W2017 LC Course Development in Progress

The Fall 2016 Call for Proposals for new Learning Communities courses yielded 11 different proposals, involving 18 teachers from 12 different departments.

Five projects involving ten teachers (seven with course release) are being supported for the W2017 semester.  The group meets every other week in the CoLab to share their progress in course development, and learn about new tools and strategies for paired courses and integrative learning.

Learn about each project team from excerpts from their proposals belowand don’t hesitate to contact Ian MacKenzie or Chris Adam for more information about the course development process.

  1. First Choice Science

General Biology II (101-BZE-05) + Organic Chemistry I (202-BZF-05)

Janet Wyman (Bio)  & Yoon-Seo Uh (Chemistry) & Annie-Helene Samson (Biology)

“The new approach will aim at creating a strong sense of belonging to the First Choice Science community, a change motivated, among other things, by both graduate satisfaction surveys and the College mission statement. Being part of a community has repeatedly been shown in the literature to be a good predictor of success. The 60-90 students/year in the profile already benefit from the weekly common time where integrative seminars or activities are organized.  However, we believe it is primordial to also increase the sense of community as well as the integrative learning within the curriculum. While students tend to learn science from various disciplines delivered in parallel, the paired courses would stimulate the linking of fundamental chemistry concepts to biological systems.  The courses would be scheduled ‘back to back,’ enabling the two teachers to jointly design case studies where learning in one course can be applied in the other. The longer time period allocated to these courses (two slots of 1.5 hours each for a total of two 3h sessions per week), could also enable outdoor activities, or the association with Living Campus activities such as compost processes or photosynthesis rate analysis from the gardens.  Eventually, we would hope that our project would be a step toward linking other courses within the profile, such as math and physics”

  1. Social Science: Methods Sequence

360-300-DW Quantitative Methods + 330-201-DW Canadian History

Ben Lander & Liz Kirkland (History)

“Our desire to create a paired course joining Quantitative Methods and Canadian History emerges from the challenges and experiences we’ve had teaching the courses independently over the past eight years.  First, students are often anxious about the math skills required in QM and as a result carry that negative energy into their learning. In addition to the mathematical challenges, they tend to find the content abstract and disconnected from what they are learning in other classes.  As teachers, we have been looking for ways to connect these quantitative research skills to topics which engage students, so that they can apply their learning in the methods classroom directly to their fields of study.  Second, when it comes to the history classroom, we are uncomfortable with both the traditional content of the Canadian History course (often told from the perspective of colonizers) and the traditional pedagogical approach of creating a lecture-based course.  We face the challenge of finding ways to create authentic, active learning situations in the History classroom, where students have the opportunity to engage in genuine historical research.

The pairing of these two courses addresses these separate sets of pedagogical challenges.  Our hope is that this course will, on the one hand, develop deeper learning of quantitative methodologies by providing greater context and meaning of the statistics, while on the other, establish a skill set that students can use to engage in primary historical research. We hold that History can be used to critically assess statistical methodology (something all the more significant since too often this method has been used as a weapon by colonizers against the colonized).  At the same time, historical study provides crucial grounding and context to statistical analysis necessary to show the effects of colonization.  Topically, we plan to focus on the subject of decolonization; we would begin with the report issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and work our way back historically in order to provide further understanding of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples. Preliminary investigation has allowed us to see ways we might integrate learning.  For example, the Canadian censuses (1891, 1901, and 1911) provide data that would allow us to statistically reconstruct individual residential schools – an assignment that would create a powerful site for learning on historical, statistical and ethical levels.  Our hope is that the class would culminate in an exhibit or publication that would showcase material that too often remains hidden.  We see opportunities for students to connect with Dawson’s own First Peoples’ Centre in the process of this course pairing.”

  1. Peace Certificate

Peace 101: Complementary: Contemporary Issues

Ivan Freud (Religion)

“Peace 101 (365) would be a foundational course for Dawson’s Peace Certificate, offering General Education credits to students from any program.

The design of the course our team plans to develop will address the following characteristics:

  • problem-based theme/issue/topic approach to course content:
    • The problem, simply put, is how to bring peace to our world. In order to have the capacity to offer viable solutions, students would be guided through the history of Peace Studies and Peace Work assessing successful strategies then attempt to theoretically apply these theories to current crises as case studies.
    • Terminology, a knowledge of outstanding authors and activists in the field, and the relationship of various disciplines to the determination and study of Peace would all be part of course content.
    • The relationship between inner and outer peace could also be explored.
  • interdisciplinary team-teaching pedagogy:
    • The course would have core content that could then be adapted to suit the needs of the various disciplines with which it could be matched.
  • assignments encouraging the integration of student learning across courses/disciplines:
    • Peace 101 (365) would take a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural approach to the study of Peace.
  • links with campus or community-based co-curricular activities that facilitate experiential learning:
    • Peace 101 (365) would be working closely with the Dawson’s Peace Centre, Professors of Peace Community of Practice (CoP), and Students of Peace CoP.”

  1. Histories of Beauty (Women’s and Gender Studies)

330-300-DW History  + 602-BXK–DW 102b Regards sur les sciences humaines

Julie Johnson (History) & Leatitia Desanti (French)

“One of the key challenges within both of these disciplines is finding meaningful ways within a limited timeframe to help students engage more deeply with the course material. Historical events are so often brought to life by examining the cultural production of a given time period – indeed, art and literature can reflect historical change and innovation, as well as illuminate challenges to the existing order of society. Similarly, themes within art and literature can be
understood in valuable ways by exploring the relevant historical forces that existed at the time of their creation. In this way, our pairing of courses speaks to the outcome for Student Success in the Graduate Profile related to critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and imagination: “being able to collect, organize and evaluate information from a variety of sources, analyze and synthesize relevant information to draw informed conclusions.” In addition to this, by pairing courses in History and French, students would also be able to make deeper connections across two languages, and in this way, meet the outcome related to communication: “using effective knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, presentation of self and delivery of information, in English and French.

This paired course aims to study the evolution of the concept of beauty throughout history, with a focus on French culture and civilization. Our approach will be both socio-historical and aesthetic.  On the one hand, we intend to study beauty as a reflection of societies’ systems of values, representations, and ambitions. We will identify several aspects such as physical, moral and spiritual beauty, social models, natural and fabricated beauty, gender representations and identities, limits and transgressions (through the antithetical concept of the horrible). On the other hand, we will approach the concept from an aesthetic standpoint, insisting, this time, on artistic productions, considered as idealizations of evolving human conceptions of beauty.  The dual nature of the concept of beauty – socio-historical and aesthetic – makes this theme fruitful ground for interdisciplinary research and inquiry across the disciplines of History and French. In both courses, students will work in a synchronized chronological perspective, and focus on a variety of texts, images, and concepts from various time periods. We intend to have students work on team-based pedagogical projects including visits to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Arts (MAC), the BAnQ (Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec) in order to promote group investigation and enable students to share their results with the class. Other active learning activities could include flipping the classroom, group work on masterpieces with a presentation to the class, keeping a diary to express their ideas about beauty, creative writing related to different artworks, and activities using concept maps to help students identify the relationships between different conceptions of beauties and their contexts.”

  1. SPACE

How to Make Things and Have Them Matter (Introduction to Design Thinking): Complementary or Science option course

Joel Trudeau and Andrew Katz (Physics)

“There is already a general rubric to blend the SPACEcorp activities and the Independent Study projects with a structured problem-based, active learning course for 2nd year students in their 3rd or 4th semester. Our course concept is modeled on the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences interdisciplinary course “How to Create Things and Have Them Matter”. Students form groups around STEAM ideas that address a specific theme.  They then work on a set of processes that are germane to design thinking: They learn to generate, develop and realize breakthrough ideas by way of learning basic skills of brainstorming, research, prototyping, and public presentations.

There are several courses in various programs that could be linked and faculty collaborators who will engage and enlarge the LC or participate in the ongoing co-curricular activities. Programs/Profiles include, for example: Science, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technologies, Illustration and Design, Interactive Media Arts, Cin-Vid-Com, Industrial Design. Additionally, several members of the Active Learning Community have expressed interest in co-developing the course framework.”