Teaching & Learning – The Brock News https://brocku.ca/brock-news/category/teaching-learning/ A news source for Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario Wed, 14 Sep 2022 21:51:12 EST en-CA hourly 1 https://brocku.ca/brock-news/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/GettyImages-1286642964-600x450.jpg Free workshops to feature digital scholarship tools https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2022/09/free-workshops-to-feature-digital-scholarship-tools/ Mon, 12 Sep 2022 09:00:04 EST https://brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=80283 A series of upcoming free online workshops will highlight popular tools used for digital teaching and research.

Offered by the Brock University Library’s Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL), the workshops are open to everyone and will feature tools used for data management, processing, analysis, visualization and preservation; project collaboration; version control; citation management; and website creation.

“Our workshops are designed to be low-stress, hands-on experiences that will introduce participants from around the world to powerful and versatile tools that can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their digital projects, teaching and research,” says Tim Ribaric, Digital Scholarship Librarian.

Introductory and intermediate learning opportunities are available for Power BI, Python, Zotero, R, GitHub and Tableau.

The DSL’s fall workshops kick off Wednesday, Sept. 14 with an introduction to Power BI, an analytics tool used to transform data into useful visualizations. A second seminar on Wednesday, Sept. 21 will review the online platform ‘Power BI Service.’

Ribaric says Power BI is popular among Brock staff members as well as researchers.

“Brock departments have been using Power BI as part of the Microsoft Office suite to easily and beautifully visualize organizational data, such as recruitment and admission numbers,” he says.

A workshop series on the programming language Python begins Thursday, Sept. 15, with its first of three introductory seminars. The series will also include seminars on using Python for data science, text analysis and machine learning.

“If you’re new to programming, Python is the easiest language to start with,” Ribaric says. “Adding computational methods to research is becoming very popular, and Python represents a very accessible way to introduce a new dynamic to research. Our attendees consistently tell us they are surprised with just how easy it is to pick up the language.”

A single offering of ‘Citation management with Zotero,’ focused on a free and open-source reference management software to manage bibliographic data and related research materials, will be held Friday, Sept. 16.

Also beginning this month is a workshop series on R, a free open software environment for statistical computing and graphics that is a popular programming language across academic fields. An introductory seminar on R will take place Wednesday, Sept. 28, followed by seminars in October that will detail how to make functions and perform text analysis within the platform.

“R is the most popular language in the world of data science because it was designed to handle tabular data, which is how many of our researchers manage data,” says Ribaric. “With just a bit of time spent understanding the basics, it is very possible to generate complex statistical analyses with only a few lines of code. It is very rewarding and allows you to make progress quickly.”

October will include the continuation of Python and R workshops as well as the beginning of a series of seminars on GitHub, a multi-faceted platform for project collaboration, version control and website creation. Following a seminar on Thursday, Oct. 6 that will focus on how researchers can use GitHub, the series will continue throughout October and November with lessons on how to use GitHub for data storage, version control, automating tasks and creating web pages.

The DSL’s fall workshops will conclude in November with a two-part introduction to Tableau, an analytics platform for managing, analyzing and visualizing data that allows users to work with large or small data sets quickly and easily.

Registration and details for each workshop are available on ExperienceBU and Eventbrite.

Visit the Digital Scholarship Lab website to learn more about its services, resources, expertise and collaboration opportunities available to Brock researchers, students, staff and community members.

https://brocku.ca/brock-news/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Digital-Collaboratory-RS-600x450.jpg Space launched to encourage digital exploration among researchers https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2022/08/space-launched-to-encourage-digital-exploration-among-researchers/ Wed, 24 Aug 2022 12:19:13 EST https://brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=80015 Brock University researchers will have a new space for digital exploration this September.

The Brock LINC has announced the launch of the Digital Collaboratory, an environment where researchers can experiment with and learn to use digital tools for research and knowledge mobilization, while also communicating with others.

Located in Rankin Family Pavilion 216, the multi-use space will host events, workshops and training that supports researchers. It will also be a bookable space for lab groups, researchers and classes who are interested in using the space and technology.

“Brock has great strengths in digital research, distributed across the range of disciplines and kinds of researchers found at the University,” says Tim Kenyon, Vice-President, Research. “The Digital Collaboratory aims to help integrate and deepen those strengths, through knowledge sharing and access to new tools and teams.”

Rankin Family Pavilion 216 was previously home to the Brock University Library’s Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL), which will continue to grow and develop its innovative programming and services. The DSL will be one of the Digital Collaboratory’s partners, contributing to events, training and resources that will be available in the space.

“Naming this space the Digital Collaboratory is fitting as it highlights the collaborative vision for its use,” says Nicole Nolan, Acting University Librarian. “More than just a room, this space is an environment designed to bring researchers and collaborators together in ways that foster conversation and creativity around digital initiatives.”

Other partners across the University include the Centre for Digital Humanities and Centre for Business Analytics as well as partners from Computer Science, Engineering and Advanced Research Computing. The space has been collectively re-envisioned as an open, inclusive and welcoming collaboratory for digital research undertakings.

The Digital Collaboratory includes a data visualization wall, workshop space for up to 12 people, and seven high-performance computers where researchers can work with specialized software, large data sets or other digital tools.

Ultimately, the Digital Collaboratory is intended to be a place where researchers can wade into unfamiliar territory, explore concepts or technology they may not be familiar with, seek support for experimentation and work through different solutions to their digital research questions in a collaborative setting.

Upcoming events will include workshops on digital knowledge mobilization and introduction to data visualization, with additional opportunities for hackathons, contests and lab critiques. More information on events will be shared on the Brock LINC website as it becomes available.

Questions about the Digital Collaboratory can be directed to Kait Kribs, Digital Research Communications Officer, Brock LINC, at kkribs@brocku.ca

https://brocku.ca/brock-news/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Goodman-Classrooms-2019-020-600x450.jpg Library’s new Teaching and Learning Department ready to support faculty https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2022/08/librarys-new-teaching-and-learning-department-ready-to-support-faculty/ Thu, 11 Aug 2022 10:18:54 EST https://brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=79851 The countdown is on to the beginning of Fall Term and the Brock University Library is ready to offer strategic course instruction support through a new department and request process.

For the past several years, faculty members have consulted with individual liaison librarians through the Library’s former Liaison Services Department. With the development of a new Brock Library organizational structure, this model was replaced with a multi-functional team-based approach.

Now, each Faculty has a team of librarians who act as points of contact and draw upon expertise from across three library departments: Collections Services, Research Lifecycle, and Teaching and Learning.

With a focus on instruction, the Teaching and Learning Department works with academic departments to strategically integrate information literacy, digital fluency and research skills into their courses.

“The goal is to scaffold library instruction throughout a program structure to support students at the most appropriate time in their degrees,” says Department Head Jennifer Thiessen. “We’re interested in working directly with programs to identify key courses in which students would benefit from research skill development.”

The Library’s Teaching and Learning Department can provide instruction on critical research skills in a variety of ways, including:

  • Online learning via digital learning modules embedded into the Learning Management System and/or a course-specific research guide.
  • Developing an assignment to teach information seeking/management skills.
  • Providing in-person or synchronous sessions designed by a librarian to meet the needs of specific assignments and to address broad learning expectations.

Faculty interested in library instruction or course support are asked to review the information literacy instruction guidelines and fill out a new online request form.

In addition to offering instruction on information literacy, the Brock Library also offers course instruction on several other research-related topics and skills, including archival research; creative and emerging technologies; data visualization and analysis; digital scholarship; maps and GIS; and scholarly communication.

Faculty members are encouraged to explore the Library’s instruction support offerings to learn more about how the Library can support their teaching and student research needs.

Questions and comments can be directed to the Library Team assigned to each respective Faculty.

https://brocku.ca/brock-news/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/RobertAlexander-RS-600x450.jpg Curiosity drives Humanities Teaching Excellence recipient https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2022/06/curiosity-drives-humanities-teaching-excellence-recipient/ Fri, 17 Jun 2022 10:59:47 EST https://brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=78981 To his students, Rob Alexander is known as the “shoe guy.”

The Associate Professor with the Department of English Language and Literature always begins his first-year course with an unusual assignment. Working in groups, students have to write out instructions on how to tie a shoe in just 250 words.

“Students think it’s simple, but it’s actually a complicated process,” he says. “Someone has to take their shoe off and put it on the table, the group has to come to a consensus on the process and then take their instructions to the next group to test it. The process takes place over two 90-minute classes.”

The assignment exemplifies Alexander’s approach to teaching, which takes students to the boundary of their knowledge and defamiliarizes things they may take for granted.

“It’s a great writing exercise because people have to imagine themselves in the place of the person reading it, which is fundamental in writing,” he says. “They also have to break down a process and explain it in a way that makes sense.”

Alexander’s methods in the classroom saw him recognized as the recipient of the Faculty of Humanities Award for Excellence in Teaching during Brock’s Spring Convocation on Friday, June 17. In addition to being presented the award, Alexander delivered the Humanities Convocation address.

While students may come to his courses thinking they understand the concept of language or a particular genre of writing, Alexander enjoys taking them to the limits of their own understanding, where they can then begin learning.

“I tell students, ‘this is a course where at the end of it you will know less than you did when you came in,’” he says. “What you thought you knew will turn out not to have been knowledge at all but taking something for granted that is really quite complicated and strange.”

The course instills a transferrable way of thinking that can be used to break down and analyze many issues and stereotypes in society. It’s not enough to reproduce genres of writing, he says, but to critically understand them.

“It all comes from the shoe tying,” says Alexander. “It shows the importance of empathy and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

Fostering a sense of discovery and curiosity is central to Alexander’s teaching — and something he embraces for himself. He aims to demonstrate scholarly curiosity, the value of recognizing gaps in one’s knowledge and the excitement of learning something new.

“Like all the best teachers, Professor Rob Alexander bases his pedagogy on curiosity: his own and that of his students,” says Carol Merriam, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities. “His own curiosity drives what and how he teaches, and that of his students leads them, in turn, to places they have never imagined. He really does transform students’ perspectives. He’s known, especially, for his flexibility and nimbleness in the progress of a course, adapting as necessary and appropriate. He treats teaching as a partnership between teacher and learners.”

For Alexander, the reward is in seeing the ideas he has taught come back to him through students’ own intellectual processes.

“You put the idea there, but they’ve done the work,” he says. “It might take the summer or even a year or two later, but you start to see the amazing transformation that takes place over a four-year degree.”

https://brocku.ca/brock-news/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Skander-Lazrak-2-600x450.jpg Teaching is ‘something powerful’ for award-winning prof https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2022/06/teaching-is-something-powerful-for-award-winning-prof/ Thu, 16 Jun 2022 12:53:02 EST https://brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=78906 Skander Lazrak will tell you his calling was never teaching.

As a graduate student at the University of Montreal, he wanted only to do research, not be at the head of a class.

But he also knew standing behind a lectern was inevitable, given his ambitions of earning his PhD in finance from Concordia University. His goal was to continue doing work that would make him a thought leader rather than work on Bay Street and the front lines of the finance industry.

So no one was more surprised than Lazrak when he realized he loved being in front of students as a professor that first time he taught at U of M.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is for me,’” he recalls. “That’s what I wanted to do. I can share my opinions, my knowledge. I can explain it all. That appeals to me personally.”

The way he does all of that also appeals to his students. Lazrak was honoured with the Goodman School of Business Award for Excellence in Teaching during Brock’s Spring Convocation on Thursday, June 16 and delivered the morning ceremony’s Convocation address.

Earning the distinction, he admits, is almost as surprising as learning he loved to teach.

“Recognition for teaching is really, really great, especially for my area,” Lazrak says. “I’m in finance. It’s usually dry and hard. That’s not easy, at least for undergraduates.”

Still, Lazrak has a way to make information stick, get mind-bending concepts across clearly and even convince some of his students to make finance the focus of their studies and futures.

“I let students know it’s in their best interest to learn this. I show them how important this is in real life,” Lazrak says. “I get them enthusiastic about the topic. I get them to see it’s interesting.”

As interesting as he saw teaching could be all those years ago in Montreal.

After experiencing that rush with the first lecture he gave, Lazrak knew for certain academia was his professional destiny. He trained in pedagogy while doing his PhD at Concordia to make sure he would be the best version of himself in front of a class, even though working on Bay Street was an appealing option.

“This is the best job for me,” he says. “I do research and then I teach students. I spark their enthusiasm in the subject. I feel it has an impact.”

But students continuously spark his enthusiasm, too. It’s a feedback loop, he explains. Students ask him questions; he asks them questions. They discuss current issues like real estate prices and consumer behaviour. He shares his knowledge and relevant examples often using math models. All in, it’s “something powerful,” he says.

But perhaps the most powerful of all — even more than winning an award affirming his career choice — is the ongoing relationships he establishes with those who really get what Lazrak does in a lecture hall.

He often has students provide him with their personal email addresses after graduation so they can stay in touch, no longer as mentor and protégé, but as equals.

“That’s the best thing, receiving that kind of recognition,” Lazrak says. “Once students finish their studies, they’re no longer students for me. They’re friends. We are now colleagues.”

https://brocku.ca/brock-news/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/MacPherson-Rebecca-600x450.jpeg Prof’s relatable approach to Health Sciences earns Teaching Excellence honour https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2022/06/profs-relatable-approach-to-health-sciences-earns-teaching-excellence-honour/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 12:08:44 EST https://brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=78831 Ahmad Mohammad was fascinated by cranial nerves, blood vessels in the brain and other topics covered in his second-year anatomy course taught by Rebecca MacPherson.

But his interest stemmed from more than just the content. Equally captivating, he says, was how the Associate Professor of Health Sciences explained highly complicated concepts in a way that he and his peers could easily grasp.

The positive experience led him back to the class two years later as MacPherson’s Teaching Assistant (TA), where he continued to be inspired by her approach to teaching.

“I signed up to be a TA because I enjoyed the way she taught the course so much,” says Mohammad, who graduated during Brock’s Spring Convocation Wednesday, June 15 with a Bachelor of Science in Medical Sciences. He will be starting his master’s with MacPherson in the fall.

A woman in a mask and graduation gown stands in front of a crowd of people.

Associate Professor of Health Sciences Rebecca MacPherson at Brock’s Wednesday morning Convocation ceremony.

During Convocation, MacPherson was recognized for her positive impact on and dedication to her students with the 2022 Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching.

MacPherson was an obvious choice for the honour, says Dean Peter Tiidus.

“Dr. MacPherson epitomizes all round faculty excellence,” he says. “In addition to being an outstanding teacher, Dr. MacPherson also runs a world-class, externally funded research program and is involved in many aspects of departmental work.

“This recognition of her teaching excellence and concern for her students’ success is very well deserved,” he says.

MacPherson teaches courses in human anatomy, human pathology and pathophysiology of the metabolic syndrome — a cluster of abnormalities that result in hypertension, central obesity and insulin resistance, among others.

Shortly after joining Brock in 2016, MacPherson was among a group of faculty who negotiated access to McMaster University’s cadaver lab, located in the Roy and Lois Cairns Health and Bioscience Research Complex on Brock’s main campus.

MacPherson developed plans on how her classes would use the lab’s space and facilities.

“It’s one thing for students to look at a plastic model of the human body where everything is perfectly proportioned and colour-coded,” she says. “When students see a human cadaver, they get a better appreciation of the anatomical variations from person to person. They also form more of a connection to the person who passed away, whose last wish it was for students to learn.”

MacPherson also arranged for McMaster University to deliver samples from its massive library of specimens of different disease, such as lung cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, for students to examine in their pathology classes for “hands-on, real-life experiences.”

One innovative teaching technique that impressed Mohammad was MacPherson’s use of mnemonics — patterns of letters or numbers — to get students to remember technical terms associated with physiological processes and systems.

“I was lucky enough to be a TA because she taught us the content so well in my second year that I still remembered the content two years later,” says Mohammad.

Danny Marko (BSc ’19, MSc ’21) took seven classes with MacPherson during his undergraduate education and was supervised by her for his graduate degree. He says he has observed that MacPherson “believes that her success is defined through the success of the students she can shape.”

For example, a discouraged Marko was trying to change his research project following eight months away from the lab due to pandemic measures and his less-than-impressive preliminary research results.

“Dr. MacPherson pushed me to stick with it,” says Marko. “She told me, ‘Be patient, it will come, it will work out, you’re going to hit roadblocks like this, you’ve got to know how to push through these kinds of things.’”

Fuelled by her confidence, Marko ploughed through. Not only was the project a huge success, but Marko finished his master’s early and was first author on his team’s work, published March 28 in the American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology.

For her part, MacPherson says her goal as an educator “is to teach from the heart and not the textbook.”

“I try to use a hands-on approach where I encourage students to interact with the material and one another,” she says. “I want students to leave a lecture, lab or seminar with a true knowledge and appreciation of the logical, elegant simplicity of the human body.”

https://brocku.ca/brock-news/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Rajiv-Jhangiani-600x450.jpg Brock appoints Rajiv Jhangiani as new Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2022/06/brock-appoints-rajiv-jhangiani-as-new-vice-provost-teaching-and-learning/ Tue, 14 Jun 2022 15:22:06 EST https://brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=78738 Brock has appointed leader and expert in inclusive and authentic pedagogies Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani as its new Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning.

Jhangiani currently serves as Associate Vice-President, Teaching and Learning at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia, where he has been recognized for his work in and commitment to making education more open and equitable. Jhangiani’s practice and scholarship focuses on open educational practices, student-centred pedagogies and ethical approaches to educational technology.

At Brock, Jhangiani will provide vision, leadership and support for all aspects of the scholarship of teaching and learning, including supporting initiatives around educational technologies and implementing pedagogical innovations and best practices.

Jhangiani will be appointed to the Department of Educational Studies, with a cross-appointment to Psychology.

“I am thrilled to be joining an institution renowned across the country for its innovative approach to teaching and learning,” says Jhangiani. “Brock’s commitment to providing students with the best possible education — and using novel approaches and tools to do so — makes it a true leader in this space. I can’t wait to join the team and continue building on this great tradition of teaching excellence.”

The Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning provides strategic oversight for the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation, the institutional teaching and learning centre, which collaborates with academic units and faculty members to promote best practices in pedagogy, as well as the Co-op, Career and Experiential Education team.

The role also oversees the promotion of equity in learning, advancing universal design for learning, the accessibility of course material for those living with disabilities, and compliance with the province’s accessibility laws.

Madelyn Law, who has served as Associate Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning, will complete her term on June 30.

“I want to thank Madelyn for her exemplary work in this important role, especially during the exceptionally difficult conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Lynn Wells, Provost and Vice-President, Academic. “Her leadership has been key to helping Brock continue to advance in this space and build on its tradition of excellence in teaching and learning.”

Jhangiani’s term will begin on Aug. 1.

https://brocku.ca/brock-news/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Shauna-Pomerantz-600x450.jpg Teaching Excellence recipient lives for ‘the click’ https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2022/06/teaching-excellence-recipient-lives-for-the-click/ Tue, 14 Jun 2022 11:52:11 EST https://brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=78743 There is a recurring moment in teaching that Shauna Pomerantz lives for — and it never gets old.

“I love watching students get stuff, the eureka moments when something starts to make sense — I live for that ‘click,’” says the Professor in Brock’s Department of Child and Youth Studies (CHYS). “My goal is to stay current in socio-cultural theories and youth cultures so I can help facilitate those clicks as much as possible.”

Pomerantz, a widely recognized expert on girlhood studies and youth culture, was honoured as the recipient of the 2022 Faculty of Social Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching during Brock’s Spring Convocation on Tuesday, June 14. The weeklong celebration, which will see more than 3,500 graduands cross the stage, continues until Friday, June 17.

Pomerantz says her classes are often focused on social justice issues, with discussion topics ranging from gender identity to the racialization of young immigrants, from age-based power dynamics to queer representation in pop culture. She weaves together these issues and theories with music videos, social media phenomena and embarrassing personal stories to engage students and help them find a way into challenging material.

“Teaching is an extraordinary opportunity to know people, engage in meaningful conversation, and participate in a community of learners,” she says. “Teaching is about affecting people and being affected by them.”

Pomerantz is a self-described “keener” and believes her students know that she isn’t faking her enthusiasm. Her dynamic blend of broad expertise with personal anecdotes and pop culture examples evidently resonates.

“When I heard that I won this award, I knew that my love of teaching could be felt by others, and that was rewarding and meaningful,” she says. “I was also so grateful to the CHYS faculty who nominated me and the many students who wrote all those incredible details about their classroom experiences, because reading the letters made me feel like a winner, whether I received the award or not.”

Pomerantz completed a Bachelor of Education with aspirations to teach high school English before beginning her journey to becoming a Professor of Child and Youth Studies.

“I was really interested in what teenagers had to say about the world and how they expressed themselves in verbal and written forms,” she says. “Not much has changed for me as a university instructor — the students are older, but I’m still chasing great conversations and rigorous analysis.”

Pomerantz says she has learned and continues to learn from her colleagues in the Department of Child and Youth Studies, both those who invited her to observe their teaching when she first came to Brock in 2006 and now her newer colleagues who have fresh perspectives and ideas because, in her view, the possibilities for teaching better are endless.

“There are always fresher ways to present material, and I know I will continue to re-work lectures each and every time to see if there is a stronger way to say it or a more current connection to pop culture,” she says. “I suppose the constant testing of teaching strategies is my biggest challenge but it’s also my greatest fun, because I want to be improving, learning, reading and thinking along with the students.”

A big part of the thrill of teaching is the spontaneity of a live class, which Pomerantz describes as offering transformative possibilities.

“My vision for a class can easily shift based on the students’ energy and the questions they raise, because that liveness cannot be anticipated or duplicated,” she says. “No matter how many times I’ve taught a topic, I’m always different, the material always changes and the interconnection between the students, the readings, the ideas and me always offers a new experience, moments that can only happen when we are assembled to think with each other and puzzle out challenging ideas.”

She encourages students and graduates completing their time at Brock this week not to cling to one “singular vision” of themselves.

“You are multi-faceted, shifting and fluid,” she says. “Do what makes you feel good and helps you grow as a person, and know that you can always change and be different. Stay open to possibilities you have never even imagined.” 

Ingrid Makus, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, says Pomerantz’s deep commitment to students’ learning, success and well-being exemplify the values of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

“Dr. Pomerantz’s energy and innovation in the classroom reflect her tireless commitment to students,” says Makus. “She is such an asset to her field — not only in her own excellent scholarship, but in her ability to cultivate enthusiasm and curiosity in her students — the next generation of scholars in Child and Youth Studies.”

https://brocku.ca/brock-news/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Joe-Barrett-600x450.jpg Award-winning prof aims to inspire next generation of educators https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2022/06/award-winning-prof-aims-to-inspire-next-generation-of-educators/ Mon, 13 Jun 2022 13:39:45 EST https://brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=78662 Joe Barrett isn’t one to rest on his laurels.

When the Associate Professor learned he was receiving Brock’s 2022 Faculty of Education Award for Teaching Excellence, he said the honour served as further motivation to continue striving to be a better educator for his students.

It’s a goal Barrett has worked towards for most of his life, whether as a coach, camp counsellor, teacher or teacher educator.

“I think before I knew I wanted to be a teacher, I knew that I wanted to be in some kind of profession that involved helping others,” he said.

Now working with Brock’s teacher candidates, Barrett, who was honoured at the University’s Spring Convocation Monday, June 13, is helping the next generation of educators to make a difference. He teaches Health and Physical Education curriculum and instruction courses for the Consecutive Teacher Education and Concurrent Teacher Education programs.

Barrett works with students to help them overcome any fears they have about teaching health and physical education and to find their own joy in movement and movement exploration.

“The emphasis has shifted away from sport as physical education toward more progressive health physical education teaching that has a wider range and is more student centred,” he said. “Not all students are going to be at the same place on a continuum of skills, abilities and competences — and that’s OK. We’re helping our students to find their way to greater confidence and greater competence across a wide range of physical activities.”

Helping students develop physical literacy and build lifelong healthy movement habits is just one part of health and physical education. Barrett also prepares teacher candidates in his courses to teach a range of topics related to health and health promotion, including healthy eating, substance abuse, addictions and related behaviours, human development and sexual health, personal safety and injury prevention, and mental health literacy.

These topics can be complex and deeply personal, so Barrett equips teacher candidates with tools and approaches they can adapt to the unique contexts and circumstances of their future students. The methods can often also be applied to subjects beyond health and physical education.

“I try to model that there are ways to approach teaching and learning that are rooted in care, humility, listening, understanding, reflection and then appropriate action that moves us forward,” Barrett said of his teaching philosophy.

His empathetic approach is partially informed by culturally responsive pedagogy as well as his experiences growing up.

Barrett was raised in a small northern Ontario mining town where he saw the impacts of financial insecurity on his community. While his parents weren’t able to pursue post-secondary education, they worked hard to provide a stable home and education opportunities for their children.

“I found myself more interested in helping those less served by traditional education and those who are least served in health and physical education,” he said.

Barrett believes it is critical to examine stereotypes and privilege to break down barriers and address microaggressions in health and physical education, and to better serve students.

Responding to relevant issues in the classroom, whether discussing ever-emerging approaches to culturally responsive teaching or exploring the impacts of unhealthy social media fitness content, means teachers need to continue learning throughout their careers, he said.

Barrett has helped Brock teacher candidates to develop meaningful connections to the broader field by creating MOVE: An Annual Health and Physical Literacy Conference for Teacher Candidates.

The one-day event brings together frontline experts, such as researchers and public health professionals, to give teacher candidates access to fresh perspectives on policy and approaches to pedagogy associated with health and physical literacy development. The conference is the first of its kind in Canada in the health and physical education field.

https://brocku.ca/brock-news/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/GettyImages-1287492741-600x450.jpg Brock adds to lineup of virtual learning resources https://brocku.ca/brock-news/2022/04/brock-adds-to-lineup-of-virtual-learning-resources/ Wed, 27 Apr 2022 13:29:02 EST https://brocku.ca/brock-news/?p=77883 With the support of government funding, Brock University has added two new projects to its robust list of virtual learning opportunities.

Virtual Learning Strategy funding from the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities via eCampusOntario has led to the creation of added History and Mathematics and Statistics online learning options for Brock students.

A new course from Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Statistics Pouria Ramazi will see students learn how to use complex machine learning models through short videos that break up the material into easy-to-learn pieces for a broader audience that may have less background knowledge on the subject. Meanwhile, the latest addition to the History course catalogue has Associate Professor of History Daniel Samson helping students to explore 18th century settler colonialism through the examination of primary sources.

The new courses add to a list of eight virtual learning projects led by Brock and 12 additional projects the University has partnered on, all of which are now available and can be shared with anyone online at no cost.

Though the projects vary greatly in focus, they each contribute to resources that support faculty and students, said Giulia Forsythe, Associate Director of Brock’s Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI).

“The Virtual Learning Strategy has been an incredible opportunity for Brock University’s excellent researchers to showcase their expertise by creating student-centred, open educational resources (OERs) to increase access, affordability and learning,” she said.

With nearly $800,000 committed to Brock’s projects, Forsythe said the focus of these open educational resources means the initiatives are making an impact at Brock and beyond.

“Many of these projects were co-created with students and colleagues across the sector,” she said. “Most of these OERs have been added to the eCampusOntario Pressbooks library, in addition to the hundreds of titles already available.”

The success and scale of the projects has also been welcome news to the Brock University Students’ Union, which has made OERs a priority through advocacy and a campaign to bring awareness to the rising cost of textbooks for students.

“BUSU is very happy to see Brock’s commitment to developing high quality and affordable resources for our students,” said Austin Hurley, BUSU’s Vice-President, External Affairs. “We look forward to working together in the future to help Brock further open educational resources on campus however possible.”

While the funding opportunities from eCampusOntario have now wrapped up, Forsythe said there are still options at Brock for instructors who would like to create OERs.

“We are excited to collaborate with the Digital Scholarship Lab to offer the 2022 Digital Scholarship Institute,” she said. “The event includes opportunities for new and experienced instructors to enhance their digital teaching.”

Anyone interested in learning more about open pedagogy and OERs is welcome to attend the Digital Scholarship Institute, which will take place between Tuesday, May 3 and Thursday, May 5, or to contact CPI for a discussion on the use of OERs in their courses.