What a team!

Today the Academic Technology Services (ATS) team is receiving the President’s Team Excellence Award for Douglas College.

Our work covers everything from designing technology for new learning spaces to training for Blackboard, from filming graduation ceremonies to rolling out BlueJeans for web conferencing, from supporting faculty with technical course issues to filming their use of our new Lightboard technology, from developing a new EdMedia program to researching new technology to support specific programs/departments. Such a wide diversity of tasks necessitates a special team who will assess your requirements, then coordinate a plan to systematically meet your core goals.

It is my sincere privilege to work with this gifted, dynamic, and creative group of people. Congratulations, ATS!

EdMedia Program 2.0–Join the media revolution!

You’ve seen your students, your kids, even yourself mesmerized by videos and podcasts on your cellphone. What if you could film/record your own, then edit them incorporating special effects to share with a specific audience? Are you hooked yet?

If this appeals to you for your teaching or your work here at the Douglas College, we have the program for you–the EdMedia Program. It runs from Feb.5 to Mar.15 at the NW campus, consisting of seven separate workshops:

  • Recording Foundations: Pre-production and Planning
  • Video Recording Techniques: Lights, Camera, Action
  • Guerrilla Filmmaking: Portable Device Techniques
  • Audio Recording: Editing with Audacity
  • Camtasia Part 1
  • Camtasia Part 2
  • Showcase and Next Steps

Participants who complete all seven workshops will receive a certificate of completion.

Douglas College faculty or staff: To register, click here.

Happy Holidays, all!

Wow, it’s been such a busy month.  Between work and personal commitments, doing the holiday baking and decorating, gift shopping, trip planning, it’s no wonder folks get stressed at this time of year. So, I’m looking forward to a few days off where I can kick back and reflect on the year that’s been and the new one still to come.

From Steven and I at the Douglas Educators Network, we wish you health, happiness, and hope this holiday season. Check back with us in January. The new year awaits!

Are you feeling emotionally safe?

Recently we held a workshop at Douglas College titled “Creating emotional safety in learning spaces,” which was facilitated by Leva Lee of BCcampus; Sandra Polushin, CFCS faculty; and Steven Bishop and Hope Miller from the Learning Designer team of Academic Technology Services.

And how did we land on this topic? Well, it started over a year ago when Ross Laird presented a two-day workshop titled “Storming the Ivory Tower.” As one plank of his 10-plank framework, emotional safety is a critical component of teaching the whole person.

Our goal in running this workshop was really to start a dialogue at Douglas College about what emotional safety means and how it impacts each of us in our various learning environments. None of the facilitators professed to being an expert in the field of emotional safety, but they were willing to guide the discussion around this important topic.

To that end, the facilitators used Liberating Structures activities to generate thoughts, ideas, challenges, and solutions, as well as to model how such topics could be tackled in learning environments. Two hours flew by as participants completed three activities–Impromptu Networking, Drawing Monsters, and 1-2-4-All–each activity building on the insights gleaned during group work.

I’m happy to report that feedback from participants was very positive. They liked the format and saw the benefits of using Liberating Structures to delve into topics such as emotional safety.

But, did we succeed in creating an emotionally safe space for participants to come together, share, tackle tough topics, and problem solve? Absolutely.

If, after reading this, you are interested in joining Douglas College’s Whole-Person Community of Practice, please contact either Steven Bishop or Hope Miller.  You can also consider joining the Vancouver Liberating Structures User Group.

Creating emotional safety in learning environments: Oct.23, 9-11AM, New West campus, room S0620

What it is

Have you ever been part of a group (in class, online, or in the workplace):

  • Where you didn’t feel comfortable or empowered to participate?
  • Where one group member was being culturally insensitive to another?
  • Where you felt bullied?

We can all relate to having experienced BAD group dynamics. Yet group work is critical to creating effective student engagement, even good work team relations. Learn about some dynamic strategies for promoting and enhancing positive group dynamics that enable everyone to participate!

By the end of this workshop you will be able to:

  • Reveal insights and paths through non-verbal expressions
  • Stop counterproductive activities and behaviours, making space for productive collaboration and innovations
  • Rapidly generate and sift through a group’s most powerful actionable ideas
  • Use Liberating Structures to pave the way for successful group interactions while creating an emotionally safe environment

How we’ll do it

Using Liberating Structures activities, Sandra Polushin, Leva Lee, Steven Bishop, and Hope Miller will facilitate ways to create emotionally safe group spaces to promote effective and successful group interactions.

We will model the importance of creating a trusting group climate in order to promote the work of the group. You, in turn, will be able to use these same techniques in your classroom, online course space, and team meetings.

How we got here

For some background on how we got here, please listen to this short audio clip, which all started with the “Storming the Ivory Tower” event with Ross Laird held last fall.

Who should come

Students, faculty, and staff are ALL welcome at this event, as well as interested parties from other institutions.

Format and details

 Join us for a two-hour workshop in our new Collaboration Room (S0620), New Westminster campus on October 23 from 9-11AM.

Click here for REGISTRATION information.

Photo by Morgan Basham on Unsplash 

What’s open about open pedagogy?

The open education community is abuzz about open pedagogy. While not losing sight of the importance of using, revising, and creating open educational resources, many are thinking more about how to open up their teaching and learning practices. But how might we understand what open pedagogy is, and why should we think of it as “open”? 

On October 26 from 1:30-3:00pm in the Aboriginal Gathering Place at Douglas College in New Westminster, Christina Hendricks will discuss some possible ways to answer those questions, while pointing out that there are multiple legitimate ways to do so. She will also provide examples of how faculty and students are participating in open pedagogical practices in BC and elsewhere.

All students, faculty, and staff are welcome at this event. Please REGISTER here.

I mentor, you mentor, we ALL mentor


Our job is to work with faculty to integrate educational technology in their courses. That means training with a capital T, as well as running special events (guest speakers, symposiums, webinars, etc.). But connecting with them is no easy feat.

A little background…

We follow college protocols, writing stories and events for our Intranet, but many instructors are simply not logging into the site.  So, we’ve opted to write pleading emails to the Admin Officers, Chairs, even the Deans, asking for their support in getting the word out about our training events. Though more successful than relying solely on our Intranet, we still haven’t achieved critical mass. Hey, we’ve even gone old school, designing posters with catchy graphics to attract people. And, yes, we’re blogging too…

I’ve gotta’ tell you: it’s more than a little deflating to have two people show up for a planned event when 30 were expected. Considerable energy is spent strategizing, writing, and promoting training opportunities. And, it isn’t just us. It seems that most PSE departments in support roles are all trying to reach their respective audiences, but with less-than-stellar results.

So, here’s what we worked out:

We’re adopting a concierge model. Instead of trying to reach out to the greatest number of faculty possible, we’re focusing on those who approach us for help: consulting with them about their course design, discussing desired learning outcomes, reviewing the ed tech options, then designing learning objects that match those outcomes. These same faculty are asked to present their experiences to other interested instructors, forming a group of faculty mentors.

“This is nothing new,” you’ll say, and you’re right. But we are looking at faculty mentors through a new lens to assist them with their goals, while at the same time promote our agenda, which is ultimately connecting with faculty. A truly symbiotic relationship is what we’re after.

Since this model is still very much in its infancy in our department, we’ll keep you posted on our results. Fingers crossed!


The Lightboard is coming! The Lightboard is coming!

Truth be told, it’s already here. Yes, Douglas College is now the proud owner and purveyor of a Lightboard. After first reading about this technology on Twitter back in 2015, we finally have our own board, thanks to the DC Innovative Technology Projects Fund.

And what is the Lightboard? Actually, it’s very much like a whiteboard, replacing the hard whiteboard surface with glass. The glass is mounted on a desk that can move up and down, depending on the height of the person using it. It’s also surrounded by lights, which, when used with special fluorescent markers makes for a very pleasing presentation.


But the true beauty of the Lightboard lies in the fact that the instructor can write her lesson concepts on the board facing the video camera, then through the magic of mirrors, the image is transposed, displaying properly for the viewer of the recordings. By recording your lecture via the Lightboard, you then have the ability to post the recording in your Blackboard course, reusing it repeatedly until the material needs updating.

The ATS team is excited about this new technology and looks forward to helping instructors integrate it into their teaching practice.


Our ETUG road trip

Last week, Tim Paul, Mikki Herbold, and I attended the ETUG Spring workshop “Education by Design” (May 31-June 2) at UBC-Okanagan in beautiful Kelowna, BC. Excited for our road trip, we left the Lower Mainland in good time then hit the highway, jammin’ the whole way to some groovy tunes provided by yours truly (after all, it was my car…). We made it to Kelowna in 4 hours or so, then decided to stop for lunch at Memphis Blues. After some relax time on the patio, we got back in the car for the final leg of our journey to UBC-Okanagan. Seriously! What a gorgeous campus!


We stayed in residence, opting for the true “student experience.” A studio room with bed, desk, kitchenette, and bathroom provided all the creature comforts we were looking for.

After freshening up, I met my fellow SCETUGgers (stewardship committee members) for a brief pre-conference meeting to confirm we all knew our respective duties/tasks during the conference. As for Mikki and Tim, they explored the campus, uncovering the local Starbucks. Good sleuthing, team!

Next, we hopped in a taxi to Freddy’s Brew Pub to meet up with the ETUG participants. It was wonderful to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones, socializing for an hour or two before heading back to campus for some much-needed rest before the start of the conference the next day.

Yikes! 7:30 am comes early–that’s all I’m saying. Thanks to the UBC-O team (with Janine Hirtz at the helm), we got the Reg Desk set up in short order, just outside where breakfast was being served. After some scrambled eggs, toast, and copious cups of coffee, I felt ready for whatever the day might bring.

Starting things off was Dr. Peter Newbury, the new Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at UBC-O. His keynote presentation titled “How (you can help) people learn?” was the perfect introduction to this action-packed conference.

With four main streams offered (Learning Design, Ed Tech, Faculty/Ed Development, & Breakthrough Thinking), we decided the best approach was to divide and conquer; each of us attending different sessions. What a selection! Everything from
A New Format for Course Redesign Process to Intro to Wikipedia Edit-a-thon to Design Challenge: Mobile Learning to the FOIPPA Design Challenge–the choices were extensive!

The big social on June 1 was held at Kelowna’s Rotary Club downtown, a super-cool venue perfect for a cocktail party with the smooth stylings of Breaking Band and DJ Draggin (aka Jason Toal, chair of ETUG). And dancing? Yeah, we did a little of that too…


Friday morning came quickly with another slate of great sessions and presentations such as Open Pedagogy; I Stream, You Stream, We All Stream: DIY Live Streaming; and Okanagan College’s Disrupters Group among others.

And, before we knew it, we had to hit the road to get back to our regular lives. But, for a few days we had the opportunity to share, collaborate, and network about issues, challenges, and innovations at our institutions realizing that we all have similar experiences. Thank you, ETUG. Fun was had and stuff was learned by all.

Pencasting and other ways to incorporate videos in your classroom

In a recent Teaching in Higher Ed podcast (#153), Douglas College instructor Brandy Dudas explains her use of pencasting and other ways of introducing videos into her classroom. She says it all started with students asking her to post videos online, enabling them to review difficult concepts repeatedly to ensure they really grasped the necessary learning. She even has her own YouTube channel called Accounting Videos with Brandy, which is clearly popular with her students.

Grab a coffee and your iPhone, then give this podcast a listen. It’s passionate educators like Brandy who are truly making a difference in students’ lives.