How do you use technology in the classroom?

For nearly 20 years, the Centre for the Support of Teaching (CST) has worked to enhance the student learning experience at York.

In the last five years, trends in higher education – the double cohort, increased class size, increased use of technology in teaching and learning – have had a significant impact on teaching and learning at York. The changing expectations expressed in anticipated new guidelines from the Ontario Council of Academic Vice Presidents and recommendations in the Rae Report to improve access and delivery of programs are also having an impact.

 Above: Staff of York’s Centre for the Support of Teaching. From left: Cherie Bova,
 interim associate director; Ros Woodhouse, academic director; Kandirra Wilson,
 program coordinator; Cheryl Dickie, educational development coordinator; and
 Sophie Harding, administrative assistant.

“As we move into the 21st-century, we must challenge ourselves to ask what kinds of learning we are working toward and how students will use this in the future,” said Ros Woodhouse, academic director, CST. “There is pressure to assess individual and program outcomes for the purpose of recognizing undergraduate degrees across nations and to enhance York students’ experience as informed by the National Survey on Student Engagement.”

In the context of such changes, CST is consulting its advisory board and the broader York community to determine how to best support faculty, teaching assistants (TAs) and programs.

“CST has historically supported York’s mission statement by working with the University community to promote quality, innovation and inquiry in teaching and learning,” said Woodhouse. “We facilitate evidence-informed approaches to program design, evaluation and educational policies. CST also plays a leadership role in the coordination of services to support educative and creative uses of technology.

“Faculty are invited to share their thoughts about how CST can best support faculty and programs in enhancing the quality of students’ learning and experience,” said Woodhouse. “Your response will help ensure that CST remains responsive to current and emerging needs in the teaching and learning community. The CST staff look forward to your ideas about how we can continue to expand and enhance opportunities for informed dialogue and actions that advance York’s mission to educate students in and for the 21st-century.” (See contact information below.)

CST’s support activities include summer institutes for new professors and a TA day that serves as many as 500 teaching assistants; a course-design institute for experienced faculty; an annual technology conference (TEL @ York); symposia on accessibility and inclusivity; continuing support for critical skills and academic integrity; consultations with individuals; supporting programs with curriculum design and student assessment; and acting as a resource to York Senate committees.

CST is calling for proposals for its annual TEL @ York conference in May. This year, the theme is Partnerships to Enhance Student Engagement. The focus will be on the team effort involved in technology-enhanced learning (TEL) and teaching. Organizers are seeking perspectives from instructors, researchers, TAs, teaching support, technical support and even students who have worked together on TEL projects.

The conference takes place May 1 and 2 and organizers are seeking proposals by Feb. 5. Participants are encouraged to address the instructional issues, challenges and theories that inspired their projects, as well as explain the technologies involved. The presentation format could be panel or roundtable discussions, demonstrations or interactive workshops. Proposals can be made online. For more details, go to the Tel @ York Conference Web site.

The conference will include plenary and concurrent sessions, and opportunities to network. Check YFile for more details in February and March.

The conference is sponsored by the CST’s Technology-Enhanced Learning Coordinating Committee, and supported by the Instructional Technology Centre, Computing & Network Services. 

For more information, visit the Centre for the Support of Teaching Web site, or call Cherie Bova, interim associate director, CST, at ext. 22138, or e-mail