Photo of Dr. Valerie Irvine

Dr. Alec Couros (Faculty of Education)

Project: “The open classroom project: Exploring pedagogy through social networks and web 2.0 technologies”

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to “blow the doors off” traditional pedagogical approaches through greater exposure to the social web. I would like to help develop a social network of instructors at the University of Regina who will connect to learning leaders and educational technology experts from around the world. The members of this social network will engage in many learning opportunities, from traditional workshops approaches, to screencasts, web conferences and other forms of planned and spontaneous professional development. Participants will be empowered as learners and leaders, and will be able to engage in new conversations about learning with colleagues and students.

Doug Durst, Professor, & Myrna Pitzel, Field Coordinator, Faculty of Social Work

Project:Cultural styles and methods for Social Work Education: East and West meet”

Abstract: West Director, Adult Education and Human Resource Development in the Faculty of Education received $4,000 to examine the experiences and perceptions of adult learners and their instructors about distance education and instructional technology as they apply to both graduate and undergraduate programs. This understanding will help to develop a model for distance education best practices that improves the effectiveness of undergraduate and graduate teaching to adult learners. We believe that innovative uses of technologies and that the research findings will contribute to the development of improved technology enhanced learning. This study will seek to explore whether adult learners are gaining a quality learning experience through on-line classes. It will also examine whether instructors have the opportunity to develop new and effective ways of teaching.

Kathleen Irwin, Associate Professor, Theatre Dept. & Rachelle Viader Knowles, Associate Professor, Dept. of Visual Arts

Project: “Crossing over: Assessing ethical procedures and formal outcomes. Perspectives on international practice-based arts research”

Abstract: Crossing Over, a collaborative project between Fine Arts students at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada and the School of Art in Utrecht, Holland, is a hybrid teaching platform that traverses borders between geographic locations, art and pedagogy, theory and practice, research and teaching and academic disciplines. Central to the process is the idea of bridging communities and cultures through a web-based project that uses tele/digital practices to investigate the notion of the virtual “performance”, and interlocative technology as a practical means of constituting social networks. Exploring ethical research procedures in the arts, the project attempts, as well, to assist students to develop an awareness of the ethical implications of their work.

Roz Kelsey, Instructor, Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies

Project: “Investigating experiential Learning in KHS: A student perspective”

Abstract: This purpose of this project is to investigate the perceptions of experiential education opportunities of students enrolled in classes offered by the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies. Examples of experiential learning will be solicited from participants for comparative purposes.

Results from phase I and II will be compared and analyzed (Phase III). The resulting analysis will determine differences and similarities in student and faculty’s understanding of experiential education, its usefulness and current application in the Faculty. Further it will help increase understanding of the characteristics that determine a successful experiential learning opportunity and lead to conduct experiential learning occasions.

Alex MacDonald, Associate Professor of English, Campion College

Project: “Accessing student expertise to enrich undergraduate teaching: Guest scholars”

Abstract: The purpose of the guest scholars project in 2008 was to access student expertise to enrich teaching and learning in three classes. An Honours Economics student presented on guaranteed annual income; a graduate student in English presented on Philip Roth; and two third year Theatre students performed and discussed a scene. The classes appreciated the different perspectives and the guest scholars appreciated the opportunity to present. An on-line registry would be a possible development of this idea.

Pauline Minevich, Associate Professor, Department of Music

“Project: Reflecting Global Change: A New Approach to Teaching Word Music”

Abstract: Currently listed as MU 112, World Music is an important and popular offering for the Department of Music. At a time when we are under increasing pressure to recruit students, this course attracts many students from outside the Department, and encourages them to explore other music options. It is also a course that can broaden the often narrow musical outlook of music majors. Finally, as the University is striving to reach First Nations students, this course can act as a portal for such students to experience what the Department of Music can offer.

While at present offered as a 100-level course that is available as a Fine Arts elective and also open to Music students for credit, World Music will be redesignated in Fall 08, and will become a 300-level course with a prerequisite of 60 credit hours. The new course description (currently in the approval process) will read: “A study of traditional and contemporary musics of the world, in the context of their cultural setting and significance.”

Two issues became apparent when I taught this course in Fall 2006:; (1) Our globalized society is having a profound effect on many traditional musics of the world. Traditional musics are being affected by contact with Western genres, causing some guardians to attempt to codify and reify their musics. Conversely, many Western genres, from rock to classical, are being inflected by music from all over the world. This is an important issue that is applicable to many other aspects of culture and society. (2) Ideally, instruction should include attendance at live concerts, as in other music history courses. However, because of Regina’s physical isolation, there are rarely world music concerts in the city.

The teaching challenge, then, is for the instructor to address these two discrete issues, given limited resources.

I teach this course using a textbook: Soundcapes: Exploring Music in a Changing World, by Kay Kaufman Shelemay (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006). Students find the book interesting and challenging, and it comes with an excellent 3-CD set of recordings from around the world. I also do extensive on-line research, in an attempt to keep up with the fast-changing field of world music.

In most music history courses, students are required to keep a “listening journal.” The university subscribes to two online databases of recordings, Classical Music Library, and Naxos Music Library, and also maintains a collections of classical music recordings Recordings of musical works are assigned by the instructor, and the student writes down his/her comments and insights. The journal is handed in at various points during the semester, and is evaluated as part of the final grade for the course. Since neither database has many world music recordings, and the library’s holdings are very limited, I propose to have students research and find performances online. The listening journal will be replaced by blogs. I think this approach best reflects the fluidity of the world music scene. Since the course will now be taught at the 300-level, I can require more in-depth work and research than was appropriate for a 100-level course.

There are several benefits to this approach.

  • It will expose students to the infinite resources available on-line for world music, and through their own research, they will experience for themselves how globalization affects music.
  • It will help them evaluate on-line resources for reliability and integrity, which will benefit them in all their university studies.
  • There are many examples of world music performances available over the internet, which will compensate somewhat for the dearth of live concerts in Regina.
  • It mirrors the way students already use the internet (for entertainment, communication, and listening to music).
  • It paves the way for possible on-line offerings of this course, which would boost student numbers, and make the course accessible to students across the province.

Music courses are evaluated by students through a standardized questionnaire. I will evaluate the success of this teaching method at the halfway point of the course, and at its conclusion. At the midpoint, I will design a confidential questionnaire that will ask students how they feel about using blogs and online research for assignments, and will also hold a round-table discussion for group feedback. At the end of the course, I will administer a further questionnaire that will measure these questions again, and will compare the two to discover whether students’ experiences and attitudes changed over the semester. I will make the data available to my own department, and to other departments as appropriate.

At the end of the course, I will have acquired in-depth knowledge and skills in researching world music via the internet, and will be able to communicate my skills to colleagues in other Fine Arts areas, as well as in music. I will know whether or not extensive use of online resources and blogs constitutes an effective teaching method. If the course is successful, it could be developed into an online offering, available province-wide, which would address my department’s mandate of increased enrolment. The methodology could also be applied to many other courses in Fine Arts.

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