Blog Post by Zora Soprovich
First of all, I would like to thank the organizers of this series for making the sessions available for viewing by those unable to attend in person. As an instructor at the Powell River campus, I am often interested in the professional development activities available in Nanaimo but attending is not possible or prohibitively time-consuming.
I found the session on Integrating D2L into Courses useful in providing so many different perspectives on D2L, its usefulness, and the challenges of incorporating it. I’m not sure that I will take anything specific away from it for my own courses at this point (I teach both ABE and university English classes–English 047, 067, 115, and 125–in Powell River), but I will share what I watched with our campus’s ABE Science instructor. The segment with Charlene Stewart and Lisa Lewis explaining how they have moved some of their Biology 067 labs online and talking about how that has worked gives me ideas about how we might be able to modify this approach in Powell River. Here, our challenge isn’t having too many students to fit into lab space simultaneously, but rather having numerous classes and levels in the same classroom. Our ABE Science classes include all levels of Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and currently Computer Studies as well during the same class time and with one instructor, and they are run as continuous-intake classes, so there will generally be only one student at a time doing a given lab (while other students are working on other courses). Having potential access to already-prepared online labs that are specific to VIU courses could be extremely helpful, in particular given the great deal of time Charlene and Lisa indicated it took to move the content online.
I can certainly see from the various presenters how useful D2L can be for ensuring coverage of a lot of content. My challenge in thinking about incorporating it into my classes (I currently use D2L to teach a couple of Alison Taplay’s SCSW students taking English 115 with me remotely. They are registered in a class that also runs face-to-face in Powell River) has been more around how to allow these online students to practice the skills that other students get to work on in class.
Finally, I appreciated the inclusion of students talking about their experiences.