Aligning and Building Curriculum: An Overview

I have joined fellow professors and college administrators across Eastern Ontario for a four day conference at the lovely Elmhirst Resort up towards Peterborough. 

What could be better than conversations and learning around curriculum while enjoying the blue lake and tranquil setting of the Canadan Shield?  In addition, the food here is incredible.   

It’s a real treat to be here. I’d will find time to do more in depth posts, but in the meantime, here are the highlights of our formal discussion so far:

  • Outcome-Based Education (OBE) – Challenges and Benefits
  • Credential ing Framework in Ontario
  • Curriculum Development and Evaluation (Mapping)
  • Vocational Learning Outcomes
  • Essential Employability Skills
  • Course Outlines and Perfirmance-Based Course Learning Outcomes
  • Authentic & Aligned Assessment 
  • Credential Validation
  • Quality Control and Audits 

Informally, there are sidebar discussions on pedagogy-andragogy issues, academic freedom, student readiness, summative and formative assessment strategies, mental health concerns among students, growth-fixed mindsets and student achievement, faculty coaching, program development, transfer credits and student pathways, and a host of other great topics.

This afternoon, there are some concurrent sessions running on Universal Design of or Learning, Hybrid and Online Teaching, new Program Development, and Employability Skills.

All of this, ultimately, will be taken back to our respective colleges where, I am sure, the conversation on ensuring quality and consistency in standards across the province will continue. I’m thrilled to be part of it.

St. Lawrence River: An Anthology

Turns out, we have some talent in the Communications class. 

When I suggested we write and publish a book for our Enjoying the Short Story culminating project, I had no idea how enthusiastically the idea would be received. 

Maybe they thought I knew more about publishing than I do (hey, I’m a book editor, not a publisher), but everyone was on board and ready to go.

Honestly, they did it all. I provided the framework, suggested the river as a thematic way to pull it together, and set deadlines. The rest was up to the students. They wrote and submitted. I worked with the editors to finesse and fine tune. We received submissions from the greater Cornwall community. The students took photographs. We formatted and proofread in class. One student researched publishing options.two others did some marketing.

It was an ambitious few weeks. And a crazy few weeks.

But I have never before had students so eager to do the work that they emailed me at all hours, offered to do extra, and were disappointed when the project ended. So as a professor, I call that a win.

And when the “project manager” and I uploaded it into Amazon, and I said Hit Publish and he looked at me and said, Is this it? ….That was a good moment. 

Here’s the link for the Kindle version.

We couldn’t make it free. Hadn’t expected that. There are some things I would do differently for sure.

But I know I couldn’t have done it without the dedication and effort of the students. They all partipated, and there were tasks for everyone. My editors, art director, and project manager deserve a big hand though. They really pulled this together. I also want to thank our local contributors who wrote for us and trusted us with their work. Thank you all so much.

There is much to be said for Real World Learning. 



That’s what we decide to call our end of semester project in the communications class I teach entitled Enjoying the Short Story.

This course is a hybrid course revolving around some of the classic literature of the genre -Saki, Poe, Fitzgerald, Gilman, Jackson, Chekhov – and exploring some of the great questions: Is meaning constructed by the author or the reader? Is the idea of a “canon” dead? How have modern short stories evolved? Does literature even matter….and if so, how?

We write too. Creating our own fiction from prompts and assignments, identifying the structural elements of a good story, sharing in small, safe groups.

The final assignment is always a class project that spans the final four weeks of the course. In past years, we have picked a story and themed our projects around it to end up with essays, video, poetry, plays, and analysis all related to the same subject (hence the somewhat unwieldy term Trans-Media Project). One year it was The Yellow Wallpaper: last year Winter Dreams. There is a certain beauty in mining the depths of a story like that.

But the first day of class this semester, I announced that I would like the class to try and write, edit, publish, and promote a book for their final project.

And to my delight, they were game.