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Thursday, June 23 • 10:30 - 11:20
CON05.15 - Take a Walk on the WALS Side: Innovative Teaching in Western Active Learning Space

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This interactive workshop will promote faculty sharing by showcasing how instructors use Western Active Learning Space (WALS) to enhance their teaching practice. Opened in August 2014, WALS is a general use classroom with seating for ~50 students. As part of a broader movement to develop active learning spaces for post-secondary education, WALS “integrat[es] … pedagogy, physical design, and instructional technology” to promote student-centred, active learning (Neill & Etheridge, 2008). Conceived using Reushle’s PaSsPorT model (2013), a theoretical framework adapted from Radcliffe (2009) that emphasizes synergy between People, Spaces, Pedagogy, and Technology, WALS positions technology as a tool to facilitate active learning.

The workshop will feature 7 WALS instructors who teach undergraduate and graduate courses in a variety of disciplines from Arts and Humanities, Social Science, STEM, and Health Sciences. The session will begin with a brief overview of WALS and an introduction to the instructors, who will each be stationed at a pod. The session will then take the form of a Gallery Walk. Time will be divided into 3 rounds of 12 minute blocks, during which time participants will visit the pods of their choice. Participants are free to spend the entire block of time at one pod, or visit multiple pods during each block.

During this time, WALS instructors will discuss their approach to teaching in an active learning space, answer questions, and facilitate class activities that explore the space’s physical and technological affordances (e.g. pod-style seating, interactive whiteboards, “smart” projectors, collaborative technologies, etc.). In turn, participants will gain hands-on experience in an active learning space by experimenting with a range of e-learning tools and active learning strategies. Participants will also have the opportunity to network with WALS instructors and other participants interested in active learning spaces/pedagogy and e-learning tools. The workshop will be relevant for anyone interested in flexible and active learning spaces, collaborative learning, blended learning, and innovation in technology-enhanced instruction.


Pod 1: Sandi Spaulding (Occupational Therapy)

Everyone who uses a computer and sits at a desk needs to be cognizant of seated posture and how best to circumvent muscle fatigue.  In this pod we will demonstrate how to incorporate two attributes of WALS, the overhead camera and the whiteboard, to facilitate assessment of posture and movement. Student group project output in the form of websites will also be showcased.


Pod 2: Sarah McLean (Medical Sciences)

Flipped classrooms are a buzzword in post-secondary education. Come learn about simple high-tech and low-tech options to create an active learning atmosphere in your classroom. Topics include: getting buy-in on the first day of class, in-class activities and perspectives from teaching assistants and former students. Take a walk through this pod to learn about the active side of flipped classrooms!

Pod 3: Graham Smith (Geography)

Appreciating the value of constructive mayhem and the conscious design of the unexpected. Active learning requires a different teaching lens, one that embraces play and discovery. Our pod will engage in whiteboard activities that focus on acquiring knowledge through the discovery of constructs.

Pod 4: Rob Corless (Experimental Mathematics)

“Experimental Mathematics”, also known as “Computational Discovery”, is the art of exploring the vast mathematical universe using modern mathematics (of all kinds) and is an ideal subject for active learning. In this unit we’ll sketch out one successful activity, and touch on others. Come for the amazing pictures, stay for the conceptual depths they afford!

Pod 5: Angela Borchert (Modern Languages and Literatures)

Storytelling: Collaborate, create, curate! Follow the urge to tell stories, and bridge informal and formal learning outside and inside the classroom. From the larger project of digital storytelling in community engaged learning curated in OMEKA to the social media storytelling curated in Storify, our pod will showcase WALS as a space for student-driven, creation-driven, multimedia-driven approaches to listening, thinking, telling and sharing.

Pod 6: Aaron Price (Engineering)

+1 Knowledge: Fostering Engagement Through Gamification

Gamification in education introduces elements of game design such as points, achievements, and leaderboards into the classroom setting to foster deeper learning. Our pod will demonstrate technology platforms employed by WALS instructors to increase students’ intrinsic motivation leading to higher overall engagement.

Pod 7: Aleksandra Zecevic (Health Studies)

Do you think you are an ageist? Check it out. Join this simulation of what it feels like to be older, and reflect on your own perceptions about older adults. We will demonstrate how WALS supports active, meaningful, collaborative, embedded and connected learning of Gerontology.

avatar for Angela Bochert

Angela Bochert

Angela Borchert (Ph.D. Princeton), Associate Professor for German and Comparative Literature, Western University. My publications concentrate on everyday cultural and poetic practices primarily in Weimar from 1750 to 1830. My project as Teaching Fellow in Arts and Humanities is to... Read More →

Sarah McLean

Dr. Sarah McLean is an Assistant Professor in the departments of Physiology & Pharmacology and Anatomy & Cell Biology at Western University. She currently holds a teaching fellowship with the Teaching Support Centre, where she is evaluating the introduction of blended laboratory environments... Read More →
avatar for Stephanie Oliver

Stephanie Oliver

Dr. Stephanie Oliver is Program Assistant for Western Active Learning Space (WALS) with Western's Teaching Support Centre.
avatar for Aaron Price

Aaron Price

Assistant Professor, Western University
I'm interested in gamification techniques specialized for active learning spaces, with emphasis on education in the natural sciences and engineering at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
avatar for L Graham Smith

L Graham Smith

Associate Profesor, Geography, UWO
Dr. Graham Smith, Geography, UWO is a recipient of the Pleva Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching and the USC Award for Excellence in Teaching. He presently teaches two senior level undergraduate courses using WALS (Geography of Change : Geo 4100 and Philosophy + Methodology... Read More →

Sandi Spaulding

Dr. Sandi Spaulding is a professor in Occupational Therapy at Western University. She teaches in clinical human movement sciences using active learning techniques and a consolidation online course. She has received teaching awards at the faculty level.
avatar for Gavan Watson

Gavan Watson

Associate Director, eLearning, Western University
Gavan P.L. Watson is the Associate Director, eLearning at Western University’s Teaching Support Centre and is the past chair of the Council of Ontario Educational Developers. With a PhD in environmental education, Gavan has a professional background in educational development and... Read More →

Aleksandra Zecevic

Aleksandra Zecevic, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University, 2015 Brigtspace Award recipient.

Thursday June 23, 2016 10:30 - 11:20 EDT
UCC 66 (WALS, Sponsored by Nelson)