OTL Book Club

OTL Book Club Description 

What is the OTL Book Club? 

The OTL Book Club brings together faculty and instructors from across UofG to spark connections, discuss teaching theory and practice, and share ideas and resources related to teaching and learning. Each semester, we choose a book focused on some aspect of teaching and learning in higher education. Previous book topics have included teaching critical thinking, decolonizing education, the role of emotions in teaching and understanding how humans learn. Details on previous books we’ve read can be found here

What Can Book Club Members Expect? 

Book club discussions are informative, candid, fun, and respectful. Book club members meet to discuss the book and share resources and ideas related to teaching in different disciplines. These resources are shared in an OTL Book Club Teams site, which book club members can continue to access after the book club ends. When possible, we invite an author to join us to discuss their work at one meeting. 

Who Can Join? 

The OTL Book Club is open to all University of Guelph faculty members and instructors (including sessionals).  

Time and Location 

The OTL Book Club typically meets bi-weekly for 1.5hours. We read and discuss one book during a semester over approximately 8 meetings. OTL Book Club meetings are held synchronously online via Microsoft Teams and in-person in Day Hall. Check out the information below for the timing of this semester’s Book Club meetings.  

Suggest a Book Club Selection

Have you read and enjoyed a book related to teaching and learning that you think others would benefit from reading? Have you been meaning to read a book about teaching and learning but need some peer accountability to help you prioritize it? If so, share a suggestion for a book or topic for an upcoming book club using this short form. Thank you! 


Spring 2023 Office of Teaching & Learning Book Club

What Inclusive Instructors  Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching

During the Spring 2023, the Office of Teaching and Learning will host a book club to discuss What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching (Addy et al., 2021). Book club discussions are open to all University of Guelph faculty and instructional staff (including sessionals). At each meeting, book club members will take part in a facilitated discussion of one or two chapters of What Inclusive Instructors Do and discuss your thoughts, questions or share experiences from their own classes. 

About What Inclusive Instructors Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching:

Image of What Inclusive Instructors  Do: Principles and Practices for Excellence in College Teaching (Adapted from the publisher’s description). This book uniquely offers the distilled wisdom of scores of instructors across ranks, disciplines and institution types, whose contributions are organized into a thematic framework that progressively introduces the reader to the key dispositions, principles and practices for creating the inclusive classroom environments (in person and online) that will help their students succeed. The authors asked the hundreds of instructors whom they surveyed as part of a national study to define what inclusive teaching meant to them and what inclusive teaching approaches they implemented in their courses. The book unfolds as an informal journey that allows the reader to see into other teachers' practices. With questions for reflection embedded throughout the book, the authors provide the reader with an inviting and thoughtful guide to develop their own inclusive teaching practices. By utilizing the concepts and principles in this book readers will be able to take steps to transform their courses into spaces that are equitable and welcoming, and adopt practical strategies to address the various inclusion issues that can arise.  framework that progressively introduces the reader to the key dispositions, principles and practices for creating the inclusive classroom environments (in person and online) that will help their students succeed.

To learn more about the book you can listen to one of the authors discuss What Inclusive Instructors Do on the Inside Higher Education podcast.  

Book Club Schedule 

Schedule to be posted soon


Accessing the Book 

What Inclusive Instructors Do is available as a hard cover, paper back, Kindle edition or e-book. The McLaughlin Library has e-copies of the book available for Book Club members. Hard copies of the book are also available from Chapters Indigo, Amazon, and some independent bookstores. 

Register for the Book Club 

Book club meetings will take place in-person in Day Hall 209B and simultaneously via Microsoft Teams. Registration is limited to allow for effective discussions. Registrants will receive an invitation to the Teams meetings in advance of each meeting. Registration for the Spring 2023 What Inclusive Instructors Do Book Club coming soon!!


This Fall, the OTL Book Club will read and discuss Infusing Critical Thinking Into Your Course: A Concrete, Practical Approach (Nilson, 2021). The University of Guelph’s five Undergraduate Learning Outcomes include Critical and Creative Thinking, defined as “a concept in which one applies logical principles, after much inquiry and analysis, to solve problems with a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking and risk taking.” Critical thinking skills are important in all disciplines, but it can be difficult to teach and assess these skills. Infusing Critical Thinking Into Your Course provides actionable suggestions to help you write clear learning outcomes related to critical thinking, engage your students using effective teaching strategies, and accurately assess your students’ critical thinking skills. 

As instructors begin a path towards Indigenizing and decolonizing their teaching, it can be tempting to seek out a list of teaching strategies that can be quickly and easily put into place in one’s classroom. However, as Sandra Styres (2019) describes in Pathways for Remembering and (Re)cognizing Indigenous Thought in Education: “indigenizing education is not a toolbox, a list of best practices, or a checklist of items that can be crossed off – it is an active process of engagement, activism, patience, and unwavering persistence” (p. 45). 

"Drawing on treaties, international law, the work of other Indigenous scholars, and especially personal experiences, Marie Battiste documents the nature of Eurocentric models of education, and their devastating impacts on Indigenous knowledge. Chronicling the negative consequences of forced assimilation and the failure of current educational policies to bolster the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal populations, Battiste proposes a new model of education. She argues that the preservation of Aboriginal knowledge is an Aboriginal right and a right preserved by the many treaties with First Nations. Current educational policies must undergo substantive reform. Central to this process is the rejection of the racism inherent to colonial systems of education, and the repositioning of Indigenous humanities, sciences, and languages as vital fields of knowledge. Battiste suggests the urgency for this reform lies in the social, technological, and economic challenges facing society today, and the need for a revitalized knowledge system which incorporates both Indigenous and Eurocentric thinking. The new model she advocates is based on her experiences growing up in a Mi’kmaw community, and the decades she has spent as a teacher, activist, and university scholar." 

During the Fall 2021 semester, the Office of Teaching and Learning will be hosting a virtual book club to discuss How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories behind Effective College Teaching (Eyler, 2018). Book club discussions are open to all University of Guelph faculty and instructional staff (including sessionals). At each meeting, book club members will take part in a facilitated discussion of one or two chapters of How Humans Learn and discuss their thoughts or share experiences from their classes. 

About How Humans Learn 

Even on good days, teaching is a challenging profession. One way to make the job of college instructors easier, however, is to know more about the ways students learn. How Humans Learn aims to do just that by peering behind the curtain and surveying research in fields as diverse as developmental psychology, anthropology, and cognitive neuroscience for insight into the science behind learning. 

The result is a story that ranges from investigations of the evolutionary record to studies of infants discovering the world for the first time, and from a look into how our brains respond to fear to a reckoning with the importance of gestures and language. Joshua R. Eyler identifies five broad themes running through recent scientific inquiry-curiosity, sociality, emotion, authenticity, and failure-devoting a chapter to each and providing practical takeaways for busy teachers. He also interviews and observes college instructors across the country, placing theoretical insight in dialogue with classroom experience 

During the Summer 2021 semester, the Office of Teaching and Learning will be hosting a virtual book club to discuss Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto (Gannon, 2020). Book club discussions are open to all University of Guelph faculty and instructional staff (including sessionals). At each meeting, book club members will take part in a facilitated discussion of one or two chapters of Radical Hope  and discuss their thoughts or share experiences from their classes.  

About Radical Hope  

From the publisher: Higher education has seen better days. Harsh budget cuts, the precarious nature of employment in college teaching, and political hostility to the entire enterprise of education have made for an increasingly fraught landscape. Radical Hope  is an ambitious response to this state of affairs, at once political and practical—the work of an activist, teacher, and public intellectual grappling with some of the most pressing topics at the intersection of higher education and social justice.  

Kevin Gannon asks that the contemporary university’s manifold problems be approached as opportunities for critical engagement, arguing that, when done effectively, teaching is by definition emancipatory and hopeful. Considering individual pedagogical practice, the students who are the primary audience and beneficiaries of teaching, and the institutions and systems within which teaching occurs, Radical Hope  surveys the field, tackling everything from impostor syndrome to cell phones in class to allegations of a campus “free speech crisis.” Throughout, Gannon translates ideals into tangible strategies and practices (including key takeaways at the conclusion of each chapter), with the goal of reclaiming teachers’ essential role in the discourse of higher education. 

During the Winter 2021 semester, the Office of Teaching and Learning will be hosting a virtual book club to discuss The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion (Cavanagh, S., 2016). Book club discussions are open to all University of Guelph faculty and instructional staff (including sessionals). At each meeting, book club members will take part in a facilitated discussion of one or two chapters of The Sparking of Learning and discuss your thoughts, questions or share experiences from their own classes. 

About The Spark of Learning 

Historically we have constructed our classrooms with the assumption that learning is a dry, staid affair best conducted in quiet tones and ruled by an unemotional consideration of the facts. The field of education, however, is beginning to awaken to the potential power of emotions to fuel learning, informed by contributions from psychology and neuroscience. In friendly, readable prose, Sarah Rose Cavanagh argues that if you as an educator want to capture your students' attention, harness their working memory, bolster their long-term retention, and enhance their motivation, you should consider the emotional impact of your teaching style and course design. To make this argument, she brings to bear a wide range of evidence from the study of education, psychology, and neuroscience, and she provides practical examples of successful classroom activities from a variety of disciplines in secondary and higher education. 

During the Fall 2020 semester, the Office of Teaching and Learning will be hosting a virtual book club to discuss Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes (Darby & Lang, 2019). Book club discussions are open to all University of Guelph faculty and instructional staff (including sessionals). At each meeting, book club members will take part in a facilitated discussion of two chapters of Small Teaching Online and discuss approaches they might consider or share experiences from their own classes. 

About Small Teaching Online 

Small Teaching Online offers concrete strategies that instructors can implement in their classroom to improve student learning. The authors ground their suggestions in the learning sciences literature. The concept of “small teaching” encourages instructors to make small but effective changes to their courses that can improve student experience.  

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Contact Us

 

E-mail the Office of Teaching and Learning (otl@uoguelph.ca) with any questions related to your teaching and learning needs.