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Wednesday, June 22 • 16:45 - 18:00
POSTER.03 - Living with Spinal Cord Injury: Teaching innovations in a first-year seminar course

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Influenced by research from other institutions, the University of Guelph has implemented first-year seminar (FYS) courses to help new students undergo a successful transition into a university learning environment (Andrade, 2009; Ross and Boyle, 2007). These courses allow students to interact with faculty, graduate students, and their peers in small, engaging, research-intensive, and learner-centred groups that focus on creative and unique topics. During the winter semester of 2015, we designed a FYS course that explored the physical, social, emotional, psychological, and economical phenomena that may be experienced by an individual living with a spinal cord injury (SCI). The course was designed to provide an interdisciplinary and interactive learning experience through group-based activities, experiential learning, laboratory sessions, and guest lectures. The primary goal of the course was to develop transferable skills such as research, communication, and problem solving, while cultivating a love of learning. The students studied the anatomy of the spinal cord and peripheral nervous system with respect to cervical SCIs, and also learned from the perspectives of guest-lecturers with SCIs in order to foster their awareness of issues and common experiences within the SCI community. Assignments were aligned with course outcomes to facilitate the construction of knowledge within these areas (Biggs, 1996). Together, the assignments and teaching practices helped to shape the students into advocates for SCI and accessibility through community engagement.

This poster aims to provide a forum for discussion with the instructors and past students of the FYS course to share teaching experiences, and ideas for innovation in other early post-secondary courses. Thus, by visiting this poster presentation, attendees will be able to:

  • Discuss the challenges and opportunities of teaching first-year students with different backgrounds and interests
  • Identify potential successes and failures of course design from the perspectives of both the instructors and the students

avatar for William Albabish

William Albabish

William Albabish is a PhD candidate in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph. His research focuses on the creation of dissection-based audio-visual material to enhance the learning experience of students.

Sean McWatt

Ph.D, Student, University of Guelph
Sean McWatt is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Human Health & Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph. His research focuses on human anatomy dissection, photography, and the creation, implementation, and evaluation of digital education modules in undergraduate human... Read More →

Additional Authors

Brooklyn Joyce

Brooklyn Joyce is a second-year undergraduate student studying Human Kinetics at the University of Guelph. She is interested in pursuing a career in the field of injury prevention and biomechanics, specifically, the study of spinal cord injury. Brooklyn volunteers with SpinFit, an... Read More →

Christian Cheung

Christian Cheung is a second-year undergraduate student studying Human Kinetics at the University of Guelph. His interests lie in the study of biomechanics and human anatomy. His current goals are to continue to build on his previous research experience and supplement his undergraduate... Read More →

Wednesday June 22, 2016 16:45 - 18:00 EDT
Atrium, Physics & Astronomy Building Western University