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12th Annual May (Un)Conference 2021 - Program

The UnConference is a meeting that is, for the most part, responsive to member needs. UnConference participants can pitch sessions - these can be something about teaching and learning they want to share with each other or something that they want to know more about - and then we vote on which sessions people are most interested in.

Normally pitching and voting is done on the first day of the UnConference, but because the UnConference is online, both are taking place in advance. Sessions aren't polished presentations for which there is a passive audience, rather the "pitchee(s)" facilitate an interactive discussion that blurs the line between facilitator and participant. 

Times are all Eastern Time (GMT-4)

This event was open to anyone who wished to participate, free of charge.  If you would like to sign up for the listserv to be notified of future events, please email ocubeorg@gmail.com.


Workshop 1-3 pm

Following a COVID year: What elements will you keep from online learning when we return to in-person teaching and how will you do so? What are some lessons we've learned from taking labs online? How can we help ourselves as instructors (faculty, sessionals, coordinators, TAs) better adjust and adapt to the return to in-person lectures, labs, and tutorials? How can we help our students better adjust and adapt to the return to in-person learning? Let's share stories of our experiences during the pandemic and words of appreciation for our oCUBErs.

Happy Hour/Mingle 4-6 pm: Come meet other oCUBErs! Bring your own drink and snacks! 


1. Indigenizing our Curriculum (10:00 - 11:00 am) How are we answering the call to action by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada? How are oCUBErs moving forward with this crucial step in improving our teaching/learning; where are we encountering difficulties and how can we help each other overcome these? What are our success stories that we can share and learn from?

2. Specifications Grading (11:30 am - 12:30 pm) This is an opportunity to explore/discuss/reflect on the pros/cons of specs grading (including a review of what it is and what it entails), centred loosely around the questions: is it worth the pain and anxiety? Hint: my answer is, "maybe". 

3. Online Community Building (1:30 - 2:30 pm) How can we create safe spaces in online environments for sharing, caring, and sometimes staring (off into space)? How can we build community in the online environment which can often be isolating and demotivating for our students?

4. Assessing Group Work Skills (3:15 - 4:15 pm) Providing instruction on group dynamics and asking for self/peer evaluation doesn't really allow us to assess development of group work skills. How can we promote reflection on effective group process and what students can learn even when group work is challenging? How can we assess team interaction and effort?


oCUBE AGM (9:30 - 10:30 am) Join us in a review of our past year and where we might go in the year(s) to come! Come find out more abut oCUBE and consider getting involved!

1. Classroom as Community(10:45 - 11:45 am) How can we recognize and dismantle power (perceived and actual) in the classroom?  How can we learn from our students and how can our students learn from other students? How can we truly have students involved in creating the class? How can we effectively keep open the lines of communication with our students, without overwhelming ourselves (particularly in large enrolment courses).

2. Focusing on EDI (12:15 - 1:15 pm) What does it mean for a course to be inclusive? How can we build inclusive science courses and what types of institutional supports do we need to overcome barriers, such as very large classes? How can we introduce EDI content into our classes? 

3. Academic Integrity (2:15 - 3:15 pm) What are some successful approaches that oCUBErs used that helped with academic integrity without resorting to surveillance? What will you do this year (assuming we're online!) that you didn't do last year? 

4. oCUBE Collaborations (3:45 - 4:45 pm) oCUBErs have acted on many opportunities to collaborate with each other, particularly to support grad student and post-doc oCUBE members in their early teaching experiences. We'd like to share our experiences doing this for a Winter 2021 course, see if others have similar oCUBE interactions and discuss how to pilot a mentorship program through oCUBE.

oCUBE is partnered with

Open Consortium of Undergraduate Biology Educators is a non-profit. 

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