the big event…

After 4 years of slaving away on evenings, weekends, and vacations, I’m happy to be preparing for my PhD defense–The Negotiation of Teaching Presence in International Online Contexts.  Any sage advice?  I’ve been to defenses before but how do you actually prepare for the unexpected??


CNIE 2008

The CNIE conference in Banff was all round the best conference I’ve been to. Great organization, great food, and every presentation was worth going to. I’m happy that many of the presentations I would have liked to have seen are being posted over at slideshare (tagged CNIE2008). The two that I co-presented are embedded below.

Online classroom or community in the making? Instructor conceptualizations and presence in online discussion forums. Abstract here.

Learning and teaching at BCIT: The myth of the digital learner. Abstract here.

Digital Tools for Feedback and Assessment

We had great participation at our workshop on Digital Tools for Feedback and Assessment–one of the things I love about giving workshops to the larger UBC community is that it gives me an opportunity to hear about other types of courses and other things going on outside of the courses I work with, which are largely in the Faculty of Dentistry.

In talking about the challenges of assessment, it was also interesting for me to hear just how much this juggling of instructor time/effort and providing good feedback and fair assessment is a challenge. This has certainly been my own experience this year while teaching 3 online courses, but I generally find assessment to be challenging, period.

The morning was largely a guided conversation on some of the thinking behind assessment practices as they relate to course objectives. Jan provided some great handouts that guided participants through creating an evaluation plan for their course, which lead to some interesting revelations on the part of some of the participants about their own courses.

We had several break-out sessions in the afternoon –Brad gave a demo on concept mapping and using Track changes, Jan got a few people going on creating assessment rubrics, Jeff and Brian got participants excited about wikis and Writely, Kele shared her expertise on e-portfolios and ELGG. I attempted a demo on voice tools, with a few (predicatable) technical blunders on the way. But the day was fun, and the feedback has been both positive and constructive.

There are 2 wiki pages that have been set up a reference to the day–it’s not terribly informative, but it gives an idea as to what was covered, with some links to the tools.
Digital Tools
Voice Tools

Lunch and Learn #2 Social bookmarking


Last Tuesday we had an interesting and useful presentation by Brian Lamb from OLT sharing his expertise on social bookmarking. To summarize a few of his points of how social bookmarking is of importance to academics:

*social bookmarking provides users with a more reasonable way of managing their resources and favourites or bookmarks, through the use of tags (or keywords) and RSS feeds

*through the use of tags, it is easier for users to find other users with the same interests and focus.

*RSS feeds are basically a way of subscribing to multiple resources such as websites, academic journals, and weblogs, and then having them fed into one location, so that you don’t have to waste time remembering to visit and browse your favourite sites

-RSS feeds are useful in a course website, where you can have recent journal articles and academic papers fed into the course, without you having to update it yourself.

Although it’s simple to get started, it can be difficult to wrap your head around the new information. I suggest you start with Citeulike which is a social bookmarking tool that targets specifically the academic community. I’ve created a few screencasts to get you started–they are relatively small Quicktime movies, but to play them you will need to have a Quicktime plugin installed, which you can get from here. Note the the download for windows link at the bottom of the page.

*Citeulike Navigation is a quick intro to Citeulike and the main entry page
*Citeulike Watchlist gives you a quick overview of the RSS feature of this tool and how it works with ejournals
*Citeulike library explains how you would build and share your library of resources

There are other features that will appear in future screencasts, but this is all I had time for right now. Please note that they are a bit rough–I haven’t done any editing, and they are totally unscripted, and you might even find my voice a bit annoying (I do!).

If the lunch and learn peaked your interest, I’m hoping that these screencasts will get you going. If it’s still too daunting, feel free to contact me and we can go through it one on one.

Followup Lunch and Learn #1

Thanks to everybody who attended last week’s Lunch and Learn with Alan Hannam and David Tobias–we had a great turnout with approximately 25 people and also had some great questions that followed the presentation. The session was video-recorded, and we’ll be providing a link to the session in case you weren’t able to attend.

Alan and David deserve to be commended on their very innovative use of WebCT, in conjunction with their use of other multimedia tools such as Flash and 3D Studio Max. I love their open approach to what they have created, and having them share their work so enthusiastically is such a benefit to the Faculty community.

Meanwhile, Jessica and I have collected your feedback on future sessions, and we’ll be announcing future sessions in the next couple of weeks. I’ll also post the feedback form here, to give those of you who couldn’t attend and opportunity to tell us your ideas.