A new tool for teaching

Concordia is rolling out a digital suite to help faculty and graduate students improve their teaching practices
September 9, 2014
By Tom Peacock

Linda Dyer, Professor and Chair of the Department of Management lectures to a classroom of engaged students
Linda Dyer, professor and chair of the Department of Management at the John Molson School of Business, lectures to a classroom of engaged students. | Photo by Concordia University

The Centre for Teaching and Learning Services (CTLS) is offering faculty and graduate students at Concordia a brand-new set of online resources to help them improve their teaching practices.

The Epigeum Teaching Skills Modules are four interactive multimedia courses — marking, grading and giving feedback; making the most out of discussions; basic teaching skills; and principles of course design — originally designed by a United Kingdom-based online learning company. These modules are available for all faculty through Moodle under the link TEACHING RESOURCES.

They include easy-to-follow lessons on effective post-secondary teaching, bolstered by exercises, video interviews with award-winning professors and links to further resources.

Rosemary Reilly, interim Academic Director of CTLS, says Epigeum was an obvious choice when the CTLS was looking for a high-quality, up-to-date teaching resource to offer faculty members. “It’s visually interesting, the activities are varied, and since it’s broken down into chapters, it’s easy to be able to go through them at your own pace.”

While the teaching resource will certainly help new professors designing courses for the first time, Reilly hopes more senior faculty members will also consult Epigeum.

“For people who have been teaching for a long time, who don’t necessarily want to wade through a research article or come to a workshop, they can just go through the modules, update their information and their skills and get some great new tips to use in the classroom.”

Epigeum provides multimedia courses to help faculty and graduate students further improve their skills inside and outside of the classroom Epigeum provides multimedia courses to help faculty and graduate students further improve their skills.

Graduate students interested in pursuing a career in academia can also sign up for access to Epigeum through GradProSkills. “This tool will help to educate the future professoriate by giving them a good foundation,” Reilly says.

The four chapters included in the new teaching resource will be complemented by a regular series of teaching workshops offered through the CTLS. “Our workshops will deal with certain subjects a bit more in-depth and within the specific context of Concordia,” Reilly says.

Epigeum is the first of many new digital teaching resources that the CTLS intends to make available. Reilly says plans are already underway to increase the use of tools such as Panopto, a lecture-capturing software, Adobe Connect, which allows professors to create virtual classrooms online, and Camtasia for creating flipped classrooms.

No matter what tools professors choose to use or consult, Reilly says, the overall goal of introducing them is always the same: to improve students’ learning experience at the university.

“If you mix it up a little bit, you can reinvigorate your enthusiasm about teaching. You’ll also get positive reinforcement from students in the classroom, because learning will be a little bit more interesting and more fun.”

Interested in learning more about Epigeum?
Contact the Centre for Teaching and Learning Services.

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