TLC Newsletter, 12th Edition, May 2021
Teaching & Learning Collaboration at UTM newsletter header image
Featured Resource: Potential Risks in Remote Teaching
Publications & Presentations
Spotlight on Teaching
Important Reminder: Zoom & BbCollaborate Recordings
Positive Pedagogy Postscript

We need your input!

As we work on the Teaching & Learning Collaboration programming for 2021-22, we would really appreciate hearing from you how we could better support you in your teaching. We have put together a needs assessment survey to help gather your feedback. The survey is anonymous. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. You may skip any question you do not wish to answer. Please complete the UTM Teaching & Learning Needs Assessment here.
If you would prefer to provide input in another way, we welcome you to send us your thoughts via email ( or
Thank you very much for taking the time to complete this questionnaire. We really value your input. 

Featured Resource: Guidance for Potential Risks in Remote Teaching

The Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation has developed a resource to help guide instructors’ preparations and decision-making when designing a course for online/remote delivery and taking into account students who may have different learning and access needs based on technology, location and other factors. The resource can be found here:


Teaching & Learning Grants

Upcoming Events

Teaching and Learning Collaboration Events:

Tips for Preparing a Teaching Development & Innovation Grant Proposal 
June 9th from 11am - 12pm 

A Learner-Centred Approach to Course Design
June 15th from 2pm - 3:30pm 

Inclusive Pedagogical Considerations for 2SLGBT2+ Students
June 24th from 1 - 3pm

Summer Camp for Instructors: Prepare for Fall Term
July 19, 20, 21, and 22 from 10am - 12pm

Preparing to Teach: Inspiration and Suggestions for Using Quercus
August 18 from 10 - 11:30am

Summer Camp for Sessional Instructors: Prepare for Fall Term
August 31st  *Time to be determined by participants* 

Preparing to Teach: Syllabus Clinic
September 1st from 1 - 2pm 

UTM Ready, Set, Teach
September 7th from 10am – 12pm

Online Help Session for Instructors
September 7th from 12 – 1 pm

Connect with Colleagues

Pedagogical Reading Groups

We have begun organizing our Summer 2021 pedagogical reading groups. Graduate students, postdocs, sessional instructors, staff, and faculty are all welcome to join. To vote on the books we will read and to register your interest in joining a reading group, please complete this form. Meeting dates and times will be determined by participants’ availability.     
Book covers of five reading group books. From left to right: cover of Radical Hope, cover of Small Teaching Online, cover of ungrading, cover of On Being Included, cover of Potlach as Peadgogy.

Publications & Presentations


Armstrong, D. & Poë, J. C. (2020). The Science of Human Health—A Context-Based Chemistry Course for Non-Science Majors Incorporating Systems Thinking. Journal of Chemical Education, 97(11), 3957-3965.

Armstrong, D., Murck, B. & Poë, J. C. (2021). Service Learning Opportunity for Undergraduate Science Students:  Integrating Problem–Based Learning in the High School Science Curriculum. Journal of Chemical Education, 98(4), 1275–1282.

Burazin, A., Jungic, V., & Lovric, M. (2021, February 5). Teaching during the pandemic: an open letter to my students. University Affairs.

Mairi Cowan (Historical Studies) and Christoph Richter (Biology) co-authored an article inspired by  their experiences taking students to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. “The Faro a Colón in Santo Domingo: Reinterpreting a ‘More Nearly Perfect’ Memorial to Christopher Columbus” can be found in the May 2021 issue of The Public Historian, flagship journal for public history. The article presents a new way to interpret what may be the largest and strangest monument to Christopher Columbus in the world. It argues that the typical presentation of the Faro a Colón, or Columbus Lighthouse, is badly misaligned with the historical record, but that a historically and historiographically informed interpretation can lead to a truer understanding of the violence and greed of colonization. Contrary to what its designers wanted to show about Columbus, and in some ways in spite of itself, the Columbus Lighthouse conveys with unusual clarity the problems of memorializing one of the most (in)famous figures in world history.

Gagné, A. & Grimaldi, A. (2021). Designing Together From Moment to Movement: A Faculty Framework for Access Online. The Journal of Applied Instructional Design, 10(1).

Schoenbohm, L. & McMillan, M. (2021). Worldbuilding from tectonic first principles: Integrating and challenging undergraduate knowledge through a course project, Journal of Geoscience Education

Shahmuradyan, A. & Doughan, S. (2021). At-Home Real-Life Sample Preparation and Colorimetric-Based Analysis: A Practical Experience outside the Laboratory. Journal of Chemical Education, 98(3): 1031-1036.

Bogdan Simion, along with his students Rutwa Engineer and Ayesha Naeem Syeda, had a paper accepted at ITiCSE 2021, a Computer Science Education conference that will be held on June 26 - July 1, 2021. The paper is titled: " A Qualitative Study of Group Work and Participation Dynamics in a CS2 Active Learning Environment ". This study aimed to investigate the student perspective on in-class group work activities in CS2, in order to gain a better understanding of why students participate in active learning exercises in the manner they do and how their peer interactions impact their perception of group work effectiveness. The goals of the study included: a) identifying student perception on group work, both in terms of prior experiences and the evolution of this perception after CS2 in-class collaborative problem-solving, and b) identifying student motivation or incentives (positive and negative) for engaging effectively in group problem-solving. This study was funded by a UTM TDI grant

Topouzova, L.  (2021). Truth and subjectivity in narrative inquiry: augmented reality & digital storytelling in the university classroom.  Journal of Visual Literacy.

Zhang, L., Petersen, A., Liut, M., Simion, B., & Alaca, F. (2021, March). A Multi-Course Report on the Experience of Unplanned Online Exams. SIGCSE ‘21: Proceedings of the 52nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education.

Daniel Zingaro's (Mathematical & Computational Sciences) new book, Algorithmic Thinking (2020), aims to teach readers how to solve challenging programming problems and design your own algorithms. Zingaro draws his examples from world-class programming competitions like USACO and IOI. Readers will learn how their choice of data structure, whether a hash table, heap, or tree, can affect runtime and speed up algorithms; and how to adopt powerful strategies like recursion, dynamic programming, and binary search to solve challenging problems.


David Armstrong and Judith Poë's paper, “The Science of Human Health – A Context Based Chemistry Course for Non–Science Majors Incorporating Systems Thinking,” was selected by a committee of editors of American Chemical Society (ACS) journals as an Editors’ Choice paper.  This is a distinction given to fewer than 1% of all papers published each year in all of the ACS journals.

Kate Maddalena, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Institute of Communications, Culture, Information & Technology won an Education Small Grant from the School of Cities for her Fall WRI 307: Writing About Place course to do a project called "Vaccine Stories: Documenting the Mississauga Mass Vaccination of 2021."

Spotlight on Teaching

Madeleine Mant
Department of Anthropology

Let’s Talk About Health: Community and Careers in the Virtual Classroom

The Anthropology of Health stream in the Department of Anthropology introduces students to the wide-ranging biological, socioeconomic, and cultural factors that influence health outcomes in human groups. ANT220: Introduction to the Anthropology of Health surveys approaches used to examine the conditions of human health and illness, bridging biological and medical anthropology. The course explores international ethnomedical approaches and traces the historical development of the Western biomedical definition of health. Students are exposed to contemporary approaches to research on human fertility and reproductive health, healthy aging, mental health and culture-bound syndromes, and infectious disease. The course culminates in a discussion of the profoundly influential roles of social inequality and stress on the production and reproduction of health patterns observed in historical and contemporary populations.
Read the full article here

Parker Glynn-Adey 
Mathematical & Computational Sciences

Growing a Writing Practice with an Academic Coach 

In this short note, I’m going to share some personal reflections on hiring an academic writing coach. We all know that academic writing is a difficult task at the best of times. There are so many choices to make, and their long-term significance is unclear or even invisible. Often times, I ask myself questions like: Why is academic writing so hard for me? Should I focus on teaching instead of writing? How much would another collaboration further upset an already tenuous work-life balance? 
Read the full article here

Important Reminder about Zoom and BbCollaborate Recordings

If you have Zoom or BbCollaborate recordings that were saved to the cloud prior to May 1, 2021, these need to be migrated to either MS Stream, My Media or One Drive by June 30th or they will be automatically deleted. Please see the articles below to help guide you through the process.

Download Bb Collaborate Video Recording and Upload it to MyMedia
Download Bb Collaborate Video Recording and Upload it to OneDrive
Download Bb Collaborate Video Recording and Upload it to MS Stream
Zoom to MS Streams  
Zoom to My Media  
Zoom to OneDrive  

If you have any questions or need more information, please submit a ticket to on the UTM Service Portal

For questions about Bb Collaborate recordings, you can also contact the UTM Library & Instructional Technologies team  via email: or telephone: (905) 601-8859

For questions about Zoom recordings, you can also contact the UTM Service Desk at or 905-569-4300. 

Postive Pedagogy Postscript

January 2021 marked my return to the classroom after a long pause in teaching due to sabbatical and parental leaves. I was terrified to be coming back to teaching during such a tumultuous time and to have to learn an entirely new modality with online teaching. My experience ended up being about as far from terrifying as I could possibly imagine. Instead, it ended up being THE BEST teaching semester of my entire 10 years as a Professor (!), thanks to an amazingly engaged, resilient, and intelligent group of students, and support from colleagues, my department, the University, and a dedicated and hard-working teaching assistant. This semester has brought to life for me the lesson that change brings with it so many opportunities. I have seen much more engagement with teaching online (and 100% attendance for almost every class!), with students seemingly more comfortable with participating, asking questions, and contributing to discussions when given the option to keep their cameras off or to engage with the class via the chat and in breakout rooms. Teaching via Zoom also allowed me to control all of my own tech and introduce lots of fun and interesting activities that never would have been possible in the traditional classroom. It's been a great semester and these positive teaching experiences helped to keep me grounded and hopeful during an otherwise stressful and uncertain time! - Sonia K. Kang, Associate Professor, Department of Management,

To celebrate the accomplishments of our students in the Chemical & Physical Sciences Internship Course (CPS400), we held our first-ever virtual CPS400 Internship Presentation Evening event on April 9, 2021. This event captured the progress and achievements of our students at their industrial placement sites over the past year. Despite the challenges of engaging in remote experiential learning opportunities, students demonstrated a dedicated resilience and a passion for their placement work. We were encouraged by the exceptional quality our students’ final presentations and their enthusiastic reflections on their experiences at the event. We were overwhelmed by our students’ gratitude and inspired by the lessons that they learned - such as overcoming self-doubt and making the decision to believe in themselves. Excitingly, a subset of our cohort have sought and secured full-time positions at their respective placement sites, which recapitulates the quality of their work, respect of our industrial partners, and the value of these experiential learning opportunities. - Stephanie Vega, Experiential Learning Officer & Elvin de Araujo, Course Instructor, Department of Chemical & Physical Sciences

I have some thoughts on the little moments of positivity and kindness that were a part of teaching for me this year. I started each class with a series of blank tic tac toe boards, colouring pages, or word searches, which the students always appreciated. If they weren’t engaged there, they were often chatting with me or to each other through Blackboard Collaborate’s chat function. I would occasionally leave a blank whiteboard up before class to encourage doodling. Students created shared scenes and commented positively on each other’s art. On at least two occasions, students used the text feature of the whiteboard to talk about their stress and send messages of support. At around week 8 in my upper-level classes, I used a weekly engagement/check-in opportunity to ask a simple “How are you?” Most significant to me was how many commented that this was the first time a professor had asked them this question. - Jayne Baker, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Sociology

I received a long email from a student at the end of term that thanked me for all the effort I put into the course. It was so nice to receive this acknowledgement that mentioned so many of the components I built into the course to support my students. Particularly meaningful to me was that the student said that although they are "NOT a math person at all", they felt I had helped them to "do better than I ever expected from myself in a calculus course". - Andie Burazin, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Mathematics and Computational Sciences & Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy.

I found my weekly check-ins with students very helpful for them and for me, and I kept trying to think of new ways to do this. In RLG101H this past term one student regularly would show us her cat, Ginger, at the end of each week’s synchronous class discussion. The student and I then talked one day about creating a check-in based on Ginger photos, which she (the student) sent me. When we did the check-in the following week, the majority said they most identified with the photo of Ginger with her head under the sofa (#6). - Ken Derry, Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Historical Studies

six photos of a cat with orange fur named Ginger. First photo shows cat walking away. Second photo is of a cat with paws in front of it. Third photo is of a cat hissing. Fourth photo is of a cat hiding in a carrier with a blanket in front of it. Fifth photo is of a cat standing looking up. Sixth photo is of a cat hiding its head under a couch.

The quality of interactions between students is a reflection of a successful class. Therefore, I feel it is essential to create an online space where students can interact with their peers and the teaching team informally. I created an online platform for my upper year forensic toxicology course where students can interact with their peers privately or globally within the class. Personally, I really enjoyed monitoring and contributing to student’s conversations as I get a sense of their understanding of the course content. We also got to know each other’s pets and our virtual fidget spinning capabilities. - Vivienne Luk, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Forensic Science
Newsletter header photo by César Mejía.
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