Dr. Maja Krzic

Maja Krzic is an Associate Professor of Applied Biology and Soil Science at UBC’s Department of Land and Food Systems. She teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate level and is the recipient of numerous awards in teaching excellence.

Dr. Krzic’s students in APBI402/SOIL502 – Sustainable Soil Management were tasked with applying of fundamental, unifying, soil science principles in sustainable ecosystem management in various real-world contexts through a series of case studies and team presentations.

Through support from UBC’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTLT) and the Open Case Studies Project, Dr. Krzic engages in open pedagogy and shares her expertise and experiences with her fellow instructors.

Assignment Details

Groups of 4-6 students will be assigned either a forestryurban, or agricultural land management regime in which to pursue the case study learning outcomes. Each case will conclude with seminars from each group to enable a comparison of approaches within different land uses. Individual students will prepare 1,000 word reports summarizing their own personal learning for each case. Groups will be organized to facilitate interdisciplinary discussion and to provide opportunities for students from different programs to benefit from their varied experience and educational backgrounds. Class meetings each week consist of a 1-hour lecture and 2-hour discussion/PBL group activity.

Classroom Observation

Winter 2017/2018 Term 2

Maja and Sandra (co-instructors for APBI 402/SOIL 502) shared their pedagogical intentions and expectations in using case studies to support their students’ learning process in becoming soil science practitioners. Each case study was designed to support students’ ability to apply key soil principles in a specific, real-life context. The teaching team also highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of the case studies to demonstrate the applicability of key soil science principles and the relevance of the course content.

At the beginning of the case studies, students eagerly dived into their respective groups; and they utilized the guiding questions to engaged with one another in discussion and frequently referenced the course Wiki page for expectations. The task assignment within groups developed organically, emerging collaboration protocols were diverse, and every team member was held accountable for his/her contributions. While all group members engaged respectfully – inviting feedback from others and clarifying concepts in relation to the case study – some were natural in assuming leadership roles and in keeping the group focused on task. There was a strong sense of camaraderie within each student group.

The teaching team circulated in the classroom to periodically check-in on each team’s progress, to provide feedback on integration of key concepts, to guide deeper discussions through open-ended questions, and to support students’ process in synthesizing and articulating their learning. Students worked as a group on a specific case for 4 weeks, and then they shared their key findings with the whole class in a 15 minute presentation. This was followed by preparation of an individual term paper focused on student’s reflection on collaborative learning and knowledge synthesis processes.

Case Studies