June Faculty Spotlight

Teresa Goff is a full-time faculty member in the School of Media, Art and Design at Durham College (DC). Teresa teaches Journalism – Mass Media Fundamentals to first- and second-year journalism students. Her courses include Critical and Opinion Writing, Writing for Broadcast, Feature Writing and Publishing. She also teaches new full-time faculty in the Curriculum Design and Development course, as part of DC’s College Teaching Certificate program.

Before starting her career at DC, Teresa worked as a media professional in radio and magazines for 20 years in Vancouver. After moving to Ontario in 2012, she began her career at DC as a faculty for the Music Business Management program and began teaching in the journalism program when it became available.

Teresa says, “That was the beginning and I am very lucky to be working with a great team of people.”

Teresa has comprehensive knowledge in the field of journalism and her teaching principles are focused on internationalization, indigenization and project-based learning.

She says, “Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to develop and deliver curriculum out of DC’s global class.”

Discussions with students in the global classroom with guests and post-secondary students from around the world build a global perspective that contributes to the creation of critical thinking skills that are important for future journalists and global citizens.

Teresa has also developed a passion for project-based teaching that helps her encourage students through real-life learning. In her Feature Writing and Publishing class, she collaborated with the #OshTeachingCity through the City Idea Lab to give students the opportunity to work directly with DC’s education contact at ARC GIS, a mapping and spatial reasoning platform, to redesign the City of Oshawa’s Culture Map in consultation with Kirsten Frankish, the Cultural Development and Programming Supervisor.

Teresa uses the Jumpstart Model of Learning: Connection, Content, Practice and Summary. For project-based learning, she provides students with examples and then a model of what is required to get to the final project. This follows the agile process, which requires students to split the project into its components and check in at each point for deadlines to hold students on the task.

Teresa is also committed to the indigenization of the curriculum at DC and over the last four years, has partnered with Julie Pigeon at the First Peoples Indigenous Centre (FPIC) and Jennifer Weymark at the Oshawa Museum on a project called #LandWhereWeStand. This provides students with an opportunity to learn about the history of the lands through a visit to the FPIC, an annotated city bus tour starting at a city intersection where the First Nations of Wendat had a village in 1450 B.C.E., followed by a guided tour of the Indigenous exhibition at the Oshawa Museum. Students then select their own stories and create a multi-media online article.

When asked about her motivation to teach, Teresa replied, “I get my motivation from my students.”

As a teacher, she further supports students by creating work-integrated learning opportunities. These authentic experiences enable students to determine what they excel at, and what they may want to do in their careers.

Teresa says, “I am able to adapt my classroom atmosphere so that everyone can be successful. From this place of trust and support, I am then able to build a bond that allows me to help my students produce their best work.”

According to Teresa, teachers should be open, vulnerable and genuine towards their students. Telling stories about the field experiences and making them relevant to the students’ learning can stimulate their development.

Teresa says, “Every day, my students make me a better teacher.”

Teresa uses a variety of educational technology tools to support student learning based on her students’ needs. In DC Connect, she sets up her courses for first-year students based on weeks and second-year classes based on themes and content. She uses polling tools to receive feedback on assignments. To group students for in-class activities, she uses an online randomizer and for writing assignments, an online timer. To give feedback on assignments, she uses video messages. FlipGrid is used as a Discussion Tool that is directly embedded in DC Connect. When using technology, she ensures that the universal design for learning is kept in mind and offers multiple means of representing and engaging content, as well as expressing what has been learned.

Teresa advises, “Don’t use technology simply because it’s cool, use it as a learning tool.”

As a journalist, Teresa has borrowed from the agile approach of working on projects and she claims that this method of splitting up a project into many stages and concentrating on continual collaboration and quality development would enable educators to build course content that meets the needs of our learners.

She says, “The move to online learning is a wonderful chance to reconsider the way we teach.”