Summary of Learning

Evidence: A Video of my Summary of Learning

Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with common terms, definitions, and elements related to Open Educational Resources (OERs) and, more generally, Open Education
  • Articulate one’s summary of learning in the course in a multimedia, online format
  • Share course-related learning with members of the course and greater educational community
  • Demonstrate basic competency with design and implementation within a variety of online learning environments and tools

This video summarize what I felt were the key concepts of the OLTD 505 course on Open Educational Resources with Alec Couros. The assignment was to create a multimedia, online summary of what was learned in the class. I chose to use create a PowerPoint presentation of a mind-map of what I felt were the key concepts. I used Active Presenter to add video clips and explain the concepts.

I had to be familiar with the common terms and elements of the OER’s and Open Education to be able to link concepts and ideas in my mind-map. I could then find common themes within the course. I shared my video on VIUtube and Google+ as well as on this blog so my cohort and other members of my educational community can see how I scaffold the knowledge of the class. I really appreciated being able to see how the rest of my cohort summarized their knowledge as it allowed me to connect knowledge in a way that I had not thought of before.

From a practical standpoint the creation of this video is a first step in preparing videos for my blended Biology class. I plan to create videos on a variety of topics to enhance the learning opportunities of my students. The online classes will be more personal and robust with the addition of targeted videos.

Here is a link to my Summary of Learning video: OLTD 505 Summary of Learning

Digital Story Telling

Evidence: Lesson plan: Digital Storytelling using a Comic
Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop and design intentional learning activities suitable for the appropriate environment and the learner
  • Support the learning of classmates through discussion postings, blog comments, and social sharing activities
So many of the assignments that we create as teachers are static and full of words. There are many other ways to demonstrate learning. In today’s online world, one does not need to be a talented artist to create comics or cartoons. This assignment creates an alternate way to represent learning in the form of comics. The site is incredibly easy to use which makes it great for a variety of learners. The content of the comic can be quite broad or very focused with variable detail. Once created, the comics can be (and were) posted to a discussion area of the LMS. This allows other students to read and review the material. As each student sees the material in a unique way, it creates learning opportunities for their classmates.
Here is the assignment I gave to my class:
This is a Bonus Assignment. It is worth 10 marks. I recommend doing it, especially if you have missed an assignment in the past.I want you to create a comic about one aspect of the three systems being looked at for this class: Cardiovascular, Digestive, and Respiratory.This website: lets you create a comic, in a straightforward, easy way. Once you have completed the comic, click on next. The site does not save the comics, so I recommend that you email the comic to yourself, and to me (as a back-up). Then post the link that was emailed to you as a new thread. I will post them later, with your permission.Here is an example of one I made – It took about 15 minutes.
I also made a comic for a blog post about OLTD 505.

First Online Lesson in a Blended Class

Evidence: A lesson plan for the first online lesson in a blended class. This lesson focuses on building an online community, developing the skills needed in future lessons and a small portion of content.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate basic competency with design and implementation within a variety of LMS and non-LMS environments and tools
  • Develop and design intentional learning activities suitable for the appropriate environment and the learner

     It is very important when designing a lesson to understand who your learner is. I teach Adult Learners (aged 16+) with a range of technology competences. It can be quite difficult, at the beginning of a blended course, to meet the needs of a student who struggles with basic computer skills and a student who has worked extensively in D2L (Vancouver Island University’s learning management system).  This lesson lets the student move as quickly or slowly through the lesson as they need.
     Creating this lesson also allowed me to become more familiar with D2L and what it has to offer. I certainly feel more competent within the LMS as well as supplementing D2L with some non-LMS tools. Prior to this class, I felt very hesitant in venturing outside of D2L with student learning. I, personally, now have the tools to enhance the learning environment of the student.

Edited to add: The class(es) went really well. Much better than in the past! 


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LMS jigsaw

PictureEvidence: Portion of video from a collaborate session where I am teaching about D2L release conditions in a jigsaw activity

Learning Outcomes:

  • Be familiar with common terms, definitions and elements related to Learning Management Systems (LMS) 
  • Demonstrate basic competency with design and implementation within a variety of LMS and non-LMS environments and tools.
  • Develop practical and technical skills in all phases of concept, development, design, implementation

To learn a new LMS is very labour intensive. So for OLTD 504 Avi Luxenburg divided us in groups so we would only have to learn one small piece of the puzzle and could teach each other the system. An added benefit is if we are having difficulty with an aspect of the LMS we have an expert to go to! I was placed in to the group looking at D2L.

Through the Collaborate session where we taught each other aspect of D2L, we became familiar with the elements of the system and learned a variety of ways to use D2L to design an effective learning environment.

I have used D2L in my teaching before this activity. I was not, however, bored as I discovered there were many things that I was not aware  D2L could do! Now that I have participated in this jigsaw, I feel a lot more capable and competent to use D2L more effectively. As an added benefit I also got to participate in a jigsaw activity. I can see the value of collaborative learning and how effective it can be. I will try to create jigsaw learning opportunities for my students; it will be easier as I know more about D2L now.

Recording of the Collaborate session – My component only

A Reflection on my Philosophy of Online Learning

Evidence: Essay on my philosophy of online learning

Learning Outcomes:

  • Examine current research around best practices and emerging practices
  • Become familiar with common terms, definitions and elements related to online environments
  • Critically assess and evaluate resources for best practice in online learning

After co-facilitating a week-long seminar on Supporting Online Learning Communities we were required to reflect on our philosophy of online learning that we had developed at the beginning of the course. Thus I looked are current research on best practices for online learning, becoming familiar with the terminology used. My co-facilitators and I assess and evaluated the resources available in planning the seminar so after the seminar was complete it is important to reflect on what worked for our learners and how the seminar worked according to current theories.

Attached as a PDF is my Reflection on My Philosophy of Online Learning


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Seminar facilitation

Evidence: Team teaching a seminar

Learning outcomes:

  • Plan learning opportunities most suitable to the strengths and challenges of a variety of environments
  • Develop and design intentional learning activities suitable for the appropriate environment and the learner

Here is the summary that my group wrote at the end of the experience:
    Planning and implementation of our seminar week benefited from group discussions we had about the readings and what we would like to see in terms of workload and activities. We felt that by planning this seminar collaboratively we were able to address the material using multiple strategies. Throughout our seminar planning we used Salmon’s Five Stage Model (2004) and Kear (2011) to inform our activity choices.
    We really enjoyed working with each other. Each team member contributed to planning and facilitation based on their strengths.  Respect and trust for each other was evident from the very beginning of the process and it never flagged. There were no clashes of personalities and each of us followed through in our commitment to tasks. We were able to meet f2f but much was done online. We found communicating via email a challenge, as the threads sometimes got too long.  When this happened we met as a group.
    Initially, the response to the TedTalk discussion question was slow, but we attributed this to a combination of starting on a long weekend and many students choosing to focus on their final assignment.  Our discussion question sparked some very interesting posts and sharing of concrete ideas that others can use in their classrooms.  Our team did not feel the need to respond to every single post in the discussion; rather, it was more important to “watch” the conversation and participate where necessary to keep the conversation flowing.
    Although many of our team were feeling nervous about facilitating the synchronous session, moderating the synchronous night was a very good experience.  Some team members had never used a Jigsaw format and were impressed with how well it flowed. Most of the students seemed familiar with the format; therefore, minimal facilitation was needed. We used the moderator chat to support each other during the jigsaw discussions as well as during the presentations. The cohort had good conversations with very little prompting needed from the moderators. One thing we would have done differently is to define the role of the moderators during the synchronous discussions, as at least one group seemed to want to discuss without the moderator and another group seemed to wait for moderator prompting before beginning their discussion. Using Kear (2011) as guide, we were careful to consider our learners when planning our synchronous night, so we were glad that the students responded positively.
The Padlet wall activity progressed better than expected. Most students were able to access the wall and post without difficulty. Most posted in the first day Padlet was open, but there were a few who posted later in the week. There were only two people that needed additional help getting into the wall, which had more to do with connection issues then difficulty with the tool. The resources collected were diverse and very helpful.

The seminar week:
Asynchronous activities:
1. TED Talk “3 Rules to Spark Learning”  Questions after viewing: “What are some innovative ways you have sparked learning in an online environment?”

  • This activity fits Stage 3 of Salmon’s model – Information exchange

2. Beginning of Jigsaw activity using quotes from Kear (2011) sent out to individuals on Saturday.

3. Tips, Tricks, Problems and Solutions (Padlet activity) Students asked to post their ideas for transitioning between F2F and online

  • This activity fits Stage 5 of Salmon’s model – Reflect on experiences

Synchronous activities:

1. Completion of Jigsaw activity during the Tuesday night seminar. This included two sets of breakout rooms for discussion

  • Fits stage 4 of Salmon’s model (2004) – Knowledge Construction

2. Tutorial of Padlet and introduction to final asynchronous activity “Tips, Tricks, Problems and Solutions”

Kear, K. (2011). Online and Social Networking Communities. New York, NY: Routledge.

Salmon, G. (2003). Five-stage model to teaching and learning online.  (University of Leeds, United Kingdom). Retrieved from:

Twitter in the classroom

Evidence: Technology implementation plan

Learning outcomes:

  • Develop practical and technical skills in all phases of concept, development, design, implementation, etc. for blended and online learning environments.
  • Demonstrate basic competency with design and implementation within blended and online learning environments.

I have been thinking about introducing Twitter into the class for sometime but have never got around exploring the research to see the benefit of using a microblogging tool in the classroom. I also never thought about designing a plan of implementation. I suspect I would have just tried to ‘wing it’. This evidence is a plan for implementing Twitter into a class and as a possible longer-term project.

Introducing a new technology as an early innovator is quite a bit of work so it is really important to have a clear, detailed plan before starting. Not only do you need details for how the tool will be used, but you need to develop a concept, a reason for why the tool is being used and what is be pedagogy behind it. It is also important to use the tool quite a bit before starting as the educator needs to be an ‘expert’ in it so students feel confident asking questions.

While I have not yet used Twitter in the classroom, having a tool to be able to converse with students (and students converse with each other) outside of an LMS or email really extend the breadth of the class. In terms of my teaching practice, this project really emphasized how important a detailed plan is when new tools are being introduced to the class, or to the school


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Lesson Critique

Evidence: Lesson critique
Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop and design intentional learning activities suitable for the appropriate environment and the learner
  • Critically assess and evaluate resources for best practice in online learning
  • Incorporate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles

One of my classes, Biology 067 (Provincial Biology) is slowly being shifted in to a blended model. This is partially due to class time being cut by two hours a week and partially so students can attend class less. Most of my students are busy adults. Often they work full time, have a family, volunteer and many many other things. By allowing them to take part of the course when they choose I believe I would reduce some of the stress they must face.

I had moved some of my lessons on-line, but I wasn’t very satisfied with them. They felt boring and under-utilizing the amazing, creative world that is on-line. I hadn’t, however, reflected on what the problem was, or how it could be fixed. OLTD 502 forced me to do so.

I had to take a close look at my lessons, see how I was applying (or not!) UDL, and change the lesson to best practices for student success. It took an extraordinarily long time. With practice, this time can be reduced, especially as the more a skill is practiced, the easier and more familiar it becomes. Educators recommend that practicing skills is a way to become an expert, that is one reason homework is assigned. Creating a lesson is no different.

Attached is a PDF of the lesson


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Pecha Kucha. Simplicity

Evidence: Pecha Kucha

Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop and design intentional learning activities suitable for the appropriate environment and the learner
  • Develop skills to optimize learning experiences through personalization

        There is a temptation when creating a power point or other learning activities to put as much information as possible. Often there is so much material that must be covered that lessons can feel crammed and busy. The focus is on the information and not the learning.

Creating a Pecha Kucha is an interesting experience in focusing on what is important. Having only 20 slides, each only 20 seconds long requires the educator to determine what is most important. This style of power point means that the creator must be succinct using images that enhance the message. It is a connectivism approach to education

A learning outcome of the Online Learning and Teaching Diploma is to develop and design intentional learning activities suitable for the appropriate environment and the learner. For an asynchronous lesson a Pecha Kucha lets the student focus on the message. The music and images emphasizes the message.

A second learning outcome is to develop skills to optimize learning experiences through personalization. Personalization means two things. It is important to personalize the lesson to the student. The music and images of the Pecha Kucha can be chosen to reflect the interests of the student while relating to the learning outcomes. They also can show the personality of the instructor allowing the student to get to know their teacher.

The Pecha Kucha as both a  PDF and a power point are below


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Action Plan!

Evidence: Action Plan

OLTD Learning Outcome:

  • To understand, design and commit to student success in online learning environments

Recently for OLTD 501, I prepared an action plan exploring an aspect of online education. I became fascinated with the question, what concepts and methodologies are important to have in distance learning for adult Aboriginal students returning to formal education? I believe that there is a need for community based Aboriginal Adult Basic Education (British Columbia, 2012).

This question directly relates to the Online Learning and Teaching Diploma learning outcome to understand, design and commit to student success in online learning environments. Thus in October 2013 I started to look at how online courses need to be created and structured for Aboriginal success.

I found that creating an action plan was helpful for summarizing all information in to one location. By summarizing the information, stating when and where it was found, and exploring future actions, it makes it much easier to develop a functional course or lesson for specific student needs. It is a constructionist approach to design.

Developing the question that the action plan answers forces a person to consider what is really important and necessary for learning. Thus is provides guidance to the educator. Feeling overwhelmed can be a problem when developing a course, by focusing on one issue, by dividing the course into relevant questions, it makes it more manageable.

British Columbia. (2012). Aboriginal post-secondary education and training policy framework and action plan: 2020 vision for the future. Victoria, B.C: Ministry of Advanced Education.

Click here to see Action Plan – open with Adobe