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.


Douglas College’s new EdMedia Program for faculty and staff

Media creation (videos for class instruction or promotional activities, podcasts, etc.) is everywhere these days. Think YouTube, Lynda.com, the Khan Academy. This is the new way of acquiring knowledge and delivering your message to large audiences.                                                         

Creating video and audio recordings can serve to humanize the online environment, convey deeper meaning, and provide a catalyst for social and instructional presence. Some of the uses for educational media include:

  • short instructional/promotional videos or audio recordings
  • just-in-time tutorials
  • collaborative peer assignments
  • formative assessments
  • digital storytelling projects

At Douglas College, we just rolled out our new EdMedia Program, which,  once completed, will provide participants with the skills to create their own educational media designed for their specific purpose, whether that means producing a video or launching a podcast, and ultimately, reaching your desired audience. Graduates leave with a deeper understanding of the creative process and assets that can be used in the classroom, in online courses, or for promotional purposes.

Now for the details. The program consists of six workshops held over a six-week period. Enrollment is limited to ensure a meaningful hands-on experience. Participants have the opportunity to work in recording/editing studios alongside like-minded colleagues and creative professionals from Academic Technology Services. A certificate will be awarded to participants who complete the following courses; however, courses can be taken individually and accumulate towards the certificate.

  1. Recording Foundations: Pre-production and planning
    Thursday, May 25, NW MousePad (room N3142) 9:00-11:00 am
  2. Video Recording Techniques: Lights, camera, action
    Monday, May 29, Studio (room N3272V) 9:00am-12:00pm
  3. Guerrilla Filmmaking: Portable device techniques
    Thursday, June 8, Dance studio (room N3260) 9:00am-12:00pm
  4. Camtasia Desktop Editing: Producing professional-looking videos
    Monday, June 12, NW MousePad (room N3142) 9:00am-12:00pm
  5. Audio Recording: Editing with Audacity/Podcasting
    Thursday, June 15, Studio (room N3272V) 9:00am-12:00pm
  6. Showcase and Next Steps. Next steps to integrate recordings into courses (e.g., Blackboard tools, WordPress sites)
    Monday, June 19, NW MousePad (room N3142) 9:00am-12:00pm

If you’re a member of the DC community and are interested in registering, click here.