2019-20 Inquire SoTL Showcase


Over the past year, 6 faculty and staff from across the University of Guelph have taken part in the Inquire Graduate Certificate in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Each Inquire participant has identified a unique research question grounded in the literature, applied for and received research ethics clearance, and carried out a research project related to student learning. The results of these projects will contribute to improved teaching and learning at the University of Guelph, in areas including student motivation, student engagement, and student perceptions of learning experiences.

The Inquire SoTL Showcase was held  on Friday June 12th, 2020. Videos of each presentation are now available below the abstract.

Introduction to the Inquire SoTL Showcase


Abstracts & Presentations

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a tool that encourages and facilitates early and shared goal setting. IDPs help graduate students self-reflect, and facilitate their ability to effectively identify, communicate, and translate transferable skills upon graduation. The goal of this research project was to understand graduate students’ perceptions of the IDP across different degree program (i.e., research-based and course-based) and degree types (i.e., masters and doctoral programs). Here, we present our preliminary findings of this research and the challenges experienced while studying the effectiveness of an IDP among graduate students. Through focus groups and exit surveys, students reflected on the usefulness of IDP components, their barriers to completion, and the effectiveness of the tool in improving career planning, goal setting, skills translation, and self-reflection. The presentation will highlight key findings from our preliminary analyses and implications regarding potential challenges with expanding the use of IDPs at the University of Guelph.

In an effort to improve student engagement in large programming classes, this study used a blended teaching method that combines the core principles of two popular teaching methods used in “Programming”, namely traditional and flipped. In traditional teaching, Instructors teach the core concepts in an allocated classroom and time, while students listen and take notes. In a flipped method, students prepare themselves for the lesson outside the class by watching videos or reading material, while in-class time is spent on learning activities prepared by the Instructor. In the proposed pseudo-flipped (PPF) method, students are taught in a traditional way for half the allocated time, whereas the other half is spent on solving problems in class. Similar to flipped classes, PPF requires students to do some independent learning outside the class (e.g. using interactive textbooks) and work on hands-on learning activities inside the class (in half the allocated time). But in contrast to a pure flipped method, PPF does not overload students with the responsibility of learning course material on their own since the instructor also spends some time (the other half of the allocated time) inside the class teaching core concepts. A survey was done in a 1000-level programming class to find student opinion on using PPF as opposed to purely in-class traditional teaching, specifically on how useful this method is on student engagement and on learning and applying the course concepts. Both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the survey responses strongly favor the proposed PPF method, with 70% of students in favor of it.

Research shows frequent interactions with material leads to stronger recall, and thus overall learning improves. Conversely, the desire for frequent points of engagement can increase demands on time and results in cognitive overload, and potentially reduces student motivation and the learning experience. This study evaluated student grades and the number of completed near-weekly quizzes to predict student grades on the final exam or test, for two different courses (8 offerings each). Although positively correlated, completed quiz rate and/or quiz average do not strongly predict final exam scores (total variance explained varies year to year and course to course ~10-30%. Additionally, Fall 2019 students were given the choice to have the near-weekly quizzes count toward their final grade and an optional survey asking about their perspective on the weekly quizzes was distributed. Although survey completion rates were low, they provide some insight to understanding why students completed quizzes (e.g., related to grades and/or learning tools). The preliminary results from Fall 2019 suggest that giving students an option to have quizzes count helps to tailor the workload to the individual, and ultimately improves the student learning experiences.

Advance taxation is a highly technical subject area that has typically utilized a lecture style teaching format. Due to the very technical and complex nature of the subject matter, students find it quite difficult to visualize and truly understand the application of many tax provisions to real-world scenarios. The purpose of this study is to compare two different approaches: experiential learning (application of tax content to a real industry tax issue) versus a case-based approach to learning and applying tax rules. Students in an Advance Taxation class participated in a challenging experiential learning tax assignment (Assignment 1) where they were tasked to come up with solutions to a problem identified by a private corporation. Students also participated in a case-based tax assignment (Assignment 2) which was written based on real client tax issues. After completing both assignments, students were invited to complete an online survey about the effectiveness of both assignments in increasing their understanding and applying tax content. The results indicated that the students preferred the case-based assignment (Assignment 2) and indicated that it contributed more positively to their learning. Student survey responses are indicative of the challenging and complex nature of tax which they were able to closely observe in the experiential learning assignment. The qualitative student comments also reflected that they found the experiential learning assignment complex and challenging.

Session Description: In the University of Guelph Library’s Media Studio, a team of professional staff and student employees provide training and support for students, staff, and faculty who are engaged in the creation of digital media such as videos and podcasts. This team has observed a range of student behaviors around media reuse in their digital media projects. These observations have made the team curious about how students make choices around media reuse and how they perceive and experience copyright in this context. In this presentation, I will share the results of a qualitative study that explores the experiences of undergraduate students with copyright and media reuse as they complete a digital media project as a course assignment. Participants’ experiences were explored using semi-structured interviews and the transcripts analyzed for themes. I will share my findings as well as thoughts about how the findings could inform copyright education.