Focus on Teaching - May 2020

Dear Reader,

We are all together in navigating the challenges of the recent weeks and the weeks coming. Whether you are experiencing fatigue and confusion, or optimism and rejuvenation, or a strange mix of everything, we have some resources for you.

This May we're moving our book club online with the timely volume, Small Teaching Online (2019) by Flower Darby and James Lang. As well, we're launching the inaugural Facilitating Learning in Moodle, a course designed for TRU faculty with four relevant modules to help you adapt elements of an existing face to face course to alternate modes of delivery.

We learn best when we collaborate. Together, let's identify new approaches and adapt existing techniques for teaching, learning and assessment that will be useful right now and into the unknown future.

Your CELT Team

Support for Teaching

Facilitating Learning in Moodle

Cohort 1:  May 4 - 29

Cohort 2: June 1-26

4 weekly modules & synchronous sessions on Wednesdays from 10 - 11:30 a.m.

Shifting from delivering a course face-to-face to an alternate mode of delivery? This flexible and collegial session will offer you sage advice for planning that shift in 4 weeks. It’s organized around four modules—course planning and design, building community, engaging and motivating students, and facilitating assessment—all via Moodle. We’ll provide you with the chance to try new approaches relevant to courses you teach and to exchange feedback with peers. The session will take you through approximately 6-8 hours of content and activity, including one synchronous session, per week. Please note, we will offer this session again in June. Register on our calendar.

Facilitators: Carolyn Ives, Catharine Dishke Honzdel, and Kara Loy

CELT Book Club

Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes (2019) by Flower Darby and James Lang

Weekly: Thursdays 12 - 1 p.m., starting April 30

Join members of the CELT team for a weekly facilitated discussion of this timely, research-based and easy-to-read resource. We will discuss the introduction and chapter 1 in our first meeting. Register here.

The TRU Library has the e-book available here.

Learning Technology

Moodle Support for Faculty & Learning Technology

Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. – noon  &  2 – 4 p.m.

Learning Technology facilitators are offering daily open office hours (using Big Blue Button) for faculty who are transitioning to alternate delivery methods using Moodle. Advice and instruction in implementing other tools is available on an ongoing basis. Connect by accessing the COVID-19 Preparedness Resource in Moodle or email

Opportunities and Resources

Coaching Event: The Impact of Powerful Questions

April 29, 2 – 4:00 p.m.

Come and experience this online coaching circle to explore solutions to the instructional challenges resulting from our disrupted and transformed workplace culture and personal lives. In this session, participants will learn about using questions as a way of supporting colleagues’ growth through John Witmore’s (2009) GROW model. The GROW model is an easy way to introduce coaching by using the framework to identify and set goals (G), reflect on the current reality (R), revisit options and opportunities (O), and set out with a plan that will (W) be done to achieve goals. Register here.


How to Find and Use OER in your Online Course

April 30, 12:15 - 1 p.m.

In this session, you will learn about how you can find free, open educational resources (OER) to be used in your online course. Please bring questions as there will be a Q & A section at the end. Register here.


Facilitating Learning Online - Synchronous

May 11-31, 6-8 hours per week

Do you want to get better and more confident about planning meaningful synchronous sessions for your students? This course will introduce you to best practice strategies to plan, facilitate and follow-up after facilitating synchronous online learning events. Participants can choose to take this course either as a Reviewing Participant (Track 1) or as a Practicing Facilitator (Track 2). This flexibility allows you to choose what kind of learning is best for you at this time. Participants can expect to spend 6 to 8 hours per week on a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous online activities. Register here.

Sign up for the BCcampus newsletter to be informed of all upcoming events.

Apply to Review an Open Textbook

To ensure the content in the BC Open Textbook collection achieves or surpasses the academic requirements of the post-secondary institutions of BC, a review system to rank each open textbook has been developed. You are invited to apply to review an open textbook to help deliver quality content to students and faculty. Approved reviewers receive a nominal honorarium.

Visit BC Campus for more information.

York University

Going Remote Resources

A suite of resources to help faculty to:

• Organize your course

• Create and share course content

• Engage with students

• Assess and provide feedback

• Encourage academic integrity

• Make your course accessible

• Consider copyright and intellectual property

Association of College and University Educators

ACUE is offering free webinars and an Online Teaching Toolkit. The resources are divided into six key topic areas for teaching online:

• Welcoming students to the online environment

• Managing your online presence

• Organizing your online course

• Planning and facilitating quality discussions

• Recording effective microlectures

• Engaging students in readings and microlectures

Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Online bilingual resources and webinars on the topics of teaching and assessing using alternate modes of delivery and maintaining well-being for faculty and academic development staff. Visit

What to Read

Student Engagement Techniques: A handbook for college faculty, 2nd Ed.

This updated 2020 book by Elizabeth F. Barkley is designed to guide faculty in keeping students involved, motivated, and actively learning. It offers a dynamic model for engaging students and includes tips, strategies, and techniques that have been proven to help teachers from a wide variety of disciplines and institutions motivate and connect with their students. The ready-to-use format shows how to apply each of the book's techniques in the classroom and includes purpose, preparation, procedures, examples, online implementation, variations and extensions, observations and advice, and key resources. The e-book is available through the TRU library here.

The Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching: Connecting sophisticated thinking from early childhood to PhD

This open access 2020 e-book by Dr. John Willison of the University of Adelaide is available here. It includes relevant discussion of the purpose of teaching in ways that illuminate student curiosity, critical thinking, and other skills. Then, it provides models and examples for facilitating and assessing learning in technical, academic undergraduate & graduate, and work-integrated learning contexts.

Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal design for learning in higher education

This 2018 book by Thomas J. Tobin and Kirsten Behling is aimed at faculty, faculty/student staff, disability/accessibility support providers, campus leaders, and graduate students who want to strengthen the engagement, interaction, and performance of all post-secondary students. There is a model for Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a framework grounded in the neuroscience of why, what, and how people learn. The book includes resources for readers who want to become UDL experts and advocates: real-world case studies, active-learning techniques, UDL coaching skills, micro- and macro-level UDL-adoption guidance, and use-them-now resources.The e-book is available through the TRU library here. 

Jump-start Your Online Classroom: Mastering five challenges in five days

This 2017 book by David S. Stein and Constance E. Wanstreet will prepare first-time online instructors to successfully manage the first few weeks of a course. It includes activities to plan, manage, and facilitate online instruction. Each chapter is designed to mitigate everyday problems with research-based solutions. The five solutions for online teaching are to make the transition, build online learning spaces, prepare students, manage and facilitate, and assess learner outcomes. The authors show how to make choices around the five elements of online learning environments to create meaningful educational experiences. The e-book is available through the TRU library here.

Upcoming Conferences

Most conferences planned for spring and summer have been cancelled, postponed to 2021, or have moved online - often as webinars.

Stay up to date on what's happening and how to access online options with the CELT-curated listof upcoming externally-hosted professional learning opportunities focused on topics related to the praxis of teaching and learning.

The National Great Teachers Seminar in the Canadian Mountains

July 19-23, Sun Peaks, B.C.

Hosted by TRU CELT

The Retreat Experience of a Lifetime for Post-Secondary Educators!

If you are a post-secondary educator who seeks to enhance your teaching and ensure greater learning on the part of your students, then this is the perfect seminar. Space is limited and we will following official advisories on gatherings as they emerge. Check here for more information and to register.

Focus on Teaching is the semi-monthly newsletter of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). We showcase instructional development opportunities and resources for TRU faculty and staff, and up-to-date information on current projects, initiatives and professional development opportunities. To read past issues of Focus on Teaching or to subscribe to our mailing list, visit our Newsletters page.

Questions about learning, teaching and assessment? Visit COVID-19 Preparedness in Moodle, or Contact CELT at