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Category: Camosun College (Page 1 of 2)

Camosun Faculty Story #2: Kelly

Kelly is a faculty member teaching in the English Department at Camosun College. While she was not teaching when other instructors pivoted from face-to-face to online last March (has it already been a year?), over the summer she moved all her courses for fall into an online format, what she calls the steepest learning curve she’s faced since she began teaching.

I agree about that steep learning curve, since Kelly only really used D2L for posting grades and as a repository for some content before COVID. “I wasn’t even accepting assignment online,” Kelly notes. “Obviously it’s been a huge amount of work, [but] it’s also been really interesting to learn how to adapt that style of teaching to the content that I teach and to my style of teaching and my philosophies about connection which are a very strong part of my teaching.” And Kelly persevered, working within the new format while keeping the focus on what is important to her teaching. “It took me two months of full-time work to write what you see on D2L for each course, but I’m teaching people to be readers and writers. That’s my job.”

The brain of D2L, as Kelly puts it, presented one of the biggest challenges for her. Making edits and adjustments on Rubrics, for example, can drive one to distraction. “I spend so much time on formatting that it’s harder to develop new content.” Definitely one of the downsides to creating online content: making sure that the writing is clear, and also that visual design of pages are accessible. Kelly worries sometimes that the time it takes to put her existing content online makes it harder for her to find time to bring new research and innovation into her material.

Another challenge Kelly mentions, which will not be a surprise to anyone, is that she finds her synchronous sessions draining, wondering if anyone is out there. While attendance is high in her Collaborate sessions, “they will not use their cameras even when they have them…so that’s a bit alienating.” But she notes that the advantage to using Collaborate is that you can record the sessions for students who miss, or who need to go back and review a session. Not something you can do as easily in a face to face setting.

One of the upsides to moving her discussion-heavy courses online, Kelly says, is that she feels “connected to [her] students in a new way, and maybe a more thorough way” now. Through the online, text-based discussions, “they have to engage in the material in more than a superficial way,” which has also helped Kelly grade the discussions in a way she couldn’t before when they were more ephemeral. In fact, she says “the first time I opened the discussion and saw the level of work that was happening there, the amount of thought, I was blown away, and I still get so excited when I read those to mark them.” The students are learning without her jumping in all the time – learning from each other. That is one of the huge rewards from this experience.

The biggest takeaway from this experience for Kelly, as well as some advice she would give to new faculty, is “that if you know what your philosophical goal is with a course, you can make any method of teaching meet that goal,” but you have to know your goal first. Identify what is important to your teaching and then look for help with that, rather than asking undefined questions about the tools in D2L, etc. Ask yourself “What are your absolute must-haves of the tools that are available – really work hard on what you need and get that core down,” especially because you will be spending a lot of time planning and then getting things up and running (Kelly notes that she is grateful she had uninterrupted time for development, unlike some faculty who were teaching online for the first time in the Spring while also developing courses for the Fall.) Finally, organize your content. Kelly recommends thinking in terms of weeks instead of classes to make it easier for students to know where they are at in the course.

Will Kelly continue teaching online once COVID has run its course and classes can return to face to face? Well, yes, she hopes she can in some way. While grading assignments online is a lot of work, she has seen the benefits to her, for example, being able to check back on a student’s progress, and for students as well, having all her feedback in one place. But what really has convinced her is the learning she has observed in her online discussion forums – instead of being focused on how to get a B in class, students are more “focused on communicating clearly to other people and [responding] to what they’ve heard.” They can also go back to re-read those discussions when preparing for the next assignment, and “I don’t know why anyone would give that up!” Right now, Kelly’s vision for the future is to do exactly what she is doing now, except her Collaborate sessions will be face to face: do what needs to be done face to face, and what works online, online. But definitely some face to face because both Kelly and her students are yearning for that connection, of human faces and campus life. And that’s a nice hope for the future: the best of both worlds.

Camosun Faculty Story #1: Debra

Debra is a faculty member in the English Language Development (ELD) area here at Camosun College. I have had the privilege of working with her in bits and pieces over the years before COVID, but until last March/April, she was really only using PowerPoints and videos in the classroom, and using D2L minimally, mainly the News tool – “I was using that just to give them homework and make announcements.”

Imagine suddenly being faced with teaching completely online having not really used any online teaching tools before. It’s not a stretch of the imagination for many faculty members we in eLearning have been working with over the past almost a year. Debra herself “was certainly frightened of the technology and having to use the technology in such a different way…I didn’t have any idea how to use Collaborate, or I how to use most of the tools in D2L.” But, she overcame her fears and, coming back from vacation early, attended as many eLearning workshops as she could And most of all, she took the time to practice with the technologies, with her colleagues in ELD – peers supporting peers.

And it wasn’t only faculty supporting each other. Debra tells me that her first time teaching online went better than she expected because “[she] had done a lot of preparation and went in there believing [her students] were probably just as frightened of the experience as [she] was, and … [they] basically supported each other through the experience.” Like many faculty, Debra and her students were used to being in a face to face classroom where students “presume that you have a certain command of the situation.” But in this new world, “I knew that they really weren’t expecting me to have the same level of competence with the technology, and that took some of the pressure off.”

Debra says there wasn’t one moment that stood out for her during her first online teaching experience, but points to her students’ progress, as well as their positive feedback for her around the content and the delivery of the course as factors that made her feel good about the experience. In spite of everything, students were making good progress. And with regards to the fear of cheating which haunts many instructors during these online teaching times, she says that even though “I didn’t have the same control over their output, I did see them making progress. They couldn’t have cheated their way through to the outcomes that I saw at the end of the course. I did challenge them if I believed they cheated and I asked them to resubmit the work. But my main concerns were, are they turning up? Are they participating? Are they making progress? And that’s what I focus on.”

As for one thing she didn’t expect from the experience, Debra says she was surprised how much she enjoyed it. “Lock-down was a very isolating experience…so, having that contact with [students] every day, I felt less isolated … And I enjoyed the differences. It was a different experience and it was interesting and it was stimulating, and that’s why it was challenging.” And that challenge has, by pushing her out of her comfort zone (which is something familiar to her having done freelance work all over the world) reinvigorated how Debra feels about teaching. “I was afraid, but I decided to accept the challenge and I’m glad that I did.”

As for Debra’s vision for the future of her own teaching after everything that she’s learned over the past several months, she is currently preparing quizzes and other online materials, and planning to ”make much more use of technology than I did before…I might do a lot more online marking than I’ve done and I know I’ll make more use of technology.”

When I asked if she has any advice she would give colleagues, or any new faculty members who are suddenly having to teach online, Debra recalled an old joke: “How do you eat an elephant? One mouthful at a time,” something a friend told her a few years ago when she faced other life-altering challenges. “I think that taking on a big challenge, that’s the only way to deal with it. If you try to envision the whole problem as one problem, the whole situation as one…it’s too much to deal with. But if you just break it down and take it a step at a time, it isn’t.” And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Supporting each other, and taking one step at a time.

Next for Debra, however, is a break. She finishes her Scheduled Development time at the end of February, and then will be off on vacation until she teaches this spring. This year I hope she gets a complete break and comes back refreshed, ready to meet her new students without panic, and with confidence.

 

 

Moving into a Brave New World: Interviews with Camosun Faculty – Introduction

March 18th, 2020. For me, this day will forever mark the day we all went home and entered a new world, an unknown world, a world where we all had to reimagine our work and home lives. None of us knew how all-encompassing this new world would be for us, yet here we are, almost one year later, still standing (or sitting, as the case may be…)

For me, the first weeks I spent in this new world are now a blur as the college pivoted and everyone moved online. Then April hit, and a new term was fast approaching. We in eLearning began to offer workshops – workshops up the wazoo. In the old world, there were no workshops planned for April, but in the end and on the fly, in the four weeks in April we ran 20+ workshops for faculty on D2L, Collaborate, Kaltura, facilitating online learning, creating online community, online assessments, and accessibility in the online classroom. At the end of every day, every day being 10-12 hours long (workshops, consults, emails…), I could not think or hold myself upright. Yes, it was exciting to help faculty and run workshops with 20-30 people in them (people now know who we are!), but exhausting. And not just because of those endless consults, workshops and emails, but also because I heard their stories. Faculty in tears trying to get things ready for spring and afraid they couldn’t do it. Faculty worried because they didn’t know where they could turn for help. Faculty up for the challenge, but not knowing how they could get everything planned to the quality they expected from themselves.

Then, the spring term began, while workshops, consults, and meetings continued to keep faculty supported, while planning ahead to the next day, week, month, and term.

I have to tell you, and I am not trying to sound trite: faculty at Camosun are all heroes. From the faculty members who pivoted into remote panicked instruction in March (believe me, this was NOT “online learning”), to faculty who gave up vacation, Scheduled Development, and other plans to get their spring and fall courses ready for online instruction (some of them developing 2-3 courses in weeks, when it takes 2 months or ideally more to develop ONE online course – I don’t have to tell you it is not a simple matter to take a face-to-face course, even one you’ve taught multiple times, and put it into an online format), to faculty who spent (and continue to spend) many additional hours every day continuing to develop their courses while they taught, while trying to support their students, who also didn’t sign up for this. And in addition to all the amazing faculty I am privileged to work with and support, I have to take a moment to acknowledge my colleagues in the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning – I am not sure I would still be here without you having my back.

And now, almost one year later, I want to tell the stories of our faculty to the world. So, I am embarking on a new series of posts where I will present interviews with some of our faculty at Camosun College. You will meet amazing instructors from English Language Development, Nursing, Business, English, Anthropology, Psychology, Statistics, Child, Family and Community Services, Hospitality, Trades, and many, many more – I am adding every day to the list of folks I will be talking to this term. I want to thank all of them for agreeing to share their experiences, both highs, and lows, with me and with the world.

Stay tuned for my first faculty interview post next week. And if you teach at Camosun and would like to share your story, contact me at schudele@camosun.ca.

Reporting Collaborate Issues (Chrome Freezing, etc.)

If Camosun College faculty are having a problem during a session in Collaborate, either in Chrome or Firefox, please do the following from within the session, while the issue is happening (or immediately after logging back in, in the case of Chrome freezing).

First:

Immediately after you encounter your issue (during your Collaborate session if possible,) click Report an Issue to outline your problem directly to Collaborate.  This will give Collaborate all the info about the session including exact time of the issue, right down to connection speed and servers involved.

Second:

Then, after your Collaborate session, email the session name and time, along with an outline of the issue, to elearning@camosun.ca and we can escalate it, if need be, with a formal support ticket. We want everyone who is having the Chrome freezing issue in particular to report it in the moment. It is best to define the issue in the little text box so they know the exact issue. This way Collaborate will be aware of exactly how often certain issues are happening and hopefully find solutions.

Thanks!

Reminder of where to get help with D2L, Collaborate, and Kaltura at Camosun

Well, it’s a new year, and we are one week into the first term of 2021.  Time for a reminder of where you can get help at Camosun College with all your D2L, Collaborate, Kaltura, and online teaching and learning questions.

First stop, contact eLearning@camosun.ca.  They can help you if you have technical issues with the tools we support.  And they can also forward your questions to an instructional designer in eLearning if your questions require a more detailed meeting.   Note that we will be adding workshops (for Winter and Spring) and drop-in sessions for Winter to our CETL calendar in the next week or two, so stay tuned for more information about these virtual offerings.

Next stop, check out all our eLearning tutorials.  We have a wide range of documents covering D2L, Collaborate, Kaltura, as well as pages dedicated to faculty support for teaching online, and student support for learning online.  Just a reminder, that if you are fairly new to any of our tools, we recommend booking an appointment with and instructional designer to get the basics down (as well as those hidden tips and tricks) and then using the tutorials as refreshers and reminders.

And finally, want to talk more about your course and teaching online?  Contact eLearning@camosun.ca to book an appointment with an instructional designer who will be happy (and thrilled) to talk to you about your course and how best to support your students!

 

Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Bulletin for January 2021

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2021!

In this bulletin from the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning please find articles, links, and learning opportunities that may be of interest to you. For general information please contact CETL . For information specifically about online teaching, contact eLearning.

Note that registration is restricted to Camosun College employees.

 “Teaching occurs only when learning takes place.”
― from What the best college teachers do by Ken Bain

 eLearning workshops (Registration required)

Welcome to the eLearning Team’s offerings to support the start-up of winter term, providing training related to Camosun’s core educational technologies. Get descriptions and register here.

Workshop dates Times Topics
Monday, January 4 1:00pm- 2:00pm D2L Overview
Tuesday, January 5 10:00am-11:00am Introduction to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Tuesday, January 5 1:00pm – 2:00pm D2L Course Set-up
Thursday, January 7 10:00am-11:00am Setting Up Your Gradebook in D2L
Friday, January 8 10:00am-11:00am Increasing Your Proficiency in Blackboard Collaborate

eLearning resources

·         Online learning tips for students Share this with your students at the beginning of term!

·         Privacy considerations for online teaching

·         Guidance for remote instruction

D2L Change Notice

As part of Colleague Renewal, there will be a new integration between D2L and Colleague. The most immediate change will impact some of the communication tools. The roll out will happen in phases, starting in January, then March, then summer. Find out more

Other CETL learning opportunites

 Planning ahead for spring SD 

 Stay tuned for the following online learning opportunities coming in spring 2021:

 Camosun Communities of Practice

 Check out our MS Teams Communities of Practice site. This is a peer-based virtual space for synchronous and asynchronous conversation, connection, resource sharing and more, including channels for:

Some Resources to Help Students Learning Online

Looking for resources for your students with tips for learning online? Wondering where to send students to find support at Camosun College? We have some resources for you!

First, check out a collection of links for students on our Tutorials site.

Here you will find links to the Student Learning Success Guides put together by Camosun’s Learning Skills which includes tips for remote learning, stress management, and time management. Also, a link to Online Learning at Camosun College, which contains information about what kind of technologies students should have, and how to access it.

In addition, if you are wondering how students can access Office 365, the link for this is on this page as well as the link to Student Technical Support. You will also find direct links to Student Affairs and the Centre for Accessible Learning at Camosun.

If there are other links you would like us to include on this page, email Emily Schudel.

Looking for resources specific to learning online?  Check out Kwantlen College’s open textbook Learning to Learn Online,  or eCampus Ontario’s identically named Learning to Learn Online which was co-written by students, for students!

And finally, more for you as online instructors, also from eCampus Ontario, a chapter from their open textbook Remote Teaching: A Practical Guide with Tools, Tips, and Techniques called Helping Students Become Effective Online Learners with some strategies you can try yourself.

Camosun Library offering Virtual Workshops and Tours

Need library help?  Well, look no further.  Our fabulous librarians are offering  free virtual workshops and tours of the Camosun library for Camosun students, faculty, and staff.

  • Monday, Sept. 14 (3:00-3:30pm) and Thursday, Sept. 17 (11:00-11:30am) are Virtual library tours for students
  • Monday, Sept. 21 (2:00-2:45pm) and Wednesday, Sept. 23 (11:00-11:45am) are The Power of Permalinks workshops for instructors.

Register now for the tours and workshops – seating is limited.

 

Kaltura Post-Upgrade Training Sessions

As you may or may not know, we (Camosun College, but really anyone who has their Kaltura hosted at UBC) are having a Kaltura upgrade this weekend (Kaltura will be unavailable from Saturday, August 22 at 4:00 am until Sunday, August 23 at midnight). Things should be up and running, and new improved on Monday (August 24th).

BCNet is offering some training on the upgrades for our faculty and staff who use Kaltura, so please register using the Registration links below.  The sessions will also be recorded in case you are unable to attend.  Please feel free to forward this invitation to anyone else you think would be interested in attending.

A couple things to note:

  • Sessions will be executed in a Moodle environment given the popularity of this LMS amongst members.
  • Sessions will be hosted using Zoom webinar. As such we have a 500 attendee limit to each session.
  • Sessions will be recorded for anyone who cannot attend and for use as an additional training tool after the fact.

Kaltura Capture and Media Management

  • When: August 27, 2020 from 10:00 – 11:00am PT
  • Where: Online via Zoom
  • Description: This session will focus on the Kaltura Capture feature including everything from install, to access, to usage. Also included, will be a review of best practices on effective media management.
  • Registration

Kaltura Analytics and Student Engagement

  • When: September 1, 2020 from 10:00 – 11:00am PT
  • Where: Online via Zoom
  • Description: This session will provide an overview of the new KAVA analytics tool and how to interpret the analytics you receive. With a focus on student engagement, this session will also cover the use of video quizzing and captioning.
  • Registration

Let us know if you have any questions about Kaltura in general, or about the upgrade by emailing elearning@camosun.ca.

 

Camosun Faculty: Please share this message with your students! (time-sensitive)

Dear Camosun College Students,

** Do accessibility-related challenges impact your student life at college? **

Accessibility challenges for students at college can be the result of a mismatch between what you need to succeed as a student and how components of college experiences & environments have been designed.

For example, you may have experienced accessibility-related challenges associated with a physical or learning disability, or associated with speaking English as a second language, or associated with financial limitations, or associated with the use of technology at the college.

The 2019/2020 “Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Project: Phase 2” is a faculty/student-partners project at Camosun College. Our project team is interested in hearing your stories about accessibility-related challenges in college life, learning what would help to minimize those challenges, and creating learning tools out of your stories that will help our college community better understand how we can all help design experiences and environments that are more accessible for everyone.

** What does our college community need to know about accessibility-related challenges? What do you want us to know? **

We invite you to share your stories with us between February 24 to March 16, 2020 in small groups (Sharing Circles) or anonymously (Online Form).

Questions about this project may be directed to: Sue Doner, UDL Project team leader, in the Centre for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (doners@camosun.ca).

Information about this project and a schedule of opportunities for you to participate may also be found on the project website “Practical Applications of Universal Design for Learning

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