Submitted by Charlene VanLeeuwen
A couple of years ago I was teaching one of my favorite courses to teach…a current issues course. It never gets old because the students and I re-create it each time it is offered selecting topics that they are keenly interested in learning about. This most recent time we were facing some scheduling challenges and we decided to go with a hybrid or blended delivery format. This presented the perfect opportunity to try out an idea that had been sitting on the back burner for some time…. a version of the Curiosity Projects that I learned about from one of my colleagues in Psychology, Stacey MacKinnon.
The Family Science and Kinesiology students in this course, Current Issues in Children’s Health and Development, used much of the structure for a Curiosity Project to develop a conference style poster on a topic of their interest related to children’s health and development. As this was a hybrid course, students used a virtual platform to share their posters with classmates and a broader audience within the department. Use of posters is well-documented in higher education literature as an effective teaching and learning strategy. What was less clear was whether moving to digital forms of presentation and interaction about the research conducted in developing the poster was effective in promoting student learning and communication.
Consultation with the e-learning instructional designers revealed that this had not been done before at our university. As a result, I wanted to document the process and evaluate the effectiveness of this learning strategy to inform further adaptation of this Curiosity Project. After the course was wrapped up, students were invited to share their perspectives on the assignment through an online survey. The findings were also used to provide the student perspective about this learning activity in a post for the Pockets of Innovation blog. The Cross Canada Pockets of Innovation showcase a broad range of examples of best practices in online learning from faculty and instructors in post-secondary education from across Canada. For more details on implementing a similar assignment, see:
Cross Canada Pockets of Innovation:
Curiosity Project article