Tips used in classrooms

Faculty at Vancouver Island University have a valuable new resource to engage with students.

Faculty at Vancouver Island University have a valuable new resource to engage with students in the classrooms – and they created it themselves.

Teaching Tips from the Trenches is a collection of suggestions and ideas available online through the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning @ VIU.

Tips include: using speed-date learning for students to share personal experiences; silent brainstorming to encourage participation from reserved students; and creating “word clouds” at the beginning and end of courses to demonstrate new understanding of topics.

“VIU faculty have great ideas – things that they know will work in the classroom,” said Liesel Knaack, centre director.

Knaack got the idea for after hearing about another institution’s practice of distributing cards to faculty with exercises and techniques that can readily be tried out in the classrooms.

She was impressed by the initiative, but thought it would be more effective to have the suggestions come directly from faculty who are credited for their contributions.

“There’s more authenticity if you know that a faculty member has taught this way, done this activity, knows that it works and recognizes that it’s worthy of sharing,” she said.

Knaack anticipates there will be plenty of creative ideas for future editions of Teaching Tips from the Trenches.

For more information, please go to www.viu.ca/iel.