Welcome to the sixty-third issue of The LTO Best Practices. Each month, the Learning & Teaching Office will be spotlighting a timely topic in education and professional development in teaching. This March, our topic is "The Inclusive Classroom."
Check out our page of Teaching Tips handouts for more downloadable documents on a variety of teaching topics.
Ryerson describes itself as "proudly diverse and intentionally inclusive." Creating an inclusive classroom environment will help communicate these values to students. The benefits of an inclusive classroom include the following:
The first step toward an inclusive classrom is getting to know your students. Ask yourself:
To get to know your students, think about your students' prior knowledge, intellectual development, cultural background, and generational experiences and expectations (Eberly Center, Carnegie Mellon University). You can get to know your students by giving them a short survey on the first day of class or in D2L.
One way to create a sense of community is through the use of collaborative activities. One type of collaborative activity that you can use to set the tone on the first day of class is an ice breaker. Ice breakers are effective because they:
By helping students build social networks, you can not only create community, but you can also foster reslience and well-being in your students.
Be open with students from the beginning of class - share your teaching philosophy with them, acknowledge the stressful elements of the course when reviewing the syllabus, and use check-in activities to connect with students.
Build a respectful environment for discussion by allowing students to collaboratively set ground rules for the class. By engaging students with the formation of a social contract, you can create a mutually agreed upon set of rules that will create a culture of respect in your classroom.
A sample classroom contract is available as a Google Doc to download or share with your students.
When planning to teach inclusively, remember that the "inclusiveness of a classroom will depend upon the kinds of interactions that occur between and among you and the students in the classroom.
Ask the following questions when planning your course, and consider some of the options available to make the class more inclusive:
Tuesday March 8, 2016, 12:00-2:00PM, POD 372
Join the LTO, the DMP, and the Director of e-Learning for an introduction to the basics of online learning and technology-enhanced learning. If you're interested in converting a course to hybrid or fully online, or simply looking to either improve an online course that you currently teach or enhance a face-to-face course with digital resources, we will be presenting some of the ways in which technology available at Ryerson can complement established theories of learning. Come with your questions and your thoughts about D2L Brightspace and other technology available at Ryerson, and any ideas for teaching methods you might like to integrate into your online, hybrid, or technologically enhanced course. As part of this session, we will invite you take part in a brief needs assessment to help guide us in the development of our new programs on e-Learning in order to make them as relevant and meaningful to you as possible!
Wednesday March 9, 2016, 12:00-2:00PM, KHW-177C
A successful traditional, online or hybrid course should incorporate teaching strategies that enhance students’ interactions amongst each other and with you. Web 2.0 tools can enhance these interactions and provide a means to facilitate teaching. The recent migration to Google means the Ryerson community now has access to many new tools. In this workshop we will explore the tools available through Google Drive; documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and online forms. In addition, we will explore how to incorporate these tools into your classroom activities. We will provide participants with access to a shared folder of teaching and learning templates developed using Google Drive, providing participants with a pedagogically-sound toolkit that can be shared, modified, or updated by anyone at Ryerson. This workshop will be held in a computer lab as we will introduce hands-on activities.
"The LTO Best Practices" is produced monthly by Michelle Schwartz, Instructional Design and Research Strategist at the Learning & Teaching Office, Ryerson University.
Do you have any thoughts, suggestions, or best practices that you would like to see appear in this newsletter? Please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to including your contributions in our next issue!
Location: Kerr Hall West, room KHW373.
Phone: 416.979.5000 x6598