Perspectives on Pro-D

I’ve been thinking a lot about what we mean when we talk about professional development, especially when we talk about it in the context of higher education (or post-secondary education). As a long-time edu-consultant, I’ve been in a kind of ongoing flow of PD throughout my career; sometimes that PD was formal and credentialled but often it was open, self-directed and visible through my practice or open sharing. I’ve been involved in helping faculty, staff and students learn more effectively with and through technologies. I’ve often wondered at the lack of consistent approaches to PD and varying reasons given by faculty, administrators and technology staff as to why everyone is not more ‘digitally literate.’

A recent research report (Summer 2020) by Professor George Veletsianos and colleagues offers some insights derived from a careful analysis of narrative comments in data collected by annual surveys (2017-2019) conducted by the Canadian Digital Learning Research Association (CDLRA). (Note: a brief summary of findings is available on Veletsiano’s blog Institutional Perspectives on Faculty Development for Digital Education in Canada.) 1

Although the report’s findings and suggested actions are often derived from a relatively small number of responses to the pan-Canadian surveys, they are supported by some significant prior research papers or publications. As I finished reading the paper I was not surprised to learn that the digital education PD training was handled differently across the country, that it wasn’t always available to non-faculty, and that faculty was often perceived to be uninterested in teaching online.

The recommendations for action included finding ways to change the institutional culture to support and reward or recognize ongoing PD and to collaborate with other institutions to offer some types of digital education, accessible to all (the paper specifically mentioned the efforts of BCcampus and eCampusOntario in this regard). While it is useful to have such a thorough analysis of Canadian educational institutions (thanks to the work of the relatively new CDLRA) and the recommendations are useful, I think that they didn’t go far enough in encouraging collaborative PD options through a focus on Openness.

I have been an enthusiastic participant, consumer, producer and practitioner in many open educational opportunities over the years (despite being on the outside of formal options through higher education). And, luckily for me, we live in a province where the government supports an organization like BCcampus and they, in turn, provide so many Open options and offer me ways to share my enthusiasm for Open with others.

During this final week of January we (I’m co-facilitating with my colleague Gina Bennett) are offering a FLO MicroCourse – Open Options to Enrich your Career. Gina has been exploring and participating in Openness for longer than I have and in different directions so we’ve had a lot of fun pooling our resources and experiences in open learning and practices. I’ll be blogging and tweeting any highlights or issues that catch my eye and interest and, better still, after we’re done, BCcampus will convert the resources and basic learning structure into a freely available OER on SCoPE.

1 The paper is open access: VanLeeuwen, C.A., Veletsianos, G., Belikov, O. Johnson, N. (2020).  Institutional perspectives on faculty development for digital education in Canada. The Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 46(2), 1-20. https://www.cjlt.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/view/27944

More perspectives on professional development in higher education – https://www.veletsianos.com/2020/04/07/a-canadian-national-effort-in-online-education-pd-not-content/

A wealth of online teaching resources – ON

coins indicating wealth

I’ve been watching the generous outpouring of tips, webinars, workshops, resources from the US and Canada, aimed at helping teachers pivoting to online teaching.

Check out the page of curated resources offered by ecampus Ontario (official name Ontario Online Learning Consortium): Supporting Remote Teaching and Learning During COVID-19. You will find webinar recordings, all kinds of open-licensed resources, and thoughtful dialogues about assessment. Nice to see David Porter (formerly of BCcampus, now representing Humber College) and Giulia Forsythe, Brock University sharing as both educators have an amazing depth and breadth of knowledge related to engaging learners and teaching online.

Like BCcampus open resources, all the materials on this website (unless otherwise noted) are shared under a wide open Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike International 4.0. Kudos to them as sharing with this license encourages others to do the same AND may result in repurposed or improved offerings as we move through the next year or so.

Several of the resources highlighted in the pivot page offer instructors a chance to develop their digital fluencies by digging into the open, self-paced modules that are part of the popular OntarioExtend self-paced, customizable, bilingual, professional learning online series. This series has been on my bucket list for a while as I have watched some of the social media posts that are spawned by enthusiastic participants. If you are lucky you can time your participation to coincide with a facilitated event; one seems to be coming up from Conestoga soon.

Beehive of badges: Ontario Extend

I took a quick dive into Brock University’s Centre for Pedagogical Innovation. Lots of great ideas, resources, teaching and evaluation techniques; I did have to dig a bit for OER but found OER at Brock in the library research guides. As I anticipated, Giulia Forsythe (Special Projects Faciliator and amazing doodler and proponent of open) has been busy helping Brock faculty to produce OER.

You can also check out the Centre’s useful Guide to Teaching and Learning with Technology.

Ontario’s other online teaching resources are neatly organized by Institution and Department thanks to teachonline.ca. If you check out Ontario Faculty & Instructor Training Resources, you’re sure to find something that develops and expands your online teaching skills and confidence.

Thanks to the recent BCcampus newsletter, I’ve discovered a new OER that contains lots of useful examples of how to produce learning content with the amazing tool – H5P! Check out the Catalogue of H5P Content from ecampusOntario.

Lots of help available online and probably within your institution as well. Let me know if I missed something your college or university is offering to help instructors during this challenging time (contact me sylvia r at educomm dot ca)

A wealth of online teaching resources – BC

A recent tweet from Dr. Tony Bates provided the nudge I needed to update my collection of Canadian teaching online resources shared during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been watching the generous outpouring of tips, webinars, workshops, resources from the US and Canada, aimed at helping teachers pivoting to online teaching. I’ve poked at a couple of summaries of resources (from a collection focused on helping learners moving to online by Clint Lalonde to recordings of drop-in COVID-related webinars hosted by BCcampus) but I thought there were probably some others I’d missed!

BC’s higher education institutions are onboard with open practices so I expected to find a lot of open licensed materials; I was a little overly optimistic 😉 But, a rich vein to mine first is BCcampus (as their purpose is to support all post-secondary institutions in improving teaching and learning practice.) Allow some time to browse their open, online options to help you “pivot” to online teaching; review previous resources for Open Education, and subscribe to their free newsletter to stay connected. And if you want browse a wider collection, check out the Information Directory – COVID-19 Educational Resources.

University of BC is also a leader in open practices (imho) so I took a look at Effective Online Teaching Practices. If you’re looking for a course, rather than an assembly of resources and links, check out CTLT’s Introduction to Online Teaching. These open-licensed resources for this course are also available on the UBC Wiki (and were the subject of Tony Bates Jun 25th blog post.) Plus there’s the amazing open-licensed, practical resources at OpenBC.

Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Educational Excellence seems to protect most of their COVID-19 webinars (you need a campus login) but you can browse their OERs from previous years at https://www.sfu.ca/oer.html

Burnaby’s BCIT hosted a number of sessions on teaching online that are available on their Faculty Help for Online Teaching page but they appear to be very focused on BCIT instructors need for D2L, etc. I didn’t find too much on their Open Education Resources site that might help instructors trying to adapt quickly to online teaching (useful for other purposes though).

Kwantlen Polytechnic University offers some thoughtfully produced resources for their instructors “who need to plan and facilitate teaching and learning activities remotely in the event of an unexpected campus closure.” The nice thing is they have created resources that are useful to anyone faced with this situation (and they’re currently leaving them open to access). Their Keep Teaching page offers interactive resources to: Getting started with Remote Delivery; options for instructors wanting to Use Moodle or Not; things to think about when Designing Online Courses; and Learning Opportunities (external & internal). And as one of the leaders in the open education field, KPU has a rich trove of resources in their Open Education site – really worth taking time to browse different sections like the Open Pedagogy Notebook (a personal favourite!).

Royal Roads University in Victoria has a broad range of resources for their staff and faculty but, as an outsider, you’ll need to find your way to their Open Educational Resources pages for help with teaching online.

The University of Northern BC doesn’t appear to have any OERs yet but the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology offers an interesting (and varied) collection of helpful videos on their Youtube channel

That’s all for BC – next week I’ll look further east – Enjoy exploring….Sylvia

Connecting With Open Learning ’17

As I browse the cloud, some things just seem to jump out at me – I saw an invitation to a cMOOC with the name Gardner Campbell attached to it. Well, I participated in an interesting cMOOC a couple of years ago called Connected Courses and had the opportunity to hear Gardner Campbell and others explain the logic and power of connected, open learning. I was already a convert to openness; I’m still somewhat uncertain of the power of BIG networked learning.

But who can resist – so by this blog post I agree to participate and share in the open, selectively connecting to nodes and parts of the course that have relevance and meaning to me or that help me build relevance and meaning for others (interesting twist eh?)

Actually, this post is to establish an RSS for my blog category and to put up my virtual hand to say “I’m here – bring it on!”

Sylvia
A BC coastal connection 😉

 

An appy ending inspires renewed focus on openness

So much for end of the year reflective posts – I’ve been in full-immersion workshop development since Christmas and then digging out from under a nasty cold – so here’s my mid January “looking back – looking forward” post for 2017!

I’ve always been curious about and involved (at some level) in open practices – from participating as a learner in open educational MOOCs, to blogging and presenting and teaching about open education, open learning and sharing of resources to, finally, exploring what it means to teach more openly.

Looking Back

12 apps featured by BC event

This last fall (2016), I was lucky enough to work with an amazing team (Leva Lee, ETUG and Clint Lalonde, BCcampus) to put together the first Canadian (West Coast!) iteration of the popular, free, open licensed, UK-event “12 Apps of Christmas.”  As I’ve written in other posts, I participated in four different 12 Apps events from the UK last year and had so much fun – and learned lots too. The original event was developed by Chris Rowell and Andy Horton of Regents University London in 2014.

Our BC-based event was the result of individuals and teams from different educational institutions around BC; each day featured a different free mobile app, explaining how to get it, sharing ideas of how it might be used in teaching, and posing a brief, fun challenge to encourage people to try the app. We had 194 email subscribers and I spoke to several people who were grateful that the site (http://12appsofchristmas.ca/) and the microlessons would remain available as they planned to explore when time allowed.

Other “open” explorations last year:  I joined the BC Open Educational Practices group coordinated by Rosario Passos (on leave from BCIT) of BCcampus. Primarily a group of instructional designers who are interested in promoting open practices and the creation and use of open educational resources in BC higher education, it’s been interesting but a little slow to coalesce. As everyone is so busy, we’re lucky to have Rosario to keep us connected and share all kinds of interesting events in the “open” universe.

I also kept up with maintaining a Scoop-IT page – FLO Learning – to capture and share open events internationally that I find interesting and contributed to and maintained the FLO Harvest Wiki, a collection of tools, readings, artifacts, etc. from repeated offerings of Facilitating Learning Online. Although FLO is not fully open, the resources are open licensed by BCcampus and hosted on the SCOPE site.

Looking Forward

So what’s ahead for my open practices explorations for the coming year? Maybe it’s best to just focus on the immediate future – I’m about to pilot a four week FLO-Design workshop for BCcampus. As with the foundation FLO, the resources will be open licensed and available once we complete the review and edits suggested by the pilot. I’m going to be blogging about some of my teaching intentions and lessons I learn as we proceed. I planned to share my designs as they evolved but they were really too messy to be of any great interest; part of teaching in the open seems to be to find the time to share what you are doing in a way that is digestible – takes time I just don’t have right now.

As soon as we’re launched I’m signing up for an open educational practices course from The Open University. I’ll report back on what I’m learning and whether it changes my thinking about what it means to teach in the open.

And I’ve discovered the rich goodness that is UBC’s http://open.ubc.ca/ site. I was drawn there to explore the stories from people who have taught in the open; and I started poking around. I can hardly wait to explore the challenges – more blog posts coming and maybe some OERs on my website!

I’ve also made a commitment to get more comfortable with the Confluence wiki we’re using for the BCOEP group. They’ve started up a couple of initiatives I think I can contribute too. Some of my first blog posts are going to be about finding ways to maintain a streamlined open publishing process so I don’t lose myself in the maelstrom of opportunities 😉

So, ‘appy New Year and good luck to all for 2017.

Sylvia