Alan Blizzard Award Plenary

The Alan Blizzard Award was established by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) to encourage, identify, and publicly recognize those whose exemplary collaboration in university teaching enhances student learning. This is the 12th year of the Alan Blizzard Award, co-sponsored by McGraw-Hill Ryerson and STLHE.

The Alan Blizzard Award Plenary Presentation will be held on Friday, June 17th from 11:00 am to 12 noon in Arts 143.  It will feature a presentation by the 2011 Alan Blizzard Award recipients from the Interprofessional Problem-Based Learning program at the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, and the Saskatchewan Institite of Applied Science and Technology, as well as the presentation of the Alan Blizzard Honourable Mention Award to the CMPUT 250 - Computers and Games - team from the University of Alberta.
Saskatchewan Interprofessional Health Sciences Problem-Based Learning Project:
Project Team Members:

  • Peggy Proctor - School of Physical Therapy, University of Saskatchewan (submission coordinator)
  • Marcel D’Eon - College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
  • Arlis McQuarrie - School of Physical Therapy, University of Saskatchewan
  • Jane Cassidy - College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan
  • Doreen Walker - College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan
  • Nora McKee - Department of Family Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
  • Pat Wall - College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan
  • Mary M. Peggy MacLeod - College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan
  • Darlene Scott - Nursing Division, SIAST Kelsey Campus
  • Erin Beckwell - Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina, Saskatoon Campus
  • Megan O’Connell - Clinical Psychology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Krista Trinder - College of Medicine, University of Sasaktchewan 

Since 2004, collaboration between two programs at the University of Saskatchewan - Physical Therapy and Medicine - has grown into the “Multi Interprofessional Problem-based Learning (iPBL) Project.” Our iPBL faculty leadership team has successfully delivered many iPBL modules for hundreds and hundreds of health science students from seven different programs and three post-secondary educational institutions consistently over several years.
Initially Physical Therapy students participated in uniprofessional PBL modules on Aboriginal Health and HIV/AIDS. They were joined first by Medical students and then Pharmacy and students. Nutrition and Nursing students (from the Nursing Education Program of Saskatchewan which included the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Technology) were asked to become partners in a large “Multi iPBL Project” for 2006-07 which now included three PBL modules (Aboriginal, HIV/AIDS, and Palliative Care). The growing iPBL project added Clinical Psychology and Social Work (University of Regina) students in 2007-08.
Since PBL fosters a motivational environment and facilitates collegial group work, PBL is considered to be a key vehicle for effective Interprofessional Education (IPE). PBL involves active learning; it is easier to accommodate within multiple curricula compared to case discussions; and elements of cooperative and experiential learning are intrinsic to the process.
Students work in small interprofessional groups with a trained PBL tutor. Due to skyrocketing demand, five experienced tutors (three of them from our Team) made the commitment to become tutor trainers. Since 2005, approximately 200 iPBL tutors have been trained. To enhance the tutor training workshop experience, we produced a video that illustrates key elements of a PBL tutorial. Tutor trainers and experienced tutors also offer support, guidance and mentorship for tutors before and after each iPBL session. Facilitators report that they feel well prepared, and students have generally noted that facilitation is very good.
Using a validated survey, our data over several years indicate that students find iPBL modules engaging, valuable, and cooperative. Students comment that they are satisfied with the iPBL process and facilitation, and also offer suggestions for improvement.
Student retrospective self-assessments show a considerable amount of learning about the content of the iPBL modules and about other professions. Tutors also report observing many exciting group interactions and strong learning.
We are committed to ongoing research in this emerging area. We have already learned that group size and interprofessional composition had no appreciable effect on group functioning or student satisfaction and/or learning. To our surprise we have learned that tutors do not report additional challenges related to the interprofessional nature of these PBL groups. We are currently developing an instrument to quantify the experiences of interprofessional PBL tutors. In the future, as per our regular process, we will continue to adapt in response to student and tutor feedback.  We have published journal articles and made conference presentations, and will continue to engage in scholarly work pertaining to our interprofessional PBL endeavors.
CMPUT 250 - "Computers and Games" project, University of Alberta:
Project Team Members:

  • Vadim Bulitko (core team and principal instructor)
  • Michael Bowling (core team)
  • Sean Gouglas (core team and submission coordinator)
  • H. James Hoover (core team)
  • Nathan Sturtevant (core team)
  • Jonathan Schaeffer (core team)
  • Richard Zhao (teaching assistant)
  • David Thue (guest lecturer)
  • Wayne DeFehr (guest lecturer)
  • Duane Szafron (guest lecturer)
  • Marcia Spetch (guest lecturer)
  • Teri Drummond (executive producer)
  • Kristopher Mitchell (executive producer)

The computer games industry in Canada has emerged as an important pillar of Canada’s digital economy. In the past two decades, building games has become far more than just programming, with story, art, and writing making up the majority of the work. Game development now requires multidisciplinary teams that can work together to create the diverse content required for a modern computer game. An explicit need to expand educational opportunities for prospective game designers at Canada’s Universities has created interesting pedagogical challenges.
In 2004, the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta assembled a team of professors from Humanities Computing, Art & Design, and Computing Science to design a second-year undergraduate course for students from across all faculties to not only study the development and design of computer games, but to build them. With consultation with our industry partners, BioWare Inc. in particular, we created CMPUT 250: Computers & Games.
We created the course with the following goals:

  • create an engaging and stimulating environment;
  • use a collaborative problem-based model for learning the theory and practice of computer
  • games development;
  • develop a tradition of industry-relevant authentic discourse incorporating the traditions of CS, social science, and the arts;
  • introduce students to the skills and practice of multidisciplinary teams;
  • to situate the  field of computer-based games within the social and the historical context of games, society, and technology.

The course features interdisciplinary teaching, industrial partnerships, multidisciplinary teams for the course project, peer-mentoring, and a novel approach to project management. The course includes lecturers from Computing Science, History & Classics, Anthropology, Creative Writing, Humanities Computing, Education, Psychology, Industrial Design, and industry (usually BioWare). The goal of each team is to create a short engaging fun game that follows a design process similar to that found in industry, including the creation of design documents, game pitches, and prototypes. Each team presents their games to their peers, faculty, and industry experts, with an awards show for the best games capping the year’s efforts. We piloted the course in the 2005 winter term, and it has run every term since then.