Screencasting: Engaging learners with multimodalities

Screencasting involves the use of software to record the screen of your computer (or mobile device) while you narrate over the recording. It is an effective way to offer multiple representations of information (images, text, video, audio etc.) in order to widen access to learning. Making a screencast is relatively easy and requires technology that most of us have access to.  The completed file can easily be shared via learning platforms such as Kaltura, D2L or iWeb. They are great fun to create and you can invest as much or as little time as you want to produce either a professional quality screencast or one that may not be quite as slick but is perfectly acceptable for teaching and learning.

Ed Tech can support your efforts whether you are a first-timer or seasoned screencaster. We run regular workshops (the next one is on Tuesday May 30th – sign up here), we have produced a Little Guide to Screencasting and we can provide you with one-to-one support and advice on the best software and microphones to use, the planning process and how to share your screencast with your students.
Little Guide to ScreencastingSome great resources that cover screencasting in education are available, my personal favourite being Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Screencasting and Screen Recording in the Classroom.

Screencasting is a great way to make learning more fun, engaging and accessible. Whether you want to create a mini-lecture, demonstrate how a piece of software works or give assignment feedback, you are helping to ensure your students learn from a variety of  presentation methods which will be beneficial to their learning. And why not tap into your students’ creativity by getting them to create a screencast as part of their coursework?

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Adobe Education Exchange

Did you know that Adobe (developer of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and other software) offers free courses, workshops and live events for educators?

As part of our professional development, EdTech Advisors and Instructional Assistants are registering for the Digital Video course starting May 1st and we are hoping you will join us:

This professional learning course will help you develop an understanding for how video can be used as a teaching tool. You will learn how to plan, shoot, edit and publish video with ease, with some quick tips & tricks to create higher quality media. You will learn how to create different kinds of instructional video projects, and how to publish and share your videos. The videos you create will serve as models for you to create or update your curriculum and sample assignments you can bring back to the classroom.

Register at You can work independently or join us once a week to work on the course. Let us know at so we can schedule a time and commit to learning together.

Explore other resources on offer at Please note that you will need to sign up for an Adobe account if you do not already have one.

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Students of the Future

Nice short animated video on the students of the future and how we can support them.

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Beginning adventures in Open Pedagogy

The generally accepted definition of ‘open pedagogy’ refers to “the universe of teaching and learning practices that are possible when you adopt OER but are impossible when you adopt traditionally copyrighted materials.” (Wiley, 2015). There are two issues with this definition. Firstly, as Wiley himself acknowledges, simply adopting OER as part of your teaching practice doesn’t necessarily result in engaging or innovative learning design. Secondly, what about student work that goes beyond the “disposable assignment” and both engages with, and is published on, the open web yet doesn’t explicitly use open licenses? Is this teaching and learning practice any less meaningful or ‘open’?

Taking this debate as her starting point Marianne Gianacopoulos (LSM and Educational Technology) recently led an engaging webinar for the Educational Technology Users Group where she talked through her first steps in adopting open pedagogy in her practice. Frustrated with both the restrictive nature of the course textbook (which students often don’t purchase for cost and other reasons) and the walled garden environment of the LMS Marianne instead engaged her students in a wide range of tools available on the open web in order to showcase their work. By adopting this approach Marianne found that her students —many of whom were international students struggling to get to grips with independent learning — were starting to become active and critical creators and co-creators of knowledge.

Marianne goes into more depth in the webinar discussing some of the web tools she used with her students and some of the challenges she faced. You can listen to a recording of the webinar here.


Wiley, D (2015) ‘Open Pedagogy: The importance of getting in the air’

LaLonde (2017) ‘Does Open Pedagogy require OER?’

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Back(pack) to the Future: the renaissance of ePortfolios

Tracy Penny Light at the BC Open Badges Forum

ePortfolios are one of those technologies whose popularity in post-secondary education seems to come in waves, much like the interest in virtual worlds or classroom response systems (‘clickers’). Fifteen years ago when I was a Sociology lecturer at a further education college in the UK my colleagues were constantly clamouring for an easy to use and student-centred system for capturing progression in learning. In the mid-2000s there was again a peak in interest as dedicated ePortfolio solutions such as the open-source Mahara project began to emerge. And now in 2017 we have academic associations, conferences and journals dedicated to what JISC define as “a product created by learners , a collection of digital artefacts articulating learning (both formal and informal), experiences and achievements” (JISC, 2012). But why the renaissance? Why now?

I would argue there are three main reasons for the current popularity of ePortfolios in post-secondary education:

  1. Declining influence of the LMS. Back in 2009 it was controversial to speak of the demise of the LMS/VLE. Now there is far greater awareness of the limitations of systems which essentially put control of learning into the hands of instructors, learning technologists and system administrators. The ePortfolio model turns the LMS on its head. It empowers students, encourages creativity and self-reflection and, importantly, gives them an online space that they control. To borrow an idea from the Open Badges movement ePortfolios represent a ‘digital backpack’ that students can take with them throughout their learning journey, into employment and beyond.
  2. More and easier solutions. From the late 1990s until the mid-2000s ePortfolio solutions were at best clunky and at worst inaccessible and only for the technologically adept. Now there are many alternatives ranging from dedicated ePortfolio platforms such as Pebble Pad, Pathbrite and MyeFolio to website builders like Wix, Weebly and even Google Sites. Both Capilano University and UBC use a multi-site WordPress installation for student ePortfolios which allows for both customization and ease of use in a familiar web publishing environment. Under the leadership of Meg Goodine and Lesley McCannell KPU are using Mahara in subject areas such as Nursing and Health, and Trades and Technology. Mahara has an active and responsive developer community who are committed to creating a flexible, accessible yet powerful ePortfolio platform for education.
  3. Employability and Digital Identity. In an increasingly competitive global market for jobs, employers are looking for reflective and critical students who demonstrate “soft skills” in addition to subject-specific knowledge and competencies. Students require a vehicle to communicate their talents to employers but also to show them they can create and manage a professional online digital identity. Tracy Penny Light from Thompson Rivers University has recently argued that even when students are initially resistant to creating an ePortfolio they eventually come to value the thought process involved in building it which often gives them an advantage in interview situations (BC Open Badges Forum 2017).

If ePortfolios in the age of the read/write web are helping to turn students from passive consumers of knowledge into active producers of their own learning, this is not to down-play the significant challenges ahead. Two in particular seem worthy of mention. Firstly we must guard against ePortfolios becoming nothing more than a checklist or dumping ground for skills and competencies. If that is all ePortfolios are then, in the words of a colleague, “my students already have access to an ePortfolio: it’s called LinkedIn.” Secondly, if the metaphor of a digital backpack that students take with them from K-12 through college, university and into employment is to work then ePortfolios need to be truly portable, user-owned and interoperable with other learning systems. Imagine the frustration of spending many hours creating a beautiful digital portfolio showcasing one’s skills and talents only to be told that a college or university uses a different, incompatible system?

References and Resources:

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16 Education Podcasts to check out in 2017

Following on from a session on podcasting that we delivered at the recent EdTech Instructor Gathering, here is a nice summary from EdSurge News of 16 podcasts on education to look out for in 2017.

It’s a golden age of education podcasts. Teachers, professors, education innovators, and tech skeptics have switched on their microphones to share their insights and analysis—and you’ll find plenty of lively characters and fresh voices via your earbuds. After all, let’s face it, teachers can be great talkers (we mean that in a good way), and they’re also seasoned storytellers.

EdSurge News: 16 education podcasts to check out in 2017

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The EdTech Instructor Gathering (December 2016)

Back in December twenty-four hardy souls braved the snow and ice to attend Ed Tech’s Instructor Gathering, one of our best turnouts yet. The broad theme of the event was tech tools and practices that benefit learning and each session proved a valuable mix of knowledge sharing and practical tips.

Continue reading

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Extending the Shelf-Life of Your Instructional Videos: Six Common Pitfalls to Avoid

“When instructional video is produced thoughtfully and used to promote active engagement, it can improve student motivation, learning, and performance, make content more memorable, and bring highly visual material to life.” However,  a number of small mistakes can shorten the shelf-life of your video, limit its reusability, and force you to re-record sooner than you’d like. Here’s an article with practical tips for extending the shelf-life of your course videos.

Read more: Extending the Shelf-Life of Your Instructional Videos: Six Common Pitfalls to Avoid

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WordPress in Higher Education virtual conference

For anyone interested in WordPress in Higher Education there is an free virtual conference on Monday, January 23, 2017. Please note that the times are listed in Central Standard time.

You can attend the sessions on your own, or join EdTech in C308 for the following sessions:

11:00-11:45 PST – WordPress as an LMS
12:00-12:45 PST – The Magic of Teaching Using WordPress: 10+ Ways to Easily Transform Classes & Excite Students
2:00–2:45 PST – Higher Ed WordPress Showcase

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Using Pressbooks to create open course materials

Pressbooks is free online publishing software derived from Wordpress that you can use to create open educational content. While primarily a tool for creating open textbooks Pressbooks can be used for other purposes such as authoring support documentation, course guides or supplementary course materials in D2L/Brightspace or iWeb.

One of the advantages of Pressbooks is that it is very easy to use and it can output accessible content in a wide range of file formats. These include ePub (iBooks, Nook, Kobo etc.), PDF (for print/digital distribution), Mobi (Kindle) and the Open Document format. This means that students can easily read content on their mobile devices and there is an option for a web version of every book for reading in a browser. 

Screen Shot 2016-11-30 at 11.08.15

The process of creating the book is straightforward and Pressbooks includes a number of templates to give your finished content a professional look. You can import from Microsoft Word or WordPress and the wizard-like interface includes colour-coded placeholders for things like learning objectives, exercises and key take-aways. As well as text you can easily add images, audio and embed video from sites like YouTube.

Pressbooks makes it easy to collaboratively author your content with colleagues, although only one person can work on a book at any one time. You can release the book under different licenses ranging from all rights reserved to public domain. BCcampus recommend using a CC BY (attribution) license if you would like to support open and accessible content and enable others to adapt your book.

To get started using Pressbooks Langara Faculty can sign up for an account using their Langara email address (note: must be in the format BCcampus will be hosting a training webinar on using Pressbooks on Tuesday January 24, 10 am. For more information on using Pressbooks talk to Julian Prior (Ed Tech) or Lindsay Tripp (Copyright Librarian).

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