Focus on Teaching - August 2021

We hope this brief August newsletter finds everyone safe and well, and taking time to rest and reflect before the fall return to campus. In just a few weeks we look forward to welcoming New Faculty to our annual orientation, this year on August 24 and 25.

For faculty both new and experienced, you are invited to attend a keynote presentation on August 26 by Nathan Matthew, followed by CELT teaching workshops and a lunch provided by People & Culture. The keynote will be live-streamed for those not able to attend in person, and an online workshop option will be announced closer to the date.

Like many of you, we are excited about the return to campus but also have lots of questions. Watch the TRU Return to Campus Page for regular updates, and read the Faculty FAQ on course delivery for 2021 for answers to questions asked by the Academic Technologies Advisory Committee.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

the CELT Team

Upcoming Events

New Faculty Orientation

August 24-25, all day (On Campus and Virtual)

Help us get the word out.  Please let any new (or nearly new) faculty in your area know about this important-to-them event.

This two-day event will help new faculty discover key information and make critical contacts to enable them to fulfill their instructional role. A series of expert-led sessions and stations will equip them with a repertoire of resources, supports, and services related to teaching, learning, and student success. Topics include teaching essentials, TRU culture and strategic priorities, and work/life aides for them and their students.

Register for the On Campus Event: 
Register for the Virtual Event: 

Welcome Back Faculty Day & Back Together BBQ

Thursday, August 26 starting at 10 a.m.

Join us for this day of reconnecting and reflection, starting with a keynote message from Nathan Matthew on "What it means to teach here, now." Then register for lunch and join in the fun at the staff and faculty Back Together BBQ (brought to you by People & Culture).  And to finish off the day, CELT will be offering two relevant and timely workshops to support you in a smooth return to campus.

Register for the Keynote On Campus Event
Register for the Keynote Livestream

More details and registration links for the workshops will be available soon.

Register for the Back Together BBQ

Professional Development

Instructional Skills Workshop

Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays, August 9-20, 1-3 p.m. via Moodle

The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) is a professional development program designed for faculty members who are interested in developing and enhancing their instructional skills. ISW caters to individuals new to teaching as well as to those who wish to refresh and enhance their skills. Participants will benefit from practicing skills and sharing ideas in a cooperative environment. The workshop consists of teaching practice, theory application, and topical sessions specifically relevant to each instructor’s context. During the workshop, you will teach three short lessons and receive feedback. You will work closely with peers and trained facilitators. Through a supportive atmosphere, you will have opportunities to develop new teaching skills, enhance existing skills, and try new and challenging strategies.

Please note: this event is delivered virtually through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities and will involve 30 hours of work over the two weeks.

Register here. (Seats are limited)

Supporting Students with Suicidal Thoughts

Wednesday, August 11, Noon-1 p.m. via Teams

With Cliff Robinson and Pamela Fry

Brought to you by People & Culture - Health and Well-Being and Faculty of Counselling

Get more information or register here.

Indigenization Actions for Reconciliation as Citizens and Educators

The goal as citizens and educators is to decolonize our thinking and our actions. Educators have a great deal of power and agency to make choices that affect thousands of students over a career – choices about course curriculum, policies, assessment, technologies, and their own behaviours and approaches to facilitating learning. 

The first and ongoing action to take as an educator is to engage in your own deep listening and  pursuit of learning about Indigenous Peoples and histories. If you are non-Indigenous, don’t rely on your Indigenous colleagues, friends, and acquaintances to help you navigate your own learning and feelings.

See the full list of resources and actions here.

Learning Technology & Innovation

*New* TRU Library Reading List Service

The TRU Library has added a new service for faculty to create customized readings lists. Watch this short video for more information on how it will help make readings more accessible for students, and save you time! Watch here

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]

Aug 10-11, 2021 Digital Pedagogy Institute Conference (Online) Conference website

Sep 27-Oct 1, 2021 Open Education Global 2021 Conference (Online) Conference website

Oct 5-7, 2021 Open Education Global 2021 Conference (Nantes, France) Conference website

Nov 8-17, 2021 #POD21: Evolving Beyond Crisis-Connecting to the Future (Online) Conference website

Nov 11-12, 2021 2021 (Virtual) Forum for SoTL - Mokakiiks Centre for SOTL @ Mount Royal University (Online) Conference website


Did you know that CELT has a blog?

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

Pivoting Learning Activities: Creating Online Debates

By Lindsey McKay

Debates are well-known as live events full of strong arguments, heated controversy, nerves, and lively theatrics.  They are a great way to achieve the critical thinking and investigation institutional learning outcome.  In the 2020 pivot to an online mode of delivery. ...{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.

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.