“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.
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.
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.
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
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