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BC Campus Festival of Learning: key messages

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FOL2018 DeirdreM
Thank you to Stephanie Chu and the Teaching and Learning Commons for supporting my attendance at the recent BC Campus Festival of Learning.

BC Campus is becoming a teaching-learning support for BC (bccampus.ca/festival-of-learning-2018). I attended the first day key note, a session on creating an inclusive classroom, and a session on Open Education.


The keynote address was by Jesse Stommel (jessestommel.com) of the University of Mary Washington, Virginia.

Jesse Stommel researches pedagogy: his research shows that only 12 percent of instructors report having teacher training, which makes it hard to teach effectively and compassionately. Instructors are assigned classes and enter into what he calls “the bureaucracy of learning” with norming of behaviour/scoring tests/neat metrics. Instructors don’t know how and/or don’t have time to listen to individual students.  In fact, instructors are “pitted against” students in the post-secondary system. He says to advocate for and show care and compassion for students. He states, “Rant up”. He means don’t blame students for the stressors of the education system. Instead, push issues up to senior leadership.

Jesse Stommels’s slides are here: slideshare.net/jessestommel/centering-teaching-the-human-work-of-higher-education

Workshop on Inclusion

In the workshop by David Geary and Ki Wight, Capilano University instructors, we practiced some ways to be more authentic ourselves as teachers in the classroom thereby encouraging and protecting diversity. We tried the Maori practice of introduction (state your mountain, river, tribe, song, ancestors before your name when introducing yourself) since David Geary is a Maori person originally from New Zealand. That way of introducing oneself was just an example of an inclusive classroom practice. (Ki Wight introduced herself as queer.) The message of the workshop was that we instructors can figure out ways to bring our own lives, culture, and so on into the classroom as a way of encouraging the students to do the same. (Many faculty at KPU already do this and I look forward to hearing more ideas.)

The workshop leaders shared this definition of “diversity”: gladstone.uoregon.edu/~asuomca/diversityinit/definition.html

The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.
It means understanding that each individual is unique,
and recognizing our individual differences.  These can be along
the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs,
political beliefs, or other ideologies.  It is the exploration
of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.
It is about understanding each other and moving beyond
simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the
rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

Our KPU policy on diversity is here: kpu.ca/sites/default/files/Policies/HR15%20Diversity%20and%20Inclusiveness%20Policy.pdf

Workshop on Open Education

For me, there was one memorable item which arose in the session on Open Education / Open Resources run by BC Campus. It seemed that teachers were concerned about student privacy. If we use open pedagogical tools such as getting students to write real, publicly available blogs, then we need to consider if students are compromising their privacy. We also need to consider what the impact is on students with disabilities of being out on social media as part of class projects. We could be encouraging students to be too exposed in public.

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