‘Teaching Tips’ – Opening up a faculty resource to the University

Over the past two years, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) has gathered a series of teaching tips from our best teachers. Fittingly called ‘Teaching Tips’, it contains easy to read and easy to implement teaching strategies grouped under the following headings: Assessment, Engaging Students, Inclusion, Lecture, Tips for Coordinators, First Year, and Tutorial.

This article was contributed by Tanya Doulaveras and Alex Lefebvre.

If you would like to add the Teaching Tips Canvas site to your Canvas dashboard, all you need to do is access the self-enrolment link (and then click once more on the webpage to actually enrol).

The spirit behind the FASS Teaching Tips is pragmatic. Instead of broad reflections on pedagogy or calls to radically rethink your teaching, the tips are more tactical in nature and propose small tweaks that may well have a large impact inside and outside the classroom.

For example, Dr Elly Cowan, Lecturer in Roman History, contributed a tip on student feedback. The idea is simple: when a student submits work for assessment, ask them to include a sentence at the start identifying something which they have worked on to improve and which they would like feedback on. The goal is to encourage students to reflect on their progress. It also helps guide the marker to give feedback on something that is meaningful for students. All it takes on the student’s part is a sentence like, “In this essay I’ve tried to more closely interpret the quotes I use.”

I (Alex) was inspired, and tried it out in my upper-level philosophy unit. The tip not only had the effect of encouraging student reflection, but it also increased USS results for the unit on question 6, “I have been guided by helpful feedback on my learning.” Pre-tip in 2016, the score was 4.25. Post-tip in 2018 it was 4.63. Thanks Elly for the great advice!

We hope you enjoy and benefit from the FASS Teaching Tips. The project was a pleasure to pull together as it is all about colleagues learning from each other. Going forward, we have a request. So far, Teaching Tips has been a FASS initiative, but we see no reason to keep it that way. If you have a teaching tip you’d like to suggest for inclusion, please send it to us. It would be terrific to grow this collection into a truly University-wide resource.

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