All posts by MB

Public events:
World Cafes: Relevance, flexibility and the student learning experience at SFU

World Cafe

An invitation to SFU faculty members and instructors, staff and students on all three campuses

Burnaby World Café
Monday, January 26, 2015 | 10:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. (lunch included) | Diamond Alumni Centre
To register:

Vancouver World Café
Monday, February 2, 2015 | 1:30 p.m.–4 p.m. (refreshments provided) | Harbour Centre 1400
To register:

Surrey World Café
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 | 1:30 p.m.–4 p.m. (refreshments provided) | 3280
To register:

What does it mean to say that a university education is “relevant?” And what is the connection between relevance and flexibility in education? How can SFU provide more relevant learning experiences to its students? Share your thoughts about the directions in which university teaching and learning is—and should be—headed at one of three World Cafe style consultative events hosted by the Task Force on Flexible Education in January and February. The cafes will provide a forum for large- and small-group dialogue centred around five themes:

  • Relevance
  • Program design
  • Teaching approaches
  • Infrastructure and support
  • Student agency

This is your opportunity to contribute to the development of principles and practices that will shape the future of SFU. We are eager to hear from faculty members, staff and students on all three campuses. Register today!

Public event:
Our students are changing: Are we prepared? *FULL*

Changing K-12 curriculum
Changes to B.C.’s K-12 curriculum will have an impact on the students entering SFU in the next few years.

*This event has now reached capacity. We will be recording the session for those who are unable to attend. Stay tuned for more details about the video. 

When: Friday, January 16, 2015 | 10:00 a.m.–Noon
Where: Halpern Centre 114 (Burnaby campus)
To register:

British Columbia’s K-12 curriculum is changing, and that means students will soon be arriving in our classes with different skill sets and expectations. The implications for university teaching and learning could be significant. This presentation will provide an overview of the curriculum changes, with an emphasis on how learners will be different when they come to university. A question-and-answer period will follow. The event is being organized by SFU’s Task Force on Flexible Education to provide a forum for discussion of educational change and the need for flexible systems that can maintain the relevance of the university experience.

Presenter: Jan Unwin, superintendent of graduate and student transitions in B.C.’s Ministries of Education and Advanced Education, is one of the people leading curriculum reform and working to expand initiatives such as dual-credit programs and opportunities to allow secondary students to earn credits towards post-secondary. She is well known and respected throughout the provincial education system for her work as an innovative elementary and secondary principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district. During her term as superintendent, the district was recognized nationally for such innovations as its environmental school, cyberschool, and the iPod Literacy Project.

The publication of self in everyday life

John Maxwell and Suzanne Norma
John Maxwell (left) and Suzanne Norman have developed a course that helps students understand and take control of their online presence.

By David Porter

For Suzanne Norman and John Maxwell of SFU’s Publishing program, the “publication of self in everyday life” should be a core piece of the university experience for all SFU students. Their vision is a liberal arts course that complements academic programs and provides students with the opportunity to build a professional portfolio of accomplishments that matches their areas of interest. Their PUB 101 course, titled, not surprisingly, “The Publication of Self in Everyday Life,” does precisely that.

“It’s the kind of first-year course that everybody in university should take. You take an English course to insure you can read and write. You take this course so you’ll know how to operate online, know what’s beyond your keypad and know how to take responsibility for it,” says Maxwell.

PUB 101 is part of the Print and Digital Publishing Minor, an increasingly popular choice for students of Communications, English, Business, and from SIAT (School of Interactive Arts and Technology) who are looking to build skills and increase their employability. It’s an example of a flexible learning experience that provides students with new digital publishing skills as well as the know-how to build a professional portfolio of their own.

For Suzanne Norman, who currently teaches the course with Juan Pablo Alperin, the strength of the course is its requirement for students to manage their digital presence end to end: “The PUB 101 course is about taking responsibility for public presence—taking ownership with no parental guidance.”

Maxwell agrees: “The whole idea of portfolio assessment could be given to students in its entirety. It’s their responsibility. They should completely own their own stuff.”

Rowland Lorimer, founding director of SFU’s Master of Publishing program, gave PUB 101 its direction by suggesting to Maxwell and Norman that they build on Erving Goffman’s ideas from The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life and provide a modern outlet for personal expression for students of the digital era. Maxwell and Norman found ideas for such an outlet in the DS106 and A Domain of One’s Own projects designed by Jim Groom and Alan Levine.

Norman emphasizes that “the most important part of PUB 101 is peer learning. If you end up in publishing … you need to work with people you don’t know, contractors and designers, sometimes temperamental creative types … so you need to be able to work and share and teach each other.” These are life lessons embedded within the flexible learning experience that PUB 101 provides.