Chancellor’s Chair award winners named for 2018

Innovative teaching and learning projects will be pursued by the recently announced 2018 Chancellor’s Chair for Teaching Excellence award winners.

The recipients — Professor Martin Danahay, English Language and Literature; Associate Professor Jenn Salfi, Nursing; and Assistant Professor Nicola Simmons, Educational Studies — share a commitment to advance teaching and learning scholarship and practice for colleagues at Brock and beyond.

As chair holders, Danahay, Salfi and Simmons will receive funding of $5,000 a year for three years to pursue innovative projects that include research into 3D pedagogy, interprofessional collaborative education and graduate degree level outcomes.

Administered by the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI) since 2005, the awards recognize and celebrate teaching excellence at Brock.

CPI Director Jill Grose says the projects are at the forefront of innovative teaching and learning.

“From within their discipline-specific interests, the award recipients have developed projects that will take the broader teaching and learning community in exciting new directions,” says Grose. “These projects lead the way in developing immersive ways of learning that embrace the best of new technology, and in creating course models and assignments which promote professional and collaborative skills at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.”

Chancellor’s Chair for Teaching Excellence projects include:

Martin Danahay — Bodily Presence in 3D Pedagogical Spaces

Danahay is using cutting-edge 3D virtual reality hardware and software to identify best practices for online discussion-based courses in a 3D environment. The study will evaluate the impact of 3D technology in creating bodily presence on teacher and student interactions. It will also focus on participants’ evaluation of 3D space learning outcomes in contrast to interactions in Sakai forums.

Danahay, who was Director of the Centre for Digital Humanities from 2009 to 2012, says the project is inspired by his desire to create a sense of community in courses, whether in real-time in a classroom or online.

“The technology promises to enhance online teaching presence which has proven crucial in online education,” he says. “The ability to represent bodily image in 3D environments is evolving rapidly, largely thanks to developments in online gaming.”

Jenn Salfi — The ‘I’ in Teams: The Development & Evaluation of an Interprofessional Course on Collaboration and Teamwork

Since joining the Department of Nursing in 2013, Salfi has looked to “interprofessional collaborative education” as a means of providing students with experiences to gain much needed ‘soft skills,’ such as problem solving, communication, teamwork, leadership and collaboration.

Salfi is creating an innovative foundational course that will help prepare students to take their place within collaborative and team-oriented environments in the health-care field. It will be the first course in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences that will be open to students from all five departments.

“The purpose of this course is to bridge the skills gap of our soon-to-be-graduates through some in-class instruction and a variety of meaningful experiential opportunities,” Salfi says.

Nicola Simmons — Wikipedia Assignment: Developing Graduate Student Outcomes and Employability Skills

Simmons continues to research the impact of a Wikipedia assignment that she created several years ago for the Master of Education entry course. In this next phase, she will focus on the assignment’s value in contributing to overall graduate degree level outcomes.

Simmons created the Wikipedia assignment as a way to explore graduate students’ perceptions about engaging in Wikipedia.

“Students responded to the assignment’s effect on their thinking, finding it developed critical thinking and literacy skills and contributed to their sense of becoming scholars,” she says. “These and other themes suggested that this simple assignment might be contributing more to graduate student outcomes than I anticipated.”

Read more about the 2018 Chancellor’s Chair for Teaching Excellence projects on the CPI website.

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