Six experienced teachers answer 6 key questions at Comosun

Retired Camosun Instructor, Linda Cross, asked new instructors to give her a list of questions they would like to have answered by teachers who could draw on years of experience to provide realistic answers.

As a result six experienced teachers were asked questions about 6 topics related to teaching:

  1. Encouraging Student Participation
  2. Delivering Course Content
  3. Managing Classroom Behaviour
  4. Designing a Grading Process
  5. Evaluating Student Work
  6. Developing as a Teacher

Click here to see the insightful video responses…


Online Course Showcase

This Online Course Showcase event was hosted by the JIBC and organized by JIBC and VCC (with support from BC Campus).

The purpose of the event was to bring together post-secondary institutions in the lower mainland to showcase their “best” online courses. Each institution showcased one to two examples of their best online course from an instructional design perspective broken into two categories:

• Best extended LMS: how do you extend your institutional LMS to create a well-designed online course? Or, do you have a best example of a course built outside of LMS?
• Instructional Design: show your most creative instructional design or address a challenging teaching and learning context problem.

Submissions included presentations by: JIBC | VCC | UBC | Kwantlen | SFU | Emily Carr | BCIT

Thanks for those that attended and supported us!

For those that missed it this year you can read all about it in Tony Bates‘ and Tannis Morgan’s Blog Posts 1: Extended LMS and 2: Instructional Design, and even check out some of the sessions recorded by BCCampus.

The Metro-Ed group is planning on hosting this event every year, so stay tuned… there will be more.

Cheaters Beware! Professor delivers a lesson students will never forget

Check out this viral video where professor Richard Quinn of University of Central Florida gives his students a lecture they will never forget. More than 200 admitted to cheating on a midterm exam as a result.

Blended Learning: The 21st Century Learning Environment

Join the CID on Sept 15 & 16th as we attend an Educause Focus Session titled, Blended Learning: The 21st-Century Learning Environment online from VCC. This event offers a great opportunity to learn more about blended learning environments while building a community of practice with your colleagues right here at VCC!

The goal of this focus session is to revisit the potential of blended learning instructional models, student learning outcomes, and successful implementation practices. The maturing of online learning practices and engagements has opened new possibilities for curriculum design, including both face-to-face and online learning opportunities. The ability to design a course that uniquely blends face-to-face and distributed interaction allows institutions to address learners’ specific needs and customize the learning environment rather than rely on a “one size fits all” approach. But these options lead to a variety of questions:

  • What’s the right mix of face-to-face and online?
  • How do you decide when to employ an online activity or interaction?
  • How can you best map the mix of blended elements to student needs and requirements?
  • How can these elements be orchestrated to meet a course’s learning objectives?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of various online techniques and methods?

Click here for more information about the session at the ELI website…

This event is sponsored by the Centre for Instructional Development and no registration is required. If you are interested, feel free to attend all or just parts of the sessions that fit into your schedule.


Wednesday September 15, 9:00AM – 2:30AM at Broadway (Room TBA)

Thursday September 16, 9:00AM – 2:30AM at Downtown (Room TBA)

All VCC employees are welcome to attend both sessions – hope to see you there!

Oh yeah, please BYOLunch

ETUG’s Spring 2010 Workshop – June 7-8 @ UVic

Don’t miss this popular semiannual PD opportunity as offered by the BC Campus Educational Technology User Group (ETUG)…

Join us June 7 and 8 for ETUG’s  Spring 2010 Workshop held at the University of Victoria. Our theme is “3 Cups of T: Teaching, Technology, Transformation”. This alludes to the bestseller, “Three Cups of Tea” – an inspiring story of a brave, pioneering educator in a hostile situation who, against great odds, makes a big difference in the world. He did this in small increments, by working “failures” into successes, and by learning to really listen and consider stakeholders and their needs. The power of patience and building relationships in order to innovate and bring about change are themes we can relate to in our work in education and technology. Not to mention, our workshop is taking place in Victoria, BC (a high-tea hotspot). It will be a tea-riffic event!

Come share  your challenges and triumphs with teaching with technology and views on system trends and changes.

Visit the ETUG site for more info

Registration is $100 + GST and includes all workshop sessions, 2 continental breakfasts, 2 lunches,  morning refreshments, and the Monday evening BBQ dinner.

*Note: Hands-on lab sessions  which have limited space will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Pimp Your Post – Jazzing up Introductory Posts in Online Courses: February 12 – 19, 2010


Don’t miss this excellent opportunity organized by in the BC Educational Technology User Group (ETUG).

Research and experience shows that a strong start toward building community can do wonders for learning and engagement in your online course. For most online courses, this begins with the Introductory post or icebreaker activity in Week 1. During this combined 1-hour web conference and one week discussion we will explore (easy, fun, and free) ways to go beyond the plain text forum post.

Live Session in Elluminate: February 12, 2010 at 11:30 GMT (your time zone)

Seminar Facilitator: Gina Bennett
Live Session Facilitator: Tracy Roberts

Visit the session page in SCoPE…

Getting Started with Research

My colleague Tannis Morgan and I were invited by Nancy Nowlan to give a workshop at Capilano University.

We focused the presentation of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), while providing access to resources that inform good research practices.

The link to the materials for the May 14th workshop (e.g. powerpoint slides, articles, tools) were posted on a blog.

I hope you find it useful.

Online Teaching: Resources

The Office of Learning Technology (OLT) at UBC has been working on a project called Orientation to Teaching Online (OTO).

The objective of this project is to develop orientation materiales for faculty delivering online courses. These materials are posted on the UBC Wiki.

These resources are meant to provide faculty with access to a comprehensive set of resources related to online facilitation.

The OLT has have done a very good job combining the ideas and referencing the key researchers in the area.

Even though the tool used to present the materials is a Wiki, the layout follows good instructional design an can be used by faculty as a self-paced course.

I invite you to take a look:

Making the Most of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL): Asking Questions of Value

Vancouver Island University (VIU) Workshop

Delegates from BC’s teaching and learning centres attended a workshop at Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) beautiful Nanaimo campus on May 8th 2009. The workshop was hosted by the Vancouver Island Educational Developers Alliance (VIEDA) which is associated with the broader provincial group, the Universities, Colleges and Institutes Professional Developers (UCIPD). VIEDA is composed of North Island College, Vancouver Island University, University of Victoria, Camosun College and Royal Roads University. Participants were present from all VIEDA member institutions as well as BCIT, Mount Royal College in Calgary, SFU, University of the Fraser Valley and VCC.

Delegates were welcomed at the base of the spectacular, VIU campus structure by smiling greeters who ushered them to the workshop. The workshop itself was very well organized and educational. Break-out groups were created by synthesizing data from a pre-assessment survey to determine special interest. The workshop was so popular with BC’s education developer community that there was a long wait list after the 50 participant limit was easily met. Worskhop proceedings will be posting on the VIU SoTL Learning Together Collaboratory WIKI

Ginny Cathcart attended on behalf of the VCC Centre for Instructional Development (CID). One of the pillars of the VCC-CID is the Study of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) making this workshop relevant and timely. The commencement of the Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) program at VCC has created a need for research and scholarship support. The VCC-CID also believes that all educators need to consider the value of researching student learning outcomes and sharing SoTL findings among its programs.

The CID is interested in supporting faculty members wherever possible with relevant information about posing good research questions, using evidence-based research principles and methodologies, managing information literacy skills and human research ethical processes in the study of teaching and learning.

Highlights of the day included the following

• Asking questions of value; making the most of the scholarship of teaching and learning
• Philosophy is to understand, make public and learn from SoTL
• Focus on what your students are doing
• SoTL includes inquiries about shared goals, policy, needs-based, peer-oriented, opportunistic, geographic, idiosyncratic, extra-ordinary, or even once-in-a-lifetime opportunities

Scholarship of meaningful change: Important themes for learning “higher value” issues

• Empathy and tolerance
• Equity and social justice
• Activism and empowerment
• Responsibility and engagement
• Civic participation and cosmopolitanism

Formulating and Structuring a Research Question: Key features

• A good research question focuses on student learning; starts with what you see and have seen; what is important in context
• Good questions come from your class; a persistent issue or difficulty; an important concept or skill set; a road not yet taken
• Good questions matter because of focus and trajectory; evidence and argument; ethics and accountability; dissemination and improvement
• Question sof value include I individual considerations and concerns; context-oriented issues and ideas; community-oriented beliefs and intentions and collaborative or collective possibilities.
Efficiency is a reality of our working environments but you can still study higher value learning as above.
The workshop aspect was then developing questions and helping each other to funnel them from a larger concept through to a testable focused researchable question.

Disciplinary Affinities and Affiliations: Considerations examining inquiry through a disciplinary lens

• What ways of knowing are acceptable to your colleagues?
• What matters in your field and how do these ways of knowing apply to answering questions you might ask about student learning?
• What does a typical research design look like and what methodologies are commonly used to solve research questions in your field?
• How might these be used or adapted to answer questions about student learning?
• Might there be other methods you would like to use instead about which you would like more information?
• What do “rigour, sufficient evidence and supporting data” mean to you?
• How is the process of ethical review typically handled? Click here for VCC’s Research Ethics Review process
• Is your field typically used to dealing with human subject research?
• How will you know that your question has been answered to the satisfaction of your peer group?

Some SoTL questions from the workshop

• What works best to recognize prior learning in new degree programs?
• What works to cultivate an integrative and intentional affective learning outcome in aboriginal education courses for non-aboriginal students?
• How has student identity changed as colleges and university colleges have changed to universities?
• What do ESL students bring to English classes that instructors might be missing if viewed through Eurocentric lenses?
• Do hierarchical learning strategies help students learn complex concepts?
• Do nursing students and their preceptors have the same definition or notion of safe practice?
• Would removal of letter grades result in better learning?
• How do you measure the benefits of collateral unintended learning outcomes?
• Is the way we currently teach the best way to elicit academic writing learning outcomes?
• How do we measure an affective change in students regarding social issues?
• What is the process that students go through when visualizing a 2D picture into a 3D setting?

Some links on BC’s education development websites to get you started asking questions of value: