Open UToronto

Data Driven Design Network


Sample Course Data screen shotThis eCampus Ontario funded project aims to develop models for use of data-informed design at the course/instructor level and to increase capacity in this domain through a peer-based, collaborative faculty development initiative.

The overarching goal is to encourage use of data from learning management systems, course evaluation, course gradebooks and other sources related to learner activity to better inform the design of instructional environments.

It will impact institutional practice within the University of Toronto and beyond by establishing a faculty development program format that can be replicated or extended. Descriptions of pilot Workshop Activities are described below.

Each participating instructor will author a “project profile,” describing their goals, methods, implementation strategy, and their findings. A showcase of these inquiry projects will be published on the Open UToronto website. 

Lead Instructors

The six lead instructors are from various divisions/departments, including:

  • Brett Beston (UTM – Psychology)
  • Marie-Anne Visoi (Faculty of Arts and Science – French)
  • Franco Taverna (Faculty of Arts and Science – Human Biology)
  • Libbie Mills (Faculty of Arts and Science – Study of Religion)
  • Sandra Merklinger (Nursing)
  • Brenda McCabe (Engineering – Civil and Mechanical)

The lead instructors will identify areas of interest/challenges regarding their teaching practice that can be informed by analysis of quantitative data available within their selected course context. An inquiry process based on their individual interests will thus form the basis of a “Data-Driven Design Project” that each instructor will plan and implement.

To support this process, CTSI staff with expertise in teaching assessment, data collection and analysis methodologies will co-facilitate group activities to explore the approaches proposed by instructors.

Workshop #1: Community Network Orientation

We held our first workshop for instructors and educational technology professionals on May 16. The instructor network met for the first time, along with  ed tech support team members and the project facilitators.

The outcomes of the day were to:

  • – Describe their role in the project and in our community network
  • – Support a culture of sharing and learning together
  • – Identify personal strengths and available supports
  • – Cultivate a mindset toward the generation of an inquiry idea
  • – Generate possible data sources and questions

Working with ed tech professionals each team ended the day with a better idea of the questions they can ask and the data sources to support their inquiry.

Workshop #2: Confirming Project Scope and Planning

Our second team workshop was held on June 22. Once again we were able to bring the lead instructors and ed tech professionals together in the same room (some virtually) to meet the following outcomes:

  • – Confirm scope and requirements – supported by revisiting of deliverables
  • – Share individual updates on planning
  • – Receive personalized feedback from peers and project team
Word Feedback written on blackboard

Image by Pixabay. CC0

Having worked on identifying their data sources and inquiry questions to hone in on an inquiry theme or topic, the main session of the workshop was spent sharing and giving and receiving feedback. Each team had 5 minutes to present and 10 minutes to discuss feedback. The unique perspectives brought by faculty from various disciplines and the support of ed tech professionals with differing strengths proved fruitful for problem solving.

At the end of the workshop each instructor had a more finely tuned inquiry theme, as well as ideas and strategies to execute their project.


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