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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
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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).

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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

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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.

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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”

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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”

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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.

 

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We are all treaty people – Site C: Treaty power or power politics?

 

Thu, 5 July 2018 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM  at the Aboriginal Gathering Place (4650)
Douglas College 700 Royal Ave New Westminster View Map

Speakers:

Chief Bob Chamberlain of the BC Union of Indian Chiefs

As the elected Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Chief Chamberlin takes an active role in the defense of Aboriginal Title and Rights and is committed to overcoming the challenges and impacts of fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago. Further, he frequently engages in lobby efforts at both the provincial and federal levels to ensure the protection of First Nations water rights and safe drinking water for our communities.

Gordon Christie, Professor of Law, Peter A Allard School of Law

Professor Christie is of Inupiat/Inuvialuit ancestry and researches in the areas of Aboriginal rights, Aboriginal title, indigenous self-determination, and the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal groups. Professor Christie’s research also focuses on the intersection between indigenous law and Aboriginal law that has developed through Canadian jurisprudence on section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Julian Napolean, Dane-Zaa and Cree from the Salteau First Nation in Treaty 8 Territory and Member of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Security

Adrienne Peacock, Faculty Emeritus, Douglas College, Department of Biology

After graduating with a Ph.D. in Zoology from UBC, Adrienne worked as a consultant to an environmental group and then, for over twenty years, taught biology, ecology and environmental science at Douglas College.

Reverend Emilie Smith, Rector of St.Barnabas Anglican Church, New Westminster

Dave Seaweed, Aboriginal Students Coordinator, Douglas College

Accessibility:

Please message the organizers with any accessibility concerns. Best entrance from campus parking lot or Royal Ave for those with mobility concerns. Barrier free washrooms available.

(Posted at the request of Stephen Crozier, Douglas College)

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And what a festival it was!

I’m back this week from attending three full days (May 28-30) at the Festival of Learning and my heart and mind are full. So before too much time goes by, I’d like to try to unpack what I participated in, collaborated on, and observed about this one-of-a-kind conference for educators and students.

First off, let’s talk about the theme for #FoL18: Higher Education: Handle with Care. Its two driving tenets, (a) inclusion and accessibility and (b) self-care,  provided some pretty hefty topics for us to lift throughout the festival. But, isn’t that the purpose of higher ed conferences? To push us out of our comfortable little backyards to see the world from other perspectives and to learn from them? Based on the anecdotal feedback I’m seeing on Twitter, conference goers were truly touched by the thought and caring that went into organizing FoL. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

    Free childcare was provided from 8:30-4:30 on all three days. Say what?! It’s true, and for anyone not from the Lower Mainland who wanted to bring their children, this was a HUGE deal. Parents were assured their children were cared for by professionals and during breaks/lunches they could check in with them. A brilliant idea whose time has come.

  • The organizing committee worked hard to make FoL affordable for all with special discounts for early registrants, students, speakers, and volunteers, and even a grant program for faculty applicants to help with their registration costs.
  • Name tags and pronoun ribbons, and all-gender washrooms  were available at the conference.
  • Mind and body balance: yoga sessions were held in the mornings and during breaks to ensure our bodies were attuned for learning. A dedicated meditation room was set up to give participants time to quietly reflect whenever they needed to. Again, all free of charge.

    Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash
  • I don’t know about you, but food is pretty important to me, so having delicious, nutritious options for meals and breaks really made me feel the love.

And all this without even mentioning the conference sessions and workshops themselves. So allow me to mention them now.

  • The Keynotes. C’mon! I defy anyone with a heart to say they weren’t deeply impacted by what they heard, felt, and experienced at the three incredible keynotes. Themes of compassion and empathy for our students and ourselves were brilliantly interwoven, opening us up to new possibilities.
  • So many great sessions to choose from including: OER and open pedagogies, caring for privacy, cultivating trust and emotional safety, global citizenship, students as partners, supporting student wellness, universal design for learning, liberating structures, teaching resilience to undergrads, digital/flexible hybrid learning, community engagement, visual toolkit for self-care, beyond the walled garden (LMS), building capacity for diversity and inclusion, and the list goes on…

Okay. Amazing care and attention for us as individuals, coupled with an incredible slate of sessions that touched our hearts and minds. What more is there to say? I think this tweet from SFU’s Teaching and Learning Centre encapsulates it all.

Thank you to the #FoL18 organizing committee and the many volunteers who tirelessly worked to pull off #thebestconferenceever. The gauntlet has been thrown down.

 

 

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Podcast! Encourage your students’ voice

 

Lisa Smith and Steven Bishop facilitated a workshop at Douglas College that opened up discussions about listening and encouraging student voice, examined Lisa’s process of developing a podcasting assignment in her Gender and Youth Cultures class, and provided some basic audio recording information. The workshop included:

  • Listening as practice (activity)
  • A case study of the development, implementation, and showcasing of a classroom podcast assignment
  • Examples of student and expert podcasts
  • Skills inventory (activity)
  • Technical overview of audio recording, editing, and producing
  • Live recording demo with Audacity software and Yeti microphone
  • Full group discussion of how to bring this approach into the class

Link to the PODcast! Presentation

Link to Podcast Workshop Resources (Google Document)

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Have you seen the LIGHT(board)?

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. ~Edith Wharton.

Douglas College acquired a new piece of edtech a year ago called the Lightboard. But just what is this lightboard thingy?

Basically, it’s a piece of illuminated glass, on which instructors can write their lessons/lecture notes–just as they would a whiteboard or blackboard in a traditional classroom. The real magic comes into play when the video camera reverses the image, allowing the instructor’s writing to read properly from left to right.

The benefits of this technology are clear:

  • ​Instructors face their audience (students) directly through the glass. [No longer is there a need to turn your back to the students to write on the board.]
  • Students, in turn, see exactly what the instructor is emphasizing.
  • Lightboard sessions are recorded; therefore, the instructor leaves with an MP4 file that can be uploaded to their Blackboard course space or shown to the class by playing it from the instructor computer.
  • Instructors do not need to learn new technology or develop new skills. The Lightboard is fully supported by the ATS team.
  • Using this technology is particularly gratifying to convey difficult concepts, sensitive topics, etc. The recording can be played and replayed as many times as necessary for students to master the content.
Check out this video showcasing two Douglas College instructors and a student discussing the benefits of the Lightboard. And, if you’re interested in finding out more, please contact us.
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Express Yourself! Consider new, creative ways of engaging your students

ATS is currently running a new series of workshops in time for the summer term called “Express Yourself!” These workshops will provide you with an overview to the specific teaching method by faculty experts, plenty of Q&A, and some hands-on play time. Our goal is that you start seeding the possibilities for your own teaching, contemplating how these ideas will engage and motivate your students.

Here’s what’s on offer:

  1. Presenting with purpose: This workshop will focus on heightening physical and vocal engagement in order to clarify your sound, meaning, and message. We will work from material provided by the group. Bring your own speeches, classroom presentations, or video scripts. We will also provide practice text. Bring your curiosity and come prepared to explore your expressive presence. Facilitator: Thrasso Petras, Theatre dept. April 30, 9:30am-12:30pm, N3260
  2. Going visual: You will be guided through a series of fun drawing exercises designed to amplify your visual literacy. No previous drawing experience is required, only a willingness to make to make your marks! Facilitator: Jason Toal, SFU Teaching & Learning Centre. May 2, 9:30-11:00am, S0620
  3. Thinking through the grid: Lightboard edition: You will discuss the comics grid as pedagogical heuristic using the technology of the lightboard. Topics will include the grid as database, timing system, and standing reserve. You will be asked to draw, but no particular drawing skill is required. Facilitators: Peter Wilkins, English dept. & Dwayne Thornhill, ATS. May 14, 9:00am-12:00pm, N3142 and N3272V
  4. Tablets for teaching: Learn how to use a tablet to facilitate teaching. Brandy will demonstrate how she uses it inside the classroom to improve student interaction and make PowerPoints more engaging. She will also discuss making tutorial videos using a tablet, giving you her software recommendations. Facilitator: Brandy Dudas, Accounting dept. May 23, 2:00-3:00pm, S2801
  5. Podcast! Encourage your students’ voices: Join us for an interactive workshop on designing podcast-based assignments. You will receive a mini-case, outlining process, design guidance for creating your podcast assignments, and technical information about podcasting. Facilitator: Lisa Smith, Sociology dept. June 4, 9:00am-12:00pm, S0620

And, these workshops are open and free to everyone. Here’s how you register.

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Podcast Pedagogies – Episode III

In this final podcast of the series, Steven Bishop and Lisa Smith, sit down with Kelsey Huebchen, a Douglas College student who was enrolled in GSWS 2101 and completed a podcast as part of her course work. From an instructor perspective, Lisa discusses some of the benefits of exploring podcasting as a pedagogical and evaluative tool. Kelsey reflects on some of the differences between producing a podcast and writing a research paper.

Listen to the podcast

Lisa recommends instructors keep in mind the following if considering podcasting as an assignment:

1) Introduce the idea early on in the course.

In my class, I discussed the podcast assignment in-depth on the first day of class and had printed copies of the assignment guideline. I took time to go through this with students to ensure that they understood that this was a part of the course and that they would have time to acquire the skills / knowledge required to complete this assignment. 

2) Identify student skills and concerns early on.

In the second course of the semester, I had students work in groups to complete a questionnaire that identified concerns about the podcasting assignment, as well as any existing skills that they already had that would be helpful for this project (for example, do you know how to use the voice recorder on your phone). Following this, we conducted a “skills inventory” of the class as whole. This was really helpful for identifying the different skills that students already had, but also which students might be able to provide assistance to others.

3) Keep podcasting as a subtle, but constant theme throughout the course

Each week, we would listen to a podcast in class. This allowed us to use podcasts as a way to get further into topics we were reading about, but also allowed me to share different kinds of podcasts with students to demonstrate that there were different ways to approach this assignment. Students enjoyed discussing the subject matter in the podcasts, as well as the various elements of production. 

4) Focus evaluation on the planning / organization / research for the podcast.

For this assignment, only a portion of the total grade was based on the actual finished product. Further, students were not graded on the technical quality of the podcast. 

5) Establish a reasonable time limit for the final podcast product.

As an instructor, keep in mind that you will need to listen to ALL the podcasts. Be sure to consider how much time is reasonable for you to spend listening to podcasts at the end of term.

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Podcast Pedagogies

Presentation2

A meta-cognitive look at creating an audio-recording based assignment 

Episode II – 8:19 minutes

After our initial meeting, Lisa Smith and I met for a second time with a more decided perspective on how to proceed with creating an audio-recording-based assignment for her Gender and Youth Cultures course. We are capturing the design process with these recordings and our hope is that other instructors and designers will benefit from our work when considering or creating similar assignments. One additional benefit we have noticed is the reflective nature of reviewing what we discussed while editing. Even if we weren’t going to share these recordings, it has been a valuable experience in understanding dialogue, the other person, and how we communicate ideas.

Listen to the conversation

The resources mentioned in the recording include:

Podcasting – A Teaching with Technology Paper by Ashley Deal, Carnegie Mellon University June 4, 2007
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

Gender and Youth Cultures Campus Culture Podcast Project Assignment Guideline Fall 2017

Listen to Episode I – Exploring the possibility of creating a podcast-based assignment

Continue reading “Podcast Pedagogies”