Enhancing your teaching
Critical Incidents DVDs
The Critical Incidents DVDs are compressed case studies that depict a variety of challenges associated with post-secondary teaching and learning. The vignettes in each DVD provide a basis for problem-solving discussions — helpful for instructors, students, and administrative staff alike.
Each DVD contains a number of scenes lasting from three to four minutes each, with discussion questions following each episode. A discussion guidebook is included with the purchase of each DVD.
DVD 1: Incident #1: "Do I Have to Write it for You?"
A dependent student is meeting with a professor to get advice on how to complete an essay assignment. The vignette raises questions about the amount of help that should be extended to students and the ways that people can be helped to achieve higher levels of conceptual reasoning.
DVD 1: Incident #2: "Boring!"
A history professor is lecturing in a particularly monotonous way. Student attention is obviously lagging. The scene prompts discussion of ways to enliven presentations and maintain student attention.
DVD 1: Incident #3: "Extensions, Extensions..."
A student buttonholes a teacher with a last-minute request for an extension on an assignment deadline. This tends to stimulate discussion of when and how to deal with requests for extensions to deadlines for submission of assigned work.
DVD 1: Incident #4: "Petulant and Persistent"
A petulant and persistent student is complaining to a professor about a grade that she has been given for an assignment in his course. The professor becomes quite defensive and this encourages participants to identify some of the do's and don'ts in dealing with complaints about assigned grades.
DVD 1: Incident #5: "Hectoring and Harassment"
An aggressive male student is contesting a grade that he has been given by a female faculty member. The student's behaviour escalates towards intimidation and harassment. This incident stimulates discussion of both preventative and responsive strategies.
DVD 1: Incident #6: "Failure to Project"
A teacher is struggling to convey information but making a series of mistakes in his use of the overhead projector. This prompts discussion of the appropriate use of the overhead projector including such considerations as pacing, legibility and alternative presentation media.
DVD 1: Incident #7: "Campaigning for TA Alliance"
An undergraduate student is trying to win the support of the teaching assistant for his complaints about a professor. This raises issues that may occur in the relationship between TA's to their supervising professors and also the question of where TA's should position themselves in their relationships with undergraduate students.
DVD 1: Incident #8: "TA's Adrift"
Two graduate teaching assistants share their frustration at the lack of clear grading protocols for the course they are assigned to. They feel that the professor should be giving more direction in order to assure uniformity in standards. This situation triggers discussion of fairness and appropriate supervision.
DVD 1: Incident #9: "Students Seeking Structure"
Two students come to a professor's office to express concern about his teaching methods which they find too informal and unstructured. This encounter will encourage participants to explore the place of experiential learning methods and the impact of learning styles on this approach.
DVD 1: Incident #10: "International Misunderstanding"
Three students from Indonesia have come to their professor to request that he spend more time lecturing and less on class discussion. This vignette promotes discussion of the impact of cultural factors on teaching and learning processes.
DVD 2: Incident #1: "Missing Paper"
A student insists that she handed in a paper, but the instructor has no record or recollection of it. The student then offers to print a fresh copy. This encounter raises questions of fairness and flexibility.
DVD 2: Incident #2: "Losing Control"
An instructor who encourages lively classroom discussion encounters problems as the class deteriorates into a verbal free-for-all. This situation can be used to stimulate an exploration of guidelines for equitable and effective class discussions.
DVD 2: Incident #3: "Voices of Women"
Two students meet with an instructor to suggest that his academic approach-- and his classroom behaviour--are biased towards male participation and a male perspective. This scene tends to prompt discussion of a wide variety of gender issues in the classroom.
DVD 2: Incident #4: "Harassment and Cultural Differences"
A Muslim teaching assistant appeals to her supervisor to confront a male undergraduate student who the TA feels has been paying undue attention to her. This stimulates discussion of cultural differences, perceived harassment and the role of the harassment office.
DVD 2: Incident #5: "Diversity and Expectations"
A Chinese teaching assistant approaches a TA colleague for advice on how to handle many of his North American students who don't seem to do the required preparation for his Chemistry labs. This promotes exploration of laboratory assistant supervision and cultural differences in teaching and learning.
DVD 2: Incident #6: "Academic Standards"
An African-American student questions the comments that a professor has written on his paper; he construes them as inappropriate and racist while the instructor maintains that he must uphold reasonable academic standards. This scene triggers discussion of the assumptions of the cultural perspective of the academy and what may or may not constitute racism.
DVD 2: Incident #7: "Trust and Fairness"
A student with special learning needs explains the reasons why she will require a change in the format of an exam. The instructor wants to ensure that this arrangement will be fair to other students. This encounter stimulates discussion of the many issues related to the accommodation of students with special needs.
DVD 2: Incident #8: "Group Assignment"
Two students explain to an instructor the problems that they are encountering with a non-productive member of their project group. This scenario flags issues related to the assignment of group work and group grades.
DVD 2: Incident #9: "Proof Perfect"
A student whose work has suddenly and dramatically improved is asked by the course instructor to explain how he achieved this success. It emerges that he received a good deal of assistance from a friend and this raises the issue of when peer helping can lead to academic dishonesty.
DVD 2: Incident #10: "Publish or Perish"
A newer faculty member is given some advice by a senior member of his department on the necessity of concentrating on research and publication rather than on teaching. This encounter triggers discussion of ways to achieve an acceptable balance in a variety academic responsibilities.
DVD 3: Incident #1: "Inattentive Invigilator"
An overworked instructor who is supervising an end of term exam is using the time to complete some other marking. She fails to adequately monitor the examinees and this results in a situation that raises issues related to cheating and fairness.
DVD 3: Incident #2: "First Year Frustrations"
Three students in their first year of university commiserate with one another about some of their experiences with classes and professors. This promotes discussion of the experiences of first year students and ways to improve their learning conditions.
DVD 3: Incident #3: "Special Arrangements? Not Me!"
A faculty member is reluctant to acknowledge and accommodate a student with a learning disability despite advice from the university lawyer that he is required to do so. This encounter stimulates discussion of the many issues related to the accommodation of students with special needs.
DVD 3: Incident #4: "Student Passivity"
A struggling professor is failing to elicit any response from students in a compulsory first year English Literature course that is intended to be driven by class discussion. This promotes the identification of the purpose of class discussion and optimal ways to achieve the maximum participation of students.
DVD 3: Incident #5: "Dominance and Discomfort"
A mature, male student dominates the class discussion and challenges the instructor. This is evidently frustrating to both the professor and the other students. This vignette stimulates discussion of a wide range of issues related to age, race, gender and general classroom management.
DVD 3: Incident #6: "Student Success or Faculty Sanction"
An instructor is warned by the chair of his department about what she regards as the excessively high grades achieved by his students. It emerges that this professor is using a mastery-learning approach which permits students to repeatedly submit work until it reaches the required criteria. This stimulates a wide discussion of grading practices and policies.
DVD 3: Incident #7: "Learner Perspectives"
Three students see the same instructor in very different ways and find him variously effective in meeting their individual learning needs. This exchange triggers an exploration of different learning styles and stages and the challenges that these pose for instructors.
DVD 3: Incident #8: "Referral Required?"
A student is meeting with a professor to request an extension of the due date for submitting an assignment. However, as the conversation progresses some emotionally-charged issues begin to surface. This incident is useful in promoting discussion on where and when to refer students with personal concerns and when to grant extensions.
DVD 3: Incident #9: "Undue Collaboration?"
Two graduate teaching assistants discuss whether student collaboration on assignments is useful and acceptable, or dishonest and reprehensible. This conversation raises questions about grading protocols and practices and the place and value of collaborative learning.
DVD 3: Incident #10: "Discouraged Innovator"
A faculty member who has tried an innovative teaching approach is sharing with a colleague his disappointment with the way that some of his students responded to attempts at creative work. This situation fosters discussion of student expectations and ways to effectively introduce new teaching practices.
DVD 4: Incident #1: "Approachable Technologies"
An unhappy student accosts the professor to complain about his use of a website to convey important course information. This woman is a single mother with limited time to access campus computers and no money to purchase her own. This encounter triggers discussion of equity and access in using some of the new communication technologies.
DVD 4: Incident #2: "Theses: The Lore and the Profs"
Three graduate students are discussing their various struggles with the professors serving as their thesis supervisors. In no case does the relationship seem to be notably productive. This conversation fosters discussion of the mutual expectations of graduate students and their thesis supervisors.
DVD 4: Incident #3: "Critical Student Comments"
A head of a department is discussing with a junior, untenured professor her most recent teaching evaluations. He singles out a few rather damning anecdotal comments. This situation raises questions about the place of anonymous student comments in the evaluation of teaching and the possible influence of gender in this process.
DVD 4: Incident #4: "Whose View Is True?"
Three instructors are sharing their individual perceptions of the same student. They have widely differing points of view and thus various ways of responding to this student. The scenario provokes discussion of confidentiality and the impact of differences in learning style/stage and teaching style.
DVD 4: Incident #5: "Stereotypes and Biases"
Two students are venting their frustrations with a course in which the professor permits stereotyping of followers of Islam to take place during class discussions. They are also concerned that the professor singles them out to comment on South-Asian issues. This exchange stimulates discussion of class norms for respectful discussion.
DVD 4: Incident #6: "Temporary Instructor Tensions"
Two term-appointed or temporary instructors confront the chair of their department about what they perceive as the unfair allocation of teaching assistants. A senior professor with a small class has a TA--they do not. This exchange raises issues related to the increasing reliance on teaching by term appointed instructors rather than tenured faculty.
DVD 4: Incident #7: "Who Is Responsible?"
A professor is approached by a student who is concerned about an error in the instructions for an examination. The professor first attempts to deflect the blame on to a secretary. This encounter triggers discussion of staff and student relations and appropriate faculty behaviour.
DVD 4: Incident #8: "Grading Mysteries"
Three undergraduate students pick up their graded assignments but are mystified by the instructor's comments and the grades that they have been assigned. The episode prompts discussion of the need for detailed feedback and clear grading standards.
DVD 4: Incident #9: "Who Gets the Credit?"
A graduate research assistant is preparing materials for a conference presentation to be made by her research supervisor. Although she has compiled much of the data and written a significant part of the presentation she laments to a colleague that she will receive no recognition. This raises questions such as when and in what way graduate students should be credited for their contributions to faculty research projects.
DVD 4: Incident #10: "Expectations Overload"
Two new faculty share their concerns about extra work generated because of their special status or skills. One is a new female appointment in a Science department, the other is highly computer literate and is much in demand to provide consultation and assistance to his colleagues. This triggers discussion of workload and recognition for these kinds of contributions.
Our increasingly diverse classrooms provide a wonderful richness of benefit to us all. However, this variety of experiences and perspectives is not without problems, and our latest close-captioned DVD contains 3-4 minute long vignettes which identify some of the challenges of diversity and inclusion.
This package include a facilitator's guidebook with suggestions for promoting workshop discussion on the identification of issues and appropriate strategies to enhance inclusion and accommodation of student diversity in a university setting. While most of the incidents are related to a particular discipline, the problem issues are generic and likely to be familiar to most participants
DVD 5: Incident #1: "Learning from differences"
An instructor seeks advice from a colleague on how he might more effectively integrate students into group discussions.
DVD 5: Incident #2: "Intent versus impact"
A student speaks to the instructor about her discomfort with one of his descriptive terms.
DVD 5: Incident #3: "I Believe"
A student seeks religious accommodation for holy days.
DVD 5: Incident #4: "Graphic problems"
A visually impaired student encounters a number of difficulties in her class.
DVD 5: Incident #5: "What's fair?"
A student with a learning disability is discussing her essay guide with her instructor.
DVD 5: Incident #6: "Assumptions of the hidden curriculum"
Three students discuss the insensitivity and invisibility they have experienced in many of their courses.
DVD 5: Incident #7: "Setting the tone and tracking task"
Two small groups deal with the discussion of a play in different ways.
DVD 5: Incident #8: "It's our turn!"
Two women students are left out of a group discussion.
DVD 5: Incident #9: "Voice of authority"
An aboriginal student expresses her concern about being singled out as an authority on most aboriginal issues.
DVD 5: Incident #10: "Beyond claims and blames"
An invitation to discuss aboriginal issues deteriorates into a conversational free-for-all.
The accompanying guidebook for facilitators includes:
- The role of the facilitator
- In-depth discussion questions for each vignette
- Comment on particular perspectives
- Background information
- Ideas for classroom strategies
DVD 6: Incident #1: "Presentation Pressures"
Presentation software - problems and possibilities
Our scene opens in a small classroom. The professor is using an electronic presentation to assist with his lecture. He is new to this technology.
DVD 6: Incident #2: "Flaming Words"
Handling on-line discussion groups
An instructor and two students meet in the instructor's office to discuss problems that have cropped up over the use of an on-line discussion board.
DVD 6: Incident #3: "Convince Your Chair"
Valuing teaching with technology
This scene involves a meeting between an instructor and the Chair of her Department. The instructor has invested a good deal of time and effort creating instructional technology material for a class. She has written it up in her teaching dossier/portfolio. She is meeting with her Chair because she is concerned that he has not evaluated her instructional technology contributions correctly
DVD 6: Incident #4: "Click and Save"
Workload issues: It might be more than click and save!
As the scene opens, three instructors are discussing how best to manage the many requirements and demands of their work. They are especially concerned with the demands on new faculty members.
DVD 6: Incident #5: "Not 24/7?"
Internet connectivity issues
An instructor and student meet in the instructor's office to discuss the late submission of an assignment. The assignment, which required the student to download material from the course website, has been available for several weeks. The student wanted to work on it the night before the assignment was due, but his computer could not connect to the course website.
DVD 6: Incident #6: "It Works for Me"
Issues around the development of on-line content
In this scenario a group of students from one class are getting together over coffee. The discussion centres around how each student is keeping up with the on-line work in the course.
Several of the students have different hurdles to overcome: one is visually impaired, another has dyslexia, and a third has ergonomic concerns.
DVD 6: Incident #7: "Notes Online"
Posting class notes online
Three instructors are chatting over coffee when the subject of posting course notes on-line comes up.
DVD 6: Incident #8: "Great 'Net Expectations"
Communicating IT expectations to students
In this scene two instructors are discussing just how ready students are to use instructional technology. One of the instructors, Mark, has a lot more teaching experience than the other. He asks some questions around how Elizabeth has prepared her students to use instructional technology.
DVD 6: Incident #9: "Screening Assignments"
Instructional use of assignment screening software
In this scene a student pays a visit to her professor so she can hand in her essay in person. However, the instructor wants the essay submitted electronically so it can be checked by assignment screening software for plagiarism. We join the conversation ….
DVD 6: Incident #10: "No Plan B?"
It's all about being prepared!
An instructor is having a lot of trouble with a whole range of technology in her class. As the scene starts, we are already about 10 minutes into the class - and the instructor is still trying to get set up. Of course, things are about to get worse!
Each of the DVD compilation sets includes two DVDs, six facilitator’s guides, and worksheets and feedback forms. The Critical Incidents are as follows:
1. Critical Incidents I: Teaching Scenarios
2. Critical Incidents II: Close Encounters of the Academic Kind
3. Critical Incidents III: Legends of the Fall Term
4. Critical Incidents IV: Sense and Sensitivity: Issues of Fairness
5. Critical Incidents V: Diversity and Inclusion
6. Critical Incidents VI: Teaching and Instructional Technology: Issues that Byte
The two DVD set includes all six of the acclaimed Critical Incidents series from the Learning and Teaching Centre at the University of Victoria. All of the original video segments are included, and are now easier than ever to access in the DVD format.
Each incident is approximately three minutes in length. The two DVD set is accompanied by a set of six facilitator guides with suggestions for promoting discussion on educational issues and strategies in higher education.
DVD Compilation Prices
Depending on how many Critical Incidents Videos/DVDs you have already purchased, the DVD compilation set prices vary as follows:
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The issues that Teaching Assistants face as they fulfill their duties:
This series focuses on interpersonal skill development for TAs. The incidents on this DVD address common issues that arise in the classroom with students, or through interactions with a course supervisor and provides an opportunity for TAs to develop strategies about how they will avoid and/or work through similar situations, if encountered in the future.
DVD 7: Incident #1: Creating an Engaged Classroom Culture
In this scenario, TAs are encouraged to think about how to prepare for class so that students are engaged. This incident shows how a nervous TA quickly loses the attention of her students.
DVD 7: Incident #2: TA Suffering from Low Confidence Faces Frustrated Student
A TA is in the laboratory before class begins suffering from ‘imposter syndrome’ (that feeling that someone gets when he or she feels that they should not be in a particular role and will be discovered at any moment) as she is about to face a student who has questions.
DVD 7: Incident #3: Classroom Confrontation: Setting Boundaries
TAs often have difficulty knowing where to draw personal boundaries with students. In this scenario, at the end of class, two students approach the TA asking why they got such a low grade on their presentation.
DVD 7: Incident #4: Communication Gap Between Course Supervisor and TA
Clear communication with the course supervisor is essential for a healthy working relationship. In this scenario, a TA meets the course supervisor in his office to receive her first assignment – grading papers.
There are 3 ways to order our DVDs:
- Call: 250-721-8571
Have your credit card information ready, and any of our staff will be happy to take your order. Weekdays 8:30 AM ~ 4:30 PM.
- Fax: 250-721-6494
Submit your order by fax to our office and phone us with your credit card information or send us a cheque in the mail, noting this on your faxed order. We cannot take credit card information in a fax or by email.
Send a purchase order with payment to:
Learning and Teaching Centre, HHB 126
University of Victoria
PO Box 1700 Stn CSC
Victoria, BC Canada V8W 2Y2
The dollar amounts are for both Canadian and US/Int'l orders. Includes shipping and applicable taxes.
Video/DVD Prices Video/DVD Title CDN$ US/International DVD 1: Teaching Scenarios $137.50 $115 DVD 2: Close Encounters of the Academic Kind $137.50 $115 DVD 3: Legends of the Fall Term $137.50 $115 DVD 4: Sense and Sensitivity: Issues of Fairness $137.50 $115 DVD 5: Diversity and Inclusion $137.50 $115 DVD 6: Teaching and Instructional Technology: Issues that Byte $165 $135 DVD 7: Teaching Assistant Issues $150 $125 Compilation Set: 1-6
*The price of the DVD set may vary with previous purchases. Please check the compilation page for details. (Please note, after ordering your DVD, you will receive a confirmation email that confirms your individual price for the DVD set purchase.)
$770 $600 Critical Incidents: Challenges of Inclusion in the Elementary School $82.50 $70 Critical Incidents in the Workplace I $110 $90 Critical Safety Incidents $66 $55