Learning Enhancement Fund (LEF)

Funded Projects

2012/2013 Learning Enhancement Fund Winners

Reaching out:  support and experiential learning for academically struggling students in a first-year nutrition course
Andrea Buchholz, Jess Haines

Reaching Out is a program for students struggling in NUTR*1010 (Nutrition and Society), a large service course.  We propose to invite those who score under 60% on the first midterm to join a weekly study group facilitated by Jess Haines (F12) and Andrea Buchholz (W13).  In addition to providing assistance with test-taking, exam anxiety, and content difficulty, we propose to offer an experiential learning opportunity for which students will be invited to voluntarily undertake body composition and metabolism testing using methods taught in NUTR*1010 curriculum. Reaching Out is designed to enhance student engagement and academic performance by increasing instructor-student interaction and providing a unique experiential learning opportunity to help students apply knowledge.  It is a model with potential to be transferable to many units across campus.

Strategy for strengthening music foundations
James Harley, Marta McCarthy
Award - $18,977

“Strategy for Strengthening Music Foundations” will implement a music lab oriented to supporting and developing foundational music skills. Music majors began a revised program in Fall 2011 with strengthened expectations for achievement in musicianship and materials of music courses. The lab will provide keyboards and workstations for students to work on assignments and developing skills. The lab will also include lab monitors to ensure security and to provide technical support, and will include Peer Helpers, senior students in the program who will provide regular tutorial sessions.

Enhancing online workshops for skills of inquiry in 1st year biology practicum
Brian Husband
Award - $24,000

The first year foundation in biological science at Guelph was completely revised in 2010 to enhance student engagement and promote deeper learning.  Based on a linked course model, the 1st year experience comprises of 3 course modules/themes (health, molecular bioscience, biodiversity science), which are linked through a common practicum.  The practicum contains six online workshops for just-in-time introductions to general skills of inquiry (independent learning, scientific method, information management, written communication, oral communication, and numeracy) and a cross-course interdisciplinary project that develops teamwork and integrative thinking.  The online workshops have been developed to a basic level and have been tested for two years.  We now seek funding to enhance their functionality, interactivity and effectiveness by upgrading them to a professional level. 

Technology facilitated paper exam grading and distribution
Lori Jones
Award - $25,000

Securely handing back paper based exams, quizzes or assignments for high enrollment classes across campus is logistically difficult and time consuming.  By leveraging existing technology to scan hand-graded work and distribute digital copies the process becomes much more streamlined, more secure and confidential, less prone to risk and more convenient for students to receive timely feedback.

The proposal focuses on developing a solution for addressing this issue for CHEM*1040 and CHEM*1050 as a pilot but would also propose to put in place a solution that was scalable across campus. 

Developing, integrating, assessing and adapting CEL in a large undergraduate course
Mavis Morton
Award - $17,000

This proposal is to design, strengthen, monitor, assess and adapt a new academic initiative which introduces community engaged learning (CEL) to a large first year undergraduate course in sociology (SOC*1500 Crime and Criminal Justice).  Using an outcome-based approach to learning, this initiative will substantially review and reframe learning outcomes in order to design a community engaged learning activity that provides students with an engaging way to demonstrate and account for their achievement of specified learning outcomes (LOs).  These LOs will align with Ontario defined undergraduate degree level expectations, the University of Guelph’s academic mission, College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS) priorities as well as program and course-specific outcomes. 

Educational development resource centre
Claude Naud
Award - $30,000

Formal educational development and preparation have been largely overlooked at the regional campuses.  As a consequence, new instructors are thrown into a challenging teaching environment without the benefits of an adequate preparation and professional support during the most demanding phase of their initiation into post-secondary institution.  Not surprisingly both students and new instructors suffer greatly from the lack of instructional grounding so critical in providing a positive learning environment.  Our more seasoned instructors often lack the necessary knowledge or skills to renew curriculum, design instruction, and implement new programs.  As a result the quality of education is adversely impacted and so is the reputation of the University.

Consistent with the goals expressed in the White Paper, the Centre’s purpose would be to develop, organize, and facilitate the delivery of educational, instructional and academic leadership initiatives.  The resource centre’s principal aim would be to facilitate, sustain, and support teaching, learning, and sound scholarly practices across the campus.  Through the development of local subject matter expertise for teaching, instructor support mechanisms, technology integration in instructional practices, individual faculty personal professional development plans will lead to a strong and vibrant professional community of practice.

The acquisition of these skills are essential in ensuring that our current program renewal process of four diploma programs is successful in achieving our goal of substantially strengthening undergraduate teaching and learning at the regional campuses. 

Enhancing experiential learning in the Arctic
Sarah Adamowicz, Alexander Smith, Ryan Gregory
Award - $8,000

The Arctic has many species not found elsewhere and a warming climate is predicted to have a particularly dramatic impact on this unique biodiversity.  Understanding Arctic biodiversity has become an important part of the research and teaching at UofG, from first year to senior field courses to graduate research.  We wish to expand opportunities for experiential learning about Arctic biodiversity by students in two courses (Arctic Ecology BIOL*4610 and Discovering Biodiversity BIOL*1070) by making use of two cutting-edge technologies:  DNA barcoding and GigaPan imaging.  DNA barcoding is a novel genetic method for species identification and discovery that was pioneered at the University.  The GigaPan is a transformational piece of technology for creating, sharing and annotating high-resolution panoramic photographs.  The digital products of each technology are publicly accessible and sustainably maintained; both are annotated through time by a community of experts and non-experets alike; and both connect the digital and natural worlds. 


University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1