Open Education Advocacy and Research Fellows – Applicants welcome!

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Interested in becoming an advocate for Open Education? Perhaps your students use a free open textbook and you want to raise awareness of the benefits of using one for students, instructors and the college?

BCcampus are currently welcoming applications for three Open Education Advocacy and Research Fellows amongst post-secondary faculty in BC. Successful applicants will receive mentorship in OER advocacy and research, and funding of $2000 for conference and meeting attendance.

For further information see: The closing date for applications is Thursday February 15, 2018. If you would like to discuss any potential application please contact Julian Prior in EdTech (

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D2L Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning

The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) and Desire2Learn ( D2L) invite submissions for the 2018 D2L Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning. 

This award celebrates and recognizes innovative approaches that promote student-centred teaching and learning.

Awards are open to all instructors currently teaching at a post-secondary institution, regardless of discipline, level, or term of appointment. Applications in French or English are welcomed. Applicants do not need to be members of STLHE to apply.

Award recipients are expected to attend the 2018 STLHE conference, which will be held in Sherbrooke, Quebec, on June 20 – 22, 2018 and a retreat which will be held the day before the conference. 

The award recipients (up to five per year) receive the following:

1) Up to $2,200.00 to offset the registration and travel costs to attend the Annual STLHE conference and an Award Recipients retreat the day before the conference

2) Two-year membership in STLHE

3) Certificate of Recognition


The deadline for submission of an application package is Sunday, 18 February 2018

For further details and award criteria please visit:

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12 Apps of Christmas!

Originating at Regent’s University London in 2014, 12 Apps of Christmas is a fun and free online micro-learning activity aimed at staff and students working in educational institutions. The idea behind it is to introduce a series of mobile apps sent out via a blog 12 Apps of Christmas logopost over twelve days in December. Each post introduces the app, explains how to use it, suggests some possible uses in learning and teaching, and finally sets a challenge for the reader that is shared on social media. The activity is a bit of fun but is also a great way to find out about some of the useful mobile apps out there and have a go at using them. You can learn about the App and do the challenge in around 10-15 minutes so it is a great professional development opportunity for time-pressed educationalists!

This is the second year that the Educational Technology User’s Group in BC have run the activity. This year’s 12 Apps has been very successful so far with over 200 people from around the world signing up to receive the daily updates. To see the Apps released so far visit You can also register here to receive daily updates for the remainder of the Apps. Check out #12AppsBC on Twitter to see some great examples that participants have created using the Apps.

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Open Education: The Teenage Years (Reflections on OpenEd17 Part 1)

In November 2010 when I was working as a Sociology Instructor at a Further Education College in the UK, I was lucky enough to get some time off to attend the 7th annual Open Education Conference, held that year in a beautiful science museum in Barcelona. At the time the Open Education movement was still relatively young and appeared, at least to me at the time, progressive and radical. I remember being wowed by presentations from the likes of Martin Weller, Paul Stacey, Richard Hall and Joss Winn, Rory McGreal and the late Erik Duval. Sessions referenced the University of the People and the University of Utopia, Manifestos for OER Sustainability, CloudWorks and OERopoly (a game to generate collective intelligence around OER). It felt exciting, cutting-edge, DIY and autonomous. There was talk of EduPunk and apparent schisms between those who promoted sustainability and funding models versus those who saw the potential of Open Education to initiate not just a revolution in teaching and learning but in society itself. It was exhilarating stuff.

Fast-forward seven years and thanks to my colleagues in the Library and Ed Tech I was able to attend the 14th annual Open Education Conference, this time held in Anaheim, California. One immediate difference was the size: 2010’s conference involved around 200 participants whereas estimates put this year’s attendance at well over 500 including what seemed to me to be large numbers of first-time attendees. Another was the format. In Barcelona we had keynotes and presentations mainly, whereas Anaheim added round-table discussions, an unconference session and a musical jam. Dialogue and conversations felt genuinely participatory, democratic and inclusive even though there was a recognition that much work still needs to be done in this area.

The Keynotes

The originally announced Keynote line-up had received some criticism from a number of people on Twitter both for its lack of diversity and for including a representative of an organisation whose policies run counter to the ideals of the open education movement. Challenging this took a good deal of courage from those who stood up to be counted and from those who backed them. Encouragingly, the conference organiser took the criticisms on board and made some changes to the programme.

Ryan Merkely, CEO of Creative Commons kicked off Wednesday’s programme by announcing a prototype of a search tool that brings 1-click attribution as well as a new CC Global Network Open Education Platform which all open education advocates are invited to participate in. Ryan devoted the rest of his Keynote to presenting an intensely personal and powerful call for us to build the Open Ed community by focusing on values of equity, inclusivity and diversity. This process often requires us to listen to others, examine our own privilege and ensure that no voices are left out. In other words “Active, unrelenting inclusion” as Jamison Miller put it.

Friday morning’s Keynote Addresses were given by David Bollier and Cathy Casserly. Bollier, who is Director of the Reinventing the Commons Program at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, urged us to see the knowledge commons as embodying a different set of values and practices to the global market and the state. Whereas global capital imposes social relationships of price, enclosure, patents and copyright, the commons is a self-organised social system that emphasises fairness, responsibility, long-term stewardship and meeting peoples’ basic needs. The next big thing, Bollier argued, could well be a lot of small things — examples such as Platform Co-operativism, community land trusts, makerspaces, and the various ‘opens’ (source, textbooks, journals) point the way to a new generative and value-creating movement beyond the tyranny of business models, bureaucracy and the market.

I first heard Cathy Casserly speak in Barcelona in 2010, back when she was about to become CEO of Creative Commons. She is an excellent speaker, and has the unique ability to tell personal stories and link them to wider political events. At its core, she argued, the Open Education movement is about freedom, transparency, social justice, equity, access and inclusion, values that are being fundamentally threatened in the current social and political climate. If we are to achieve our ambitious aim of transforming learning globally then we must grow, and as we grow reflect intently on the various ‘nodes’ within our network, ensuring all voices are included and given space for articulation. As we move from the “terrible twos” into our “teenage years” we must also think about issues of governance and leadership and consider giving a far more prominent role to Open advocates on the ground (those that “make shit happen” as Cathy put it). Otherwise the Open Ed movement could end up replicating the power structures of the traditional Taylorist model of education that it is trying to replace.




What about the students? In part two of this blog post I will switch attention to an inspiring panel involving students from a local college, reflect on my presentation on international student engagement with open textbooks, and talk about some of the technologies and platforms that are being promoted as open alternatives to proprietary software from the likes of Pearson and McGraw-Hill.

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New look and name for D2L: Welcome to Brightspace!

On Tuesday December 19, 2017, you are going to see a new look and a new name for D2L.
 In line with other institutioBrightspace by D2L logons, we will now be referring to our learning management system (LMS) as Brightspace by D2L. This switch makes sense as D2L is the name of the company based in Kitchener, Ontario, while  their LMS is named Brightspace.
In December, along with the name-change, you will notice a new look and feel with a clean and modern layout. New fonts, icons, colours and a simpler navigation design mean that courses will adapt to different screen sizes and look equally good on different devices. This is known as ‘responsive design’ and it will make the user experience more engaging for our students as they will easily be able to access Brightspace from a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.
 Some of the key visual changes include:
– A simplified navigation design that looks equally good on screens of any size;
– A consistent, cleaner and more modern design using new fonts, icons and colours;
– A new ‘My Courses’ widget featuring rich photography in a responsive tile-based layout;
– A new image library with over 3000 images to choose from for your tiles.
Even though Brightspace will look different to you and your students after December 19, your workflows will remain the same. Tools such as Assignments, Quizzes, Discussion Forums will work the way you expect them to.
If you have any questions about the upcoming changes,  please contact your EdTech team:
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Introducing MediaSpace: Langara’s Streaming Video Platform

All faculty and students now have access to MediaSpace (by Kaltura), a YouTube-like video portal that lets you create, upload and share video and audio. Amongst other things, you can use MediaSpace to create video lectures, curate playlists of existing content from YouTube, or provide an online space for students to upload coursework or video/audio assignments.  

By default all content you upload to MediaSpace is private and can only be viewed by you. You can choose to share content with others, or make it public. Video and audio files are stored in the cloud on secure servers at UBC and content can easily be embedded in Brightspace or iWeb/Courseweb.  

We know that our students expect us to provide them with an inclusive, engaging and accessible learning environment in order to maximize their chances of academic success. MediaSpace is an important piece of the puzzle in that respect. The platform enables instructors to easily incorporate video in face-to-face classroom teaching, or in a mixed-mode or fully online course. We are excited about new features such as interactive quizzing and closed captioning, and look forward to working with you to make the most of MediaSpace in your teaching. 

MediaSpace can be accessed by all Langara staff and students at You will need to login using your Langara Computer User ID and Password in order to upload content to your MyMedia (your personal MediaSpace library of video/audio content). 

To learn more about MediaSpace and how you and your students can use it, come along to our Information Session on Wednesday September 27, 12:30-13:30 in L342.  

You can sign up for this session here

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Events and Workshops

Click here for EdTech currently offered events information and registration.

Register for TCDC events here.

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Turnitin Now Available


Langara has purchased a campus-wide license for Turnitin to support faculty in teaching research and writing skills to their students while also encouraging academic integrity. Turnitin is a similarity checker which allows students and faculty to check assignments for matches in Turnitin’s database of papers, articles, and websites.

All Langara faculty have access to Turnitin through their Brightspace courses.

We hope that Turnitin will be used as an instructional tool to help students understand the College’s expectations for academic integrity and to practice their skills in summarizing, paraphrasing, quoting and citing their sources appropriately.

While Turnitin is a useful tool, it cannot detect all forms of plagiarism. However, if used in well-designed assignments and learning activities, Turnitin can play a valuable role in educating our students and emphasizing the importance of academic integrity.

Register for an information session: Turnitin Brown Bag  Sept.14, 2017 1:00-1:45 pm

More sessions will be scheduled throughout the fall semester.

Thanks to members of the Langara School of Management, EdTech, and IT for piloting, implementing and administering this new tool.

For more information about Turnitin and suggestions for its use, see

For instructions on using Turnitin with Brightspace, see

For help designing assessments to encourage academic integrity, contact

For setting up assignments with Turnitin in Brightspace, contact


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Professional Development Opportunity from VIU

Vancouver Island University Team-Based Learning Institute

Transform Your Classroom with Team-Based Learning

August 15 and 17, 2017

Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo

Deadline to Register: August 1 

The evidence is piling up in support of the Michaelsen approach to Team-Based Learning. Team-Based Learning is a teaching strategy that lays a clear path toward greater student independence and personal responsibility for learning. In any discipline and with any content. The key? A simple, coherent set of instructional protocols and practices that, when adopted carefully, ensure that all the forces of cognitive and social engagement are aligned for high-level learning and critical thinking.

The Vancouver Island University Team-Based Learning Institute will take you through the process of transforming a traditionally taught course into a Team-Based Learning course. The August 2017 Institute is for instructors who will implement the Team-Based Learning approach beginning in Fall 2017.

 A limited number of seats are available for guests (i.e., post-secondary educators not currently on the faculty or teaching staff of Vancouver Island University). Guest fees are $375 (CAD) plus GST, which cover a two-day workshop (8:30 AM – 3:30 PM) including a light breakfast, lunch, consultations with veteran TBL practitioners, and a copy of Getting Started with Team-Based Learning (Sibley and Ostafichuk).

More Info

VIU Registration:

Please address questions to Bill Roberson (, Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Specialist, Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning or Liesel Knaack (, Director Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning


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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, Brightspace 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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