Collaboration Highlight: CJHS x CTLI

Collaboration Highlight: CJHS x CTLI

The meaning of written communication changes drastically depending on its grammar and punctuation (or lack thereof). 

Take, for instance, the following excerpt from this police report: 

Victim claims to have had her personal documents stolen. At her apartment. The front door was locked. With no evidence of tampering. The back door was locked. With no evidence of tampering. The main floor window was open. Screen removed. The victim has provided the time and date that she presumes this crime happened in. 

This report contained so many grammatical errors that it was removed from evidence, not only affecting the victim involved but also discrediting the officer in the process. 

Addressing a detrimental knowledge gap

Of course, unclear communication will not always result in such dramatic outcomes. Sending a text with typos probably won’t cause you much grief. But, as we saw in the example above, clear communication is imperative in the criminal justice field. 

So, when both industry experts and instructors in Lethbridge College’s Criminal Justice and Health Studies (CJHS) program noticed a major gap in the writing skills of CJHS students entering the workforce, they were compelled to make a change.  

Based on their history of collaborating, CJHS stakeholders chose to partner with The Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation (CTLI) to address this knowledge gap through writing modules. 

Person looking at phone with communication symbols (document, chatting, emoji, paper airplane) around them

Defining the most learner-centric solution

Originally intended as supplementary learning resources, the writing modules were embedded into classroom tutorials hosted by CTLI, but the collaboration decided there was greater value in publishing them as an independent, non-academic course. 

When creating these writing modules, the big question was: How do we provide meaningful writing skills improvement without overburdening learners–or their instructors? 

To solve this problem, CJHS and CTLI recollected the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), determining the modules had to be: 

  • foundational, bite-sized, and user-friendly 
  • interactive, asynchronous, and accessible from any device 
  • relevant content aligned with the CJHS discipline 

After research, reflection, and testing, the partnership settled on building the modules in Articulate Rise 360, an interactive, course-authoring software program designed to seamlessly integrate with most learning management systems–including the college’s. 

The focus on discipline-aligned content

CJHS and CTLI chose to embed the writing support modules with real-life examples (like the excerpt above) from the criminal justice field. They concluded that discipline-specific content would be much more engaging, and help CJHS learners better relate to, and retain, the material. 

An overview of CJHS Writing Modules

Designed primarily for first-year students, the CJHS Writing Modules contain writing knowledge on several foundational elements, including: 

Now, when students are struggling with written communication skills, instructors can recommend these bite-sized learning modules. This will not only better-equip students for the workforce, but it will also help learners gain more confidence in their own communication abilities. 

Benefits of CJHS Writing Modules

From emails to essays, these writing modules will help students develop foundational, transferable life skills, including: 

  • clearer communication 
  • boosted self-confidence 
  • increased credibility 

It may also alleviate anxiety in students by showing them that they’re not the only ones struggling with writing and communication skills. 

Supporting instructors in their critical role of imparting knowledge is equally important as helping learners. So, not adding to their courseload is essential.  

These asynchronous writing supports will also help instructors by: 

  • increasing their confidence in sending better-equipped students into the CJHS workforce 
  • alleviating their workload as they won’t need to spend extra time and energy teaching students foundational-level skills 

Learner-centric innovation

This collaboration with CJHS has sparked discussions at CTLI about the need for more bite-sized, interactive learning supports that contain discipline-specific content.  

Though more consideration is needed for how to best accommodate all types of learners, these modules offer insight into how we can effectively (and seamlessly) integrate better supports to help our learners–and instructors–excel. 

Need collaboration or support on a project?

Are you struggling to help your students develop better communication skills?  

Do you need support in better aligning your content to UDL principles? 

Perhaps you have the kernel of an idea that just needs some ideating to really pop! 

Whatever you’re cooking up, CTLI wants to collaborate with you.  

Connect with us and let’s make your project shine! 

Laura Coad

Academic Strategist

Tatiana Kloster

Learning Cafe & Ed Dev Coordinator

Jordana Gagnon


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