eLearning Workshops for Fall Start-Up

Welcome to the eLearning Team’s virtual workshop offerings to support the start-up of the fall term (note: the first day of classes is September 7, 2021).

These workshops will provide faculty with a basic orientation to Camosun’s core educational technologies:

  • Desire2Learn (D2L) – Learning Management System
  • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra – Web Conferencing
  • Kaltura – Video Streaming Service


  • Since our new Colleague integration, a D2L course shell will be automatically generated for all course sections.
  • Most eLearning workshops are recorded unless otherwise noted.
  • If you are unable to attend the workshops and need assistance, contact elearning@camosun.ca and you will be connected with an instructional designer.


For registering into any of our workshops, go to the Library Workshops page.

Workshops for Fall Start-Up

How to Export Your Final Marks from D2L to myCamosun

Description: This workshop will walk you through the process of how to export your final grades from D2L to myCamosun. Have your final grades ready to publish in D2L and follow along with the steps provided. We will help troubleshoot the process.

Note: This workshop will only support Letter Grade and Competency Gradebooks. The process currently doesn’t support Percentage Gradebooks.  If you are unable to attend this workshop, video and print tutorials are available in the D2L On-Demand Training course site. This workshop will not be recorded.

Dates & Times

  • August 10, 10:00-11:00am
  • August 17,  10:00-11:00am

D2L Overview

Description: This workshop will provide you with an overview of the essential teaching tools available in our learning management system, D2L.

Dates & Times

  • Tuesday, August 31, 10:00-11:30am
  • Wednesday, September 8, 1:30-3:00pm

D2L Course Set-up

Description:  This workshop will focus on setting up your course for Day 1. We will demonstrate how to copy course components (from your DEV or MASTER course to your LIVE offering), customize your homepage, apply a course banner, create a welcome news item and streamline your navigation bar.

Date & Time

  • Wednesday, September 1,  10:30am-12:00 pm

Introduction to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Description: Collaborate is a web-conferencing tool that integrates with D2L. This session will provide you with a basic overview of the tools and functions within Collaborate as well as provide instructors with tips on how to use this tool to connect with students and facilitate effective learning experiences.

Date & Time

  • Thursday, September 2, 10:30am-12:00pm

Video Basics with Kaltura and D2L

Description: Kaltura is Camosun College’s streaming media service that offers easy-to-use video management and creation tools that integrate directly into D2L. Think of it as Camosun’s own YouTube service. Learn how faculty and students can create and manage their videos from one central location and publish those videos directly into D2L.

Date & Time

  • September 2, 1:30-3:00pm

Additional Suggestions

If there is a workshop topic you are interested in but is not offered, please let us know and we will follow up with you on how to best support your needs.  Email elearning@camosun.ca.

Camosun Faculty Story #27: Brenda

Brenda teaches Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking in the Visual Arts program at Camosun.  I can hear what you’re thinking…drawing, painting, and printmaking online?  What?  Brenda was also a little skeptical when everything pivoted.  “I was very nervous at the prospect of at all, so I guess I had some resistance at the beginning that I had to get over. Then I realized it wasn’t about me having my way – it was about me showing up for the students. So I stopped thinking about myself and started thinking about what they might need and how I could deliver it to them.”

Like most faculty, Brenda was in the middle of teaching last March when everyone was sent home.  Between the shock and scramble to make things work, she says that while she had “space where students could continue to upload work even if they had to complete it at home, it was a very sad ending to the term. We didn’t get to say goodbye or discuss the artworks that they were working on,” something they normally would have done.

While Brenda’s scheduled development plans in the spring did not involve reimagining her fall courses, she was thinking about them.  “I was going to be teaching a drawing class and two printmaking classes in the fall, so I connected with former students asking what they might like to see.  I also connected with colleagues at here at Camosun, as well as with people teaching up island to ask them what they were doing. So we exchanged some ideas and exercises which was really helpful – connecting with people who were in the same kind of situation.”

Because students would be missing in-class demonstrations in the fall, Brenda spent a lot of time making videos of those demos.  However, since she was not the only instructor in her area doing so, finding someone to help her make the videos was a challenge.  In the end, with the help of her son, she made about a dozen videos in her kitchen so students could review the various drawing and printmaking processes on their own time.  Brenda says she had to let go of trying to make the videos perfect.  “It was a struggle at first, but looking back, while I had a sense of embarrassment at the beginning, I became more comfortable over time.”

Brenda’s students were lucky to have some face-to-face studio time blended in with the online teaching, which she told me the students loved.  “They were eager for that connection. While we have protocols dictating how many people we can have in each studio, we have three studios that we can use to split up the students into groups.  That way they get a chance to converse and talk about each other’s works.”

The loss of the normally more intense face-to-face engagement, however, led to other challenges for Brenda.  “One challenge was around understanding the printmaking tools that were new to students. We put together kits, so students had an easel, a lino block, rollers, etc., but because they hadn’t used them before, they asked a lot of questions. I would refer them to the videos, and ask them to come back with more specific questions, but we also had to remember that they were at home, which meant there were other considerations to explain to them.  For example, they needed a place to clean up leftover ink – you don’t want to put it down the kitchen sink, you don’t want to have it on the kitchen table, you don’t want to have it in your roommate’s room. So there were a lot of considerations to keep in mind.”

In addition, Brenda found that some students were reticent to share their work on Collaborate, perhaps due to shyness or fear of being judged.  “There are students that still lurk because I have given them permission to lurk in Collaborate.  They don’t have to say anything, but its good practice for them to at least listen to how we describe artworks we’ve made, and how we get feedback from other students. I know they’re there, but I’m not forcing them to speak up – they’ll do it when they’re ready.”

But at the same time, being online brought some rewards.  Brenda found some amazing new assignment formats.  For example, one she called ‘three things we loved.’   “Maybe you love flowers, or maybe you love cigarette smoking, or maybe you like tea.  Then you draw those three things that you love the most. But you also have to draw them with a background, a middle ground, and a foreground, because that gives us space in the painting so it looks three-dimensional. Then we went on to something called micro, making a large image of something that was really small. For example, if you decided to draw a bee, you enlarged it to a full 20” by 20” piece — a good experiment with how you would use space in a drawing

Then she also had the students complete some short exercises while they were in their Collaborate sessions.  “This would be the first thing we did when we came into Collaborate each week. I gave students prompts and they had ten minutes to draw the image in their sketchbook. Then they would upload their sketch into the Assignments tool where I could see it. They were working in real time, and I thought that was really important that they would get immediate feedback. And they loved it. We did all kinds of prompts, whatever I could come up with, usually the day before class started.”

For the painting classes, she tried something a little different.  “We worked in black and white to avoid the complexity of having to mix colours, and I asked them to find an object in their house and paint it four times over a period of weeks. We were looking for repetition and refinement.  They enjoyed that a lot.”

Moving forward, Brenda is planning to keep some of the things she’s learned and implemented in her classes.  “For their programs, students paint on canvasses, wood, panel, and paper, and put all their work into a big fat cardboard portfolio. Then as the instructor, you have 25 heavy portfolios to mark.  So, moving forward, I would like to see a digital upload of their work instead.  They can photograph their work and upload it to D2L so I can assess it there. This would also allow me to more easily find an individual student’s work at any time, instead of searching through a pile of physical portfolios.  We could also have them include an artist statement with their work, and I can give them feedback for both their work and their statements.”  She will also keep the videos she made over the year.  “I think that’s what’s nice about a blended class, because students get a chance to talk with each other in real time, but they can also review material and think about things in D2L.  It’s the best of both worlds.”

In the end, Brenda told me that while she was nervous at the beginning, and the learning curve was steep, she found the strength to get through it.  “I’m a long-term teacher and I have to remind myself that I have lots of skills, and while sometimes I may think I don’t know how to do something, I can find ways to make it happen.”


Camosun Faculty Story #26: Kate

Kate is a Biology instructor at Camosun, and this past year taught two sections of Biology 090 (a college prep Biology), as well as a section of a brand new second year Cell Biology course.  Not surprisingly, both had their challenges in moving online.  But, as she told me, last March, the Biology instructors “all jumped on the bandwagon together – whatever I was doing, I was sharing, whatever they were doing, they were sharing, and we just threw it all in the pot and cobbled through the semester, and in the end it wasn’t awful,” which certainly sounds like how the pivot last March worked for me!

Kate was fortunate to have scheduled development last spring, so she could spend time planning for fall.  She had used some D2L tools before, but faced some learning of tools she hadn’t used.  And now, Kate says she has fully adopted the Grades tool, as well as the Quizzes tool, finding the immediate feedback and the ability for students to complete quizzes multiple times a great trade-off for the work she put into creating them.  In addition, students submitted their lab assignments to the Assignments tool, where she could use the annotation tool or download them, add feedback, and upload the marked file for them.  “That part has saved me tons of time, once I got it working right, and I’m going to keep that for sure.  For students, when it comes time to study, they all have access to the uploaded marked versions, even if they were working in groups – no more excuses that someone else has the final copy of the assignment! It’s always there as a resource for them.”

For fall, Kate taught the Biology 090 asynchronously, which she recognized was a risk because of the upgrading nature of the course.  “I thought it would be a mistake to code it as synchronous, especially when there was so much unknown with jobs and lives and schedules.  Instead, I asked myself, how can I make this more accessible? So I tried to make it more self-paced, but with deadlines every single week. I’d have weekly synchronous tutorials, but I did not take attendance and I recorded them all. I expected students to watch them, but gave them the choice of how and when to schedule that time.”

Labs were definitely Kate’s biggest challenge.  “The big thing for Biology, of course, is the labs because they are supposed to be tactile:  you’re trying things out, you’re working with equipment, all things we couldn’t do. So I worked with that team of instructors and we came up with a pretty good hodgepodge of activities.”  For example, they developed what she called “kitchen labs.” “Do you have a carrot? Can you boil something? Can you watch ice melt? Can you put some ice, and then put some salt with the ice and then explain what’s happening to the hydrogen bonds?  They were all activities designed to connect to the course content, which worked out pretty well.”

While for the upgrading courses Kate was able to find a wealth of lab-related resources on the Internet, the second-year Cell Biology was a different story.  “Cell Biology is very content heavy, and online labs are not ideal, but we made the best of it.”  One of the instructors used his scheduled development time video-record several of the lab procedures, creating little one- or two-minute clips walking through the processes to get students through the semester. “Then we upped some of the data process requirements to make up for the loss of the practical skills, which worked pretty well.”  This last year has definitely brought out that flexible thinking – trying to find that balance of activities that will support students meeting learning outcomes.  One thing Kate noted about the Cell Biology group was that she saw “a really big difference in student engagement. They’re making study groups, they’re interacting, and you can see improvement in their data processing as well as in their critical thinking skills.”  I was particularly excited by an unanticipated by-product in Kate’s Cell Biology synchronous classes. “What has been cool is the text chat in Collaborate. Many students in this group knew each other from previous classes and there was an active chat thread while I was talking about something, for example someone types ‘I saw this cool article’ and they paste the link, or someone says, ‘yeah, it’s like what we did in our anatomy class’.  Having that text chat with this friendly banter (mostly content related) has been really fun and makes it feels more like a community”

In addition to finding new ways to deliver labs for the upgrading classes and discovering community building in the Cell Biology course, Kate has found many positive outcomes form the past year.  “This semester we are running a section where we have students from the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, mostly indigenous students, taking this course fully online. Look at the outreach that we’ve been able to accomplish by making a cohort for them!  I also have people in my own class who would never have been able to take a class face to face, for example my one student who had a baby two weeks before the class started in January. I have students from all walks of life who are able to access this asynchronous class because they complete the work in their own time within the week that each assignment is open.”

But there have been lessons learned along the way as well.  “It doesn’t always work the way you think. For example, I gave students an open book exam and discovered that not all students really understood what open-book means and what it doesn’t mean.  They were looking up every single question and of course ran out of time, even though I had warned them not to rely on their books, which was a lesson for all of us.”  Kate also realizes that not every student will succeed in an online course.  “Some have really missed those face-to-face study groups that happen organically after class when you’re standing around or hanging around the lab. But for other students, they’re self-motivated, know how to study, and know when they need help and how to get that help, whether it’s from me or the biology Help Center or online resources, and they’re rocking it.”

Moving forward, Kate is going to keep a lot of what she has created and learned.  “All those assignments that I spent all that time creating with the answers and instant feedback, I’m keeping those. They’re awesome. They’re great for the students and it’s no extra marking for me. I’m going to keep the digital lab submissions and look at ways I can give better feedback, better upfront instructions, etc. I’m even thinking about ways I can continue to share my PowerPoints in class and use my pen to write directly on the slides instead of using a laser pointer, because with the pen the marks will stay there.”

What Kate will remember as well is how she was able to make connections with so many students.  “I know people say it’s faceless and there’s not a connection, but there are ways to make connections without forcing people out of their comfort zone or making them turn on their cameras in a class of 50.”  And as many others have noted, there have been a lot of positives come out of having more flexibility in work-life balance, for students and faculty.  “Not having to commute or take public transit, not having to arrange for childcare – it’s all about making education accessible and flexible. That’s what the future needs – the model of going to University for four years face to face, and that’s all you can do, that’s gone. That’s not the reality for most students, and we need to get with the program.”