sessions throughout the year.
The TATP continues its review of their core programming to address the needs of graduate student as they seek both professional development and first contract training. The Course Instructor Training Camp was redesigned with a renewed focus on UDL-informed approaches, strategies to indigenize and decolonize content, and the modeling of a hybrid delivery. The TATP connects with departments and units on a range of professional development topics for graduate students, including syllabus design with Medieval Studies, EDIA-informed conversations with Mathematics and Philosophy, and mentoring and supervision with Occupational Therapy. The TATP team of graduate educational developers (all CUPE 3902 Unit 1 members) also engage with their community in conversations about Open Access, the role of interculturality in academic integrity, among other important topics.
CTSI programming is offered in multiple modalities to allow instructors flexibility. Our programming stresses agility concerning important (“hot”) topics, such as generative Artificial Intelligence, and responding with CTSI sessions and resources (e.g., Designing Assessment in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, offered in April 2023, and the Generative AI in the Classroom resource), and providing resources from across the institution through our weekly newsletter.
Active Learning Classroom (ALC) Hub
This Active Learning Working Group project consulted SMEs and colleagues from across the University and culminated in a new online resource hub that provides guidance on implementing active learning strategies in an active learning classroom (ALC). The 3 online modules were launched in Quercus in Summer 2023.
Course Design Foundations
An extension of CTSI’s Course Design Institute, the CDF online module (to be launched in 2024) will support instructors designing (or redesigning) a course with the freedom to select information and resources as needed to support their course design goals. A key element of the CDF is the addition of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and inclusive teaching practices to the course design model.
Enhance and support digital learning and technology-enhanced teaching and learning
E&A team members participate in a number of institution-wide committees, including the RFP process for a U of T online assessment delivery solution and the Learning Analytics Dashboard development by connecting faculty to assist with user testing and feedback.
The TLT team plays an integral role in supporting digital learning and technology-enhanced teaching and learning across the University through consultations and synchronous and asynchronous offerings. Team members have also contributed to the Flexible Learning Initiative with DLI and the development of the Course Design Foundations online resource part of CTSI’s Self-Paced programming to be launched 2023-24.
The TATP continues to model effective use of educational technology (e.g., presenting the Course Instructor Training Camp as a hybrid event) and is actively working to enhance graduate students’ experience engaging with the program and resources. The team is working with ARC to improve CTSI’s registration system, EVE, and enable more effective monitoring and tracking of their training history, as well as broaden EVE’s offerings to include the TATP’s certificate redesign (launching in January 2024), which will also offer a certificate focused on educational technology.
The TATP helped pilot—offering consultations on the design and development and feedback on the pilot—the Library Teaching and Learning Committee’s resource, Library Research Skills Activities for TAs. These new online modules, available through Quercus, can be incorporated into live tutorial sessions or assigned asynchronously.
The newly designed CTSI website (launched in June 2022) is a central access point for educational technology resources and teaching with technology guides for all institutionally supported apps and online tools, in particular, those integrated into Quercus. The site also provides links to consultations and events to support instructors and staff.
Improve teaching support based on evidence-informed practice
Over the past two years, the E&A team has received two Explorance Faculty Research Grants. The 2022 project was a mixed-method study aimed at understanding how instructors review and interpret the data statistics and visualisations in their course evaluation reports. The first stage surveyed 648 instructors and the second stage conducted in-depth interviews with 14 instructors. This study has informed the continued improvement of U of T course evaluation report design. Using the Students as Partners framework, the 2023 project recruited three undergraduate and graduate student facilitators to develop and conduct focus groups (held June 2023) to better understand how students view and interpret course evaluations. The data collected was delivered at a Bluenotes conference in August 2023 and will also be used to inform a larger study.
Using the Students as Partners Framework for staff training and operations, the TATP is working toward integrating intercultural knowledge and practices from across Higher Education in their own work and in collaboration with other offices, such as the CIE, as well as regularly meeting with the Southwestern Ontario Meeting for the Advancement of Educational Developers and contributing to various communities like COED and ISSOTL’s Scholarship of Leading special interest groups.
The TATP has modified their approach to training for their staff of graduate educational developers to offer deeper discussions on EDIA-informed, land-based, and decolonizing approaches to curriculum design. They have explored innovative approaches to UDL integrations through conferences, such as Digicon and the UDL-IRN International Summit, and new programming with the AODA Office and the CFD.
The ACUE Lunch and Learn Series, now it its second year, serves both as an opportunity to strengthen instructors’ educational leadership for those who have completed the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) Effective Teaching Practices course, and an opportunity for other instructors to learn about engaging with and implementing strategies and methods gained through the ACUE course. These sessions provide space for peer-engagement and meaningful conversations on topics that highlight evidence-informed research and U of T-specific experiences.
The Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Faculty Mentoring for Teaching program was relaunched in the fall of 2022. The P2P draws on CTSI’s Faculty Mentoring for Teaching Research Report (2016) and uses a reciprocal 1-1 partnership to provide a supportive space and structured facilitated workshops to allow instructors to explore ideas to improve their own teaching practices while engaging and collaborating with peers.
After several years of collaborative development, with partners from DLI, OVPIUE, and ARC, learning analytics dashboards are in testing phases, providing instructors insights in how students are interacting with online course resources.
With our network of members of the Bay View Alliance, we are exploring ways to identify and foster efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion at the departmental level, practices in flexible learning, and the advancement of multi-dimensional approaches to the evaluation of teaching.
Support inclusive and accessible teaching and learning at U of T
The Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility working group released a CTSI internal report based on an environmental scan of institutional responses to a number of reports, and a survey of CTSI staff experiences concerning EDIA matters. This report will inform CTSI’s programming and resource planning going forward and serve as a guide for future endeavours, including improvement of CTSI’s own internal processes
CTSI continues its work developing new programming and resources that directly address EDIA concerns, as well as offering individual and departmental consultations to support EDIA pursuits across the University. Our Faculty Liaison Coordinator and Faculty Liaison for Anti-Racist Pedagogies have collaborated with other CTSI teams to develop a deliver a number of workshops, including the ongoing Creating Equitable Classrooms roundtable series and the Course Design Institute: Reimagining Learning with Universal Design for Learning. A highlight of the Winter 2023 workshop series was the collaboration between the Anti-Racist Pedagogies educational developers in CTSI and ARCDO on a new multipart workshop series focused on how to foster anti-racist classrooms.
Captioning and transcripts are available for all asynchronous content and videos, and the TLT team provides captioning clinics and online resources to support instructors and staff creating accessible classrooms and spaces.
The TATP utilizes a set of EDIA values and commitments (including a standing internal working group that produced the TATP’s Priorities, Commitments and Accountabilities Annual Report 2022/23) that guide its staff training and operations, mandatory paid training and professional development programming, and teaching awards. For example, all training and workshops model a range of approaches to incorporate EDIA principles into curriculum development and facilitation practices, and all consultations use a more holistic approach that emphasizes care and wellbeing within a genuine critically reflective practice.
The BIPOC TA Teaching Excellence Award was launched in Fall 2022 in response to a recommendation of the Report of the University of Toronto Anti-Black Racism Task Force. This award and its adjudication criteria emphasize the importance of EDIA-informed values and practices in teaching and learning.
The TATP is involved in projects that emphasize both EDIA values and evidence-based practice for training and professional development:
- In partnership with the CIE, and with support from an ISEF grant, an environmental scan, literature review and outreach initiatives were launched as the first step in developing a series of asynchronous modules and a resource hub on intercultural knowledge and global fluencies.
- In partnership with ARCDO, the TATP is developing two 1-hour module series to introduce graduate students to the foundations of EDIA.
The P&C team grew this past year to include a Faculty Liaison Coordinator and Faculty Liaison for Anti-Racist Pedagogies. This enabled CTSI to expand our programming to include the Towards Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive Classrooms: Community and Conversations Series in partnership with ARCDO and continue the Creating Equitable Classrooms roundtable series. These positions also provided integral support for the planning and programming of the 2023 Teaching and Learning Symposium: Building Belonging at U of T. The Liaisons consulted with the OVPIUE and Divisions across all three campuses to help distribute funding to support innovations and best practices in embedding equity-based, anti-racist curriculum and program design. There were 12 projects approved by the Provost’s Office, with 3 awaiting revisions as of the end of Summer 2023. The Liaisons will offer support as needed to funded projects through the coming year. The Liaisons also delivered the workshop Cultivating Belonging Using Anti-Oppressive Pedagogy upon request for a number of departments.
Deepen the culture of teaching across the Institution
This strategic priority is embedded in all CTSI’s work whether programming and communications, consultations, and collaborations. Our services and expertise are available to instructors, staff and librarians on all three campuses, and our expressed goal is to enhance and enrich our entire teaching and learning community.
In preparing and planning TLS2023, P&C engaged with all CTSI teams and Directors, instructors and staff from across the University, and worked closely with our programming partners in ARCDO. The event itself is a showcase for the work, research and experiences of our community and an opportunity for open dialogue on these important topics. We were able to highlight the University’s commitment to creating a culture of belonging across all its learning environments and ensure that the diversity of voices inherent within our teaching and learning communities were reflected in U of T’s landmark teaching and learning event.
One E&A team member regularly supports the projects of the Teaching Fellows and conducted consultations for Teaching Award files.
The TLT team has been central to the research and development of resources and programming focused on the use of generative artificial intelligence at U of T.
In collaboration with PASS Librarians, the TATP have expanded the conversation about Open Access and presented a core workshop on OERs. The TATP-led VLS project on teaching dossier development (completed in 2022) was featured in the 2023 Open Education Talks (spearheaded by the University of Calgary, Thompson Rivers, University of British Columbia, Concordia University, and University of Alberta).
CTSI continues to spotlight the innovative and inspiring work of our community through a variety of digital outreach initiatives such as Re:Think (an online publication sharing local teaching and learning stories), CTSI Connect (a weekly newsletter highlighting teaching and learning programming, news and events from across campus and beyond), and the expanded online University of Toronto Teaching and Learning Events Calendar, which acts as a “one-stop shop” for all tri-campus pedagogical programming.
Finally, CTSI is working to deepen the culture of teaching and learning by supporting micro communities such the U of T Teaching Awards Network. Already in its second year of operation, the U of T Teaching Awards Network exists as a MS Team comprised of instructors and staff working to raise awareness around institutional and external teaching awards. CTSI has also effectively used MS Teams as a community platform to enable the launch of two new online Communities of Practice: one for instructors in the Teaching Stream, and one for those interested in discussing methods and modes of assessment. CTSI also provides support for U of T’s Teaching Academy (a group made up of President’s Teaching Award recipients).