Faculty members from member schools including Mount Allison sharing resources, expertise for online teaching and learning
The Maple League of Universities, of which Mount Allison is a member, recently launched of the Virtual Maple League Teaching and Learning Centre (V_MLTLC). While the concept has been in development since 2018, the COVID-19 global pandemic brought the centre’s activities to the forefront for member universities as they prepare for the Fall 2020 academic term.
Launched in June, the V_MLTLC is a grassroots, faculty-led virtual space supporting faculty and students for the online classroom, an option all Maple League universities will be offering to students in September as part of their course delivery.
Mount Allison sociology professor and former educational technology consultant Toni Roberts is one of the leading organizers of the current series. He recently presented a workshop around design elements for online teaching. As co-chair of the Maple League Teaching and Learning Committee, he says the cooperation and knowledge sharing between the four universities is key to the project.
“The faculty members who have volunteered thus far to be part of the Centre’s programming have been exemplary,” he says. “Their willingness to share their experiences and advice with Maple League colleagues during these unprecedented times is incredible. The programming and expertise from professors at the four universities is curated in a way that is helpful to all schools. It’s a true collaboration.”
The Maple League, which includes four universities – Acadia, Bishop’s, Mount Allison, and St. Francis Xavier – focus on providing an exceptional undergraduate educational experience in small, rural communities with a focus on the liberal arts and sciences. By fostering reciprocal relationships across institutional boundaries, the Maple League creates distinctive learning environments for students at all member universities.
The V_MLTLC held several online workshops and presentations throughout the month of June using a number of formats. Programs included: “Better Together: Maple League Teaching Support” series: faculty-led conversations around themes related to course design and delivery; the “Maple League Hosts” series: a monthly panel featuring national and international teaching and learning scholars; “Ask Me Anything” sessions: individualized support with the Director of the V_MLTLC, Heather Carroll; and professional development courses around online teaching platforms. Two resources guides, the “Hive Mind” Resource Guide and V_MLTLC Resource Guide: a community-based ‘living’ document with short and easy-to-use tips and templates to help transition into Fall 2020 and beyond were also produced: https://tinyurl.com/VMLTLC.
While the Centre has had a busy month, Roberts says there is further programming coming for July and August to assist faculty and students as they prepare to teach in new ways.
“Faculty at all four universities have been working to prepare more workshops and resources for their colleagues,” says Roberts. “We are fortunate to have a number of 3M Teaching Fellows and faculty members from different disciplines and stages of their careers who are willing to share their expertise and experiences as we all prepare for a Fall unlike any other we’ve taught in.”
The V_MLTLC is made possible in part due to generous funding from the McConnell Foundation.
To learn more about further summer offerings from the V_MLTLC see http://mapleleague.ca/faculty-and-staff/
About the Maple League
The Maple League is made up of four universities – Acadia, Bishop’s, Mount Allison, and St. Francis Xavier – who together form an alliance of small, rural, undergraduate liberal education institutions with Francophone heritage and a commitment to truth and reconciliation with indigenous communities. By fostering reciprocal relationships across institutional boundaries, we provide extraordinary opportunities to transform as leaders, scholars, and institutions. The Maple League creates distinctive learning environments that ensure our graduates are capable of navigating an increasingly complex world as citizens and leaders dedicated to the values of a just and civil society. For more information, visit: www.mapleleague.ca