Chapter 6. Shine the Light: Using the ICE Framework in Sociology Courses to See the “Big Picture”

6.1 Instructional Context

Mavis Morton – University of Guelph

Have you ever had students struggle with why they are being asked to engage in class activities and assessments? I certainly have! To address this, I use the ICE framework to help students take a step back and get a closer look at the purpose of the course, providing a clearer picture of the reasons that students are being asked to engage with activities and assessments in the first place. More broadly in my teaching across all student levels, I apply ICE in two ways: (1) as a conceptual framework to help make visible the connection between course learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities, and assessment, and, (2) in combination with other pedagogical approaches that help students learn how to critically and accurately read, communicate, and apply academic literature to real-world social problems.

I first heard about the ICE framework in 2014 from my sociology colleague who was introduced to it by one of the educational developers at our institution’s teaching and learning centre. I appreciate the adaptability of ICE and I use it in all the courses I teach. Currently, I use the ICE framework in fourth-year sociology seminar courses as well as in first-year level and graduate-level courses that are open to students from departments outside of sociology. The fourth-year sociology courses are upper-year elective courses that help to fulfill the requirements toward a major in Sociology and/or a joint Criminal Justice and Public Policy (CJPP) honours program. These courses are capped at 30 students; the courses are always full and usually have a waiting list. They offer upper-year students a seminar-style experience that they may not have had until they reach their senior year. The seminars examine contemporary topics related to the specific course and include three hours in class each week with high participation expectations in addition to pre-work that includes reading academic journal articles before each class, as well as individual and group work in and outside of class that are associated with assignments. The following discussion is based on my experience using the ICE framework with these fourth-year sociology courses.


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Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Across the Disciplines: ICE Stories Copyright © 2021 by Sue Fostaty Young, Meagan Troop, Jenn Stephenson, Kip Pegley, John Johnston, Mavis Morton, Christa Bracci, Anne O’Riordan, Val Michaelson, Kanonhsyonne Janice Hill, Shayna Watson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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