Welcome to EdTech/TCDC’s New Home!

On Wednesday, January 29th,  Elder Mary Jane Joe officially welcomed people into the beautifully renovated EdTech/TCDC offices on the second floor of C Building.   


Our new acronym, TLC, suits the light-filled, welcoming space, which features a recording studio, flexible furnished meeting rooms, a cosy reception/book club nook and airy new offices.   



Family, friends & staff joined us to celebrate the opening, during which people noshed on food and “teaching/tech tasters” ranging from the use of the lightboard to creating a podcast.   

If you were unable to make the official open house—or want to bask in the ambience once more—feel free to visit; we’re here to support your teaching needs.   


Posted in Best Practices | Leave a comment

At Play in the Realm of the Liminal: AI, AR & VR as Pedagogical Tools

As part of my EdTech remit, I’m exploring how Artificial Intelligence, Virtual & Augmented Reality might be used to enhance teaching & learning.  To that end, I recently attended the “Alternate Realities” segment of the Sheffield DocFest, “AI:  More than Human” at the Barbican Centre, London, and “VIFF Immersed” at the Vancouver International Film Festival.  In all three instances, I realised that anxiety about the “singularity” (the point at which AI will become self-conscious and possibly uncontrollable) can be tempered by what Chris Milk refers to as its capacity to become an “empathy machine.”

This dichotomy can be summed up by one of my favourite theories, that of the Burkean sublime, which posits that art (in this case, AI/VR/AR) is capable of jolting us out of complacency by exposing us to either extreme beauty or extreme horror.  Our discomfort with the “uncanny” nature of AI is mirrored in Gothic cautionary tales of the inanimate made animate:  the Golem

Frankenstein and his bride photo

Frankenstein and his bride

Roy & Pris (Bladerunner)  photo

Roy & Pris (Bladerunner)

But these monstrous AI possibilities balance with divine promises of enlightenment, companionship and connection.  Which is one reason, apparently, why AI & robots have been readily accepted in Japan, where Shintoism accepts that all matter is animate.   

I’m happy to chat about the philosophical ramifications of AI, especially as it relates to creativity.  But wanted to share some of the highlights of my recent investigations into how AR & VR might be used in the classroom.  In a perfectly funded academic world, we’d have access to the equipment and expertise necessary to create seamless virtual realities, transporting Literature students to the streets of Elizabethan London, Biology students to the interior of a cell undergoing meiosis and Kinesiology students into the threads of slow-twitch muscles.  For most of us, however, augmented reality, which enhances the live world with a digital overlay, is within the realm of possibility, especially now that EdTech owns a 360 camera (anyone interested in joining me on a project?)  Both VR and AR are useful training tools, as participants can be firmly guided toward specific learning outcomes using interactive overlays.  However, in my experience, the greatest power of both technologies lies within their ability to elicit powerful emotions, transcending individual experience to connect with an “other;” a truly sublime experience.  I am still processing what I experienced last summer: interacting with AI in a generative art experiment to release butterflies and tendrils of flowering vines from my hand; listening to Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” remixed a hundred different ways by AI; playing a virtual pinball machine that ricocheted LGBTQ coming-out narratives within a set of interconnected virtual family kitchens.  But I want to share a few of the filmic highlights. 

Which are, as good art always is, self-explanatory.  Enjoy! 

Echo: Empathy and Narrative 


4 Feet Blind Date https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVL1G267ywo 

Fatherland https://youtu.be/2CkOGb3lf_I 



Gloomy Eyes 


Carne y Arena 


 Karen Budra
EdTech Advisor

Posted in AI AR VR XR | Leave a comment

Brightspace Changes – December 2019 / January 2020

Changes coming to Brightspace in the next few weeks:

  • Brightspace Course Request and TA/Marker Forms: December 18th, 2019

    On December 18th, myLangara Classic is being retired, so our Brightspace course request and TA/Marker Request forms are moving. You can find them on the EdTech Sharepoint site (you will need to log in with your Office 365 credentials).

  • Brightspace Email: December 23rd, 2019

    Brightspace email will change on Dec 23rd, 2019. It will no longer be possible to receive email messages in Brightspace. Your message will be sent from your @langara.ca email address and sent to your students’ @mylangara.ca email address. When they respond to the emails you send from your course, the message will go to your Langara email address, and your replies to them will be sent to your students’ MyLangara email address.

    Click here for more information.

  • Brightspace Login: January 2, 2020

    On January 2nd, the way you access Brightspace is changing. Instead of your Computer User ID (jdoe), you will log in using your Office 365 email address and password (jdoe@langara.ca), and verify using 2-factor authentication, just as you do now for your @langara.ca email.

    This change affects all Langara employees, including TAs or markers (or anyone who needs to log in to Workday for timesheets, income tax receipts, etc.).

Posted in D2L | Tagged | Leave a comment

More than technology!

There’s more than technology in EdTech! This month, we want to introduce our EdTech Advisors, all of whom are passionate about helping faculty use analogue and digital technologies to enhance the delivery of their materials.   

Sarah Bowers 

sarah avatarOne of my interests in EdTech is using formative assessment in online environments to increase student engagement and success, and my not-so-secret passions are applying universal design for learning principles to course design, dispelling neuromyths in education and researching evidence-based approaches to teaching . I’m happy to talk about anything related to curriculum and course design and redesign regardless of the mode of delivery.  I spend my free time gardening, knitting, cooking and wrangling three teenagers with varied appetites and demands.


Karen Budra 

karen photoBalancing between English & EdTech allows me to indulge what I love to do:  teach and create.  When not at work, I dance, write, shoot short documentary films and try to learn as much as possible about the stories we share and the ways in which we share them, especially via video and podcast production.  I’ve been at Langara since 1989 (!), teaching regular and field studies programmes specialising in LiteratureTheatre & Cinema Genre and History.  I was once a stage actor, and continue to enjoy co-operative activities, like EdTech’s Digital Media Creator programme, which I was happy to help develop.  In addition to an MA in English (U of T 1984), in 2016, I completed an MA in Documentary Film & TV Production at the Cambridge School of Art (UK)  Currently interested in augmented reality in video, I am pleased to help faculty determine how best to engage students using narrative.  I am film, fashion and music-mad, and thrive on co-creation and discovery.    

Brian Koehler 

brian photoI’ve been an instructor in the Computer Science department since 2000, teaching general computer science courses as well as specialized courses in web development. I’ve worked half time as an EdTech advisor since 2015. I have a keen interest in exploring technologies that can be used to increase engagement directly in the classroom, such as student response systems. I am also interested in applying open source software and platforms to enable instructors and students to publish on the web. Outside of work, I try and spend as much time as possible in the outdoors  hiking and biking.  



Julian Prior 

julian photoI am currently Chair of Educational Technology and an EdTech Advisor, having come to Langara (and Canada) in Jan 2016. I taught Sociology at a UK further education college for 12 years before moving into learning technologies at the University of Bath and Southampton Solent University. I have a keen interest in digital media (especially podcasting) and am a passionate advocate of open education. In my spare time I play Masters level badminton and get to travel to tournaments throughout Canada and the US. I love photography and noodling around with electronic music – although I’m definitely an amateur at both!  



Diane Thompson 

diane photoI enjoyed my time as a student in the Library & Information Technology Programme (1993) so much that I pursued a Masters in Library & Information Science at UBC (1995.)  After working for the Centre for Health Services & Policy Research, I moved to the Federal government as Library Manager for Natural Resources Canada.  In 2013, Langara beckoned once more, and I was hired as the Chair of Library Technician programme.  Coupling my love of new challenges with that of technology, I began work with EdTech half time in 2018.  When I am not at work, I can be found with some sort of racquet in hand (badminton, ping pong, tennis or pickle ball), making art with my 2 girls or standing on the soccer field in the rain with my husband.  

Posted in Best Practices | Leave a comment

Spark your creativity!

There are many misconceptions about creativity. One is that it is the exclusive preserve of geniuses – think Mozart or Picasso. Another is that creativity is a genetic trait passed on within families (while partly true your environment still plays a major role in how creativity is expressed).  A third is that it is the domain of teachers and students in creative arts subjects. Forget encouraging creativity in Math, Business or Physics.

The good news: researchers from Durham University argue that we all possess “small c creativity,” that is, the kind of creativity that encourages us to “think differently” in social circumstances (including teaching) and find new ways of doing and thinking about things (Davies and Newton, 2018). Sir Ken Robinson goes further; paraphrasing Picasso he argues that the education system stifles the artist within all of us and one of our jobs as educators is to take risks in order to nurture and spark our creative capacities.



Thanks to Robinson and people like Andrew Churches (2008) who reformulated Bloom’s Taxonomy for the digital age, creativity is now seen as an essential 21st century set of skills alongside those of literacy, numeracy, critical thinking and collaboration. The ability to adapt and remix, make, publish, build and construct are considered valuable higher order skills in the classroom but also increasingly in the workplace. A 2014 Adobe study of over 1000 hiring managers found that 94% look for evidence of creativity in job applications. In the classroom both teachers and students are expected to demonstrate a degree of digital fluency when it comes to creative higher order skills. Students in particular are being encouraged to move beyond a consumer model of education and instead co-create their learning experiences while as educators we are being told we should provide opportunities for our students to demonstrate multiple means of action, expression and communication.

The Digital Media Creator (DMC) Program

In EdTech our response to the need for more more creativity in the classroom and online has been to offer a program of professional development which we call Digital Media Creator. There are six modules: one a month from September through to March, focusing on creative practices such as podcasting, video production, screencasting and using cartoons/comics in teaching. We also offer an intensive DMC ‘boot camp’ where we cover all six modules in one week around NID time in early May. Each session is 90 mins long with an additional 30 mins “stay and play.” We aim to create an informal, stimulating and supportive learning environment in which to develop your creative skills, and we help you to create digital artefacts that you can use in your teaching. While we encourage you to sign up for all six modules you can also sign up for them individually depending on your interests and skill levels if you wish. Spots fill up quickly so you need to move fast!

Register for the DMC here

DMC 2019














Adobe (2014) ‘Study reveals students lack the necessary skills for success.’ http://blogs.adobe.com/education/2014/09/29/study-reveals-students-lack-the-necessary-skills-for-success/ (retrieved September 04, 2019)

Churches, Andrew (2008) Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228381038_Bloom’s_Digital_Taxonomy (retrieved September 6, 2019)

Davies, Lucy M and Newton, Lynn (2018) ‘Creativity is a human quality that exists in every single one of us.’ https://theconversation.com/creativity-is-a-human-quality-that-exists-in-every-single-one-of-us-92053 (retrieved September 5, 2019)

Posted in Media Tools, Professional Development | Leave a comment

Growing Open at Langara

Event Postcard

Mark your calendars for Open Langara’s Wine & Cheese event!

Join us on March 6, 2019 as we celebrate our colleagues who are leading the way with open educational resources (OER) at Langara . Enjoy a glass of wine while you learn about student perspectives on OER and chat with fellow instructors who are using OER in their courses.

Not currently using OER in your classroom? Come by anyway! All faculty are invited to celebrate. Stop by for food, wine, and amazing door prizes.

Event details:

Date: March 6, 2019
Time: 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Location: Science & Technology Gallery (T Gallery)
Cost: FREE
RSVPOpen Langara Wine & Cheese

Questions? Contact Open Langara at open@langara.ca

Posted in Open Education | Leave a comment

Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) – Synchronous

To help educators in B.C. become effective facilitators of learning online, we have developed a family of courses designed to expand and enhance your online facilitation skills.

The next offering is FLO Synchronous, a 3-week immersion into planning and facilitating live online learning sessions.

When? February 25 – March 15, 2019 

Cost? $150 ($100 for first 3 registrants)

Who is this for? Everyone who runs live online sessions, meetings, or webinars! This event has no pre-requisites.

This offering of FLO Synchronous is being co-facilitated by dream team: Ross McKerlich, Education Technology Coordinator at Okanagan College and Clint Lalonde, faculty member at Royal Roads University and Manager, Educational Technology at BCcampus.



Posted in Best Practices, Conferences, Open Education, Professional Development | Leave a comment

The Vancouver Podcast Festival: Report

Photograph of panel at CBC live podcast 2050: Degrees of Change

The Panel at 2050: Degrees of Change (CBC live podcast)

The Vancouver Podcast Festival 

Karen Budra and Julian Prior attended the inaugural Vancouver Podcast Festival, sponsored by the Justice Institute, CBC and the VPL and presented by DOXA, between Thursday, Nov 8 and Saturday, November 10. We attended a number of panels, workshops, social events & live podcasts. Here are our takeaways: 


In the panel, Politics & Podcasting, Charlie Demers pointed out that podcasts “fulfill… the promise of the internet” as opposed to social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, because podcasts are “more thoughtful.” This resonated with us, as one of the primary functions of academia is to encourage students to demonstrate deep learning and we would encourage faculty to learn how to use podcasts both to deliver course material and to provide students with another modality with which to express their ideas. 


Most of the kit recommended by the senior sound CBC sound engineer, Cesil Fernandes in Sonic Sorcery: The Magic Tricks of Sound Design, such as the Zoom, Shure and Sennheiser microphones and portable recorders, are already available through EdTech or AVIT. Additionally, of course, smartphones (with or without attached microphones) can be used as a “safe” adjunct, should another recording device fail. 

EdTech also has an insulated studio in which to record audio, available to be booked by Langara faculty. 


In the course of the three days, we met a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds, including Johanna Wagstaff, Lisa Kristiansen, Ian Hanomansing, & other CBC luminaries; well-established podcasters Karina Longworth and Helen Zalzberg; neophyte podcasters and students. 

These connections were both informative and inspiring, especially as one of the CBC producers is the parent of one of Karen’s current students and was able to talk knowledgably about Langara. We also spent time with two recent UBC film grads who run a podcast and learned much about how they set it up and the best way to deliver podcasts to students. More importantly, we learned how they created this student podcast and gained valuable insight into how we might support Langara instructors to help their students establish one based on this model. One of the great strengths of podcasts as a learning tool is that they can be delivered directly to students’ mobile devices, allowing them to study on the move.

Posted in Best Practices, Conferences, Media Tools | Leave a comment

Brightspace Quizzes now save automatically.

New: Auto-Save for Brightspace Quizzes

You’ve always been told to advise your students to save every quiz question as they finish it, and Save All Responses before submitting. This was to make sure that in-progress quizzes would be saved if a student was interrupted mid-quiz.

As of October 2018, it’s no longer necessary to need to manually save answers when taking a quiz. Quiz responses will now be saved as students complete each question. See below for images showing the old version (with Save button) versus the new, including what it will look like when a question auto-saves.

The old Brightspace quiz question interface, with Save button and disk icon (showing that the question is saved).

The old Brightspace quiz question interface, with Save button and disk icon (showing that the question is saved).








The new Brightspace quiz question interface, without Save button, with the "Saving/Saved" message highlighted.






Instructor Note: The quiz event log will show whenever a question is automatically saved, including an updated character count for Written Response questions.

Other Updates

No More Save Button

The “Save” and “Save All Responses” buttons at the bottom of a Quiz screen have been removed. The “Go to Submit Quiz” button is now called “Submit Quiz.”

There will still be a submission confirmation screen, after clicking “Submit Quiz,” that prompts students to submit the quiz when they’re ready.

Auto-Save Works Differently for Written Response Questions

If a Written Response question shows the format bar (also known as the HTML Editor), student responses will not be automatically saved as they type. To make sure that the answer is being saved as they work, students must click anywhere outside the text entry field to prompt the “Saving…/Saved” message to appear at the top right.

Other question types, or Written Response questions with the format bar disabled, will auto-save approximately every 30 seconds.

Internet Connection Status Notifications

Brightspace will now display a notification if the student loses their internet connection while taking a quiz.

a red-bordered notification box that reads "Internet connection lost. Trying to reconnect..."



Students will also see a notification when the connection is restored, at which point Brightspace will automatically save any unsaved answers.

A green-bordered notification that reads "Internet connection restored! Saving all answers..."



Instructor Note: The quiz log will record when a lost connection is restored.


Question is Still “Saving…”

If a student has answered a question and it seems to be stuck on “Saving…” for a very long time, they should double-check their internet connection. If they seem to be connected, they should continue writing their quiz. Any unsaved answers will be saved when they either move between pages, or go to submit the quiz.

Recommendations for Writing Quizzes

As always, we generally recommend using a wired internet connection, if possible. This greatly reduces the chances of losing an internet connection in the middle of a quiz.

If a student is writing a quiz from a mobile device like a phone or tablet, it’s best to access the quiz from Assessments > Quizzes, rather than from Course Materials > Content. This will provide more room on the screen for quiz questions. If possible, a desktop or laptop computer is best for taking quizzes, as these devices offer the best experience.

Updating Your Course Materials

If you’ve been advising your students to save each question as they go, please update those instructions in your courses to account for these updates. You can also just link to the student support page for these changes, which outline the new auto-save function and other new features now active in Brightspace quizzes. Click here, or access the link below, to see the student update.


Posted in Best Practices | Leave a comment

Do you or someone you know use classroom polling or another type of student response system (SRS) at Langara?

The Education Technology department wants to know how many instructors at Langara use a student response system, or SRS. Examples of popular SRS are iClicker desktop or cloud, Top Hat, Turning Point, Socrative, Quizziz, Poll Everywhere, etc.  If you do not use a SRS but you know of someone who does, please kindly forward the link to this announcement.

Marianne Gianacopoulos, and Nimmy Nelson are guiding this review of the use of student response systems (SRS) across the college.

If you currently use a SRS, do you mind answering a few short questions via the below survey link? We want to gather information on numbers of users and types of SRS programs currently in use. If you previously answered a survey sent specifically to you, please disregard this request. We already have your information.  Please click on the following link:


Thank you. We appreciate your taking the time and for your participation. Access to the survey will close as of November 15th.

Posted in Best Practices | Leave a comment