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Have you seen the LIGHT(board)?

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. ~Edith Wharton.

Douglas College acquired a new piece of edtech a year ago called the Lightboard. But just what is this lightboard thingy?

Basically, it’s a piece of illuminated glass, on which instructors can write their lessons/lecture notes–just as they would a whiteboard or blackboard in a traditional classroom. The real magic comes into play when the video camera reverses the image, allowing the instructor’s writing to read properly from left to right.

The benefits of this technology are clear:

  • ​Instructors face their audience (students) directly through the glass. [No longer is there a need to turn your back to the students to write on the board.]
  • Students, in turn, see exactly what the instructor is emphasizing.
  • Lightboard sessions are recorded; therefore, the instructor leaves with an MP4 file that can be uploaded to their Blackboard course space or shown to the class by playing it from the instructor computer.
  • Instructors do not need to learn new technology or develop new skills. The Lightboard is fully supported by the ATS team.
  • Using this technology is particularly gratifying to convey difficult concepts, sensitive topics, etc. The recording can be played and replayed as many times as necessary for students to master the content.
Check out this video showcasing two Douglas College instructors and a student discussing the benefits of the Lightboard. And, if you’re interested in finding out more, please contact us.
Featured

Express Yourself! Consider new, creative ways of engaging your students

ATS is currently running a new series of workshops in time for the summer term called “Express Yourself!” These workshops will provide you with an overview to the specific teaching method by faculty experts, plenty of Q&A, and some hands-on play time. Our goal is that you start seeding the possibilities for your own teaching, contemplating how these ideas will engage and motivate your students.

Here’s what’s on offer:

  1. Presenting with purpose: This workshop will focus on heightening physical and vocal engagement in order to clarify your sound, meaning, and message. We will work from material provided by the group. Bring your own speeches, classroom presentations, or video scripts. We will also provide practice text. Bring your curiosity and come prepared to explore your expressive presence. Facilitator: Thrasso Petras, Theatre dept. April 30, 9:30am-12:30pm, N3260
  2. Going visual: You will be guided through a series of fun drawing exercises designed to amplify your visual literacy. No previous drawing experience is required, only a willingness to make to make your marks! Facilitator: Jason Toal, SFU Teaching & Learning Centre. May 2, 9:30-11:00am, S0620
  3. Thinking through the grid: Lightboard edition: You will discuss the comics grid as pedagogical heuristic using the technology of the lightboard. Topics will include the grid as database, timing system, and standing reserve. You will be asked to draw, but no particular drawing skill is required. Facilitators: Peter Wilkins, English dept. & Dwayne Thornhill, ATS. May 14, 9:00am-12:00pm, N3142 and N3272V
  4. Tablets for teaching: Learn how to use a tablet to facilitate teaching. Brandy will demonstrate how she uses it inside the classroom to improve student interaction and make PowerPoints more engaging. She will also discuss making tutorial videos using a tablet, giving you her software recommendations. Facilitator: Brandy Dudas, Accounting dept. May 23, 2:00-3:00pm, S2801
  5. Podcast! Encourage your students’ voices: Join us for an interactive workshop on designing podcast-based assignments. You will receive a mini-case, outlining process, design guidance for creating your podcast assignments, and technical information about podcasting. Facilitator: Lisa Smith, Sociology dept. June 4, 9:00am-12:00pm, S0620

And, these workshops are open and free to everyone. Here’s how you register.

Featured

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.

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.

What does that have to do with technology?

By Steven Bishop

I am getting better at answering the question, “What you are talking about is important, but what does that have to do with technology?” This question is probably more implied, and probably more personal and internal, than one I am asked by others directly. My job title is Online Learning Designer, a role that involves:

  • supporting faculty with their use of the college’s Learning Management System (LMS)
  • collaborating with educational and informational technology staff to ensure currency and quality of online learning environments
  • instructing faculty in the design and production of online learning objects
  • providing “exceptional client-centered service on a consistent basis to all stakeholder groups”

Depending on what one thinks technology means, there is lots of room for interpretation of the above functions. Because the environment is technological (e.g. digital, computer-based, online), there can be an assumption that the primary work is within prescribed technologies. Ursula Franklin, defines a prescriptive technology as that which “Each step is carried out by a separate worker, or group of workers, who need to be familiar only with the skills of performing that one step. This is what is normally meant by division of labour.” (Franklin, 1990)

Franklin also identifies holistic technology as “…associated with the notion of craft” and involving decisions that can only be made while the work is in process, by the artisan themselves. Holistic technology is endangered in our modern, compliance-based, and prescriptive technological environment, where one misplaced character in a line of code causes failure, and where algorithms decide what information we are fed on our smart phones and computers.

There are a number of reasons why I think a holistic approach to Educational Technology is needed, Continue reading “What does that have to do with technology?”

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