TAR Graduate Stipend Award GSA

The 2020 TAR GSA competition opens on April 25, submission deadline is May 8.

Eligible graduate students can apply for our competitive CIRTL TAR Graduate Stipend Award (GSA). In addition to becoming TAR Interns, successful applicants will become TAR Awardees and receive a stipend award. The funds will be paid in two installments, after receiving ethics approval and after submitting a midterm progress report. All funds will be transferred to the students’ graduate program to be applied directly to their graduate stipend.

Please note: GSA applications are adjudicated separately from TAR project applications and acceptance of a TAR project does not automatically include funding. If you are not eligible to apply for GSA, please apply here to become a TAR Intern. If your application to become a TAR Awardee is unsuccessful, you will still be able to pursue your TAR project as TAR Intern and you don’t need to submit a separate application.

The CIRTL UBC TAR GSA support projects that feature UBC STEAM disciplinary research projects in the undergraduate (or upper level high school) classroom or outreach project. The goal of these awards is to both improve student learning and to highlight UBC research in the community.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a TAR GSA, you must fulfill the requirements to become a TAR Intern and

  • You are a UBC graduate student (Master’s student in year 2 of your program, or PhD student in years 2-5);
  • Your proposed TAR project either focuses on improving student learning in an undergraduate class at UBC, or featuring UBC STEAM disciplinary research in an outreach project;
  • Your proposed TAR project has a clearly articulated research question and a high potential for impact on student learning;
  • You will participate in the final two sessions of our pre-TAR workshops scheduled for Summer 2020 (we strongly recommend participating in the first session to help you with your application)
  • Your proposed TAR project will undergo BREB approval;
  • You will present and/or publish your findings and add knowledge to the teaching and learning community (with this step, you will become a CIRTL Scholar).

Examples of impact include:

  • Has the potential to influence how students learn in large, introductory courses.
  • Integrate learning materials that highlight specific UBC research projects, as a vehicle to promote active learning in senior high school, college and university courses.
  • Link to community resources, such as non-profit organizations.
  • Integrate student experiential learning in the local, national, or international community.

Please note:

  • TAR GSA are non-renewable. If you have received the GSA for your TAR project previously, you cannot apply for a renewal, or a GSA for a new TAR project. You are still eligible to continue your project as a TAR Intern or pursue a second TAR internship.
  • If the time you spend on your TAR project is being paid for by a funded project or grant (such as a TLEF), you would still be able to compete for a TAR GSA. However, the stipend would be reduced.

Leadership opportunities

In Canada, students commit to an Arts or Science stream in the last two years of high school. Providing some of our TAR Interns with the opportunity to work with senior high school students, will create important role models for secondary students and will open leadership opportunities for TAR Interns. It will help engage young people with a diverse group of scholars, transcending stereotypes and promoting the CIRTL core idea of learning through diversity. In addition to TAR projects in high schools, the integration of UBC research into teaching and learning in colleges and university classrooms will get UBC research stories out in communities across the province/country. The goal is to celebrate knowledge discovery in our classrooms and communities.

Summer 2020 TAR Project Call for Applicants.

There are 6 potential project ideas that we are asking TAR applicants to review and apply to conduct alongside an instructor for the course.  The deadline to apply is May 8th.  Please review the follow calls for proposals to help develop your application proposal.  While the department/faculty is listed for each project, you do not need to work within a department/faculty you are part of currently.  We have described the discipline of the course to give context of the students and work they will be doing during the course.

Suggested Projects:

Departmental affiliation
  Computer Science
What sorts of online course delivery methods do/might you use (e.g. synchronous, asynchronous, Canvas, prerecorded video, discussion boards, projects, presentations, etc.)?
  I'm still deciding exactly how to deliver my summer course but I will likely have some synchronous and some asynchronous components. The lectures will not be pre-recorded but will be recorded as they are delivered. There will be weekly homework, multiple tests, and a course project. I am thinking about how to best schedule tutorials and office hours online.
Give a brief description to a course if you were to explain it to an instructor who was unfamiliar with it (i.e. teaching approach & teaching methods).
  CPSC 103 uses a mostly-flipped approach. Students work through pre-class readings and answer pre-class questions that assess the pre-readings. In class, we usually shift back and forth between mini-lectures and small-group worksheet solving. The worksheets are graded for participation. There is weekly homework during the first two-thirds of the course. In the final third, students work on a course project in which they use their newly-acquired systematic program design skills to write a program that analyses data of their choice.
Does this project focus on the student experience or the instructor experience?
 
  • Student Experience
Big goal of this TAR project
  investigating student engagement in the online setting
What are some things that have emerged for you in moving your teaching to online? Identify a specific issue, topic, or challenge that could be addressed in this TAR project to better understand the impact of the current online environment.
  I am interested in figuring out how I can structure my courses in a way that gives students flexible and compelling opportunities to engage synchronously with their classmates, me, and the TAs. The section of CSPC 103 that I'm teaching this summer will have students who live in Vancouver as well as many who have moved home due to COVID-19. I want to find ways to engage all of the students while being flexible enough to accommodate their different time zones.
How might you imagine you could document this within the context of your online course?
  We could track participation in the synchronous activities. We could survey the students and ask about their sense of engagement, belonging, and community. We could interview students or TAs about their experiences.
How would you assess if the TAR project affects student learning? What are measures beyond comparing student grades?
  For the summer, I'm more interested in understanding if we're able to build engagement and community than in understanding the impact on student learning.

Departmental affiliation
Sociology
What sorts of online course delivery methods do/might you use (e.g. synchronous, asynchronous, Canvas, prerecorded video, discussion boards, projects, presentations, etc.)?
Synchronous (via Collaborate Ultra); asynchronous, Canvas LMS, Open Ed resources?, projects
Give a brief description to a course if you were to explain it to an instructor who was unfamiliar with it (i.e. teaching approach & teaching methods).
Summer Term 1: Development of Relationships - empirically based study of relationship dynamics. Usually taught face to face with a multimodal project; to be converted to a fully online course with mixed synchronous and asynchronous components. This is a DOUBLE condensed course in the summer (ever 12 consecutive days). The interesting piece here is this is a course on relationships - and now they need to create relationships very quickly online. It's also my attempt to see what works that can transfer to other online courses in the fall (or future).
Does this project focus on the student experience or the instructor experience?
  • Student Experience
  • Instructor Experience
Big goal of this TAR project
To examine Canvas course analytics/OnTask personalize messages to determine what feedback might (from analytics data) can be useful to students
What are some things that have emerged for you in moving your teaching to online? Identify a specific issue, topic, or challenge that could be addressed in this TAR project to better understand the impact of the current online environment.
I was already teaching a blended course, so my move online wasn't as challenging as it may have been for others. I did see varying degrees of challenge for students. I'm wondering however, how effective various online components are for student learning and how we might use their online behavior (via analytics) to help them engage and be more effective in their learning strategies.

This could be an extension of a TLEF project I am conducting on effective feedback. I use OnTask tool to provide personalized feedback. But the Canvas analytics that are available are so far not assessed. They could potentially be used to provide personalized feedback on student's own performance - with the aim of helping them use this feedback to enhance their learning strategies.

How might you imagine you could document this within the context of your online course?
We could examine Canvas analytics; student surveys/interview/focus groups.
How would you assess if the TAR project affects student learning? What are measures beyond comparing student grades?
This would be something the TAR applicant could work through carefully. We could look at participation rates, student opinion etc.
Additional comments
If timing for my summer course is too soon - we could also work in my fall classes (at the moment I don't know the exact courses I will be teaching but they will likley be fully online or at least blended).

Departmental affiliation
  Forest and Conservation Sciences (Forestry)
What sorts of online course delivery methods do/might you use (e.g. synchronous, asynchronous, Canvas, prerecorded video, discussion boards, projects, presentations, etc.)?
  Synchronous, asynchronous, Canvas, discussion boards, online quizzes, videos, 3D objects, ppt slides, online submission of assignments, peer evaluation

This probably won't bear heavily on the work that's done.

Give a brief description to a course if you were to explain it to an instructor who was unfamiliar with it (i.e. teaching approach & teaching methods).
  Variety of courses, typically all have some applied aspect like a lab that needs to employ interactions with materials.
Big goal of this TAR project
  Effective deployment of 3D resources in online courses
What are some things that have emerged for you in moving your teaching to online? Identify a specific issue, topic, or challenge that could be addressed in this TAR project to better understand the impact of the current online environment.
  This project wouldn't relate to the courses I have taught but would be paired with the TLEF project I have on 3D resource development. There are a variety of courses involved, across faculties. It is possible to have someone paired with projects in the Arts, Forestry, or Land and Food Systems, perhaps others.
How might you imagine you could document this within the context of your online course?
  Not really applicable here.
How would you assess if the TAR project affects student learning? What are measures beyond comparing student grades?
  Canvas analytics can be set up to generate data on engagement, e.g. length of engagement with materials, times they engage with materials, etc.

I think within a course, there would be opportunity for surveying students on deployment. Direct student feedback is highly desirable for this project, as it will let us achieve other aspects of our TLEF objectives.

Additional comments
  There's a large group of people at Emerging Media Labs who are working on the generation and deployment of 3D resources in classrooms across UBC. If someone takes on this topic, there is an opportunity to interact with that community of people, ranging from educational designers to techies.


Departmental affiliation
  Zoology
What sorts of online course delivery methods do/might you use (e.g. synchronous, asynchronous, Canvas, prerecorded video, discussion boards, projects, presentations, etc.)?
  I have not actually taught yet but will be teaching a lecture course this summer Term 1. In terms of lecture, I likely use synchronous delivery. In the courses that I have been teaching to date, I have used Canvas and also assess student learning using student presentations and group assignments.
Give a brief description to a course if you were to explain it to an instructor who was unfamiliar with it (i.e. teaching approach & teaching methods).
  Bio 121 is a foundational biology course for science/biology majors; it is mostly lecture based with in class activities that try to engage students to facilitate their learning Biology 121 covers three major topics in Biology: genetics, evolution and ecology.

To me personally, any courses that I teach is only a mean through which I strive to help students develop skills, ways of thinking and attitude that help them become a self-motivated and confident learner. I understand that students are going to forget the majority of the content within a short period of time anyway. My goal is not for them to remember the contents they have learned; rather, my goal is to help them develop ways of learning that will enable them to re-learn the content themselves when they need to in the future. This is exactly what I do anyway; I forgot most of what I teach pretty soon after a course ended, but I can re-learn it quickly to teach again (i.e., I can relearn it quickly when I need to use it).

Does this project focus on the student experience or the instructor experience?
 
  • Student Experience
Big goal of this TAR project
  How different mode of online teaching tools may affect the level of student engagement/participation
What are some things that have emerged for you in moving your teaching to online? Identify a specific issue, topic, or challenge that could be addressed in this TAR project to better understand the impact of the current online environment.
  I noticed by observing my colleague's online teaching recently that students seemed to be more free to respond to the instructor's question because they are hidden behind a computer and not exposed to everybody else in a large lecture room. I wonder if students may respond differently if they were sitting in a large lecture hall along with hundreds of other students, who can turn around to see you when you respond to the instructor's question or when you ask a question during the lecture.

The second question I have is how different modes of communication among students may affect student engagement. For example, during a break out group activity, students in the same small group can only "chat" by typing versus if they can also actually "talk" to one another using audio, would that make a difference in student engagement? For example, would students participate more if they are allowed to (or have to) talk to one another during the beak out group activity because more information can be delivered during a short period of time?

How might you imagine you could document this within the context of your online course?
  One way I can "measure" the level of student engagement may be to look at the "product", the outcome of the break out group activity. Have groups submit their group in some way so that we can see the quality of their response (realistically may be tough to do for a large enrollment course) and perhaps, more realisticaly, the frequency of responses within each group (e.g., in a section where students can only chat, how many students in a group participate versus the same variable for a section where students must "talk" using audio). Obviously there is an issue of that not all students necessarily have the hardware to engage in "talk" but I suspect everybody who can get online with a computer can type in "chat" feature. So the options may be either only "chat" by typing or "chat" and "talk" are both possible.
How would you assess if the TAR project affects student learning? What are measures beyond comparing student grades?
  Any activity designed to engage students and facilitate their learning, if effective, ultimately promote student learning. Looking at student grades, although is an obvious and easy way to evaluate, is too coarse grained. After all, there are many things and aspects of learning in students that do not reflect in their grade.

My interest in this is mainly to figure out if there are better mode(s) of online instruction that effectively promote student engagement.

If I am thoughtful and careful enough to design meaningful activities that help students learn, the more engaged the students are, the more they are going to learn by exercising their cognitive power more.

Additional comments
  This coming summer Term 1 (May 2020) will be my first experience online teaching Bio 121. However, my colleague will also co-teach this Biol 121 course with me. Since I have not talked with them about this possible research, whatever research that will take place in this course will have to take place during the time when I, am teaching as we cannot assume that they will agree to have observers or researchers conducting measurement or documentation during the time when they are teaching.

Departmental affiliation
Depts of Botany and Zoology
What sorts of online course delivery methods do/might you use (e.g. synchronous, asynchronous, Canvas, prerecorded video, discussion boards, projects, presentations, etc.)?
Synchronous lecturing and tutorials with Canvas collaborate…recorded so can also be watched asynchronously
There may be a few short pre-recorded videos. We will use the Canvas discussion board for student questions.
Give a brief description to a course if you were to explain it to an instructor who was unfamiliar with it (i.e. teaching approach & teaching methods).
Summer 2020S1 2nd year Biology required Genetics lecture course. Most students won’t know each other and have come directly out of first year. Lectures will expand on ideas from pre-readings with a lot of problem-solving. Following lecture, they will be broken into smaller TA-facilitated tutorials to do problem-solving together in online groups mostly at an even higher level than occurred during lecture. Students finish each tutorial with a written, timed quiz at a difficulty level comparable to a single midterm exam question (i.e at the highest level at which we want them to perform).
Does this project focus on the student experience or the instructor experience?
  • Student Experience
Big goal of this TAR project
improvement of the online learning experience for students
What are some things that have emerged for you in moving your teaching to online? Identify a specific issue, topic, or challenge that could be addressed in this TAR project to better understand the impact of the current online environment.
Here are three options (in order of priority to the instructor):
1.How readily can novices recognize isomorphic questions (due to the online environment we will have to create many isomorphic exam questions)…some used during instruction will also be re-deployed during testing.
2. How can we facilitate student connections to each other and to the teaching team?
3. How does the online environment change (open up?) ways student participate in class (low risk of exposure)?
How might you imagine you could document this within the context of your online course?
1. Analyse data for student performance on questions where they have vs. have not seen isomorphs.
2. Consult with CTLT experts for initial ideas to increase engagement. Survey students re: effectiveness?
3. Track the participation level of individual students on Collaborate. Ask short survey questions that could be deployed at end of select reading quizzes.
How would you assess if the TAR project affects student learning? What are measures beyond comparing student grades?
1. Ask students several times to create their own isomorphs and create a scoring system to rate how successful they are. Have online reading quiz questions that ask them to dissect if two given questions are isomorphs. (Note: I feel like this “measure” itself is more of way to actually teach them to recognize isomorphs rather than just measuring their latent ability to recognize them)
2. We can ask them to name the people (and/or the number of people) in the class with whom they have discussed material.
3. We can’t really have a control section where we don’t try to let them participate. We can ask them how comfortable they feel compared to pre-COVID-19 in a survey.


Departmental affiliation
chemical and biological engineering
Give a brief description to a course if you were to explain it to an instructor who was unfamiliar with it (i.e. teaching approach & teaching methods).
Possible courses
Fall 2020W - 2nd year Chemical Engineering Fundamentals and Design course - students do not likely know each other that well before working in teams on an overall course project that follows course topics.
Fall 2020W - 4th year Chemical and Biological Engineering Design course - students are more likely to know each other having gone through previous courses together. Course spans 8 months, is a final experience aiming to bring together knowledge from a variety of courses students have taken.
Does this project focus on the student experience or the instructor experience?
  • Student Experience
Big goal of this TAR project
Ensuring online team projects on complex problems are effective for students
What are some things that have emerged for you in moving your teaching to online? Identify a specific issue, topic, or challenge that could be addressed in this TAR project to better understand the impact of the current online environment.
Some issues to possibly investigate:
- Team cohesion
- interaction between students
- interaction between instructors and students
How might you imagine you could document this within the context of your online course?
Some options to possibly investigate:
- Peer review may be implemented at different times throughout the term. Can use this for providing feedback to peers as well as perhaps feedback to the course on what might help in supporting student teams.
- Perhaps having a virtual town hall on teamwork during the course and hearing from students what has worked well, and what they are struggling with etc.
How would you assess if the TAR project affects student learning? What are measures beyond comparing student grades?
Some options to possibly investigate (mostly qualitative):
- Look at peer assessments and see how high or low functioning teams performed and follow up with those teams (perhaps through interviews or focus groups). Would also need to define what high and low functioning teams are.
- Surveys and focus groups with teams investigating strategies that were effective for them and comparing
- Looking at teams that had issues perhaps initially but overcame these and what strategies they used.

Apply

If you are interested in becoming a TAR Awardee and meet the eligibility criteria, please fill out the application below

Use the provided template for your TAR GSA project proposal. If you are new to educational research, this resource from Queen’s University is a great starting point with a good overview of different methodologies to help in the development of your project proposal.

Special Information for Summer 2020

Due to the circumstances of COVID-19, we are asking instructors to create project ideas that potential TAR interns will create proposals to answer questions related to the question.  These projects will focus on the transition to online learning and will have a wave in the summer followed by a second wave in the fall. Projects descriptions will be posted April 25th and the deadline to apply is May 8th.