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From in-person to online course delivery within a short timeline

Technology interconnects us, as this snapshot of world-wide internet activity shows.
Image from The Opte Project
 (CC BY-NC 4.0)

“What would you do if you suddenly had to deliver your face-to-face class online, and with minimal preparation time?”
This was the question Michelle Jickling, Instructional Designer and E-Learning Developer for Douglas College’s Training Group, and Steven Bishop, Douglas College Learning Designer, discussed in the first of a series of episodes exploring digital literacies.

We used Blackboard Collaborate online meeting software to model the solutions we were proposing, since we were both at different locations. Here are the topics, images, and links discussed during the session:
Top Five Essentials for going from face-to-face course delivery to online delivery:

  1. Organize and collate the (existing) essential deliverables into a logical pattern (e.g., navigation information, weekly content folders, and assessment descriptions).
  2. Decide what kinds of communication are most practical (e.g., course messages, email, synchronous online meetings, and asynchronous discussion forums).
  3. Work backwards from the (existing) means of assessment to develop the assessment tools, Grade Center, and communication of grades and feedback to students.
  4. Set up the course for basic delivery (e.g., create content areas, folders, items; upload files).
  5. Deploy Blackboard tools as appropriate for all of the above.

Additional Considerations:

  • Student communications: synchronous meetings may be limited due to bandwidth, or access to reliable online services.
  • Means of assessment: other than proctored examination, Blackboard assessments would primarily be useful as open-book quizzes and formative assessments.
  • Instructional presence: an essential consideration not addressed in the list above.

SAMR = Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition

How Technology Can Improve Learner-Centred Teaching

Douglas College Blackboard Faculty Resources

DEN (Douglas Educators Network) Blackboard Organization

Blackboard Collaborate online meeting software—Help for Moderators

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You Can Bounce Back!

Today’s students are experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression at record levels, caused by everything from moving away from home (or country), to social expectations, to work pressures, to academic pressures. Without intervention, the weight of all this can be overwhelming leading to various mental health conditions that can negatively impact their academic performance.

On January 20, Rebecca Gagan, Founder and Director of the University of Victoria’s Bounce program, came to Douglas College to facilitate an interactive workshop to discuss her work and Douglas College’s opportunity to intervene at an early stage to help prevent crisis-level mental health issues. By changing the way we understand and talk to students about their struggles, we can create a community of support, helping students before they become overwhelmed by building positive coping skills that will change the course of their academic journey.

Rebecca Gagan, Founder and Director, UVic Bounce

The genesis of UVic Bounce

Rebecca’s work in this area started in 2015 after she received a scholarship in teaching and learning from UVic’s Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation (LTSI). She studied her first-year writing classes to understand how students could become more resilient through short in-class writing interventions. Her study in turn led to the creation of a website for the Faculty of Humanities for a video initiative called “UVic Bounce.”

Using videos in which alumni and faculty speak openly about their successes and failures during their university experiences, students will see that their own struggles and failures are an important part of their learning experience. By normalizing and de-stigmatizing the challenges that students face, UVic Bounce will make it easier for students to share their struggles and to seek the support that they need.

Cited from https://www.uvic.ca/humanities/student-resources/bounce/index.php

Some workshop A-ha! moments

Rebecca started the ball rolling by playing one of the videos in the Bounce project. A hush fell over the room as we watched and listened to the story playing out on screen. At times it was hard to watch, but by the end, my heart was full of optimism. Listening to the stories of senior professors and administrators talk about their own struggles while studying underlined that all of us (even truly successful people) can fail. On the flip side, those same people can rebound to success, when given the proper support and encouragement, which is exactly what happened with the video participants. You can bounce back.

Some rich discussion followed including having participants reflect on a time when they felt particularly troubled, alone, or anxious while at school. In other words, what did that feel like and how did they overcome that challenge.

Rebecca provided some concrete examples of ways staff, instructors, and administrators could be there for students by simply telling their own stories, thus becoming vulnerable, bridging the distance between them and their students.

But, enough from me. Here is the full workshop recording. Sit back, grab a cup of tea, and prepare to be amazed at our collective resiliency.

Our sincere thanks goes to the Douglas College-Wide Faculty Professional Development Committee and Academic Technology Services for funding this workshop.

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Long Story Short—Part One

On September 23, Eva Brownstein, documentary filmmaker, and Jake Costello, Studio Director for CBC’s The Early Edition, led a workshop at Douglas College on incorporating documentary and news story-making elements techniques into courses. Eva and Jake help others tell their stories, nurture stories, and reveal meaning buried in information through film and radio media. The workshop was mediated by Steven Bishop, Douglas College Learning Designer.

We started with a brief discussion of two premises:

  1. We have been using Story since before the beginning of civilization (15,000 years or more if we consider the earliest known cave paintings as comprised of story elements).
  2. Learning relies on the ability to imagine a past, and a future. Storytelling and story receiving are coeval with the conception of time.

“Between the continuous barrage of information and madness, stands only story. Eva and Jake are skilled story makers; they each play an important part in informing others about the meaning of events in our world. As Douglas College instructors and people transmitting knowledge to others, we hope to learn from their experience how to shape information and fact into story. It might not seem apparent that producing news and crafting documentaries involve similar skill sets to lesson planning and curriculum delivery. This quote from Yuval Harare speaks to me about how we are all involved in creating and receiving story. After listening to news (let’s say CBC’s Early Edition), I feel informed. After watching a documentary, I feel moved. In both cases, I care about what I have just experienced. The root of the word “education” means to care, to nurture. That is what Eva, and Jake, bring to us today: story as education.” from introduction by Steven Bishop

“…the last thing a teachers needs to provide today… is more information for they already have far too much of it. Instead, people need the ability to make sense of information, to tell the difference between what is important and what is an important and above all to combine many bits of information into a broad picture of the world.” Yuval Noah Harare in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Listen to a recording of the first half of the workshop

Read the transcript for the first half of the workshop

…to be continued

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Designing learning experiences

Part 1 of a series

by Steven Bishop

Michelle Jickling, who is currently working as an Instructional Designer and eLearning Developer with the Training Group at Douglas College, and I sat down for a conversation about the essentials of helping subject-matter experts and instructors with course development. We specifically addressed some of the initial concerns with translating the expert’s knowledge to an online environment, such as the Blackboard LMS currently used by the College.

Our discussion touched on:

  • Starting from scratch: storyboarding, assessing learning needs, organizing existing content, reviewing the learning goals
  • Meeting desired outcomes vs. delivery of information
  • Scaffolding into advanced knowledge
  • Iterative processes and updating content
  • Discipline-specific priorities
  • Synchronous and asynchronous modalities – how best to meet the student where they are
  • Modern educational and life challenges for students
  • Relevancy in course design and assessments
  • Balancing an expert’s knowledge with time constraints (the 80:20 rule)
  • Time expectations
Listen to the 8:30 minute recorded dialogue

Switch!

A conversation with Angela Heino, Learning Strategy and Quality Coordinator in Health Sciences, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) faculty at Douglas College.

Photo courtesy of BCcampus_News CC BY-NC 2.0

Angela is one of two instructors in the BSN program currently teaching N2215: Leadership and Interprofessional Collaboration (IPC) course. This class encourages reflection on various aspects of leadership and IPC while providing students with the opportunity to engage in the lived experience of interprofessional education (IPE) as well. In this course, students explore the roles and responsibilities of team members to both patients/families as well as to the other members of the health care team. This process draws on various viewpoints and acknowledges the diverse knowledge and skill-sharing required of a successfully integrated team. Students learn strategies for facilitating interdependent collaboration, explore ways of understanding conflict constructively, and how they as individuals can help to create a healthy workplace.

The SWITCH event brings students together from different programs (BSN, Psychiatric Nursing, and Disability and Community Studies) to work on an ethics-based case study. Then the students converse on three different health related topics selected because of their timely, and complex, nature such as: vaccination, the legalization of cannabis, and medical assistance in dying. The students do a “speed switch” and within this relatively brief time frame, each student briefly shares their own views on the topics. The goal is that students learn to appreciate distinct and diverse world views, build awareness of their own assumptions and biases towards these topics, as well as exchange ideas in a respectful and professional manner. This unique event allows every voice at the table to be heard, and boosts the collective intelligence of a team.

The well-attended morning event looks and feels like a conference, and includes a hot breakfast. After this term’s event, the students were able to provide feedback through an online survey on how SWITCH benefited their learning and how they plan to take what their learned forward into their practice.

Faculty also involved in the planning and organization of this Winter’s event included: Jennifer Kane (BSN), Tracey McVey (PNUR) and Aaron Johannes (DACS).

Ritual Dissent

There are people in post-secondary education who seek each other out for support and encouragement in developing exemplary practice. We (the learning designers) are fortunate in meeting with and sometimes introducing these dedicated instructors and staff to each other. Shannon Cox is one such educator who proposed recording an activity she uses in her Marketing course. Ritual Dissent, a classroom activity that involves students discussing a fellow-student’s work while the she is sitting nearby, with her back to the conversation, might seem like an unusual way to demonstrate whole-person learning (Shannon’s idea to record the activity came up in a Whole-Person Learning Community of Practice meeting).

The value lies in the listening that is required. The breakout group listens to the presentation intently, and then the student-presenter “listens in” on their respectful (guidelines are provided by the instructor) dissent or disagreement with the presenters assumptions, or suggestions of alternate approaches.

Listen to a discussion with Shannon, Steven, and Hope where she describes the whole process and answers the learning designers’ questions

Time Expectations

The screenshot above is from an effort to understand the time expectations for students and instructors at an early stage in course design. The course was inherited with a large amount of content, assignments, readings, and videos. A new hybrid course was developed from this content. This is just a convenient way to describe a common misunderstood concept in course design. Namely, the implications of time commitment. We made this chart on the fly, and later developed an Excel workbook to more neatly organize the information.

For each week, time allocation in hours is specified for:

  • face-to-face classes
  • synchronous online sessions
  • expectation of self-paced online work that students will engage in
    • reading assignments
    • watching video assignments
    • asynchronous activities (e.g. discussion forum posts and reading)
    • quizzes and exams

We then discussed the what the appropriate time commitment for an instructor in this course would be. When compared to the actual contract hours available for instructing the course, it becomes obvious if adjustments are needed, considering a reasonable proportion of instructional time to expectation of student time spent in the course.

Who Gets to be the Boss? Human Values and Technological Disruption

 

Since our April presentation at The Pacific Region LSAC Conference, Cecil Klassen,  Learning Centre Faculty at Douglas College and I revisited the idea of developing dialogue around the impact of technology on our work. Really this is the work of a 21st-century educator (and citizen/human!). We facilitated a participatory workshop at Douglas College on October 1 where we explored contemporary learning environments and the pros and cons of technological affordances. We lightly touched on the philosophical and “futurism” concerns re: technological disruption. For those of us that are interested in deeper dives into the theoretical implications, we recommended starting with the reading provided by Yuval Noah Harari, a leading public intellectual exploring the future of our species in a biotechnical world. The workshop engages educators who perceive a need for balance between pedagogy and technology. We are continuing the conversation with participants and others in our networks.  Watch for an upcoming “solutions” workshop in the new year. This will not be  prescriptive, rather a presentation of solutions people in our various educational circles have discovered or developed to address the wicked questions re: how to best retain our human values in the face of technological disruption. We can then further develop our own local solutions and strategies.

Notes collected during the Oct 1 workshop….

Continue reading “Who Gets to be the Boss? Human Values and Technological Disruption”

My Experience at the Digital Pedagogy Lab

I’d like to express gratitude to Douglas College people for supporting, encouraging, or otherwise showing interest in my participation in the July 30-August 3 Digital Pedagogies Lab at the UMW in Fredericksburg, Virginia. DPL is a unique international event that brings faculty, instructional designers, technical and pedagogical researchers, and other educators together to discuss and learn about navigating modern learning environments, with focus on social and human issues. I am determined to share what I learned at this summer institute for the benefit Douglas College faculty, staff, and students.

Here are a few takeaways gathered from the 5-day Digital Pedagogy Lab I participated in this year:

  • There are a lot of dedicated, passionate people involved in researching, developing frameworks and solutions, and practice of teaching and learning skills in the modern digital environment.
  • “Digital” includes questions concerning modern literacies, citizenship, social justice, agency, and creativity (and is not a synonym for technology or EdTech)
  • There are important distinctions between digital skills and digital literacies
  • There are open, sharable resources on creating and implementing a digital fluency framework for a PSE (more on this later…)
  • A deep dive by educators into how to inform and protect students in online learning environments is necessary
  • There are tools to help faculty self-identify how they use the LMS, and this can help get more value for instructors and students.
  • There are open, sharable resources to encourage and support digital citizenship, and critical and thoughtful inquiry into academic integrity ( Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers)

I was in the Digital Literacies track, and we engaged in collaborative work under the guidance of Jade E. Davis, PhD, a Columbia University scholar and Director of Digital Project Management for Columbia University Libraries

What is the Digital Pedagogy Lab?

Digital Pedagogy Lab is an annual learning and teaching event that provides an “in-depth dialogue and practical experience to educators working in under-theorized digital learning spaces.” Themes include:

  • The facility of online and digital learning
  • The ways that educational technology and instructional design make space for, or do not make space for, student agency
  • Accessibility, disability, equity, student rights, teacher agency, and the representation of unheard and silenced voices in education
  • Pedagogies, policies, and critical practices that support agency, creativity, and inquiry

For more detail, please visit Digital Pedagogy Lab

Continue reading “My Experience at the Digital Pedagogy Lab”

UBC’s Emerging Media Lab: What a trip!

On June 19, a few of us from Douglas College (Nina Blanes, Kymberley Bontinen, Sandra Polushin, Steven Bishop, Mikki Herbold and I) took a trip out to UBC to visit their Emerging Media Lab. And  what a trip it was!

Greeted by three of the EML’s student staff (Sabrina Ge, Juyeong Stella Oh, and Kevin Yang), we entered the virtual reality and augmented reality worlds created by this pioneering collaboration of students, faculty, and staff comprising the Emerging Media Lab.

Three separate stations were set up including an undersea voyage through VR glasses, an AR walk through the brain viewing the HoloBrain project, and a VR look at building 3D shapes. Totally fascinating stuff, mining the enthusiasm and intelligence of students who work with faculty and staff to develop learning objects for real-world educational challenges.

Next, we took a walk to UBC Studios, affiliated with UBC EML. There we viewed the main film studio, the lightboard studio, and a bookable, one-button studio that enables faculty and staff to record their lectures or communication piece by inserting a flash drive into a dock and pressing one button.

 

Wow! What a wonderful, motivating experience. Our minds were blown (but in a totally inspiring way). Now we’re busy contemplating how we can integrate into Douglas College some of what we learned.

So, thank you, Emerging Media Lab team, especially Saeed Dyanatkar, EML Lead and Executive Producer. We were so pleased to have attended your Festival of Learning workshop, which started this whole trip.