Shift and Share in a CapU Design Sprint

focuswork2“Have you done a Boot Camp? Are you interested in doing a boot camp for instructors who have an assigned course in January 2017 – who may not have done any course development or real planning yet?”  The message came through in late November from a former colleague of mine, Laurie Prange-Martin – now working at Capilano University as the new Manager, Learning and Teaching Development.

We tossed ideas around, collected them in a shared Googledoc and finally arrived at a concept and rough layout that seemed like a good fit. In the melee, we discovered a shared interest in strategies to overcome procrastination (i.e., the Pomodoro technique) and the idea of a “design sprint” instead of a “boot camp”. I tossed in some ideas around studio-based learning, and brain-based education research (gleaned from a recent MOOC on Learning How to Learn from University of California, San Diego) and we were off!


We explored our perceptions of the needs of our intended audience – “the learners” and then developed a pre-workshop “inquiry”. Based on advice from a CapU expert, Laurie adapted my original draft questions to include specific options for answers mixed with a few open-ended questions. Potential participants were encouraged to complete the survey, even if they couldn’t attend this delivery, to ensure that future offerings of the 2-day workshop would address faculty needs.

I investigated the “context” for course design at CapU and found various resources and people available to support faculty with educational technologies, Universal Design for Learning and the policies and procedures of the institution..

I developed a Moodle site to provide an online space that the instructors could continue to use after the 2-day Sprint AND that could be adapted by a new facilitator drawn from CapU faculty to deliver in the future.  The basic units were

  • “Launchpad”- a place to welcome participants, gather information to launch the workshop, and a place to return to to review and reflect materials we explored during the workshop;
  • “Making Meaning” – a place to develop participants’ understanding of Course-Lesson planning and development that began from short learning activities and information embedded in collaborative wikis; and
  • “Our Studio” – an open forum to share the results of various design-build efforts.

So, what?

I developed a draft Schedule with a mixture of active learning activities, Lightning Talks (10 min presentations) and focused design/production cycles (1.5 hours). Participants chose their production environment and tools and I provided some guidance to new instructors as they identified their specific objectives and focused on design/production.

My intention was to apply some of the brain-based techniques I’d learned during a recent MOOC by “shifting” participants from active learning of new ideas (or review of prior knowledge) to their own personal analysis and planning and then to structured cycles of focused thinking and production/design. I built in points for reflection and sharing of progress so they could share and explain their tasks to the group.

Like the “Shift and Share” structure ( we took turns sharing different experiences and knowledge to scaffold design and development tasks each individual faced. My emergent outline also shifted constantly on the first day due to the realities of unexpected snowfall and the distances several of the participants had to commute to get to the campus.

Now what?

What was the outcome – from my perspective – from the participants’ perspectives? I’m still compiling “lessons learned” and mulling over recommendations for future development and delivery of this workshop. It seems to have “struck a chord” with the instructors who attended; hopefulling CapU will continue to develop this two day immersive workshop and begin to involve faculty and sessional instructors to encourage a continuing focus on quality education and course design.

It was a fun and challenging project. I’ll be extracting learning nuggets and sharing them as I apply what I’ve learned in future projects.

Any stories you might share about any course design/development events you’ve attended or facilitated?



Teacher development | TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC

The teacher development section includes information about our training courses, our CPD framework, publications, research database and many other resources to help with professional development.

Source: Teacher development | TeachingEnglish | British Council | BBC

Assessment Tools

This whole collection (open licensed) from Carleton and SERC is worth reviewing and reflecting on – maybe future blog post or recreate ideas with an ID lens?

Source: Assessment Tools

Some reading suggestions for Christmas holidays

Christmas treeAlthough I hope your Christmas time if full of family, friends, fun and time to relax…there will probably be a couple of days where you might want to browse some journal articles to broaden your awareness of issues affecting education and learning. If that doesn’t appeal to you, go here instead Funny Cat and Dog Videos 2015

Thanks to a recent post by George Veletsianos, I found even more open access education-focused academic journals that you can browse and share with other educators or your students. Not all are “equally open” – some journals publish a mixture of open and “behind a paywall” articles; other journals are truly open.

Go to my EduResources page and click on the first accordion listing A-J for 30 journals (one is actually a well-respect news-zine “First Monday”); or click on K-Z for another 9 journals. Note:  I do need to re-organize the listing but time is tight these days 😉

If you know of other open journals, please post a comment or email me at sylviar at The list will stay open so it can be shared by anyone who’s interested.

So enjoy browsing and reading. And celebrate and support “open access’ whenver you can. I’ve seen some disturbing signs of an increasingly protectivist perspective from some of the former leaders in this area, particularly in the US. But the open education, OER, open educational practices movement is strong and spreading in BC, Alberta and various other outposts across Canada. More about that in future posts.