1:00 – 2:00 – Session 2

Energizing Our Teaching through Universal Design for Learning

Presenters: Andrea Phillipson, Brenda Lang, Brent Oliver, Deb Bennett, Joan Harris, and Stephanie Zettel

Location: Dawson/Stewart Room (main floor by convention lobby)

In Fall 2019, Mount Royal faculty members gathered in an ADC Community of Practice to explore Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and practices. We asked questions such as: What is UDL? Why is it important? How is it different from accommodations? How can I implement UDL in my class?

Community of Practice participants joined the discussion from a variety of disciplines and starting places with UDL, with some teaching face-to-face and others working with blended and online courses. All were quickly surprised by how much of their teaching already enacted UDL principles. By the end of the term, Community of Practice participants were committed to intentionally integrating accessibility into the design of their courses by making one feasible change.

Come to this session to hear from these faculty members about their journeys, from grappling with the language, complexities, and technicalities of UDL to planning a concrete change that both facilitates student learning and energizes everyone in the class. In this session we will briefly discuss UDL principles, and then panelists will share their stories, strategies, and useful resources. Session participants will have a great opportunity to ask questions and to share any of their own UDL experiences.

Getting into the Canoe: Impact of the Blanket Exercise upon Students

Presenter: Helena Myllykoski

Location: Palliser Room (main floor by convention lobby)

This presentation summarizes the results of a mixed-methods research study undertaken to uncover the impact of the Kairos Blanket Exercise upon nursing student professional role development. Student nurses participated in the interactive workshop and while the experience was uniformly transformational, it left students with a “what now” question in terms of how to integrate these experiences into their developing professional role. As such, action strategies and further, open discussion may be helpful to translate these experiences into meaningful professional change. Options for moving forward are offered and invited in this interactive presentation.

MRU’s Rational Space Network: Assessing the Second Year of Free Speech and Academic Freedom Advocacy

Presenters: Frances Widdowson, Paul Johnston, and Peter Zizler

Location: Champion Room (second floor)

In 2019-2020, the Rational Space Network continued to pursue its mandate of promoting open inquiry, critical thinking, and evidence-based decision making at Mount Royal University. To this end, it held a number of events in its second critical thinking series that were documented and advertised on the Rational Space Network’s twitter feed (https://twitter.com/SpaceRational), facebook account (https://www.facebook.com/rationalspacenetwork/) and YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC37dWE2KLCCy_tsKFiCkyug). It also opposed the imposition of prayers at public events and organized efforts to defend a faculty member who was being denounced for criticizing diversity policies. In this group presentation, the core members of the Rational Space Network will discuss the opportunities and challenges that the organization continues to experience. Some of the issues discussed will include the need to confront the secretive attempts to stifle free speech and academic freedom on campus and the politicization of the faculty association, as well as the difficulties inherent in balancing decisive action with extensive consultation. Issues of academic freedom and free speech relative to broader issues, notably climate change, Indigenization, religion, and trans activism, also will be considered.

Are We Glazing Over Paraphrasing?

Presenters: Jenelle McAllister and Silvia Rossi

Location: Walker Room (second floor)

In Fall 2019, two thirds of the students in a 4000-level course submitted written assignments containing major referencing gaps and problematic paraphrasing. In many cases, the students had blended source information with their own conclusions, making it appear as though the conclusions were present in the original source. Students met with the instructor and were given the opportunity to resubmit their assignments. Surprisingly, many of the paraphrasing problems persisted in the resubmissions, and additional referencing issues were exposed, with many instances of previously unreferenced content now misattributed to sources that did not present such information at all.

The unpacking of this experience exposed disturbing gaps in the students’ understanding of paraphrasing and citation as well as flaws in their process for collecting and tracking information from their sources. This incident has prompted much reflection and discussion of how, when, and indeed if, students at MRU receive direct instruction in the complex academic skill of paraphrasing during their programs. Should paraphrasing instruction be intentionally woven into every program? If so, at what stage(s)? And who should be responsible for providing this instruction? Is it practical for instructors to provide students with feedback on paraphrasing in their written assignments?

This session will provide faculty members with the opportunity to exchange ideas on these questions and consider the roots of the paraphrasing problem, which may lie in differing conceptions–even amongst scholars and educators–of where to draw the line between paraphrasing and plagiarism, of what the true purpose of paraphrasing actually is, and of how best to teach students the acceptable and nuanced use of source material.