September 4, 2018

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Welcome to the 2018-19 academic year! This is a great time to connect and reconnect with students and colleagues and embark on new adventures in teaching and learning. To support you, we issue the Focus on Teaching bulletin twice a month to highlight upcoming events, teaching resources, and other information to support your teaching at McGill. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions, share ideas, and send us feedback at or 514-398-6648.


Wishing you all a great start,

Laura Winer
Director, Teaching and Learning Services

Featured events



Writing Effective Reference Letters for Student Fellowships


September 6 

1:30 - 3:30pm


Professors are often asked by students applying for awards and employment to write letters of reference. While time-consuming and sometimes difficult to write, a strong reference letter can change the outcome of an application. This workshop will help you write effective reference letters for all situations and even handle unreasonable reference requests.


Sign up here 


Webinar: Strategies for Teaching Large Classes


October 3

12:15 - 12:45pm


Frequent feedback on low-stakes assessments can be an important means of fostering student learning. This 30-minute webinar focuses on teaching strategies that allow students in large classes to know how they’re doing throughout the semester. 


Register today!


Upcoming events



Support from Teaching and Learning Services


myCourses Drop-in Clinics

Looking for help setting up your myCourses sites? Interested in trying out different myCourses tools? Drop in for some one-on-one help from TLS. Bring a laptop and your course outline (online or hard copy). No registration required.


Getting Started with myCourses

This workshop will familiarize you with tools in myCourses. Topics addressed include organizing your course content, setting up your grade book, and facilitating group interaction.


Register here 

Webinars - Feedback Strategies: Engaging Students in Dialogue (Part 1)


October 11

12:15 - 12:45pm


Part 1: Annotating Writing Submissions

How can we engage students with feedback and encourage them to take greater responsibility for their learning? This 4-part webinar series presents several strategies suited to writing assignments. The strategies may also make marking more efficient.


Register here


Join us at TLS for lunch!


September 28

12:00 - 1:30pm


Would you like to share a teaching idea with colleagues? Interested in hearing what other instructors are doing across the University to engage their students in learning? TLS invites all instructors to engage in meaningful conversations about teaching and learning at The Lunch Spot. A light lunch will be provided.

More information


Events for your students


Skills development for graduate students


SKILLSETS offers general, transferable, and professional skill development opportunities to complement the research training provided by the academic experience at McGill. Open to all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.


More information


Workshops for undergradute students


SKILLS21 is a workshop-based skills development program for undergraduate students. It provides opportunities for developing 21st century skills, values, and attitudes.


More information


Writing courses, workshops, and tutoring 


Students can refine their academic writing skills and learn to write for a specific professional audience with courses, workshops and tutoring offered by the McGill Writing Centre (MWC).


More information

Resources and announcements


Photo: Victor Tangermann

Strategy Bites: First Day Course Outline/myCourses Scavenger Hunt

Want to get students to pay attention to your course outline? Learn about one instructor’s suggestion for a 10-15 minute in-class activity.




Accessibility Support Request Form

Teaching staff can now easily reach out to the Office for Students with Disabilities to consult on questions related to accessibility (e.g., how to create accessible PDF documents) by completing an online accessibility support request form. 



Planning your office hours

Are you unsure how many office hours a week to schedule? Are you wondering how you can hold office hours online? Here are ideas for planning and holding office hours – both in-person and virtually.



Wireless microphones available 

The analog wireless microphone system was replaced by the Shure QLX series. The new wireless microphone kit is available for loan from AV Equipment Loans. 



Course readings

Make course readings available to your students at no cost with myCourses. It’s easy to link to the Library’s millions of articles and ebooks, or scan and upload book chapters and articles directly to myCourses. Contact for assistance.




Update for Polling@McGill


Prior to starting your semester, upgrade your TurningPoint version to 8.5 (July 2018). This update contains many new features as well as bug fixes. Login to the Instructor page in TurningPoint and click on the Downloads tab. Read the full details on the update.






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