Focus on Teaching - January 2021

Dear Faculty,

We hope that you had a restful break, and we look forward to working with you this year. We are available for regular consultations - send us a request through our website, or feel free to reach out via email.

Later this month we are looking forward to kicking off our new collaborative reading group, joined by Learning Technology and Innovations and some amazing co-hosts. It's sure to get you thinking about teaching and learning in new ways!

And as always, the 2021 Teaching Practices Colloquium deadline will be here before you know it. Submit a proposal to share your experiences and present at this unique virtual event!

COVID-19 Safety on Campus

Our top priority is your safety and that of our TRU community. However, reducing the spread of COVID-19 is a shared responsibility. Please be mindful of your actions and the impact they can have on members of our community. Visit  TRU's COVID-19 Response website to keep yourself up to date.

Professional Development

Assessment and Evaluation of Learning

January 5 - February 26, 2021
via Moodle/Big Blue Button

Synchronous sessions: Tuesdays, 5-6:30 p.m.

Through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities, we will examine the purpose of assessment and evaluation in the learning process along with the ethics of how and when to evaluate learning. We'll create assessment tools and evaluation systems aligned with instruction and learning outcomes, reflecting and communicating student learning.   Register here.

Writing Time!

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Wednesday, January 6, Noon-1:30 p.m.

A session about how to write (with time to draft) your proposal for upcoming TPC or SoTL conferences, an abstract or a blog post about your teaching approaches you have adapted, created, and wrestled with teaching in the new covid context.  Learn how to consider the format, select a venue, focus your story, and get started on drafting in this session.  Register here.

Faculty webinar: International Students’ Experiences of the Fall 2020 Semester

Thursday January 7, 10-11:30 a.m. via BlueJeans

Join four TRU International Student Ambassadors as they discuss their experiences learning remotely during the fall 2020 semester. What was the most challenging? What did faculty do that worked best to support their learning? Have a question to ask them? Send it in advance to and we’ll ask the students to respond.

17th Annual Teaching Practices Colloquium

Teaching and Learning Without Walls

Final Proposal Due Date:  Friday, January 8

The 17th Annual Teaching Practices Colloquium will be held on February 16, 2021 in a virtual format. This year's theme, Teaching and Learning Without Walls, explores five distinct themes that encourage us to go beyond. Visit the webpage to learn more.

• Beyond the Usual: Lemonade from Lemons in COVID
• Beyond Success: Sustainability
• Beyond Exclusion: Anti-racism, Inclusivity, 2SLGBTQIA+
• Beyond Barriers: OER (Open Educational Resources)
• Beyond Words: Indigenization & Virtual Classrooms

Read One, Join One:
Not your usual book club

Tuesdays, beginning January 19, Noon-1 p.m. via BlueJeans

CELT and Learning Technology and Innovation are teaming up to facilitate discussions from Critical Digital Pedagogy, an open-access collection of articles from the journal Hybrid Pedagogy that have been composed by world-class scholars and curated by Jesse Stommel, Chris Friend, and Sean Michael Morris. 

Articles will be posted in the calendar in advance, so you can join the discussions that interest you. Whether you read them all or read only one, you are welcome! Register here.

New Faculty Orientation, condensed version

Wednesday, January 20, Noon-1:30 p.m. via MS Teams

This session is designed for faculty who either haven’t attended a previous New Faculty Orientation or would like a refresher. Over the course of this gathering, you’ll learn about key resources and contacts to help you in your role at TRU, and you will also be provided with access to all the resources shared at the full orientation week from August. We’ll also do our best to answer questions you might have about campus services and supports. Register here.

New(ish) Faculty Community of Practice

Wednesday, January 20, Noon-1:30 p.m. via MS Teams

January's topic:  Course Evaluation Dashboards

Integrated Planning and Effectiveness (IPE) and CELT are pleased to offer you an online tutorial session on your on campus course evaluation dashboard reports. In this tutorial session, we will explain the improvements that were made over the past year, demonstrate how to navigate through your dashboard reports, explain how to use filters and set benchmarks, demonstrate how to create your own PDF report using the new ‘Create PDF’ sheet, and help you understand your results so that you can get the most out of your interactive dashboard reports.  All faculty are welcome!  Register here.

Teaching Assistants Orientation (TA Day)

Thursday, January 21, 4-5:30 p.m. via Moodle

Join CELT, your fellow TAs, and other TRU colleagues for a carefully curated session focused on the essentials for TAs. We'll get you connected with details on things like payroll and the professional code of conduct, as well as where to find resources for intercultural learning and learning technology.  Register here.

Teaching Triangles - Planning Meeting

Friday, January 22, 9:30-10:30 a.m. via MS Teams

If you’ve ever wished you could be a fly on the wall in someone else’s classroom or Moodle space, the Teaching Triangles program is for you. This is a non-evaluative, formative process of reciprocal classroom visits and self-reflection.   Register here.

CELTalk: Connection and Community Building in an Alternate Delivery World

Friday, January 22 @ Noon-1 p.m. via MS Teams

Guest Speaker:  Lorry-Ann Austin, EDSW

In this CELT Talk, Lorry-Ann shares some of the strategies she developed to increase presence and build community in both synchronous and asynchronous ways during the pandemic. Her presentation will be followed by a larger discussion about how strategies might work in participants’ own contexts.  Register here.

TRU Faculty Merit Awards Information Session

Monday, January 25, 12:30-1:30 p.m. via MS Teams

The Faculty Excellence Award, President's Distinguished Teacher Award, and the Award for Excellence in Interculturalization recognize outstanding faculty.

During this session we will discuss the components of an effective nomination, eligibility criteria, and what to consider when nominating yourself, or someone else. Register here.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Community of Practice

January 29, February 26, and March 26, 1-2 p.m. via MS Teams

Interested in learning more about SoTL? Or maybe you’re already engaged in a SoTL project? Wherever you’re at, these monthly gatherings will connect you with other faculty and helpful resources and information to start, advance, or finalize a SoTL project. Please join us! Register here.

Learning Technology & Innovation

Moodle Support

Every Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.- Noon & 2-4 p.m. 
Drop-in and meet with a Moodle expert.

To see the programming available and to register visit the Learning Technology and Innovations Calendar

Connect by accessing Support for Virtual Delivery or email

Learning Technology Podcast

You Got This is produced by the Learning Technology and Innovation (LTI) team at Thompson Rivers University to provide just-in-time teaching and learning encouragement and support to our campus community. It's designed to support you when you need it with weekly episodes offering tips, advice, insights, and conversations with folks from across our campus community.

Your Host:
Brenna Clarke Gray, Coordinator, Learning Technology, LTI @ TRU

Open Education Resources

Getting Started with Open Education Resources

Have your students ever asked you, “Do I really need the textbook?” or “Is a previous edition OK?” With the high cost of textbooks and the transition to alternate delivery models due to the COVID-19 pandemic, using open educational resources (OER) such as open textbooks can significantly increase student learning and success.. These sessions are intended for faculty who may want to incorporate free and high quality open education resources into their courses.

Click the links to register.  Monday, January 4, 2-3 p.m.  |   Tuesday, January 5, 10-11 a.m.


Did you know that CELT has a blog?

Do you have a tip or strategy to share with colleagues? An idea for an article? Would you like to be a featured author on our blog? Contact Carolyn Ives at with your idea!

Educational Developers Caucus 2021 Conference

February 17 & 18, 2021 via Zoom

Sessions include:

• Keynote by Klodiana Kolomitro & Natasha Kenny - Caring for our community: When will wellbeing be a priority?

• Self-care sessions by professionals

• Facilitated discussion sessions on EDI in educational development (ED), ED in times of change, Indigenization in ED, contract positions in ED, transitioning from college to university, and pivoting with the pandemic to respond to instructors needs.

• Celebrate 5 minute video sessions to share tools, strategies, and practice - Call for proposals due January 22

Learn more and register on the conference website.

Cascade Journal of Knowledge

The Cascade Journal of Knowledge disseminates knowledge (open-access) from scholars and enhances the scholarship of teaching and learning. The journal achieves this through a unique and innovative journal format: scholars submit a screen-cast/video/podcast (3-8 minutes) of an academic topic that is double-blind peer-reviewed. This year you may be interested in creating a screen-cast, podcast, or video assignment with your students!

Visit the website to learn more or contact Russell Currie in SoBE.

Recommended Readings

Dhand, R. (2020). The COVID-19 Pandemic, Accommodations and Legal Education.  Lex Electronica, 25(4)Link. 

Gauthier, R. (2020). Teaching Essentially: Emergencies, Flight Instruction, and the Law School Classroom.  Lex Electronica, 25(4)Link.

Major, B. (2020). Making something new: Legal Education in a Pandemic.  Lex Electronica, 25(4)Link.

Meyers, J. (2020). Accommodate us All Please: A Case Against the Status Quo.  Lex Electronica, 25(4)Link.

Have you written, performed, or created something you'd like to share? Email us at to put it in our next newsletter!

Focus on Teaching is the 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.

We respectfully acknowledge that TRU is located ne Secwepemcúl’ecw, in unceded Secwepemc territory.

To contact CELT, email and we will do our best to respond within 24 hours. Please note that our team is working remotely for the time being.