Pedagogy Primer Podcast

Provides basic and practical directions, tips, and other insights for teaching in Higher Education. The series is produced primarily for Canisius University faculty, but also may help professors or instructors elsewhere. 

We try to have at least one new episode each month.  You can also find and subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

Music Credit: Gunnar Olsen (via YouTube)

Episode 1: Communicating with Students

Basic considerations and tips for communicating instructions, and updates to your students. Develop consistent procedures that simplify the learning process and focus energy on course substance.

Related Links and Resources

The Basics: Adding Modules, Uploading Files, and Rearranging Modules and Topics - Transcript

Building and Editing Web Pages in D2L's Content Area - Transcript

Embedding Google Docs in D2L (Close Captioned)

Topic and Module Descriptions - Transcript

Try using Video!

Record Webcam Videos to Communicate with Students Transcript

COLI Screencasting Resource

Some Good Reading

Major, Claire. Teaching Online: A Guide to Theory, Research, and Practice. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015. Link.

Nilson, Linda B.  Teaching at its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors. San Francisco: Josey-Bass, 2016.  Link.

Episode 2: The Syllabus

A good syllabus is the cornerstone of a great course.  

Related Links and Resources

Canisius University Griff Center for Academic Engagement

Accessibility Support Office at Canisius University

Tutoring Services at Canisius University

Writing Center at Canisius University

Get a quick list of calendar dates for your course outline using Caleb McDaniel's brilliant "Syllabus Maker."

Episode 3: Practical Course Design

Consider some basic course design principles.

Relevant Links and Resources

A Quick Guide to Basic Course Design

Module 1 and Module 2 of the COLI Guide to Teaching Online has some basics for course design.

Some basic guidelines for determining appropriate student effort in a three-credit course, from the New York State Department of Education.

Organizing your course within D2L begins with understanding modules and topics in the Content area.  Here's the tutorial for that.

More D2L Tutorials for faculty at Canisius University.

Some Good Reading

Nilson, Linda B.  Teaching at its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors. San Francisco: Josey-Bass, 2016.  Link.

Episode 4: Asynchronous Discussions Part 1

Part 1 of a two-part look at Asynchronous Discussions, a useful style of communication most commonly associated with online or hybrid courses, but also useful in face-to-face classes.

Relevant Links and Resources

COLI Guide to Teaching Online Module 4: Communication & Creation.

/wiki/spaces/FacTS/pages/35136338for asynchronous discussion instructions for students.  You may adopt or adapt these to your classes.  

Our D2L Self-Paced Training for Faculty has a video series that shows how to organize, manage, and optimize your asynchronous discussions within D2L.

Some Good Reading

Leiberman, Mark.  "Discussion Boards: Valuable? Overused? Discuss."  March 27th, 2019.  

Major, Claire. Teaching Online: A Guide to Theory, Research, and Practice. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015. Link.

Peery, Tammy Stuart and Samantha Streamer Veneruso.  "Balancing Act: Managing Instructor Presence and Workload When Creating an Interactive Community of Learners."  March 15th, 2012.

Episode 5: Asynchronous Discussions Part 2

Part 2 of a two-part look at Asynchronous Discussions.

Relevant Links and Resources

COLI Guide to Teaching Online Module 4: Communication & Creation.

/wiki/spaces/FacTS/pages/35136338for asynchronous discussion instructions for students.  You may adopt or adapt these to your classes.  

Community Standards and Polices at Canisius University.

Some Good Reading

Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online.  Taken from Judith Boettcher and Rita-Marie Conrad's The Online Teaching Survival Guide.  Among other things, this article includes great basic tips for online asynchronous discussions.

Episode 6: Dr. Graham Stowe: Student Writers and Writing

We are joined by Dr. Graham Stowe, Director of the Writing Center and Assistant Professor English at Canisius College.  Professor Stowe helps us determine how and why we assign writing as part of our courses, and offers tips on managing writing assignments.  

Relevant Links and Resources

Canisius University Writing Center.

Dr. Graham Stowe.

Chapter 4 of the COLI Guide to Teaching Online: Communication & Creation.

Episode 7: Dr. Richard Reitsma: Borders, Migration, and Jesuit Pedagogy

This episode features a conversation with Dr. Richard Reitsma, director and founder of the Borders and Migrations Initiative at Canisius College as well as the Chair of Modern Languages, Literature, Culture. In this conversation, we talk about how borders, migration, and Jesuit pedagogy can impact learning experiences in and out of the classroom.

Relevant Links and Resources

Dr. Reitsma’s Faculty page:

Borders and Migrations Initiative Link:

Borders & Migration Initiative Toolkit: 

Borders and Migration Events: 

Spanish Program Page: 

Kino Border and Migration: 

Episode 8: Dr. Malini Suchack: Online and In the Classroom

We are joined by Dr. Malini Suchak, Associate Professor in the Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation, and Anthrozoology Programs at Canisius College.  

Professor Suchak, a long-time advisor to COLI's pedagogy development program, reflects on her experiences teaching online, face-to-face, and during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Her insights and perspective inspires us to draw upon and blend these experiences into better teaching and learning in the future.

Relevant Links and Resources

Dr. Malini Suchak

Professor Malini Suchak at Canisius University

Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conversation (ABEC) at Canisius University

Anthrozoology at Canisius University

COLI Guide to Teaching Online


Episode 9: Mrs. Sarah Galasso: Transitioning from the Private Sector to Higher Education

This episode features a conversation with Mrs. Sarah Galasso, Associate Professor of Digital Media Arts at Canisius College. 

In this conversation, Mrs. Galasso reflects on her life experiences related to transitioning from the private sector to freelancing to Villa Maria College and finally to Canisius College.

Relevant Links and Resources

Mrs. Sarah Galasso’s Faculty Page 

August Productions 

Guide for New Faculty 

Episode 10: Yvonne Widenor: Art, Students, and Community

Professor Yvonne Widenor joins the podcast to discuss students’ diverse ways of discovering and appreciating art, both in and outside the classroom, and connecting art to their day-to-day lived experience.  Along the way she provides some great tips on fostering student creativity and employing popular culture in course activities.  She also discusses the benefits of campus-centered art promotion programs, both for the University and for its communities. 

Relevant Links and Resources

Yvonne Widenor

ArtsCanisius on Facebook


Episode 11: Feedback: A Learning Situation

In this episode, we discusses ways to improve professor feedback on student work.  Make your feedback commentary another great opportunity for students to learn, and help students get the most from it.

Great Sources

Brookhart, Susan.  How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students.  ASCD, 2017.  

Koehler, Johann.  The Feedback Loop: When Less is More, and When More is Less.  Graduate Student Instructor Teaching & Resource Center, University of California at Berkeley. 2016.

Walvoord, Barbara and Virginia Johnson Anderson.  Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment in College. Wiley, 2011.

COLI.  Lesson 4 of the COLI Guide for Teaching Online.

D2L Tutorials - we recommend looking at the following sections:

  • Rubrics
  • Dropbox
  • Quizzes and Exams

Episode 12: Mr. Matthew Kochan: Information Literacy, Library Technology, and Student Learning

A brief discussion about what Information Literacy is, how it applies to student work, and how to do it effectively. We will also discuss Open Education Resources, OER’s, what they are, how they can be used in the classroom, and some of the advantages and disadvantages of OER’s over traditional text.


Colvard, Nicholas B., et al. “The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics.” International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, vol. 30, no. 2, 2018, p. 15.

Redden, Molly. “7 in 10 Students Have Skipped Buying a Textbook Because of Its Cost, Survey Finds.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 23 Aug. 2011,

“Student Group Releases New Report on Textbook Prices.” Student PIRGs, 3 Feb. 2016,

“Trends in College Pricing 2019”. College Board, Nov. 2019, p. 36.

Other Links

Mr. Matthew Kochan

Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library

Information Literacy LibGuide

Open Education Resources

OER Commons

Canisius University Databases

Canisius University Research Guides

Episode 13: Note-taking: Help Students take Better Notes

In this episode, I will give a brief monologue on some tips and activities that instructors can use to help students to take better notes during class. I will also cover a few ways instructors can encourage students to become more involved in the lecture.


Barkley, Elizabeth F., and Claire Howell Major. Interactive Lecturing a Handbook for College Faculty. Jossey-Bass ;John Wiley & Sons, 2018. Open WorldCat,

Davis, Tessa. “Https://Twitter.Com/Tessardavis/Status/1359819223212699648.” Twitter, Accessed 16 Mar. 2022.

“Home.” The K. Patricia Cross Academy, Accessed 17 Mar. 2022.

McMurtie, Beth. “A ‘Stunning’ Level of Student Disconnection Professors Are Reporting Record Numbers of Students Checked out, Stressed out, and Unsure of Their Future.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Accessed April 12, 2022.

Other Links

Note-taking and Studying for College

Creating SlideDecks

Microsoft Lens App for Scanning Written Documents

Episode 14: Jennifer Patrick: Preparing Students for Business School (and Professional Life)

Jennifer Patrick, Director of Executive Education and Leadership in the Richard J. Wehle School of Business at Canisius College, discusses the Leadership and Professional Development Certificate.  A foundational feature of a Wehle School education, the LPD program helps students find their professional personality, and hone learning, communication, organization, and self-expression skills essential for success as team members, leaders, and entrepreneurs.  

Relevant Links and Resources

Leadership and Professional Development Certificate.

Richard J. Wehle School of Business

Jennifer Patrick at Canisius University

Episode 15: Matthew Gracie and Dr. Justin Del Vecchio: Cybersecurity Prospects and Practices

We are joined by Dr. Justin Del Vecchio and Matthew Gracie, both faculty in the Department of Quantitative Sciences and the Cybersecurity graduate program.  They discuss the possibilities for cybersecurity students and graduates, and some of the day-to-day aspects of work for cybersecurity professionals.  They also offer advice on keeping current in cybersecurity issues, and great practices for the rest of us in keeping our digital data, work, and life secure from intrusion or loss.  

 Relevant Links and Resources

Cybersecurity Program at Canisius

Dr. Justin Del Vecchio

Matthew Gracie (@infosecgoon on Twitter)

Security Onion Solutions

Infosec 716

BSides Buffalo

Episode 16: First Year Experience

We discuss Canisius University's First Year Experience (FYE) program, with directors Tracy Callaghan and Dr. Jennifer Desiderio, and Lead FYE Peer Mentor Mason Bowes.  The FYE is a foundational course for most of the university's new students, and a crucial set of resources to help Golden Griffins start strong in their academic career.

Relevant Links and Resources

First Year Experience at Canisius

Tracy Callaghan (in the Griff Center for Student Success)

Dr. Jennifer Desiderio

Mason Bowes

Episode 17: Game Based Pedagogy

Dr. Jonathan Lawrence, Associate Professor in Religious Studies, is joined by recent Canisius graduates Mylan Hawkins and Abby Bradley to discuss the use of historical simulation games in their recent classes.  Dr. Lawrence uses Reacting to the Past series games to teach concepts in the study of world religions, as well as critical analysis skills common across the liberal arts.  He has written a game focused on Jesuit history, appropriate at Canisius College but also any course where perspectives on religion intersect with social class and political institutions. 

Hawkins and Bradley provide valuable student perspectives: it is fun to learn this way, but it was also challenging.  Game-based learning makes rigorous demands on students' research, analysis, and presentations skills, as well as creativity, emotional intelligence and collegiality.  At the same time, it compels students to consider the relationship between their cultures and experiences in the present, and people's problems and choices in the past.  Along the way, they encountered plenty of surprises, too!  

Relevant Links and Resources

Dr. Jonathan Lawrence  

Reacting to the Past Consortium 

Course Catalog: Religious Studies at Canisius 

Episode 18: Dr. Mary Becker: Collaboration in Business Education

Dr. Mary Becker is Assistant Professor in Finance, in the Richard J. Wehle School of Business at Canisius University.  In Dr. Becker's courses, students learn the practices of institutional finance through collaborative exercises.  These problem-solving activities closely simulate processes within real-world financial institutions.  In this episode, Professor Becker discusses the challenges of group work assignments, and also the methods she has honed over several years that support effective, engaging student collaboration. 

Relevant Links and Resources

Dr. Mary Becker at Canisius University