ETUG 2015 Spring Workshop


On June 4th and 5th 2015, members of the Centre for Instructional Development attended the ETUG Spring Workshop at SFU.

ETUG 2015 Spring Workshop, SFU

Here are highlights and observations from the fun and informative presentations:

Day 1

Keynote Address: “Anatomy of 21st Century Educator”

Simon Bates, UBC

In his slide show, Simon described different aspects that make up a 21st Century educator:

  • Teacher for Learning: design effective instructional activities to support active learning
  • Research-based investigation
  • Technology in delivery/assessment
  • Curator (facilitator) of existing resources
  • Collaborator (work wi others; share)
  • Experimenter (how we incorporate new ideas/methods)

Another aspect Simon emphasized was student control in constructing content and context. In contrast to a Learning Management System (like Moodle), which  is an institutionally-controlled learning space, Students could use other online tools, such as PeerWise to collect and curate their own course content.

Peerwise is a course-based question repository, developed by students, that leverages student creativity and collaboration to develop course content. In effect, it is a student-moderated space, and is particularly effective for larger classes. Students can also tag content, creating their own keywords (or use teacher’s own taxonomy).

Basic iPad Training Session for VIU Forestry Students

Michael Paskevicius, Vancouver Island University

Michael’s presentation was a”broad overview of the iPad and basic device management for students entering a program which requires the iPad.”

Preferred Mobile Platform

From the perspective of the project and institution, it was easiest and most practical to support only one brand of mobile device, and the participants were encouraged to buy their own device.

For this project, iPads were selected as the preferred platform to:

  • Reduce textbook purchase costs for students: students will be offered free and/or openly licensed digital textbooks access through the device.
  • Mirror industry standard practices from the field: iPads are emerging as an industry-standard device for the collection of data in the field.
  • Enable collaborative learning in the classroom: allow students to use iPads for group work in class and to share to the projector via AppleTV.

Polling and Quizzing in the Field

Real-time online polling tools (such as Socrative and also played a big role in gathering student feedback and facilitating discussion. QuesTinSitu was used for its geolocationing ability, allowing questions to be asked that relied on knowledge of geography or a physical presence in a particular location.

Mobile let’s students access more text + documents, and easier to transport than many expensive texts.

Additional Resources:

Day 2

Marginalia Annotation Tool

Lannie Kanevsky, SFU

Marginalia is defined as “scribbles, comments and illuminations in the margins of a book.” This old human habit has been found in manuscripts dating back to the 4th Century AD.

Lannie Kanevsky’s Slideshow:

Prior to putting 75% of one of her courses online, Lannie had her students respond to assigned readings in a printed “triple-entry journal” format in order to critically engage them with the texts prior to each class meeting.

Offline, a “Triple entry notebook” can engage students offline, before class so you don’t have to lecture. (Kooy + Kanevsky)

In a Triple-entry Notebook, Students write in margins, working in groups of 3-4, not talking, but interacting by writing in margins of a page of prepared writing.

Lannie resisted pressures to move this process online until she could find a way for students to interact with the assigned readings and each other with the same pedagogical richness and learning outcomes.

This finally became possible when she found Marginalia, a free, friendly, downloadable tool that can be embedded in Moodle discussion forums. It enables students to select portions of a text posted in a discussion forum on a Moodle (a learning management system) and annotate it with their comments appearing in the margin beside the text they’d selected.

As they had in printed responses, active conversations among classmates, the author of the posting and the instructor emerge as others comment on the comments that accumulate in the margins. Lannie demonstrated Marginalia, shared student guidelines for this process, and her students’ work, and encouraged participants to play with Marginalia on their laptops.

Marginalia integrates with the Moodle LMS, and was designed by Jeff Glass with support from BCCampus.

(Note: This tool is Javascript-based, and must be used on a laptop. Unfortunately, touch-based devices such as tablets or smartphones will not work.)

Keynote Address: Exploring Learning Ecologies: Models and Experiences So Far

Paul Hibbitts, SFU

Given that mobile access is now the new baseline, what is the next step for us to help better support our students in this age of networked information?

For Paul Hibbitts it starts with anytime/anywhere access, utilizes a development process where learning and technology are complementary partners, and evolves into the support and creation of learning ecologies. With a learning ecology, learners have an environment and tools to help better foster their own growth and meet their individual needs.

In this discussion-style session, Paul presented a learning + technology development model and a learning ecology framework for group discussion and feedback. He also shared a recent course where he leveraged both of these models as he undertook the creation of a learning ecology for his students.

Paul Hibbitts’ Presentation:


More about the ETUG 2015 Spring Workshop:



Results of the Gradebook Survey (part II) and the Gradebook Workshop

The Gradebook Workshop was held in Long Beach, CA, USA a few weeks ago.

Moodle user and web developer Bob Puffer has posted his notes on the Gradebook Workshop to along with some handy resources to start making sense of what may come of the gradebook in Moodle.

One of the most major changes will be a UCLA modeled grader report with fixed columns and row headers which should greatly improve the usability of a large gradebook (similar to the LAE grader).

Two major changes specified from his survey results:

  • Grader report fashioned similar to LAE Grader where item headers and student info columns never leave the screen from UCLA (better than LAE Grader)
  • Natural weights allowing aggregation methods to be removed from the Setup (Cats and items) screen, display of natural weights allowing adjustment by teacher.

If you want to read the full notes that Mr. Puffer shared (and all of the great links he provided) check out his post at

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.

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

Jennifer Purych shows innovative uses of Moodle Quizzes for Basic Medical Terminology

Instructor Jennifer Purych of the Health Care Communications Management program only recently began using Moodle but has quickly become very familiar with it’s features and benefits for her students.

The following post describes exemplary features of Jennifer’s course that many developing Moodle courses of their own may find very useful. Detailed instruction for adding these features to your own course are provided for each.

Jennifer’s Basic Medical Terminology course is offered 100% online and is attended by students as far as the Middle East. The course focuses on medical word parts and terms, common disease processes and basic fundamental principles of human structure.

Jennifer Purych

Jennifer Purych

Students must build their knowledge efficiently and effectively since they are required, not only to recall medical terms, but also to analyze and combine them to build medical words.

To achieve this goal Jennifer utilizes a combination of textbook based readings, online discussions and self-tests. The later being the focus of this post.

The course makes great use of Moodle Hot Potatoes crosswords, short answer with embedded audio, Matching and Cloze questions in both formative and summative assessments.


Hot Potatoes crosswords

Crossword solving involves several useful skills including vocabulary, reasoning, spelling, and word attack skills. To solve any crossword puzzle students must be able to identify and understand the terms being used. This often involves acquiring new vocabulary or terminology. Jennifer’s course features a different crossword puzzle for 8 of the 12 weeks of the course.


Hot Potatoes Crossword in Moodle


Click here to learn How to create a Hot Potatoes crossword activity for Moodle…


Short-Answer questions with embedded audio

This course features several formative quizzes based on information found in the textbook. Each question is an audio clip that the student plays and transcribes (types) in the short answer field (see below). The words/terms are repeated three times each and the student is given only 15 minutes to complete 25 transcriptions.

short answer audio embedded

Embedded audio in a Short Answer quiz


Click here to learn How to create Short-Answer questions with embedded audio in Moodle…



Creating Matching questions and Importing Quizzes

This course contains 3 lengthy exams featuring extensive use of Matching questions. Due to the high quantity of questions and short period of time to develop this course for the online environment (approximately 1 month) it was important that Moodle’s Quiz Import feature be used to upload the existing exams in their entirety.

Quiz Importing is a Moodle function that allows you to import questions from external text files. The file is then automatically converted to a web format complete with correct and incorrect answers, automatic grading, etc.

A challenge came in establishing the exact format required for the matching questions to appear properly in Moodle. Once the format was established program assistant, Gayle Spurr, was able to efficiently reformat all 3 exams and they were then uploaded directly to the course.

In effort to challenge students to the appropriate level Jennifer required several detractor (wrong) answers and so the batch file required further modifications.

matching questions

Mathching question


Click here to learn How to upload quizzes to Moodle using the Quiz Import feature

Click here to learn How to convert Matching questions for Moodle GIFT format


Fill in the blanks using Cloze questions

Once the 3 exams (featuring matching and multiple choice questions) were formatted and uploaded to the course a final multi-part Cloze question was added. This question contained a single image with numbered blanks (i.e., 1. ____________) attached to different parts of the body system being examined. The result (as seen below) was for students to be able to fill in the blanks while looking at the image and without having to deal with more than one window. A challenge here was in determining how to format the special code required for cloze questions and to display two-part answers as connected fields (see question 4).

Embedded illustration in Cloze question


Click here to learn How to create illustrated Cloze (fill the blank) questions


Canada MoodleMoot 2009 Edmonton & Vancouver?

So you can’t make it to Edmonton eh?moot-logo640x4803

Vancouver Community College invites you to attend the 2009 Canada MoodleMoot virtually, as a group from Vancouver.

The Centre for Instructional Development (CID) at Vancouver Community College is hosting a micro
conference centre (MicroMoot) for those wishing to attend the Edmonton Moodle conference as a group,
via web-conferencing. We will provide these services at no cost to VCC employees. In addition to

covering the costs of the conference we will provide moderators to operate the web-conferencing software on behalf of the group.The 2009 Canadian MoodleMoot, hosted by Athabasca University is an onsite conference, taking place April 1 – 4, 2009 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and a simultaneous online event using Elluminate Live!

Moodle: Open Spaces, Open Minds is of interest to post-secondary, K-12, business and not-for-profit groups. See keynote presentations from Martin Dougiamas (Moodle), Dr. Alec Couros, (U of Regina), and Dr. Terry Anderson (Athabasca U). Find out more about Moodle directions and emerging practices. Share and network with other Moodlers online and onsite.

martin-brickwall1 aleccouras terry_anderson2

External delegates are welcome!
Delegates external to VCC are welcome ‐ just present proof of Virtual Registration or register online during
the event at:

When and where?
Thursday, April 2nd – 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Room 1227, Broadway Campus (new building)

Friday, April 3rd ‐ 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Room 240, Downtown Campus

Saturday, April 4th ‐ 7:30 AM – 12:00 PM
If you are interested in attending this day please

For more information regarding the Edmonton MoodleMoot event (including a detailed schedule) visit: For more information regarding the VCC MicroMoot contact

Download the flyer…