This week Steven and I met up for a virtual hallway chat with Dr. Sarah Hogarth Rossiter. Sarah shared with us what’s it like to be a contract instructor (on short notice) at Douglas College for Summer 2020. In addition, we chatted about some of her thoughts around the importance of critical thinking under COVID-19 times.
with hosts Lisa Smith (Sociology)& Steven Bishop (Learning Design)
With the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, the Summer of 2020 is profoundly different for Douglas College faculty, staff, and students. Winter 2020 ended abruptly with a move to on-line teaching for the remainder of the term. For folks teaching summer courses at Douglas College, for the first time ever, all course instruction will be on-line. Dare we say that the phrases, ‘I’m scrambling…’, ‘I’m freaking out…’, and ‘when will this be over’, have certainly become common enough! We are just beginning to realize the vast and far-reaching impacts of this virus on individuals and communities across the globe. Many members of our community are grappling, both directly and indirectly, with the fallout of this massive social upheaval.
For instructors there is an imminent and ongoing need for technological support; however, the nuts and bolts of navigating on-line teaching are not the central focus of this podcast. This podcast is about hearing from DC faculty, staff, and students, as they navigate through the on-line realm in these novel times.
We had many questions at the outset of this podcast: What was it like to move everything on-line within a week? What things did you try, but found didn’t work? How do you build a sense of connection and community when teaching in on-line spaces? How do you cultivate presence as an instructor when teaching on-line? How do you manage the complex patterns of inequality that continue to shape how students gain access to education? Are we aware of all the ways our students are impacted by COVID-19 (emotional, physical, and beyond)? What kinds of things do you consider when making choices about content delivery? What is it like to instruct from home? To learn from home? To work from home? What expertise can you share with us to help us understand the social changes that are unfolding? What are your hopes, fears, worries for this time?
Even though the questions are complex, the format is simple. Guests are invited for virtual hallway chats. We record the conversation and share with others. We chose the hallway chat model to replicate one of the benefits of the close quarters we inhabit as HSS Faculty. We have the privilege of ‘running into’ each other throughout the term. We find these conversations rich opportunities for learning about the work of our colleagues, trouble-shooting small issues, or even delving into deeper reflection. For each chat session we will post any additional reading materials that are mentioned in the recording.
We invite you to listen, share, and create with us as we explore the depths of our new digital humanity.
The first podcast is an interview with Joseph (Joey) Moore, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Douglas College. He has research interests in environmental sociology, urban sociology, and social movements.
Hallway Chat 1: Joseph Moore (Sociology)
Steven and I were pleased to welcome Dr. Joseph Moore, Sociology, for our first virtual hallway chat.
In this chat, Joey mentions Arlie Hothschild’s book, The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work, first published in 1997.
Check out his co-edited collection, Sociology of Home: Belonging, Community, and Place in the Canadian Context
“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:
Organize and collate the (existing) essential deliverables into a logical pattern (e.g., navigation information, weekly content folders, and assessment descriptions).
Decide what kinds of communication are most practical (e.g., course messages, email, synchronous online meetings, and asynchronous discussion forums).
Work backwards from the (existing) means of assessment to develop the assessment tools, Grade Center, and communication of grades and feedback to students.
Set up the course for basic delivery (e.g., create content areas, folders, items; upload files).
Deploy Blackboard tools as appropriate for all of the above.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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).
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
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
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)
A conversation with
Angela Heino, Learning Strategy and Quality Coordinator in Health Sciences, and
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) faculty at Douglas College.
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
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.
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.
also involved in the planning and organization of this Winter’s event included:
Jennifer Kane (BSN), Tracey McVey (PNUR) and Aaron Johannes (DACS).
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.
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:
synchronous online sessions
expectation of self-paced online work that
students will engage in
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.
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.