This month, Steven met up for a virtual hallway chat with Tracy Ho, the Organizer-Advocate and Ombudsperson for Douglas Students’ Union. Tracy shared her insights based on student experiences taking courses during the 2020 emergency education delivery. We discussed things we learned and hopeful indications for the future.
Last month, Steven and I met up for a virtual hallway chat with Joseph Thompson, a Faculty Member in the Department of Psychology at Douglas College since 2019. Joe shared with us some of his experiences with online teaching this past Summer 2020, as well as some of his plans as he steps into the role of Facilitating Faculty Online (FFO) for HSS. Joe also discussed some of the ways his research can help us understand the process of building expertise, as it relates to the transition to being online instructors.
Join the conversation by sharing your comments, observations, and suggestions with us!
Until next time,
Lisa and Steven
Digital Humanity is recorded on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish Peoples of the QayQayt and Kwikwetlem First Nations.
Joe studies experimental psychology and is not a clinical psychologist. For a explanation of the difference, see:
Joe does not want to give the impression that intelligence tests have always been used ethically or that scientists are incapable of bias. For a brief discussion of the history of racism in intelligence testing see
Benjamin, L. T. Jr. (2007). A Brief History of Modern Psychology. Blackwell.
For more information on the ethics behind the use of assessment tools, see
American Psychological Association (2017). Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. American Psychological Association. Retrieved Dec 11, 2020 from apa.org/ethics/code.
For background on Transfer, see
Kimball, D. R., & Holyoak, K. J. (2000). Transfer and expertise. The Oxford handbook of memory, 109-122.
For the study behind Joe’s reference to basketball, see
Keetch, K. M., Lee, T. D., & Schmidt, R. A. (2008). Especial skills: Specificity embedded within generality. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 30(6), 723-736.
For the notion that chess could serve as a model organism for cognitive science see
Simon, H. and Chase, W. (1973). Skill in chess. American Scientist, 61. 393–403.
We have only glossed over the messy process by which psychologists use science to improve their psychological tests. For further reading on the history and philosophy behind this process, see
Slaney, K. (2017). Validating Psychological Constructs: Historical, Philosophical, and Practical dimensions. Palgrave Macmillan
This week Steven and I met up for a virtual hallway chat with Jovian Radeshwar, a Faculty Member in the Department of Political Science at Douglas College. We were also joined by our invited co-host, Rim Gacimi. Rim is a recent graduate from the Bachelor’s of Psychology program at Douglas College. Rim was an honours student and research assistant to Dr. Lisa Smith. Her work aims to better understand social behaviour and inequality using empirical research methods. Rim is also interested in socio-political discourse and was once a student of Dr. Jovian Radheshwar.
Jovian is a creative and enthusiastic instructor, who does not shy away from tackling everything under the sun when diving into international politics. We caught up with Jovian to chat about some of the ways he’s approaching the design of his online courses this fall. In addition, we wanted to hear his thoughts on how anti-racist pedagogy can help us navigate the chaotic world we find ourselves in.
If you want to read / watch more, check out some recommendations from Jovian:
This week Steven and I met up for a virtual hallway chat with Kira Tomsons, a Faculty Member in the Department of Philosophy at Douglas College. Kira is an experienced and innovative online instructor who enthusiastically delves into new techniques and methods for engaging students in virtual learning environments. (She is also pretty good with stick people drawings!) She shared with us some of the ways she is setting up her courses for Fall 2020. In addition, Kira reflected on how feminist care ethics can help us consider how to care well in these novel times.
If you want to read further, Kira has some suggestions:
I’ve enjoyed working with and conversing with Florence Daddy a few times, and was pleased when we had this chance to record an interview.
Background I am grateful for the opportunity to have lived in 3 continents. I was born in Ghana- West Africa, lived in England where I did most of my post secondary education and then moved to Canada in 2003. After University, I trained with Price Waterhouse in London to be a Chartered Accountant. I quickly realized that I did not enjoy auditing and through many volunteering opportunities with youth in inner city London, I discovered my passionate and love of teaching. Therefore, I decide to choose education and teaching as a career. In the last 17 years, I have had the opportunity to work as an instructional designer-supporting faculty in developing curriculum for different programs and supporting faculty in adopting appropriate teaching and learning pedagogy for their context in which learning takes place. In addition, to that I support faculty in using technology to support teaching and learning and I think we met each other attend various Educational Technology User Group – (ETUG) workshops. Given my personal experiences, I’m passionate about accessibility, inclusion and diversity issues. I’m certainly aware of the numerous barriers that can prevent certain groups of students in accessing post secondary education. Growing up in Ghana I quickly became away of my status and privileges. I witnessed true poverty where my family provided for many children. However, in Western nations we are given the impression that there is no poor person and the social security system is a buffer. As I engage with students I quickly realized that is not the case so I develop a passion for open education practices and advocates how the use of open textbooks and resources can benefit both faculty in terms of having control over your teaching resources and materials and helping reduce the educational cost for students.
“How can we respond, in our roles, to the increasing calls for change? Especially in regards to post-secondary education?” It is important to decide what is important to you about teaching and your pedagogical belief and identity. I want my students to have a positive learning experience and especially in the current environment where a lot is changing around us and the change is happening so quickly. I have to take a step back and reassess my purpose and my role as an instructor. By doing that, I’m able to figure out how best to use all the tools and resources available to meet my needs and to adopt an appropriate pedagogy for the student to learn given the context and learning environment. In my practice, I get students to think about the learning environment as a community and the importance of building relationships. I like referring to the image on the text book “Pulling Together: A guide for Indigenization of post-secondary institutions. A professional learning series”.
Different cultures emphasize the importance of family and community and I try to use that belief to our classroom and learning experience. I emphasis the strengths within a learning community and I promote learning through collaboration and get students to appreciate the contributes of everyone to our learning. So, as I think about my discipline in the light of all the calls for actions I’ve certainly considered the changes that I can make, for example, by bringing indigenous perspectives and knowledge to our conversations as we discuss leadership.
I use examples of indigenous entrepreneurs and highlight their stories, how Indigenous businesses are set up… to give back to their communities. Even if it’s for profit, it’s not always individual profit but share. Let these be reflected in the textbooks and materials that students are reading, along with other ways to use stories from minorities and ethnicities. Faculty can create their own materials and resources reflecting inclusivity and diversity by engaging in open education. We can help change the narrative, and consider the impact on students who may have financially challenging situations by creating and adopting more open educational resources and strategies.
This week Steven and I met up for a virtual hallway chat with a Douglas College student taking courses for the first time online this summer. Among other things, Charlene is a mom to twins and has her sights set on a career as a dental hygienist.
This week Steven and I met up for a virtual hallway chat with Eamonn O’Laocha a Douglas College Faculty Member in the Department of Business Management. Among other things, Eamonn is working with the Douglas College Facilitating Faculty Online Group and kindly shared some of his observations about the challenging path facing faculty. In addition, Eamonn spoke to some of the work he is doing to address tech inequity and access to education.
This week Steven and I met up for a virtual hallway chat with Seren Friskie. Seren is an Indigenous Psychology student, mental health advocate, community organizer, and activist living on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish People’s. She kindly and generously shared with us what’s it like to be an online student, as well as some of the important work she is doing to research and support better mental health outcomes for vulnerable and marginalized communities. We highly recommend you check out her interview to see things from a student point of view.
To learn more about some of the work that keeps her busy, check out the links below:
Like many in quarantine, I decided to try making sourdough bread. I pulled the neglected jar of starter out of the fridge and read the instructions from the friend who had given it to me months earlier. I realized the starter did not look too good, texted my friend for further directions, and accepted the response that I had been a “bad bad boy”.
After resuscitating the starter, and following the recipe, I succeeded in baking a passable bread. My subsequent attempts were disappointing. One time I had to bake the dough because it was so sticky, I otherwise could not figure out how to dispose of it.
I do not like failure; so, I kept trying. Other people’s recipes and suggestions, internet searches, the Tartine Bread book, live chat with an experienced baker. I was still making less than hoped for loaves….
One over-tasking, multi-pressured morning, I lost it. I blamed the crummy scale that kept turning off midway through refreshing the starter. I blamed the recipes, the flour, the water, the process itself, the absurdity of life. I felt discouraged and angry at the whole endeavor. As my fit subsided, I did a bit of self-reflection (and apologizing). That is when the thought came to me, maybe many of the instructors I had been trying to support over the last many weeks in the sudden transition to remote teaching were experiencing analogous frustrations with Blackboard, online anything/everything, and technology in general. Maybe my frustration had some parallel to what instructors feel when they are trying to learn unfamiliar tools and strategies—following the various “recipes” provided.
The little leaven of fellow-feeling activated something in me. Learning a new skill is hard work. Learning under pressure, in new environments, and in isolation is even harder. The loaves are getting more consistent, the process more familiar, the bread delicious and well-raised.
Baking bread is nothing like remotely instructing dozens of young people, and ensuring they have the best possible educational experience. Producing an instructional environment is necessary. Not the only, but a very important, aspect of instruction. Each iteration shows development and improvement. Maybe analogous to bulk fermentation. Rest and “folding in” are critical elements as well… the analogies keep coming – (“faculty mentors are like sourdough starter” “too much incorporated fermentation is like an over-bloated course”) – I think you get the idea.
I am a beginner, learning to value processes. My own, and those I am attempting to support, and feel humbled and encouraged to keep going. I have a growing appreciation for the opportunity to work with so many fine educators.
We would like to acknowledge that we live, learn, work, and play on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish Peoples of the QayQayt and Kwikwetlem First Nations.
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.