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Denise Nielsen

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Ten Years

A decade ago I bought a new linen summer suit for an interview to teach part time at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall. Best decision ever. What I do every day is less a job and more a vocation. I feel truly fortunate to have opportunities to cheer on and support students , to share my love of communication and creative problem-solving, to find new ways to deliver curriculum in response to employer needs and our ever-evolving society. Looking back […]

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Summer Reads

Summer is here. I’m officially off as of tomorrow. But when you love what you do, you’re never really off, and though I absolutely intend to unplug most of the next six weeks, and I have some personal non-work projects to play around with, I also have some reading to do. Darby and Lang, yes, as already discussed. And it would be remiss not to mention how thrilled I am that St Lawrence College’s School of Contemporary Teaching and Learning […]

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Pedagogy Refresh

I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on related to teaching online. It is clear to me that you can’t just take classroom content, out it online, and get good results. There’s a skill to it, a revision of practices, a new set of considerations. It has been equally clear—and is now official—that fall classes at most Ontario institutions will be delivered online. There may be exceptions for labs especially as restrictions get slowly lifted, but they will […]

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These COVID Times

With the sudden switch to online, I knew I wanted to simplify, simplify simplify, and stripped down what remained of my three courses to the very essence of what still needed to get done.More about that later, At the heart of this was connection with students to make sure they are all okay. My very first video to them, almost as soon as this happened was to encourage journal writing and creativity as a way to explore feelings and help […]

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Best Laid Plans…

Nine weeks into the semester and the universe threw down the gauntlet. COVID-19. To be fair, anyone with an awareness of global affairs saw the signs as first China, then Europe fell victim to the pandemic virus. In fact, I did an inquiry project into COVID-19 in my communications class because it seemed super relevant for the nursing students, and because I wanted to quell some of the conspiracies, and because well, the whole concept of finding credible source material […]

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Adventures in Coordinating

I was–I AM–delighted to accept the challenge of coordinating the General Arts and Sciences program on the Cornwall campus. With my mentor and friend Julie to guide me (before she retires in June), I have been learning the ins and outs of a program that is both simple and so very complex. January passed in a blur. I wasn’t sure I could keep up with the constant changing schedules and course changes of so many students. But I did it. […]

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Collaborative Assessment

2015. I started to reimagine what the classroom could look like. With input from students, I created this haiku deck and embedded it into my blog (the embed code doesn’t always work so I’ve included a visual below). Reimagining Classrooms – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires; Clocks, beverages, and snacks aside, I’ve been consistently trying to include many of these elements into my classroom since 2015. Choice, creativity, calm atmosphere—these are all important. Our new Active Learning […]

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Teach-Coordinate-Create #Focus2020

My mind is often spinning. In a good way—brimming with ideas and thoughts and plans and initiatives and imagination and possibility. Never is this more true than at the end of a conference when I’ve engaged with and intersected with people equally as passionate about education as I am. The challenge is what to do with all that. At the time, in the midst of it it all, it’s easy to feel like everything is possible. But in the wake […]

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Higher Education Summit 2019

I’m excited for the higher education summit. I’ve been to many conferences but there’s something special about this one. This year marks my third year coming here to Toronto with the St. Lawrence College Board of Governors, and I have to say, I have taken away something of value every single year. In 2017, it was Daniel Pink who resonated. He spoke about motivation, carving out “islands of autonomy”… both practices which have influenced my teaching since. That year I […]

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