Tune in to Teaching Series

(NB: These sessions are open to all new and returning faculty and librarians)

All sessions will be held at CTSI, Blackburn Room, Roberts Library, 4th Floor

Session descriptions and registration available soon.

August 22nd

Syllabus Design


Megan Burnett, Associate Director, CTSI
Mike Kasprzak, Assistant Director, CTSI/TATP

A well-crafted syllabus ensures that students understand the essential requirements for participating and succeeding in a course. A well-designed syllabus can also serve as a learning tool to enhance students’ experience in the course, beyond listing course policies and due dates. This practical, interactive session will consider the essential elements of an effective syllabus, review current best practices in syllabus design and examine a model University of Toronto course syllabus. Participants will then work in pairs to provide feedback on each other’s syllabi (see below) with CTSI facilitators providing additional guidance. Time will be given in the session to make changes to your syllabus based on peer feedback.

As a participant in this session, we ask that you bring one of the following to the workshop:

  • A proposed course syllabus for a new course you would like to teach one dayOR
  • A course syllabus for an existing U of T course you are seeking to refresh

Participants are encouraged to bring laptops to work with digital formats, or to work with hard copies as they prefer. The goal of this workshop is for each participant to leave with a well-developed plan for revising/crafting a powerful syllabus that works for both instructor and learner. Participants arriving without a document to work from will not benefit as fully from this session.


August 28th

Setting the Tone for Success: The First Day and Beyond


Megan Burnett, Associate Director, CTSI
Cora McCloy, Faculty Liaison Coordinator, Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, CTSI

This session will provide strategies for getting your course off to a great start, including what to do in the first few classes, how to present the course objectives and syllabus to your students, how to initiate and sustain excitement about your discipline, and how to motivate and prepare your students for the requirements and responsibilities of the course. Participants will have the opportunity to generate a plan for their first class.

Assignment Design


Andrea Williams, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream & WIT Coordinator, Faculty of Arts & Science
Andrea Graham, Learning Strategist, Academic Success
Carol Rolheiser, Director, CTSI

Assignments are important teaching tools that can help students develop research, critical thinking, and writing skills as well as key disciplinary knowledge. When assignments are well designed, students become more engaged in the learning process and instructors and TAs find the marking process more meaningful and less frustrating.

In this session we’ll focus on principles and strategies of effective assignment design that apply to all disciplines, including how to scaffold assignments and how to provide useful and timely feedback to students. Through hands-on activities and discussion participants will learn how to develop assignments that foster academic integrity and that can be graded fairly and efficiently. We will also address how to guide students through challenging assignments and how best to communicate evaluation criteria. Participants will analyze sample assignments and reflect on, brainstorm, and plan an assignment of their own. Finally, participants will reflect on ways to document assignment design and outcomes for their teaching dossiers.

August 29th

Strategies to Support Active Learning


Facilitator: Carol Rolheiser, Director, CTSI
With Kelly Gordon, Hedieh Najafi and Anna Limanni

Looking for ways to spark student interest and stimulate active learning? “Classic studies over the last five decades have repeatedly shown that, in discussion, students pay attention and think more actively” (McKeachie, 2011, p.37). In this session participants will experience and debrief a number of active learning techniques and consider applications of these techniques in a range of learning environments (i.e., undergraduate and graduate teaching). These strategies/techniques can be applied in classes of all sizes, and in a range of physical spaces (including the new Active Learning Classrooms at the University of Toronto), and most importantly, allow students opportunities to more deeply process new knowledge individually or in group discussion. Participants will consider applications of active learning techniques in their teaching contexts and generate next steps.

Myths and Realities About Grading


Megan Burnett, Associate Director, CTSI
Saira Mall, Manager, ACT Support, CTSI
Cora McCloy, Faculty Liaison Coordinator, Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, CTSI

In this session , we will discuss a range of misconceptions about institutional grading procedures and provide clarification around some key issues and common scenarios related to grading at U of T. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions through a facilitated dialogue on grading policies that will inform teaching practice. Topics include distribution of grades and assignments, managing grading with Teaching Assistants and posting student progress in U of T’s new academic toolbox, Quercus.

August 30th

Getting Ready to Teach with Technology


Facilitator: Saira Mall, Manager, Academic & Collaborative Technology Support; Will Heikoop, Online Learning Coordinator; Anna Limanni, Faculty Liaison, Teaching, Learning & Technology

Are you wondering how technology can enhance student learning in your courses? Interested in exploring tech tools supported at U of T and the best practices for using them in your teaching? Bring your laptop. In this hands-on session we will discuss how to effectively integrate technology into courses to align with your course outcomes. We will explore student engagement and collaboration techniques, emerging teaching with technology trends in higher education, university guidelines for effective implementation, and considerations for the selection of supported tech tools.

Requirement: Bring your own laptop


If you have any questions about the Tune in to Teaching series, please Kelly Gordon, Programs Coordinator for more information at kelly.gordon@utoronto.ca or 416-946-0464.