VCC 2017 Educational Technology Showcase – May 29, 2017

On May 29, 2017, Vancouver Community College was pleased to present our third Educational Technology showcase, called “The Flipped School”.

Held at the VCC Broadway campus, it gave our Faculty a way to showcase educational technologies, best practises, and to learn from the experience of their VCC colleagues.

The Showcase was located in and around Room 1228, Bldg B of the Broadway campus, and encompassed over eleven presentations over six hours. You can see this year’s event schedule at the VCC EdTech Showcase registration site and check out Twitter activity at the hashtag #vccedtech

Here’s a little video welcome (and a look at how far we’ve come!)

Here are descriptions, videos and resources from the day’s presentations:

Keynote Speaker: Rajiv Jhangiani, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Dr. Jhangiani gave an impassioned presentation in defence of open educational resources and open textbooks, particularly commenting on the impacts of rising textbook costs on student success.

(Dr. Jhangiani’s full lecture notes are available online.)

Related Resources:

About the Presenter:

Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani is the University Teaching Fellow in Open Studies and a Psychology Professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, BC, where he conducts research in open education and the scholarship of teaching and learning. A recipient of the Robert E. Knox Master Teacher Award from the University of British Columbia and the Dean of Arts Teaching Excellence award at KPU, Dr. Jhangiani serves as the Senior Open Education Advocacy and Research Fellow with BCcampus, an Associate Editor of Psychology Learning and Teaching, and a faculty workshop facilitator with the Open Textbook Network. Dr. Jhangiani has revised two open textbooks—for Research Methods and Social Psychology—and advocates for the adoption of open educational and science practices. His books include A Compendium of Scales for Use in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (2015) and Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science (2017, Ubiquity Press).

Workshop: Moodle / BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Presenter: Robin Popow, VCC Auto Collision Program

Auto Collision Instructor Robin Popow demonstrated how he and his students maximize the power of their mobile devices to enable a truly flipped learning environment.

Robin showed how his Students use their own mobile devices to participate in on-the-fly polls using

…and he also showed the advantages of using Moodle and the student’s mobile devices to run on-the-spot assessments from the shop floor, and to manage attendance in real-time using Moodle’s Attendance module.

About the Presenter:

Robin Popow is a third generation Collision Repair technician and Paint technician with a Red Seal designation in both. Robin has held a variety of different roles relating to the auto industry including a small family collision repair shop, a major dealership, and two stints at ICBC.

Robin began his career at VCC in 2001, gained a teaching diploma, then a Master’s degree in Education from Simon Fraser University. He served as an Instructional Associate at VCC for 7 years followed by a position as Standards Manager with the Industry Training Authority of BC before returning to his true love – teaching trades skills at VCC. Robin’s speciality is the development and delivery of flexible learning programs and currently instructs his department’s distant learning high school program to students all over BC.

Health Sciences Simulated Learning Experience (SLE) Lab Demonstration

Faculty and Technicians from the Health Sciences Program led two group demonstrations of their high-fidelity patient simulation system. Their robotic “patients” can be programmed for a wide variety of conditions and responses, in order to provide realistic Student challenges.

The Simulated Learning Experiences (SLE) lab is designed to help learners practice skills and interventions in a simulated hospital environment. These opportunities recreate realistic scenarios that reflect the complexities of patient care. The goal is for nurses to practice patient care and to experience the positive and negative impacts of on-the-job decision-making, in a safe environment.

Workshop: Skype for Business

Presenter: Julieta Herrera, VCC IT Dept.

Julieta demonstrated how to use Skype for Business to schedule and set-up video conferences between people at VCC and/or at external institutions, and also showed how to use the presentation recording feature.

About the Presenter:

Julieta Herrera has worked with Educational Technology in the IT department at VCC for the last five years. While evaluating practices and technologies on an ongoing basis, she collaborates with faculty and students on using technology to support educational experiences. Julieta have worked in other universities in Mexico and Canada and she holds degrees from a university in Mexico. She enjoys working with the faculty at VCC to better understand the Educational Technologies that will assist them in their teaching.

Panel Discussion: Culinary Arts Curriculum Project

This panel discussion reviewed a large curriculum redevelopment project undertaken by the VCC Culinary Arts program. The panel will discuss the new Culinary programs and the lessons learned from the development of a blended delivery model using Moodle.


View the slides from the Culinary Arts project panel

Panel Presenters:

  • VCC’s VP of Academic and Research, Dr. Kathryn McNaughton
  • Shirley Lew, VCC Dean of Library and Teaching & Learning Services
  • Ysabel Sukic, Asst. Department Head, Culinary Arts
  • Garth Manning, Instructional Associate, Centre for Instructional Development
  • John Love, Moodle Media Developer, Centre for Instructional Development

Lightning Talk Presentations

Inspired by the rapid-fire format of Pecha Kucha, presenters were given a chance to describe their topic in about three minutes.

Workshop: ePortfolios at VCC

Presenter: Andy Sellwood, Centre for Instructional Development

This presentation takes a look at what ePortfolios are and how they can be used in different educational programs. The Exabis ePortfolio system is being piloted at VCC, and was briefly demonstrated to show one possibility of implementing ePortfolios into programs.

View the slideshow from the ePortfolios session

About the Presenter:

Andy Sellwood is an Instructional Associate in the Centre for Instructional Development (CID) at VCC. Prior to joining CID, Andy was a physics instructor as well as being the department head of Science at VCC between 2010 and 2015. Andy’s interests lie in student motivation, program design and program implementation.


Accessibility in Online Learning Environments: Betty Noble and Karon Lee

On Sept. 24, 2013, the Centre for Instructional Development proudly presented the Learn @ Lunch Workshop “Accessibility in Online Learning”.

VCC Instructor (and former head of the Visually Impaired Program) Betty Noble, and SFU Distance Learning Consultant Karon Lee presented their experiences with accessibility issues in developing online courses.

Some of the key topics covered in this hour-long presentation were:

  • Accessibility support in different Learning Management Systems (WebCT, Canvas, and Moodle).
  • How Universal Design for Learning (UDL) supports accessibility.
  • Compatibility issues of web browsers and the JAWS screen reader.
  • Key points to remember when striving for accessibility.

CID Activity Reports: 2012 to 2013


Each year, the Centre for Instructional Development posts its annual CID Activity Report, which documents the consultation, development and support activities delivered to the VCC community.

The 2012-2013 Activity Report is now available on the CID website.
It covers a wide array of topics:

  • Program Renewal
  • Curriculum Development
  • Instructional Development
  • Distributed Learning
  • Study of Teaching and Learning
  • Policy Review Groups and Committee Work
  • IRA Support
  • Faculty Postings: Selection, Election and Area Hiring Recommendations

Learn more about the CID, its mission, and previous Activity Reports on our “About Us” page.

Moodle Moot Canada 2013: Day 1

MoodleMoot2013From February 13-15, 2013, members of the Centre for Instructional Development (CID) attended the  Moodle Moot Canada 2013 conference in Vancouver.

Vancouver Community College has made a strong commitment to using the Moodle LMS platform for delivering online courses. Moodle Moot is a major annual event that brings educators, technologists and industry reps together to share ideas, show off projects, and discuss issues in online learning, educational practice and the implications of digital technology.

The CID and the DL Support team attended a variety of educational and technical sessions at this stimulating two and a half day conference. (Many attendees tweeted out URLs, notes and quotes using the hashtag #mootca13.)

Martin Dougiamas: “Why are we in education?”

The keynote speaker on Day 1 was Moodle’s creator, Martin Dougiamas.

Although he’s known primarily as a software engineer, Martin has an educational background. This is evident from his Moodle design philosophy, which  is based on Social Constructivism – the idea that learning happens through the knowledge that we grow by actively working and constructing with others. (Wikipedia: “Groups construct knowledge for one another, collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings.”)

This open, collaborative philosophy also parallels the goals of the Open Educational Resource (OER) movement in general. Openness in its many forms (free and open code, open course content, and open collaboration) is the underlying quality that sets Moodle apart from all the commercial LMS competitors (which are neither free nor open).

Features coming to Moodle in versions 2.5 and 2.6

Martin said that Moodle HQ has spent a lot of time over the past few releases improving Moodle’s architecture and performance.

Here are the features Martin said we can expect in the Moodle core, in versions 2.5 or 2.6:

  • The Open Badges open standard will be supported in 2.5 and 2.6
  • An HTML5 app for smartphones is in development (PhoneGap). This will provide a better user experience for Moodle users on their mobile phones. (A beta version may be available this week.)
  • Offline marking of assignments was a much-requested feature, and the new mobile app may accommodate this.
  • An LTI interface will provide much easier integration of plug-ins (mostly of use to plugin developers)
  • More instructional videos are on the way to the site!
  • The TinyMCE editor in Moodle will have an “auto-save to browser” capability in version 2.5 or 2.6.

Efficiency has been the major focus of Moodle’s engineering efforts, but Martin also admitted that while advancing the technology is crucial, he personally wants to go “back to the classroom” and revisit his earlier research. So, he looked to the audience and asked them the question that he was, in effect, asking himself: “Why are we in education?” Audience members responded with brief, personal statements which sometimes were quite blunt and essential: “to make the world a better place”, “to help others have a better life”, or “because it’s fun”.

After seeing how he connected with the room in that brief exchange, I could not see Martin Dougiamas as just a techie or an engineer. He was saying that he’s continuing to reinterpret and redefine his role against the dual backgrounds of technology and education – something that I suspect many of the people in his audience had likely been doing as well.

Martin said “the tools we use change us” and affect our behaviour. I’d find that theme coming up again in later sessions, particularly where social media in education is concerned.

Session: Teaching with Moodle – Beyond Bloom’s Taxonomy

This small breakout session was led by Jason Maitland and Kristina Thomson – two high-school teachers from Rundle Academy, who aimed to show how they’d extended their learning practice “beyond Bloom’s Taxonomy” by integrating Moodle with other online services. (Their Prezi slide deck is available online.)

They described how they applied differentiated learning, using various types of content for their adolescent learners. In one example resource for teaching literature (in this case, Shakespeare), text was displayed in simplified English, and accompanied by audio and video clips, all embedded on the same page. This multi-modal approach (promoted as a UDL standard), allows learners with different learning styles to absorb information in more than one mode using multiple forms of media. It was neat to see the principle applied so enthusiastically by young teachers in the first few years of their careers.

Key Topics Raised

How will Moodle fit into the 21 Century Competencies?

  • Creativity and innovation
    Critical thinking and problem solving (metacognition)
  • Bloom’s Taxonomy  – moving beyond this to metacognition (a blending of all of the learning steps – understanding, evaluation, creation, etc)
  • Differentiation – make content accessible to all students in different ways
    • Teacher needs to understand content
    • Needs to understand the interests and learning profile of students

Other observations from this session:

“Moodle is a frame to consolidate different apps or plugins. Moodle is the house students can always use to access their content.”
I thought this was a particularly strong message, and a practical approach to organizing the presentation of features from other services into a common learning environment.

Use Twitter as your back channel. Use it to compile issues as in an exit survey.
Put embed code in HTML block (some templates don’t like Twitter embed code).

Other Example Uses of 3rd-party web services

  • Students may be asked to Tweet current events or other content as part of their homework. The teachers found that it was easiest for their students to all use a common communal Twitter account for this.
  • Collaborative Doc Sharing (Google Docs or PiratePad, embedded in Moodle.
  • Use to publish a “class book”
  • for embedding math simulations.

These teachers have discovered that they can embed outside services or rich media into Moodle resources or activities by using the IFrame HTML tag. Technically speaking, it’s a simple technique, but logistically it’s a good approach, giving the student a common context (Moodle) while taking easy advantage of 3rd-party features which Moodle doesn’t have. Embedded outside services of media into Moodle resources or activities also gives them the ability to grade activity in Moodle’s Grader report, and to use the activity logs to see if an embedded resource has been visited recently.

For these Teachers, Moodle became the picture frame through which other services and media could be seen and used. Moodle became the context or framework within which a variety of web technologies could be used (especially ones with which their students were already familiar).

Daphne Koller: What we’re learning from online education

Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller gives her TED talk about the mission and success of the Coursera MOOC platform:

Coursera’s mission (and the premise of Massive Open Online Courses in general) has raised some debate. You can read the comments in this video’s page to get an idea…

Online Ingredients Increase Critical Thinking and Skills Development for VCC Baking Students

By Robin Popow (Instructional Associate, Centre for Instructional Development)

In 2011 VCC’s Baking and Pastry Arts Department embarked on a curriculum redevelopment project for their Artisan Baking Certificate and Pastry Certificate programs.

It was decided early that the new curriculum would utilize affordances offered by the online environment to help increase retention, student engagement and reflective practice.

While the project was clearly a collaborative effort with department and college members, instructor and project lead, Fionna Chong sat down and shared the details of this exciting project. While the curriculum was redeveloped for these programs, the focus of our discussion was on the instructional strategies and use of educational technology. Two primary strategies were described including the use of videos and reflective journaling.

Instructional Videos

Videos illustrating critical concepts were created to offer students the ability to revisit lessons outside the classroom to better accommodate their own pace of learning. Referred to as ‘Concepts’ these videos have proven to be very useful to students and provide an excellent example of how a conservative approach can be taken to create videos that are targeted towards achieving outcomes while being practical and easy to produce.

Another series of demonstration videos target those laboratory demonstrations that either take too long to set up or are not necessarily easy for all students to see. The primary aim of these videos is to reduce the amount of time instructors spend on theory so they can increase the amount of time instructors can give supporting students in their hands-on work. This is found by many applied programs to be most beneficial for helping students hone their skills as well as constructing and connecting their knowledge.

Screen Capturing Presentations

Fionna has developed a system for creating her videos that allows her to use applications she already knows without having to become expert or spend loads of time video editing. Typically, she creates a slide show of pertinent points using Microsoft PowerPoint, then runs the slideshow and adds narration while filming using the screencast application Active Presenter.

This enables her to break out of her slideshow and run videos or draw on a blackboard application just as she would normally do in a face-to-face classroom. At the time of this interview, the Baking Departments YouTube channel boasted a series of concept and lab-demo videos with more than 5000 views. Fionna has received very positive feedback from students stating “…this is [particularly] wonderful for learners who are ESL”.


TED Ed lesson

Click the image to see a sample of a lesson used by Baking students

The program is also beginning to use a new web application created by which allows you to use engaging videos to create customized lessons. As stated on the TED-Ed beta site,You can use, tweak, or completely redo any lesson featured on TED-Ed, or create lessons from scratch based on any video from YouTube.

Reflective Journaling

Historically, the Baking Department has considered reflective practice as a core instructional strategy but found that students often provided shallow statements such as “I will need to try harder next time”, or “I burned the bread again”. Fionna suggested that students “…just weren’t thinking critically enough to reflect in a meaningful way” and needed to learn how to reflect. As a result, the new curriculum requires students to contribute on a regular basis to an online journal or what they call a “Folio Hub” using the WordPress blogging platform.

Click here to visit the sample page – use “dessertwine” as the password

In addition to samples of good posts of reflective practice the hub serves as a place for teaching students how to think critically to provide meaningful contributions.  RubricBefore starting, students are required to assess a sample student journal using a Reflective Journaling Rubric.

Instructors provide feedback on students journal contributions in effort to make crucial connections that students may miss.  Fionna noted that “…it’s all about connecting the theory to their practice in the lab” and added that even though a constant struggle may always exist to get those who wish not to write to contribute regularly, students are now talking and even helping each other with the project – reaching a whole new level of engagement. Instructors have found that, “they really enjoy reading the posts!”

When asked what the department plans next, Fionna suggested that potential exists for using interactive animations and other learning objects that may already be available. Additionally, the department would like to provide some of these new strategies to their apprentice classes but for now are concentrating on getting all instructors familiar with the new curriculum.

Anyone interested in finding out more about any of the information provided in this post is encouraged to contact the Centre for Instructional Development (CID) at

Apps and Appies: Kevin Kovalycsik, Sept. 19, 2012

On Sept. 19, 2012, the Centre for Instructional Development was proud to present the workshop session “Apps and Appies” by Kevin Kovalycsik, Dept. Chair of the Bachelor of Hospitality Management program at Vancouver Community College.

In this live demonstration and presentation, Mr. Kovalycsik provided an overview of a number of iPad apps which he uses in his teaching practice, and explains their real-world use and the specific advantages for both teachers and students.

Award-winning applications like Flipboard and Pocket are examples of free tools that gather and aggregate articles and news around specific topics in real-time. Real-time information gathering tools and social media have essentially changed how teachers and students do research, and allowed for greater offline access and mobility.

Kevin stressed the emphasis on interactivity and doing, which the iPad inherently promotes as a platform, rather than simply reading. “Students want to be challenged. The iPad gets your mind going. [Use of the iPad] becomes a relationship with the students – it’s an ongoing relationship.”

The videos of this presentation are segmented into three parts:

Apps in Education: Kevin Kovalycsik, Sept 19, 2012 – Pt 1 of 3

Apps in Education: Kevin Kovalycsik, Sept 19, 2012 – Pt 2 of 3

Apps in Education: Kevin Kovalycsik, Sept 19, 2012 – Pt 3 of 3

Technology Trends and the Courage to Adapt: CID Learn@Lunch with Tony Bates & Gary Poole

Higher Education Institutions are paradoxical places when it comes to change. On the one hand, they have long-standing traditions dating back centuries. On the other, they are expected to be drivers of innovation, new practices and new thinking. Nowhere is this paradox more clearly demonstrated than in our teaching, where time-honoured practice meet rapid change. This change may be brought on by economic realities, shifts in student characteristics,research on pedagogy, or the introduction of new technologies. Whatever the reason, change can be difficult for those of us who teach in higher education in an era of greater demands to teach effectively.

The technology isn’t letting up. As well as new technologies outside the LMS, such as blogs, wikis, e-portfolios, mobile learning, now LMSes are undergoing some radical changes. What does this mean for the faculty member? In this session, we look at a few of the more significant developments, in particular how some instructors have incorporated some of these technologies, and suggest some simple steps or strategies for instructors to be innovative without getting overwhelmed by the changes in technology.

Put simply, change takes courage — to step outside our comfort zones, to risk the uncertain, and to embrace the unfamiliar with our students. In this April 24, 2012 session, Dr. Bates and Dr. Poole delivered an inspiring and insightful look at how educators and institutions can approach change in constructive and thoughtful ways.

Feel free to download the presentations and recorded videos of this session:

The CID would like to thank Dr. Poole and Dr. Bates, as well as Leva Lee at BCcampus, Jason Toal at SFU, and Grant Potter at UNBC for their support of this event.

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:

Creating Successful Online Learning Environments

CID invited Tannis Morgan to talk about ways to create successful online learning environments.

Tannis Morgan is an experienced Instructional Developer, for the past six years she has help many faculty across many fields (e.g. dental hygiene, nursing, education, cardiac sciences, automotive service technician) develop online courses and use educational technologies.

For the purpose of this workshop she developed a wonderful website .

I invite everyone to visit it.