Workshops in Pedagogy & Faculty Development
Feel free to browse through our workshops!
Workshop I: Responding to Student Anxiety and Small Screen/Social Media Addiction
"The impulse to co-opt mobile technologies and social media into a coherent pedagogy is like throwing a keg party with an open bar for alcoholics."
- Many students have trouble reading anything longer than text messages or emails, and everywhere around us there is evidence that we, as a culture, are too easily
distracted. Microsoft did a study1 which found that the average
attention span now hovers around 8 seconds--one second less than the attention span of a goldfish! "Heavy multi-screeners" are especially prone,
but the ubiquitous presence of other powerful distractors like cell phones and laptops is also at fault.
- Excessive cell phone use, especially in conjunction with Social Media, has been proven to release dopamine into the body.
Dopamine is the same neuro-chemical that triggers compulsive dependencies such as OCD. Dysfunctional levels of dopamine are associated
with compulsive gaming, and smoking. However, this neurotransmitter also contributes to more deadly addictions to habits like gambling,
alcoholism, and even life endangering drugs.
This dopamine-reinforced narcissism is often accompanied by anxiety and other addictions (comorbidity)
that are sometimes so high that students are unable to study.
A 2016 NCHA (National College Health Assessment) reported that 13% of Canadian College students have "seriously contemplated suicide" in the last 12 months,
and 2% have actually attempted it in that same time frame.
32.5% of this same population reported that within the last 12 months "anxiety" affected their academic performance
in ways that led to "a lower grade on a course [or] ... an incomplete or dropped course."
- Even when they are physically present, many students are still not really present (in the moment) because they are compulsively
checking their mobile devices every few minutes for new incoming messages or "likes."
- The effects of dysfunctional levels of dopamine are “incentive salience” (desire or wanting) and pleasure
(euphoria). Abnormally high levels of dopamine create an infinite loop in which pleasure leads to desire and desire in turn leads back to pleasure. The more dopamine
we release, the more we want. Dopamine is like Cleopatra who “… makes hungry,/ Where most she satisfies” (2.3.48-9).
- Cyber addiction, also known as digital addiction, technology addiction, and small screen addiction has become so damaging and pervasive that
the condition is now being treated medically by mental heath experts who consider the condition akin to other pathological addictions like gambling and pornography.
- Cell phone addictions are part of the ICD (Impulse Control Disorder) category of addictions and need to be treated as such. See, for example,
The Center for Internet and Technology Addition
Learn Canada offers an extensive variety of workshops especially tailored for students, teachers, professors, parents, and guidance counsellors who want to become more
aware of how these new technologies are impacting teaching and learning.
For inquiries or bookings, call 416-898-6342 or email email@example.com
Workshop II: Designing Pedagogies to Fight Plagiarism and Academic (Dis)Honesty
Plagiarism and academic dishonesty are increasing dramatically as students become morbidly dependent on Google to tell them what texts mean and where "the answers" are.
Ease of access and convenience reduces the anxiety of research and self-directed critical thinking. Shallow learning is the result.
Like any addiction, the more often they seek an answer before thinking about their own answer, the more dependent they become on outside sources to tell them
what to think. Passivity and diffidence can lead to academic dishonesty in many different forms.
Others cheat because of a comorbidity in their personalities that includes narcissism, Machiavellism, and subclinical psychopathy. Sometimes
called "the Dark Triad," this personality disorder enjoys deceiving people for the thrill of it and s oblivious to any damage done to bonds of trust
in teacher-student relationships. See
"Identifying and Profiling Scholastic Cheaters: Their Personality, Cognitive Ability, and Motivation" by Williams et al and
"Brief report: The Dark Triad of personality: Narcissism,Machiavellianism, and psychopathy" by
Paulhus and Williams.
Collectively, these factors of dependency, diffidence, screen addiction, and the dark triad will undermine, or even defeat, those cognitive and rational approaches
to academic honesty that call for contracts and agreements between teachers and students.
Conventional responses to academic dishonesty are not fully effective in controlling this unethical behaviour.
Grammarly, and Grammar and Plagiarism Checker
can be defeated by copying and pasting
(verbatim) chunks of text from places like Spark Notes into software algorithms that distort lexis and syntactical patterns so they are no longer identifiable
For inquiries or workshop bookings on fighting academic honesty, call 416-898-6342 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Workshop III: Surviving Grad School
- Students working on Master's theses or Doctoral Dissertations are highly susceptible to many different kinds of crises, including intellectual, emotional,
spiritual, political, and financial.
Suspended in nowhere land between child and adult, teacher and student, these people are constantly struggling with demoralizing self-doubt,
anxiety, sleep disorders, eating disorders, depression, and a wide range of ICDs (Impulse Control Disorders).
For inquiries or workshop bookings on Surviving Grad School, call 416-898-6342 or email email@example.com
Workshop IV: The Pedagogy of Online Teaching and Learning
Workshop V: Accessibility, HCI, and User Testing
Every instructor should be mindful of designing accessible interfaces in all of their documents, regardless of whether it's a printed hand out done in MS Word or
a webpage or even a shared platform environment like Moodle or Blackboard.
Research shows that by considering the needs of various challenged readers, things become clearer and easier to understand for everyone.
For inquiries or bookings in how to create accessible documents and interfaces for your students, call 416-898-6342 or email