Welcome to the January 2018 issue of Innovatus

Happy New Year!

In this issue of Innovatus, we present a variety of interesting and intriguing stories about how York University faculty continue to redefine teaching and learning.

Will Gage

Before I tell you about these stories – which speak to President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton’s four pillars of access, connectedness, impact and excellence – I would like to take a moment to urge each of you to consider applying for an Academic Innovation Fund grant. There are a wide variety of options available for those considering a project submission. Since its inception, this made-in-York initiative has supported projects that continue to have an enormous impact on how teaching and learning happens at York University.

Featured in this issue:

Professor Spiros Pagiatakis, associate dean of research and graduate studies at the Lassonde School of Engineering, has introduced a virtual classroom to the Geomatics Engineering Program. Funding for the classroom was made possible, in part, through a grant from the Academic Innovation Fund. The classroom’s video wall display provides professors with the flexibility to vary their presentations in real time and broadcast live the class activities, connecting them to all remote participants across Ontario and beyond.

Space engineering graduates from York University should have a leg up on other job candidates, given the practical experience they are getting in their Materials for Space Applications and Space Hardware courses. Lecturer Hugh Chesser and fellow members of the program’s curriculum committee have been able to “inject more experiential work into the curriculum, work that the students would experience during their careers,” thanks to testing equipment purchased with the help of an Academic Innovation Fund grant. The innovations made possible provide students with access to real-world experiential learning.

The Cinema and the City course’s virtual tour of the history of cinema that uses Toronto as a model has earned York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) recognition far beyond the Ontario capital’s urban boundaries. Film 1900: Cinema and the City, as it is known in course listings, was the runner-up for 2017’s top e-learning prize in the academic division of the International E-Learning Awards, given annually by the International E-Learning Association. This demonstrated excellence in technology-enhanced learning was made possible once again by the Academic Innovation Fund through a grant awarded to AMPD Professor Gillian Helfield.

With three such stories and the many more yet to be told, I hope that I have inspired you to consider responding to the call for proposals for the 2018 Academic Innovation Fund. The call for proposals is included in this issue of Innovatus.

And finally, in a pure and very elemental way, students in York Teaching Assistant Noa Yaari‘s tutorial, which is part of the History course Making Money taught by Professor David Koffman, were asked to put coloured pens to paper and draw their earliest memories of money. The results surprised Yaari, Koffman and the students, and the activity represents a new pedagogical adventure. This is a wonderful story and it is worthwhile reading because of its demonstrated innovation and impact on student learning.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Innovatus, which is produced by the Office of the Associate Vice-President Teaching & Learning in partnership with Communications & Public Affairs.

I extend a personal invitation to you to share your experiences in teaching, learning and the student experience through the Innovatus story form, which is available at http://tl.apps01.yorku.ca/machform/view.php?id=16573/.


Will Gage
Associate Vice-President Teaching & Learning