Dr. Jillian Westcott featured in Gazette’s Teaching Tuesdays series
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Dr. Jillian Westcott encourages a high level of engagement among her students during in-person classes – something she has worked hard to replicate during a year of remote classes.Jillian Westcott-350

She is featured in the Gazette’s Teaching Tuesdays series of videos produced by Memorial’s Centre for Teaching and Learning.

An instructor and researcher in the Marine Institute’s School of Fisheries, Dr. Westcott teaches undergraduate and graduate students in aquaculture and business management programs, certificate courses offered through community-based education programs and also supervises research-based master’s students.

“My approach to teaching very much focuses on my passion for engagement and connection in the classroom. It’s very challenging not to be face to face with students, so something as simple as having my video camera on during my synchronous lectures is important and provides a connection with students as I’m lecturing.”

The recordings are also available for those who cannot make the class or want to review it later.

Dr. Westcott’s usual open-door policy for students has morphed into an open phone and online chat policy using Brightspace, Zoom and MS Teams.

She has also experimented with Brightspace and its tools for conducting breakout-out sessions and the polling feature to gauge students’ understanding of lecture material and spark class discussions.

“Active learning is key to my classes. I try to get students to participate during class and I really try to focus on that towards the end of the semester when they’re feeling stressed and losing some of their momentum.”

She also relies on email to keep in touch – emailing each student to welcome them to the course, providing office hours and ways to book meetings, committing to 24-hour or shorter response times for emailed questions, posting weekly course summaries and checking in with them periodically.

Dr. Westcott credits a number of people with aiding in the development of her remote classes, including CITL, her MI faculty colleagues with instructional design know-how and lab demonstrators who develop videos of hands-on lab work.

“They are the experts and they’ve all been very supportive in providing technical assistance and professional development sessions in using Brightspace tools. My colleagues at the Marine Institute have also been a priceless resource in course delivery and curriculum development.”