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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
Teaching Squares is a teaching development initiative that brings instructors together in small groups to observe one-another’s classes and reflect on their experiences in a non-judgmental, supportive environment (University of Waterloo, (n.d.). Durham College, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), and a key industry partner, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), have partnered on a Teaching Squares initiative, enabling primarily face-to-face discussions amongst instructors at all three institutions. Despite positive feedback and minimal time demands, building faculty enrollment and involvement remains challenging to engage instructors across various disciplines, fields, and delivery formats. In the fall 2017 semester, a professor teaching in a fully online program enrolled in Teaching Squares, participating completely online. Although the significance of peer observation to support teaching in an online environment is well documented (Bennett & Santy, 2009; Swinglehurst, et al., 2008), there were logistical challenges, including arranging recordings of face-to-face classes for the online professor to observe, and involving the professor in face-to-face discussions amongst program participants. Despite the challenges, this experience inspired discussion about how Teaching Squares may be piloted in a fully online format. This paper and presentation will continue this discussion, extending it to the possibilities of expanding enrollment to international partners to promote the exchange of ideas across institutional and geographical borders and to provide more diversity of perspectives on Teaching and Learning in a digital context.
Atkins, B. et al. (2018) Teaching Squares: Crossing New Borders, Universal Design & Higher Education in Transformation Congress,30th October -2nd November 2018, Dublin Castle.