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.
with hosts Lisa Smith (Sociology)& Steven Bishop (Learning Design)
With the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, the Summer of 2020 is profoundly different for Douglas College faculty, staff, and students. Winter 2020 ended abruptly with a move to on-line teaching for the remainder of the term. For folks teaching summer courses at Douglas College, for the first time ever, all course instruction will be on-line. Dare we say that the phrases, ‘I’m scrambling…’, ‘I’m freaking out…’, and ‘when will this be over’, have certainly become common enough! We are just beginning to realize the vast and far-reaching impacts of this virus on individuals and communities across the globe. Many members of our community are grappling, both directly and indirectly, with the fallout of this massive social upheaval.
For instructors there is an imminent and ongoing need for technological support; however, the nuts and bolts of navigating on-line teaching are not the central focus of this podcast. This podcast is about hearing from DC faculty, staff, and students, as they navigate through the on-line realm in these novel times.
We had many questions at the outset of this podcast: What was it like to move everything on-line within a week? What things did you try, but found didn’t work? How do you build a sense of connection and community when teaching in on-line spaces? How do you cultivate presence as an instructor when teaching on-line? How do you manage the complex patterns of inequality that continue to shape how students gain access to education? Are we aware of all the ways our students are impacted by COVID-19 (emotional, physical, and beyond)? What kinds of things do you consider when making choices about content delivery? What is it like to instruct from home? To learn from home? To work from home? What expertise can you share with us to help us understand the social changes that are unfolding? What are your hopes, fears, worries for this time?
Even though the questions are complex, the format is simple. Guests are invited for virtual hallway chats. We record the conversation and share with others. We chose the hallway chat model to replicate one of the benefits of the close quarters we inhabit as HSS Faculty. We have the privilege of ‘running into’ each other throughout the term. We find these conversations rich opportunities for learning about the work of our colleagues, trouble-shooting small issues, or even delving into deeper reflection. For each chat session we will post any additional reading materials that are mentioned in the recording.
We invite you to listen, share, and create with us as we explore the depths of our new digital humanity.
The first podcast is an interview with Joseph (Joey) Moore, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Douglas College. He has research interests in environmental sociology, urban sociology, and social movements.
Hallway Chat 1: Joseph Moore (Sociology)
Steven and I were pleased to welcome Dr. Joseph Moore, Sociology, for our first virtual hallway chat.
In this chat, Joey mentions Arlie Hothschild’s book, The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work, first published in 1997.
Check out his co-edited collection, Sociology of Home: Belonging, Community, and Place in the Canadian Context
“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.