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

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”

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)

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.