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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
July 23, 2017
Canadian Excellence


Centre for Teaching Innovation and Excellence

Educational Development

Balancing the Blend: The Active Learning Classroom (morning session)

Apr 16/13

Date: Apr 16/13
Time: 9:00 - 12:15
Location: Active Learning Classroom (DAWB 3-106)
Cost: Free

Are you dabbling with blending your course(s) or flipping some of your instructional methods?  Perhaps you are and don’t fully realize it! 

In brief, blended learning is the thoughtful fusion of online, face-to-face, and other learning environments to create an integrated learning experience. If you are interested in learning more about blended learning and experiencing what it`s like to participate in a blended/flipped classroom, join us for a morning showcase and discussion as your faculty peers share their experiences and demonstrate what they do in the flipped classroom!



9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. | Check-in and Refreshments

9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. | Welcome/What is Blended Learning?

9:30 a.m. - 10:40 a.m. | Demo 1 (20 min) + Demo 2 (20 min) + Group Discussion (20-30 min)

10:40 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. | Break

11:00 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. | Demo 3 (20 min) + Demo 4 (20 min) + Group Discussion (20-30 min)

12:10 p.m. - 12:15 p.m. | Wrap-up

Demo Descriptions

Demo 1 - The Transition to Blended Learning in First Year Chemistry (20 min)

The course Fundamentals of Chemistry is the first university-level chemistry course taken by students in the sciences.  Enrollment in this course is large (two sections of approximately 250 students) and includes students from a number of different programs in Science.  This course is also perceived as one of the more challenging first year courses.  To provide students with additional learning tools, I created a series of videos which cover some of the fundamental concepts, and then build on these in lecture.  To monitor student progress, I used weekly online "pre-lecture" quizzes on MyLS and assessed their results to identify problem areas for discussion and clarification in class.  This was followed by "post-lecture" online homework assignments.  I will demonstrate some of these online learning tools and discuss how the class time could be adapted as a result of these changes.


1596_Maly_photo2_crop.jpgKen Maly is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry.  His teaching ranges from large first year chemistry classes to senior level organic chemistry courses.  He is also Chair of the Teaching Large Classes Community of Practice, organized by Teaching Support Services. Ken's research involves using synthetic organic chemistry for the preparation of new materials.

Demo 2 (20 min)

Using Collaborative Strategies and Open-source Digital Tools for Critical Evaluation of On-Line Learning Resources: Flipping the “Group Assignment”

The activity demonstrated in this presentation includes a collaborative, group approach to critical evaluation of web-sites that might be used as sources of information for knowledge construction.  Learners negotiate criteria with their group, share those through a Google Spreadsheet with the larger class, and then utilize them to evaluate a particular website.  The “group assignment” is done during class and feedback provided by the instructor on-line.


Julie Muell1946_1946_Julie_Mueller.jpger is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education teaching courses in both the undergraduate and graduate programs in Education.  Dr. Mueller conducts research in the area of technology integration in the classroom and follows her passion for physical activity and its impact on learning.

Demo 3: AF101X - Understanding Power and Conflict through Film: Making Sense of the Politics of the 21st Century (20 min)

In my course, AF101x, I wanted to accomplish two main goals.  First, I wanted to introduce students to a number of common social science theories.  Second, I wanted to train them so that they could independently use these theories to explain the world around them. Instead of the traditional seminar or lecture format, I decided to "flip my classroom", which meant using classroom time more effectively to assess and strengthen student comprehension and application of course concepts to the real world.  In this teaching demo session, I will discuss how I flipped my classroom by taking participants through a sample two week unit on rational choice and game theory.   


photo_Alcantara_Chris_crop.jpgChristopher Alcantara is associate professor in the department of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University. He has written two books, Negotiating the Deal: Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements in Canada (UTP: 2013) and Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights (MQUP: 2010), which was coauthored with Tom Flanagan and Andre Le Dressay.  He has published numerous journal articles in Alberta Law Review, Arctic, Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Canadian Journal of Native Studies, Canadian Journal of Political Science, Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, Canadian Public Administration, Canadian Public Policy, Electoral Studies, Journal of Canadian Studies, Polar Record, Public Choice, Publius: Journal of Federalism, and Queen's Law Review. His main research interests are in the fields of Indigenous-settler relations, Aboriginal self-government, economic development on Canadian Indian reserves, territorial governance in the Canadian north, federalism and multilevel governance, Canadian public policy, and more recently, Canadian voting behaviour. 

Demo 4: CH202 - Organic Chemistry I. Fundamentals (20 min)

CH202 is the first of two required courses in organic chemistry taken by students in Year 2 of several FoS programs (e.g., Chemistry, Biochemistry & Biotechnology, Biology, Health Sciences). In recent years, enrollment has been ~300 students in a single lecture section. Organic chemistry is a challenging subject for many students owing to the large amount of content that must be covered and the significant time commitment required to not only understand fundamental concepts but to practice applying those concepts to solve problems. To assist students in overcoming the challenges of organic chemistry, I have adopted a blended format that allows students to take more control of their learning. I will highlight important course features, present a typical week in the course and offer insights based on my experiences to date.


Stephen_MacNeil_crop.jpgSteve MacNeil is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry. He has been teaching courses in introductory and intermediate organic chemistry at Laurier for 10 years. He was the recipient of the 2011 WLU Award for Teaching Excellence in the full-time category and in 2012 he was named one of Ontario's most outstanding university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA).


Interested in taking the first step to blending your course? Then come to the afternoon session

Walking the Walk: The Blended Learning Classroom

Contact: Mary Neil
Phone: 519.884.0710 ext.3507

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