Category Research spotlights

Dr. Daniel Miller, “Augmented Lecturing” and Screencast

For about a decade, Dr. Daniel Miller of the Religion Department has been developing and using a pedagogical method in his classroom that he calls augmented lecturing, which employs a tight synergy between speech and video/audio to drive the narrative line of the lecture. Since instituting the method, he has noticed extremely positive learning outcomes—with learners of all ages—and is now working on a major research project intended to formally measure the efficacy of augmented lecturing.

Although augmented lecturing was developed for the classroom, Dr. Miller found that it could easily be transplanted with success to the screen after faculty were obliged to begin teaching online last March. To the surprise of Dr. Miller, some of his students were even watching his online lectures with their families, a true testament to the effectiveness of the method: “I had students writing me that they were watching my lecture videos with their parents at home, which was, as you can imagine, remarkable to read. Given the imperative for online instruction currently (and, I’d suspect, going forward), I think that’s extremely significant.”

Dr. Miller’s work employing augmented lecturing is now featured in Cascade Journal of Knowledge. Launched only last year, Cascade is a unique and innovative open-access, double-blind peer-reviewed journal that publishes short screencasts (videos), instead of written articles, on academic topics. The goal of this journal is for students to have access to a credible online knowledge source, approved by professors. When informed of the Journal, Dr. Miller saw an undeniable connection between the power of his augmented lecturing technique and the Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) mission of Cascade.

After discussion with Cascade’s editor-in-chief, Dr. Miller started working on a screencast on the concept of 666 (“the number of the beast”) in the Book of Revelation. The screencast was published in late December, and has quickly become one of the most viewed of the Journal.

When Dr. Miller was asked to comment about this publication vis-à-vis the profile of Bishop’s University, he had this to say about its potential significance: “This is a new, and unique, journal, and a Bishop’s professor has published in it. Through this publication, “augmented lecturing” as a pedagogical term is now officially on the board in the “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” domain, and it’s associated with Bishop’s University.”

Watch Dr. Daniel Miller’s publication “666” in Cascade Journal of Knowledge: Miller, D. (2020). 666. Cascade Journal of Knowledge, volume 1 (2), 8:52.

Dr. Miller will be presenting on his augmented lecturing technique through the Maple League’s Virtual Teaching and Learning Centre in February, so follow the Maple League of Universities on Facebook for updates!

Bishop’s Undergraduate Research Highlighted at a Prestigious Conference

Gemma CamaraGemma Camara is a third-year Neuroscience student minoring in Environmental studies. At the beginning of the month, she participated in the Neurodegenerative Diseases: Biology and Therapeuthics meeting. This event, organized by the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory (CSHL), facilitates communication and networking at the academic and industry level. During the meeting, Gemma presented her first ever poster entitled The relationship between cognitive scores and detection of specific odours in the elderly. CHSL is a leading international center for research and education, and presenting at their meetings is a considerable achievement for anyone in the field! This event also gave her the opportunity to connect with other researchers.

During the first night’s social event, Dr. Aaron Gliter asked me if I had applied to Stanford. I never thought to push myself to be a part of any of the “Ivy Leagues” before, but his question made me think about the limitations I’ve set for myself. The sky’s the limit, and there are tons of great Universities looking to take on smart ambitious students who are hardworking and who put themselves out there.

This quote was taken from an interview with Gemma featured on the CHSL Blog. We invite you to read the full interview online.

Gemma is a promising student researcher interested in olfactory function and post-concussion effects on the brain. For her current research project, she is working under the supervision of Dr. Rona Graham at Université de Sherbrooke, and Dr. Jonathan Carriere from the BU Department of Psychology. Gemma is also involved in BU school life as the current Environmental Sustainability Representative, former Leader of the Environmental club and former co-lead of the Running club.

Bishop’s University has helped me become the person I am today. The community helps foster growth, for those seeking it. I have always set ambitious goals for myself, I was never told “no, that’s unfeasible” but rather redirected. Both Bishop’s and Sherbrooke University have enabled me to enter the field as a student researcher. I can’t speak of research without talking about Dr. Graham, who is the reason I am writing the manuscript for our research today, and still in hopes of being published one day. My research project has allowed me to put into practice what I have learnt at Bishop’s. The Psychology department has many great professors that have gone the extra mile to adapt their teaching methods. Notably, Dr. Jasmeen Sidhu and Dr. Courtney Plante, two of the many professors who have continuously taken a modern approach to their teaching methods. I could not possibly mention all the mentors we have at Bishop’s, it is a community, and everyone contributes differently. Whichever University I attend; Bishop’s will always be home in heart.Gemma Camara

Dr. Jessica Riddell: A Year of Challenges, Research, Teaching and Knowledge Mobilization… and Critical Hope

Dr. Jessica Riddell“Work smart, not hard” is the motto Dr. Jessica Riddell (English Department) lives by. Indeed, she also works hard, but strives to build alignment across the many positions she holds at Bishop’s and beyond. As a Full Professor in the English Department, her mandate as the Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence, her leadership at the helm of the Maple League of Universities, and her active research profile, Dr. Riddell has learned to see things as overlapping and mutually reinforcing rather than as separate or isolated roles.

One common thread connects all her endeavours: Dr. Riddell’s commitment to fostering delight. When asked about what inspires her, Jessica quotes Sir Philip Sidney, a sixteenth-century writer, courtier, solider. In The Defense of Poesie (1581), he writes, “Who will be taught if he be not moved with the desire to be taught?” Dr. Riddell believes, as Sidney did, that to move someone was to transform them, and that “an ideal teacher must generate delight to stir the heart and shape the mind.” At the core of Dr. Riddell’s work is the idea that the heart and mind are inextricably bound in the pursuit of knowledge – both in its acquisition and creation.

A year full of projects…

So what “delightful” projects has Dr. Riddell tackled this year? She finished a book on Shakespeare and Critical Hope (under contract with University of Toronto Press), published five peer reviewed articles and two book chapters, was an invited speaker at six different universities (nationally and internationally), wrote three OpEds in her role as faculty columnist for University Affairs Magazine (Adventures in Academe), appeared on national media platforms (including the Globe and Mail, CBC Sunday Magazine, and Quebec AM), and served on five national/international boards. She also was the host of a visiting scholar at Bishop’s University, Dr. Heather A. Smith, Professor of Global and International Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia, to facilitate national conversations around pandemic pedagogy. How does she find the time? “COVID-19 has presented a myriad of challenges,” reflects Dr. Riddell, “including how to find balance between teaching, research, leadership – and life! As a mother of two small children in the midst of a global pandemic I had to intentionally carve out time to play, dream, and be present; that in turn gave me the energy and critical hope to engage in the world.”

And a year full of challenges

The year wasn’t all about productivity however. Dr. Riddell faced many challenges, ups and downs, and periods of questioning throughout the year, like many of us. She has been very candid about her “messy journey” this year, most recently in an article in University Affairs on the difference between critical hope and toxic positivity, sharing her family’s personal struggles in the time of COVID.

“We often think that people who are productive are thriving,” Jessica shares, “but what I’ve realized this year is that my coping mechanism (for dealing with cancer in the time of COVID with small children) was to work. Work was the only thing that made me feel normal in the middle of very abnormal circumstances. But this is neither healthy nor sustainable behaviour, and it sets a terrible model for those around us. We need to think about how we can combat the narrative of toxic productivity and underscore that working until exhaustion is not a badge of honour. Not only is it essential to pause often, write more, and listen better to support our own individual wellness, together we can shift the narrative away from toxic productivity and towards a more humane mode of living.”

Dr. Riddell has become adept at finding spaces for critical hope with students and colleagues at Bishop’s and beyond. “My biggest takeaway from this year,” Jessica shares, “is that collaboration is the key to our resilience as humans, scholars, and citizens. We must build generative and generous spaces for ourselves and others so we can think carefully and critically about what we can do together that we can’t do on our own.”

Building for the future

What is in store for Dr. Riddell in 2021? “I have been thinking a lot lately about what a post-COVID world is going to look like, and I think we are still in the process of designing it. What I do know is it must be more inclusive, just, and equitable. Those values will propel us through a “pandemic portal” into a brave new world.”

Follow Dr. Riddell, Bishop’s University and the Maple League of Universities on Twitter to be inspired!

Dr. Valerio Faraoni Among Winners of 2020 Visualizing Science Image Contest

Organized by the Canadian Science Publishing, the Visualizing Science image contest is a scientific image (photographs, infographics, images from the lab, computer generated images, etc.) contest where entries are divided in three categories: from the lab, from the machine and from the field.

Dr. Valerio Faraoni of the Department of Physics and Astronomy was the From the Field winner of the 2020 edition. More than only a question of aesthetics, selected images needed to communicate a scientific phenomenon, and Dr. Faraoni’s photograph, A Canadian view of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability, is not exception.

A Canadian view of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability

These freezing rain drops on arctic willows are regularly spaced. Gravity fights surface tension and a single periodic wave grows (Rayleigh-Taylor instability) and freezes, explains Dr. Faraoni. In a completely different context, hypothetical 5-dimensional black strings exhibit exactly the same instability, which makes them decay into black holes (the frozen drop analogues). (In my research,) I am looking for analogies between relativistic gravity and more ordinary systems or phenomena. During the past year, I looked at analogies between cosmology and oceanography, glaciology, earthquakes, and several other physical and natural phenomena, some of them with the help of Bishop’s undergraduates.

Discovery of a Giant Planet Orbiting a White Dwarf

Giant Planet Orbiting a White DwarfDr. Lorne Nelson of the Physics and Astronomy department was part of an international team that discovered the first planet to orbit the burned-out core of its parent star. The observations and analysis were published in Nature, which is considered to be the world’s premier science journal.

The planet known as WD 1856b was discovered using NASA’s TESS space telescope and it makes one complete orbit in an incredibly short 34 hours! As Professor Nelson explains: “This is a truly remarkable discovery because what we have found is a giant planet that is about the same size as Jupiter but that is in a very close orbit with a white dwarf which itself is the burned-out core of the parent star. The big surprise is that the planet survived the death of its parent star and then somehow migrated inwards very close to the white dwarf core.”

After the initial observations were taken, it became apparent that WD 1856b could only be one of three things: a giant planet; a brown dwarf; or a red dwarf. Red dwarfs are the smallest of the stars and brown dwarfs are the missing link between giant gas planets such as Jupiter and the smallest stars such as red dwarfs. Using Professor Nelson’s computer-generated models of brown dwarfs and red dwarfs in combination with infrared observations from the Spitzer space telescope, they determined that the object was indeed a giant planet that likely had not been engulfed by the parent star when it expanded to become a red giant during the last stages of its life.

These contributions to the discovery could not have been made without many years of work needed to develop the theory and generate the models. Several former Bishop’s students have made invaluable contributions to this effort. Chief among them is Jonas Goliasch who completed his Bachelor’s degree in Business and Physics and continued on to finish his MSc. He now teaches at Bishop’s and Champlain CEGEP. Others include Ernie Dubeau who completed his BSc (Honours) and MSc at Bishop’s and now is a tenured professor at Champlain, and Florian Maisonneuve (MSc) and Heather Nangreaves (BSc) who generated many of the models of brown dwarfs and giant planets.

Our own Sun will also expand to become a red giant in about 5 billion years. It will engulf Mercury, then Venus, and likely the Earth. But what will happen to Jupiter and the other giant planets in our solar system? Discoveries such as WD1856b will guide us to the answer and help us understand the underlying physical principles.

Photo Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Graduate Studies at BU: Contributing to the ever-evolving spirit of pedagogical excellence and equity-minded higher education

Tanisha Mélanie CampbellMontrealer Tanisha Mélanie Campbell is a 30-year old student who, like many of us, sought to make use of her extra time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being the first in her family to graduate from university, she did not have the luxury to learn how to make in-animate objects out of cake or TikTok videos and so she enrolled In Bishop’s University’s Knowledge Mobilization Graduate Certificate Program. The online learning experience was quite new to her but since she could pour her mental resources into this new educational platform it was a challenge worth tackling. The courses were extremely informative in explaining how communication skills and methodologies play a substantial role in bringing key information to the target stakeholders in the right format at the right time – it all began to make sense. As we swipe and click through the different sources on what information to believe regarding the COVID pandemic, the role of Knowledge Mobilization became clear. “I need to be in this role – one way or another,” thought Tanisha as she then applied this sense of urgency to her field of immediate interest: EDI representation within the higher educational context. During her role as a Knowledge Mobilizer within the Maple League of Universities, she co-created opportunities to apply the teachings and skills she recently learned and collaborated with other students to bring a variety of products advocating for change in the higher education setting. It was truly enriching and encouraging to witness how the perspectives of students and faculty consolidated into one big picture and she was able to visualize how she wanted to contribute to the process.

On a more personal level, Tanisha noticed a few internal changes: She gained a strong sense of autonomy as she implemented her new-found knowledge and other transferable skills to help her colleagues; she often had a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment as she worked with others to disseminate information, and; she noticed my awareness shift as she made links between faculty and student perspectives and the unspoken nuances in between. Using her new-found knowledge and intrinsic motivation, Tanisha endeavors to bring positive change in the education system through her official role as the Maple League Student Fellow in charge of Knowledge Mobilization and Community Engagement.

Dr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé Launches a Podcast on Security and Defense

Conseils de sécuritéDr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé of the Department of Politics and International Studies, together with Thomas Juneau of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, recently launched a podcast called Conseils de sécurité.

In the first episode, they discussed United Nations (UN), United-States, China and human rights with François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada. In the second episode, they received Daniel Jean, former National Security Advisor under Premier Trudeau, to talk about threats in Canada, intelligence, UN, and negotiations in North Korea and Haiti.

If this podcast is a novel way for Dr. Martin-Brûlé to disseminate her knowledge, she has always been committed on having an impact on the professional, local, and global communities, and many of her projects put knowledge into action. For example, she trained future women leaders in UN Peace Operations and women from the Sahel countries to fully participate to the current and future peace processes. Moreover, her current work will result in policy recommendations to the UN and to the Canadian Department of National Defense.

When asked why she launched this podcast and what are her expectations, Dr. Martin-Brûlé answered: This new podcast is the first in Canada to focus on security and defense issues in French. With this podcast, we aim to reach out to a wide audience notably of Francophones and Francophiles in Canada and abroad.  It is also a tool of knowledge mobilization and dissemination that we find useful to reach different types of audiences.  In this vein, we aim to invite scholars, but also practitioners from different fields:  national and international civil servants from government, international institutions and organizations, civil society, military, police. We thus want to discuss security and defense issues from a wide spectrum of approaches/angles. 

If you want to listen to the first two episodes, they are available on SoundCloud, on the CGAI Podcast Network.

Bishop’s Undergraduate Students Gaining Experience in Research Thanks to Mitacs

During Summer 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Mitacs launched the Research Training Awards, a new program providing opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to undertake a paid research training internship. In this Research Spotlight, our two BU RTA Awardees share their experience!

Catherine Moleski, Applied Psychology

Catherine Moleski

“I’m very grateful to have been given the chance to participate in a Mitacs research training internship under the supervision of Dr. Adrianna Mendrek. My project explores the relationships between self-compassion, body image, self-esteem, menstrual attitudes and eating disorder symptoms. It also asks those with lived experience of an eating disorder or disordered eating how they have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: what have they found challenging? What has been helpful during this time?

To date, the project is going well! I’ve been through the ethics approval process, learned how to build an online survey for data collection, recruited participants, and have begun to analyze the data. Participants have been very generous and forthcoming with sharing their experience. Preliminary results show the emergence of some really interesting themes in terms of mental health and body image, both positively and negatively. I am looking forward to seeing what other themes emerge, and how they link with self-compassion and the other measures.

I have had a fantastic experience working on this project. The Mitacs internship has given me the chance to undertake from start to finish a project that has deep personal and academic meaning for me. The internship has enriched my academic experience by providing me valuable hands-on research skills, and I’ve discovered areas of interest where I might like to take my Honours thesis. It has also given me the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member, and I feel incredibly supported by everyone who has helped me on this project. Ultimately, I hope that the findings from this project can be shared with the wider scientific community in order to increase our knowledge of eating disorders, and how we might better inform approaches to recovery.”

Olivia Hewitt, Social Studies and Secondary Education

Olivia Hewitt

” This past summer I had the opportunity to work with Dr. David Webster, a history professor at Bishop’s University, uniting three areas of study, education, history, and international studies. The aim of the project was to collect, document, describe, and disseminate the archival records of the international movement in support of the independence of East Timor, covering the period of 1975-1999. I collected and scanned archival records, described them using International council of Archives standards, and shared the digitized records, and full descriptions, online, on the Timor International Solidarity Archive (TiSA), a web page based on the Access to Memory (AtoM) platform. TiSA shares digitized documents from the global solidarity movement which operated from 1975 to 1999 in diverse countries, including Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Portugal, the United States and Timor-Leste itself.

The project and research I completed this summer contributed new documentary evidence from multiple archives and make this evidence available to researchers and the general public, thereby contributing to the state of knowledge in this field, as well as making already-available documents and archival material more widely available. Overall, my involvement with the project has allowed for more documentation to be added helping the innovation of this online archive to become the leading international documentary evidence for solidarity for East Timor. My research focused on identifying and detailing files from a solidarity organization situated in Perth, Australia called the Friends of East Timor-Western Australia (FOET-WA). Additionally, I had the opportunity to select documents and write two articles on the most interesting aspects of my research. In my first article, I focused on solidarity activists and their experiences when traveling to East Timor during the mid-1970s to late 1990s. While my second article, which I am currently still writing, explores the ownership of a solidarity movement, emphasizing on the international movement in solidarity with East Timor.

Exploring this obscure but complex conflict that shook a major region in Asia has allowed me to broaden my view on international and historical global issues. As a student studying history and secondary education, with the hopes to become a high school history teacher, this project has allowed me to develop a greater understanding of the importance of research and the impact a solidarity movement can have on one small nation. I am grateful for this opportunity to have participated in this project and it has truly enriched my academic growth and experience.”

Increasing and Showcasing Knowledge Mobilization Capacity Thanks to the RESEARCH SUPPORT FUND, Research Impact Canada, and Future Skills Canada

The Research Support Fund (RSF) of the Government of Canada is a program that provides funds to cover a portion of the costs associated with managing the research funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Research Support Fund grants are based on the funding received by researchers from the three federal agencies in the three most recent years for which data are available. One major objective of the RSF is to help promote knowledge mobilization, the act of transforming knowledge into action. Bishop’s University is committed to knowledge mobilization, which is reflected in our Research Strategic Plan. Bishop’s student and faculty researchers contribute and must continue to contribute to the generation of new knowledge, to mobilizing this knowledge to relevant community partners and users of the research and, in doing so, contribute to innovation and economic development of the region, province and country.

This year, funds from the RSF are helping Bishop’s University increase the impact of our research through a membership in Research Impact Canada. Research Impact Canada (RIC) is a pan-Canadian network of universities committed to maximizing the impact of academic research for the public good in local and global communities. Committed to developing institutional capacities to support creating and assessing impacts of research, scholarship and creative activities, RIC develops and shares best practices, services and tools among their members. Bishop’s involvement with the network will connect us with experts and provide us with education materials and funding to support and grow our institution’s capacity for knowledge mobilization.

With this recent inclusion to the RIC network, Bishop’s was provided an opportunity to support knowledge mobilization among our student population more concretely. Thanks to RIC and Future Skills Canada, Bishop’s is creating a fellowship opportunity for alumni of our unique graduate certificate in knowledge mobilization. This program will offer the awardees the opportunity of working over a five-month period with one of Bishop’s University’s Canada Research Chairs to assist in the mobilization and dissemination of their research. This program will provide an intensive training opportunity for our recent graduates who are transitioning into knowledge mobilization as a profession. They will offer our awardees with an opportunity to advance their applied knowledge mobilization skill set, enhance their portfolio and increase their competitiveness as they move into the knowledge mobilization job market, while enhancing the research impact and visibility of our Canada Research Chairs.

For more information on the RIC – Future Skills – Bishop’s Knowledge Mobilization Fellowships, please visit the Internal Funding Competitions page of our website. Recent graduates of the Knowledge Mobilization Certificate have until September 30, 2020, 16:00 p.m. to apply.

If you are interested in knowledge mobilization, you can visit the website of our graduate certificate. Graduates of this certificate will be appealing to employers such as government, NGOs and healthcare organizations, to name a few, and will have the necessary skills to introduce evidence-base new practices outside of academia.

Doing Research During a Pandemic: Dr. Patrick Bergeron’s Field Work

With the virus still present and the population slowly getting used to this new normal, we are in a phase of gradual resumption of activities. Last April, the Government allowed essential ongoing research in Health, Natural Science and Engineering. Currently, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies is working closely with the Research Ethics Board and the Senate Research Committee on a policy and procedures to oversee in-person research with human participants. Even with the health (and family) constraints brought by COVID-19, academics have adapted and continued, the best they could and as safely as possible, their research and creative activities. Dr. Patrick Bergeron of the Department of Biological Sciences is a Bishop’s University example of managing those constraints, while conducting research with animals.

In May, Dr. Bergeron and his team started their annual field work near Mansonville (Québec) for their long-term population study of Eastern chipmunks. The Chipmunk Project aims to investigate and quantify the effects of both genetic and environmental factors on physiological and behavioral traits. This ongoing project, in collaboration with researchers from Université de Sherbrooke and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), started in 2004. About 1800 individuals have been monitored through these years and it was thus essential to maintain basic data collection to continue this longitudinal study and avoid losing track of reproduction and populations trends.

Each captured chipmunk is uniquely tagged, sexed, aged and measured. Docility and exploration tests are also done, and samples are taken.

In order to comply to safety procedures, special measures were put in place. This year, the field team was reduced to a minimum, and only two experienced graduate students and two researchers (Dr. Bergeron and Dr. Réale, from UQAM), working independently, were collecting data. This is an important change from a usual field season, which could reunite up to 10 students and researchers. In reducing the size of the team, they had to work especially long hours this year, showing their dedication to the project and to research as a whole. Interactions between team members were also limited in transportation to the field sites, and no material was exchanged on the field. To ensure their safety, they each had a walkie talkie to frequently report to each other.

Dr. Bergeron has varied research interests in local fauna, studying eastern chipmunks and wood frogs, but also in pre-industrial human populations! He is a member of the BU Agro-Biodiversity Team, a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research team studying how agricultural practices influence environmental quality.

To learn more about his projects, please visit his website.