Louise Ripley already knows where she wants to be on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 1-2, 2007: she’s looking forward to recharging at TEL@York, York’s annual conference on teaching, learning and technology. The busy professor with cross-appointments in Atkinson Administrative Studies, Women’s Studies and Environmental Studies has been a fan of TEL@York since its early beginnings in 2003 as the TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) Workshop Day. By 2006, the event had evolved into a two-day conference complete with two keynote addresses, several concurrent sessions, and the participation of over 160 York community members.
Left: Louise Ripley
"This is one conference I never miss, whether I go as a presenter or just to attend. I’ve been doing serious ‘teaching with technology’ now for seven years (I teach half my load online) and there is still so much to learn, and every year at this conference I am astounded at how many opportunities there are for learning and at the wide variety of topics covered," said Ripley.
"What is particularly important for me about this conference is that presentations are short, relevant, and down-to-earth — not competitions to see who can outdo the other in lists of sources cited or reference to esoteric theories," she said. "It’s all useful, practical and almost always for me immediately useful.
"The plenaries and presentations are usually fun, too, with easy-going discussion and lots of chances to ask the experts how to go about doing it," said Ripley. "Sometimes there are small epiphanies that change my life, like the year that Avi Cohen helped me realize that I spend the extra hours I do on Internet teaching because I love it, not because technology has bludgeoned or tricked me into more work!"
At TEL@York in 2006, conference sessions reflected participants’ interest in tools, strategies, and teaching and learning issues ranging from wikis, clickers, podcasting, online testing and virtual lectures to group work, faculty development, internationalization, critical skills and privacy. In anonymous feedback, one participant noted that, "Really, this is about teaching effectiveness through technology," while others remarked on the value of meeting with colleagues across disciplines who share an enthusiastic commitment to learning and an interest in thoughtful uses of technology — and in having a great time getting together to talk about it all.
The conference itself demonstrated some of the innovations it discussed: most of the sessions were captured as either MediaSite Live streaming video or MP3 audio, allowing people to catch up on sessions they missed. These resources are available online at the TEL@York 2006 Conference Resources Web page.
TEL@York is a collaborative effort of the Technology-Enhanced Learning Coordinating Committee (TELCC), a group of faculty members and representatives from the various technology support units on campus who meet regularly to discuss issues with respect to the use of technology in teaching. The conference is coordinated by the Centre for the Support of Teaching, which also chairs TELCC, and technical support is provided by the CNS Faculty Support Centre and Instructional Technology Centre.
Planning for the 2007 TEL@York Conference, on the theme of "Partnerships to Enhance Student Engagement" is well underway. Two keynote speakers have been confirmed:
John Mitterer of the Department of Psychology at Brock University, named a 3M Teaching Fellow in 2004, studies the psychology of digital media and how we can use this knowledge to improve how we teach and learn.
Corey A. Goldman, senior lecturer in biology & associate Chair (undergraduate), Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, is the recipient of many teaching awards at the University of Toronto as well as The Learning Partnership’s National Technology Innovation Award in 2005 for his work on the BIOME life science student community project.
Call For Proposals
The theme for TEL@York 2007, "Partnerships to Enhance Student Engagement", suggests the many ways in which successful technology-enhanced teaching and learning projects result from collaboration and teamwork among faculty, staff, researchers, teaching assistants and students. This year TELCC especially welcomes proposals on TEL tools, strategies or issues that reflect the perspectives of various team members involved in TEL initiatives at York.
Faculty and staff are invited to contribute proposals for sessions of 25, 50 or 75 minutes in length. Format is flexible and may include (but is not limited to) reports, demonstrations or discussions of tools and strategies (25 or 50 minutes), panel discussions or interactive workshops (50 or 75 minutes).
The proposal deadline is Monday, Feb. 5.