Focus on Teaching - May 2021

As we transition out of exams and inch closer to summer, we encourage you to reflect on the past semester and celebrate the successes of the last year. We have been delighted to hear from many of you about new ways you have found to connect with students and offer meaningful support to colleagues through these ever-changing challenges. 

Do be sure to make note of our upcoming programs and workshops. May and June are busy for CELT and we have some new opportunities this year, accessible from wherever you are working (as long as there's internet access).

Lastly, regular readers may have noticed our new look! Thanks to Marketing & Communications for helping us with the (virtual) spring cleaning.

COVID-19 Safety on Campus

Our top priority is your safety and that of our TRU community.  Visit TRU's COVID-19 Response website to keep yourself up to date.

Professional Development

New! CRICKET Digital Makerspace Series

Thursday, May 6, 2-4 p.m.  FULL (waitlist available)


Session #1: Create a Class Debate Activity

Come create a debate! You will walk away with a ready-made debate for your course at the end of this makerspace workshop. The debate maximizes the best of online and blended learning. Students achieve critical thinking skills as they move through research, debate and reflection stages. This is learning through fun! Adaptable to any discipline, we empower you to create each phase of this learning activity. We also share ‘lessons learned’ insights from pilot testing and the pedagogy supporting debates.  Register here - FULL, waitlist available.

Interculturalizing the Curriculum

May 11-28, Tuesdays and Fridays

Since 2008, The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching has offered a unique and intensive professional development opportunity for faculty members to enhance culturally responsive teaching strategies and incorporate intercultural learning outcomes in curriculum. Over 100 faculty from 18 departments have completed the program; they have enhanced their teaching and confidence working with culturally diverse learners,  revised curricula, initiated SoTL projects, presented at conferences, and published in education journals.

Participants in the program will:

• Apply intercultural development theories to their own and students’ development

• Review cultural values dimensions related to learning and teaching in diverse contexts

• Reflect on settler/Indigenous relations

• Consider strategies for facilitating multicultural group work

• Develop learning outcomes, assessments, and learning activities to support intercultural learning for all students

• Become part of an interdisciplinary community of practice at TRU and beyond

For more information, visit Intercultural Learning at TRU, or email

Register here. 

Course (Re)Design Institute

Paced (over 5 weeks), May 17-June 16
Intensive (5 days), June 21-June 25

Working on a new course or tweaking an existing one?

Join either this five-week, paced workshop, or five-day intensive workshop to map course concepts, connect learning outcomes, practice new instructional techniques, and develop activities and assessment strategies for your students. We'll use the time-tested process outlined in the 2004 book "Rethinking Teaching in Higher Education" by Saroyan and Amundsen to help you prepare your course. You'll explore course (re)design options through reflection, facilitated discussion, and peer feedback and at the end of the workshop you will be prepared to teach!

Paced: Each week will require a total time commitment of 8 hours to complete all of the activities. Two synchronous group sessions per week will be scheduled, but you will be able to schedule partnered work and individual work.  Register here.

Intensive: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.  Register here.

CELTalk: It Takes A Village: How Faculty Connections Support Student Learning in the ESTR Program During and After A Pandemic

Tuesday, May 18, Noon-1 p.m. via Teams


Christina Cederlof, Melissa Svendsen, Matthew Stranach, Carolyn Ives, and Brenna Clarke Gray

Q: What do an ESTR Instructor, a Reference Librarian, Coordinators of Educational Technologies and Innovation, and a Coordinator of Learning and Faculty Development have in common? 

A: A deep commitment to student learning!

As with most programs at TRU, the ESTR students made the shift to online learning and were unable to do their fall in-community practica: instead, they engaged in skill development in their safety bubble.  To broaden and enrich these experiences, small groups of students and their instructor had regular, structured consultations with a Reference Librarian. These sessions were, like all of the other content from the course, delivered virtually.  While the technology and design of the course were ultimately the responsibility of the instructor, the development of both were supported and facilitated by the faculty development opportunities and one-on-one support offered by Educational Technology Coordinators and a Coordinator from TRU’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). In this session, we will share how our individual contributions built a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts.  Then, we will explore how to preserve the best of our discoveries and learnings from this past year and ask:  How we can hold on to the good things from this year as we prepare for a return to campus? Register here.

Tenure & Promotion Sessions

Via Teams

Tuesday, June 8
Preparing for Tenure & Promotion, 1-2:30 p.m. Register here.

Wednesday, June 9
Document Management, 1-2 p.m. Register here.
Educational Philosophy Statements, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Register here.

Thursday, June 10
Evidencing Teaching, 1-2 p.m.  Register here.
Candidate Panel, 2:30-3:30 p.m.  Register here.

TRU Faculty in Action

A Digital Citizenship Collaboration — Inclusion in Action!

Featuring: Christina Cederlof, EDSW in BCcampus News

In May 2020 a group of adult special education (ASE) instructors who were meeting regularly online as a community of practice brought together by the British Columbia Council on Admissions and Transfer mused over the idea of bringing all their students together, just like they were meeting together in that moment. 

Read the full article 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


Visit our External Conferences page to get up to date information on upcoming conferences, including links and submission deadlines.

Here's a sneak peek at what's on there right now: [See More]

May 3-5, 2021 Taylor Institute, University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching (Online) Conference website

May 4, 2021 Okanagan College - Research & Innovations Partnerships Expo 2021 - Chief Dr. Ronald Ignace & Dr. Marianne Ignace (Online) Conference website

May 5, 2021 Okanagan College - Building for a Flexible Future - Dr. Jesse Stommel (Online) Conference website

May 10-11, 2021 York University Teaching Commons - Teaching in Focus Conference (Online) Conference website

May 30 - Jun 1, 2021 Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education (2020) (Online) Conference website


Did you know that CELT has a blog?

It's called In Progress. Click to view our latest posts.

Reflections on Pandemic Teaching: Mining for the Silver Lining (with Captain Canada) 

By Mark Paetkau

Wow, what a year!  While “a positive test is a bad thing” punctuated 2020, I am mining for the silver lining…so here are a few nuggets.... {more}.

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!

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

Want to learn more about some evidence-based practices for effective learning? These three resources (produced by a group of cognitive psychologists) provide you with 6 strategies you can use with your students.  

• Get the details by requesting this accessible book through inter-library loan!  Weinstein, Y., Sumeracki, M. A., & Caviglionli, O. (2019). Understanding how we learn: A visual guide. Routledge.

• Learn the basics of the 6 strategies and some of the research behind them in this 17 page article. Weinstein, Y., Madan, C. R., & Sumeracki, M. A. (2018). Teaching the science of learning. Cognitive Research, 3(2).  Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications - Teaching the science of learning.

• Learn about these strategies from a student perspective by viewing this 8.5 minute video: How to study effectively for school or college [Top 6 science-based study skills]


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

P.S. Don't forget you can rewatch your favourite or discover a new CELTalk anytime!

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.