Skylight Teaching Series

Skylight hosts a series of interactive seminars where faculty members can present their work and discuss topics related to science education. Join us to engage with your colleagues, share your ideas, enjoy light refreshments, and celebrate the advances our community is making in teaching and learning.

Visit our Supper Series and Online Teaching Series pages for information about the previous versions of this series. 

Organizers General Enquiries
Ashley Welsh (
Stephan Koenig (  

Previous Events

February 2024

Integrating Data Science and Ethics: A Review of the "Fairness, Accountability, Transparency, and Ethics (FATE) in Data Science" Course

When: Tuesday, February 13th, 2024 | 12:30pm-2:00pm
Where: Michael Smith Laboratories, Room 101 (map)


  • Giulia Toti (Department of Computer Science, UBCV)
  • Melissa Lee (Department of Statistics, UBCV)


As Data Science and AI become more and more ubiquitous in our daily lives, the question of how to apply them responsibly becomes more pressing. Both faculty and students recognize the importance of not only acquiring technical skills in this field, but also to learn about the ethical implications arising from AI applications at a large scale. The Computer Science and Statistics departments have collaborated on the creation of a new course titled “Fairness, Accountability, Transparency and Ethics (FATE) in Data Science”. The course aims to equip students with robust data analytics skills while emphasizing shortcomings and pitfalls inherent in poorly designed AI applications. This presentation will provide an insightful overview of the journey that led to the finalization of the FATE course design, delving into its core content and highlighting its reception by the inaugural cohort of students during the Fall 2023 semester. Join us as we explore the intersection of data science and ethics, discussing the rationale behind the course's creation, the key components incorporated into its curriculum, and the initial feedback received from students. 

January 2024

Can We Ensure that EVERY Student Thrives in Teamwork?

When: Tuesday, January 30th, 2024 | 12:30pm-2:00pm
Where: Michael Smith Laboratories, Room 101 (map)


  • Anka Lekhi (Department of Chemistry & Vantage College, UBCV)
  • Celine Ruscher (Department of Chemistry, UBCV)


Research has shown that for the majority of students, team-based learning (TBL) improves students' engagement, team-building skills, and test performance. At the same time, research also indicates that some students may face barriers to participate in teams. For example, historically-marginalized students may worry about how others might perceive them if they ask questions. Similarly, neurodivergent students and students with mental health disorders may struggle with teamwork and the activity may be a counterproductive learning experience.

In this session, we will present results from a qualitative investigation into student experiences of teamwork in three science courses at UBC which use TBL. We recruited 19 students over three academic terms from a Chemistry course (CHEM 301 2022W1 and 2023W1) and two Earth Science courses (EOAS 472 2022W1 and EOAS 314 2022W2). These students self-identified possible barriers to teamwork and participated in pre/post one-on-one interviews and an end-of-year focus group. We also conducted in-class observations of the participants in their teams and had access to their post-TBL self evaluations. Results provide important insights on how to improve the overall teamwork experience in TBL for a diverse range of students. During this session, we will start by introducing TBL pedagogy. We will then discuss how TBL was perceived and experienced by our participants, leading to a discussion of the implications for other types of group work.

December 2023

The “IKEA Model” for Pragmatic Development of a Custom Learning Analytics Dashboard

When: Tuesday, December 12th, 2023 | 12:30pm-2:00pm
Where: Earth Sciences Building, Room 5104 (map)


  • Leah Macfadyen (Master of Educational Technology Program & Department of Language and Literacy Education, UBCV)
  • Alison Myers (Learning Technology Hub & Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, UBCV)


Many educators and learning analytics (LA) practitioners find themselves in ‘learning analytics limbo’, with access only to simplistic one-size-fits-all vendor-driven LA dashboards, as they wait for the development of possible future LA solutions that would allow customizations that genuinely cater to differences in learning design and educator skills. We present here a simple and pragmatically oriented project that allows individual educators to build and customize an LA solution “at home” with relatively simple tools. This open-source project takes advantage of data available to an educator via the LMS and allows them to develop and customize an educator-facing dashboard that meets their teaching and learning design needs. This small-scale solution allows local educators and practitioners to continue to build their data literacy and LA-informed teaching skills and to contribute to ongoing institutional learning by sharing their experience with institutional LA teams. 

November 2023

Preliminary Reports on Implementing Alternative Grading at UBC

When: Tuesday, November 7th, 2023 | 12:30pm-2:00pm
Where: Michael Smith Laboratories, Room 101 (map)


  • Firas Moosvi (Computer Science, UBCV)
  • Suborna Ahmed (Forest Resources Management, UBCV)
  • Marcia Graves (Microbiology and Immunology, UBCV)
  • David Oliver (Microbiology and Immunology, UBCV)
  • Giulia Toti (Computer Science, UBCV)


There has been a lot of discussion on the philosophy and motivation of Alternative Grading systems at UBC over the past few years. It is clear there are many appealing characteristics: more and higher quality feedback for students, more opportunities for students to demonstrate proficiency, more flexibility, and intrinsic motivation. But what happens when it is actually implemented in real classes?

After a brief introduction to establish shared terminology, we will hear from several course instructors (Forestry, Microbiology, Data Science, and Computer Science) on the system they implemented, what worked well for them, what needs to be tweaked for next time, and what was just an unmitigated disaster. The primary aim of this session is to disseminate preliminary instructor experience reports of various forms of Alternative Grading systems. It’ll be a fun session with lots of fun stories, mea culpas, cautionary tales, and of course, fervent zeal. Come one and come all!