Ethical Dimensions of Educational Technology: Part 2 – Some important ethical issues to keep in mind

It’s been awhile since the first post about this workshop, and now it’s time for the second revolving around some important ethical issues that came up during the face to face session. So, for today’s post, I am going to introduce and briefly discuss six big ethical issues we decided need to be considered when integrating educational technology into teaching and learning. This will not be an exhaustive (or exhausting) discussion of these issues – rather, I will introduce each one (in no particular order) and point you to more resources both here at the college, and outside.


When you use an online tool, do you and your students have to set up accounts? Do you need to provide the tool with your name and/or email address? What happens to this information (and any material you work with in the tool) and who owns it? Privacy is about keeping your personal information or intellectual property safe. While Camosun has a Privacy Policy (, it does not directly address the use of cloud-based tools to support teaching and learning. For that, we need to turn to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act in BC (

In a nutshell, if you are asking students to provide personal information to a third-party for any purpose (for an activity, assessment, content access, etc.), you need to inform them of FIPPA, give them the option to opt-out, and be prepared to give them an alternate way of accessing the material if they choose to opt out.


Can your students access your course material? Can they see or hear it? Do they have access to the right equipment or software to engage with it? Do they have access to support and training for the tools you are using? Accessibility/inclusivity involves incorporating a variety of instructional formats, assessment strategies, etc. to support any number of issues, including visual, auditory, learning, mental health issues, and access to technology.

Consider how to make your courses accessible by designing your course materials ahead of time rather than waiting for someone to ask for an alternate format later (which is accommodation). When adopting a tool, review any accessibility features it promotes. If you can’t find any information, send them an email. An instructional designer in eLearning can help you assess the tool you are wanting to use.

To find out more about WCAG (Web content Accessibility Guidelines), see

Want to go further? Learn more about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) UDL Guidelines:

Also, see Camosun’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion policy ( for information on how the implementation of UDL principles supports college priorities.

Learning Analytics

Do you like to know what your students are doing in your online course site, for example, how often they logon, how long they spend reading materials, how engaged they are in course activities, their overall progress through the course? These are learning analytics, and while they can be useful for knowing who is doing what with your online tools, and for ensuring that your students are completing the tasks you have given them, using them comes with ethical concerns.

We need to consider transparency and consent, as well as how we interpret and act on analytics. ( some of the considerations)

Online classroom ethics

Like the face to face classroom, the online classroom should also be a place where students feel safe interacting with their instructor and fellow students. Some things to keep in mind:

  • If you are adding others to the course (for example, another faculty member, or an assistant of some kind), let your students know who they are, and why they are there.
  • Discuss Netiquette with the whole group, or have students draft class or group/team codes of conduct for engagement in the online classroom.
  • Address any concerns or questions students may have about anonymity.
  • If you are using student or class progress tools in D2L, let students know you are tracking them.

Some college policies which support conduct in our teaching and learning environments include


I am in no way qualified to discuss indigenization, but I can point you towards those at Camosun who are!

According to our Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning website:

“Indigenization is the process by which Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing and relating are incorporated into educational, organizational, cultural and social structures of the institution. The goal is to create a more inclusive environment through the presentation of a different world view, and to enhance and enrich the educational and cultural experience of the educational community. This does not mean the institution is Indigenous-centred, but it does mean that consideration of Indigenous issues comes “naturally”.”

And you can find out more about Indigenization initiatives, and who to contact for support, at and

Digital identity

Closely connected to privacy, a person’s digital identity is their footprint online. Every time you sign up for a tool using your personal information, this information is saved and sometimes passed on to others, with or without your knowledge or permission. It is not enough for us to say that “all students use Facebook” so they know how to protect themselves because even if students are using cloud-based social media tools already, it is still our responsibility as instructors and as an institution to inform them of how to protect themselves from cyber-bullying, identity theft, etc.

Ask yourself “What do my students know about their digital identity?”, then ask yourself what do you know about your own digital identity.

In addition to one’s personal digital identity, consider how you and your students can protect your intellectual property. When using a cloud-based tool to host course or research materials, as yourself Who owns it? Who is using it, and how are they using it? Check the privacy settings, the copyright/ownership information, and don’t’ be afraid to send an email to the company to find out more. These are things you need to know before asking or suggesting students to use these tools

To learn more about digital identity, and for tools to help you and your students navigate this complex issue, go to UBC’s Digital Tattoo site (

Of course, there are many other ethical issues to keep in mind when adopting educational technology, including:

  • Social Justice, human rights, and equality with regards to the non-neutral nature of (educational) technology (for example, silencing, constraints, access, power structures, openness (or not), etc.)
  • Digital literacy and fake news
  • Emotional wellbeing (digital detox) and online addiction

If you ever want to talk more about the ethical issues raised here, or any others that come to mind, our instructional designers in eLearning would love to talk to you! Contact to arrange for a consult.

In the next post (the third of four) about this workshop, I will talk about some of the outcomes from the discussions and things participants wanted to do or learn more about!

Universal Design for Learning conference at Royal Roads University!

The Third Pan-Canadian Conference on UDL will take place at Royal Roads University October 2- 4, 2019. This is an amazing opportunity for people working in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), wanting to connect with some of the leaders in the field, or wanting to find out more about UDL and what it might mean for their teaching and learning.  Early bird registration is available until the end of this month, so check it out – I hope to see you there!

Rather than repeat everything on the conference website, I am simply going to give you the link to it here.



4 Great People to Follow on Twitter

When integrating educational technology into our teaching, we often find ourselves faced with a myriad of challenges and ethical issues to consider beyond the simple question of how the tool supports our learning outcomes. If you are wondering where to turn, here are four experts I follow on Twitter whose work has helped me work through some of the struggles I have faced when assessing a new tool. And yes, these are only four – if you have a go-to expert on your list, let me know in the comments!

Jesse Stommel:

According to his website, “Jesse Stommel is Executive Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at University of Mary Washington. He is also Co-founder of Digital Pedagogy Lab and Hybrid Pedagogy: an open-access journal of learning, teaching, and technology. He has a PhD from University of Colorado Boulder.”

Exploring digital pedagogy from a critical lens, with the student forefront in his mind, he says about his own practice, “My scholarly work is about the sometimes wondrous, sometimes horrifying relationship between bodies and technology. My particular expertise is in digital pedagogy, digital humanities, and open education. I believe all learning is necessarily hybrid. In on-ground pedagogy, it is important to engage students’ digital selves. And, with digital and online pedagogy, our challenge is not merely to replace (or offer substitutes for) face-to-face education, but to find new and innovative ways to engage students in the practice of learning.”

Rajiv Jhangiani:

A champion of and innovator in the Open Pedagogy movement, Jhangiani says on his website: “I am the Special Advisor to the Provost on Open Education and a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I currently serve as an Associate Editor of Psychology Learning and Teaching and an Ambassador for the Center for Open Science. Together with Robin DeRosa, I am co-founder of the Open Pedagogy Notebook. I also serve as an Advisory Buddy with Virtually Connecting and on the board of KDocs, KPU’s Official Documentary Film Festival.”

I highly recommend exploring the Open Pedagogy Notebook site which contains concrete examples of open pedagogy in action, and encourages you to collaborate and engage with open pedagogy practitioners from around the world.

Julia Hengstler:

An advocate for and specialist in privacy as it applies to our world of educational technology, The White Hatter tells us that “Julia Hengstler is a Professor, Educational Technologist, and Chair of the Centre for Education & CyberHumanity (Faculty of Education, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada) … Her doctoral research specializes in privacy and the use of educational technology in BC public schools… With over more than 25 years as an educator in BC’s public-school system, Julia has taught a wide variety of subject areas and grade levels ranging from K-12 to post-graduate. Julia blogs about education and technology at “ED Tech Thoughts”.”

Much of Hengstler’s work revolves around understanding and managing your digital footprint, and the impact of using social media in education.

Jess Mitchell:

Jess Mitchell is the Senior Manager of the Inclusive Design Research Centre  at OCAD University in Toronto, Ontario which “was created as Canada’s first research hub focused on digital inclusion. It is adding new approaches to learning that are championing cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration, and the integration of emerging technologies.” (

An advocate for inclusive design, as you may have guessed, Mitchell “manages large-scale international projects and initiatives focusing on fostering innovation within diverse communities while achieving outcomes that benefit everyone”, which is inclusive design in a nutshell: inclusive design benefits all, and practicing inclusive design makes something more accessible overall. When I started reading more about inclusive design, I realized that there is a difference between inclusive design and universal design, as well as between inclusive design and accessibility. The essay “The Number 1 Thing You’re Getting Wrong about inclusive Design” is a good place to start when beginning to puzzle through the distinctions. Following Jess Mitchell will help clarify them.

Pedagogy + Empathy = Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Contributed by Sue Doner, Instructional Designer, eLearning (Originally published in The Confluence, November 2018)

As you begin to prepare course materials for next term, may I draw your attention to some great advice laid out in the UDL Guidelines about providing learners with Options for Perception?

But first, a couple of common-experience questions for empathetic context

  • Have you ever cursed the tiny 8-pt font on a Children’s Tylenol bottle in the middle of the night when you and your aging eyes were just trying to find the right dosage information?
  • Have you ever been listening to a radio program, missed hearing what that author’s name was (or when that event is happening, or what the URL was for that guest’s website), and wished you had the information written down?

My contextual reason for asking these questions is this. In our daily quests for information, we all have occasions to require information be presented to us in multiple or different ways. We’ve all appreciated being able to access information we needed, how and when we needed it. But we’ve probably also all experienced the frustration of a barrier when the information we need is presented in a singular format that is inaccessible to us.

Information formats and barriers to learning

What if that Children’s Tylenol bottle and that radio program are sources of information you need to successfully satisfy a course learning outcome? If 8-pt font is imperceptible to you, or if you don’t hear or remember all of the relevant details for information you only receive aurally, then you are missing information that is considered essential for your success in the course. In short, these singular representations of information are going to create significant barriers to your learning.

Implementing UDL Principles & Guidelines to avoid

Excerpt from the UDL Guidelines: Provide Options for Perception
Excerpt from the UDL Guidelines: Provide Options for Perception

barriers to information

Consider the difference it would make to your success in the course if your instructor recognized that “there is not one means of representation that will be optimal for all learners”.

Consider the difference it would make to your success in the course if that paper-based information in tiny-font was also readily available in a digital format that allowed you to:

  • Customize how the information was displayed (e.g. you could enlarge font-sizes, or adjust brightness & contrast between background and text),
  • Use text-to-speech technology to hear the text read aloud.

And consider the difference it would make to your success in the course if the oral information was also readily available in a format that allowed you to:

  • Access visual alternatives (e.g. text, graphics) to the oral information/instructions.

In your role as an instructor, you play a critical part in the selection of course materials. If you provide learners in your course with Options for Perception  and present information in multiple formats, fewer of your students will encounter learning barriers that result when the singular format provided is inaccessible to them.

Questions about providing more Options for Perception in your courses?

(Camosun College instructors) connect with a working group that is currently focused on this very topic. Contact group via:

Open Access Week at BCcampus

I wanted to take a moment to re-blog sections of a post from BCcampus about Open Access Week, which is happening right now.  There are several events you can attend here in B.C., some of which are listed at, but I particularly wanted to highlight a couple involving our own Sue Doner.  Check out the BCcampus link above for more information!

Tension and Risk in Open Scholarship: A Conversation

When: October 26, 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Where: British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Downtown Campus, Atrium Room, 8th floor, Room 825

Click here to register

Please join BCIT, SFU and UBC in celebrating International Open Access Week for a panel that examines the threads running through different tensions in the open movements, including:

  • Indigenous & Traditional Knowledge: Open scholarship may not be respectful of community authority, ownership, and norms of knowledge sharing.
  • Ethics and Privacy: Open scholarship may complicate the impacts of human participants in research, retrospective digitization, and students’ right to privacy.
  • Student-faculty relationships: Affordability conversations around open educational resources may lead to tensions around faculty motivation to provide the best learning resources. Open pedagogies can create risks for students: are they supported and what rights do they have in terms of their privacy, copyright, and consent?
  • Accessibility and inclusivity: Open practices may lead to digital redlining for individuals and communities and may not be truly accessible for everyone.
  • Instructor-Institution relationships: Open practices may allow the appropriation of instructors’ and adjuncts’ work putting their value at risk.

Featured speakers include:

  • Amanda Coolidge (BCcampus)
  • Jessica Gallinger (SFU Library)
  • Sue Doner (Camosun College)
  • Christina Illnitichi (AMS, UBC)
  • David Gaertner (First Nations and Indigenous Studies, UBC)
  • Lisa Nathan (School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies, UBC)
  • Additional speakers: TBA

Accessibility, Inclusivity & OER’s

When: October 31, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Where: Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), Surrey Campus, Rm A2410 

Click here to register

By definition, creating inclusive learning environments and educational resources means that what is being created should be accessible to all students. What does accessibility look like in practice, and what can educators do to contribute to the accessibility of the learning resources & environments they create?

Camosun College‘s Sue Doner will lead this workshop, where you will begin by establishing a common understanding of key terminology like “academic accommodations”, “accessibility”, and “Universal Design for Learning (UDL)”, before identifying “6 easy things you can always do” to contribute to the accessibility of your educational resources. Finally, you will engage in an interactive, facilitated activity that will require you to adopt the perspective of a particular student and assess a learning environment for any accessibility barriers it poses to you/your student.

UDL SLAM 2016 Stories | SLAM Story #4: Dan Reeve (Political Science)

(Our final Slam Story in this series!)

In October 2016, the eLearning unit in CETL hosted Camosun’s first “UDL Slam.” Faculty and staff were invited to share stories about practical applications of UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Principles they have implemented in their courses or programs. The “Slam” format required that these stories include the following details and be told in 5 minutes or less:

  1. The specific barrier to learning;
  2. The solution applied to address this barrier;
  3. Some assessment of the solution to date.

Dan ReeveIn this fourth and final in a special series of posts, we give you this effective and adaptable example of UDL in practice, which was shared at UDL Slam 2016 by Dan Reeve from Political Science.

At the bottom of this post, we have included our own mini-analysis of which UDL Principles & Guidelines underpin Dan’s solution to a learning barrier.

Barrier: Getting quiet people to contribute ideas in class

In his 1st and 2nd-year Political Science classes, Dan actively encourages discussion and feedback from students. However, he’s well aware that not all of his students are comfortable putting up their hands and speaking out in front of their peers or telling him if they are struggling with course concepts. Knowing that this discomfort can equate to missed learning opportunities for everyone and wanting to hear from more voices in his classes, Dan was looking for a way to coax ideas and feedback from the quieter or more introverted students in a way that would not also generate stress or anxiety.


After a conference workshop introduced him to the web-based tool, Poll Everywhere, Dan looked into whether he could incorporate it as a low-risk method of supporting communication in his classes.

Poll Everywhere allows an instructor to pose questions to students during a class and while the collective responses are shared for the full class to see, students’ responses are anonymous. The collected responses can then serve as a springboard for deeper class discussions on the topic, or give the instructor a quick read on the students’ grasp of concepts at that point in the course. Students can use their mobile phones or web browsers to respond to a range of question types (open-ended, multiple-choice, short text, etc.), and an instructor has options about how and when to reveal a class’s responses to the full group.

One of the reasons the Poll Everywhere tool appealed to Dan was because he could incorporate contextual questions for students into his in-class PowerPoint presentations and then display their collected responses within the same PowerPoint slides and context. Additionally, since most students in his classes already had cellphones, no additional technologies were required. If there were any students without a cellphone or laptop in the class, Dan simply paired them up with a classmate who did have the hardware. That said, students were not required to participate and were not assessed on their responses; if students still were not comfortable or willing to respond to questions, they could opt out.

And finally, as far as privacy concerns go, students did not need to provide any personally-identifying information to participate in the Poll Everywhere activities: they did not need to create an account on Poll Everywhere to respond to Dan’s questions, and they could also access the Internet through the college’s EDUROAM service and not their own data plans.

[For more information about Poll Everywhere and useful applications of the tool, see]


In his pilot use of Poll Everywhere, Dan found that he could pose open-ended questions to his class and generate more responses than he would typically get through the traditional “hands-up, vocal responses in front of the class” approach. In other words and as per his original goal, he did end up hearing more from the quieter introverts in his classes.

A tertiary benefit to the Poll Everywhere-based questions was that Dan was able to save some in-class time. Rather than posing a question and going around the room one student at a time to collect responses, all of the responses to a question would appear on the screen at the same time and could be reviewed and discussed further from there. This not only made “pair-and-share” activities more efficient, but also permitted more opportunities to pursue a wider array of questions.

Lessons Learned

In addition to being mindful about students having access to a cellphone or laptop in his classroom, Dan found that students’ enthusiasm for responding to Poll Everywhere questions waned if he posed too many questions per class; he could easily end up losing the participation he had just gained. His recommendation is to avoid overloading a class with questions; use Poll Everywhere thoughtfully and not too much.


The following screenshots illustrate examples of some of Dan’s Poll Everywhere-based, in-class activities and how the collected responses are displayed to everyone in a class:

  1. Sample of student feedback to the open-ended, short-answer question: “What’s one thing that could be improved with this class?What’s one thing that could be improved with this class?
  2. Sample of responses to this question associated with critical course concepts: “What is a conservative?What is a conservative?
  3. Sample of a word-cloud display of one-word responses to the question: “If a nation is an imagined community, what – in a single word – binds a nation together?What binds a nation together?

UDL Breakdown & Analysis

We think this story is a great example of a practical application of these UDL Principles:

UDL Principle #2: Provide Multiple Means of Action & Expression

By embedding in-class opportunities to check-in with his students regularly and providing an option to participate anonymously, Dan’s solution to a learning barrier supports both of Principle #2’s guidelines for “Physical Action” and “Executive Functions” by:

  1. Optimizing access for assistive technologies by allowing/supporting use of interactive web tools [that have been designed to meet accessibility standards] and supporting problem-solving using variety of strategies;
  2. Using multiple tools for problem-solving by using web-based applications [that meet accessibility standards];
  3. Supporting planning and strategy development by embedding prompts to “stop & think before doing”;
  4. Enhancing capacity for monitoring progress by prompting learners to identify the type of feedback they are seeking and asking questions to guide self-monitoring and reflection.

Learners differ in the ways that they navigate a learning environment and express what they know. There isn’t one means of action and expression that will be optimal for ALL learners; providing options is essential.

UDL Principle #3: Provide Multiple Means of Engagement

Dan’s approach and use of the Poll Everywhere tool also supports Principle #3’s guideline for “Recruiting Interest” by:

  1. Increasing individual choice and autonomy by providing choices in tools used for info gathering and production;
  2. Optimizing relevance and authenticity by providing tasks that allow for active participation;
  3. Minimizing threats and distractions by varying the “social demands” required of the learner (e.g. requirements for public display & evaluation).

Learners differ in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn. Some learners are highly engaged by spontaneity and novelty while other are disengaged, even frightened, by those aspects, preferring strict routine. Some learners might like to work alone, while others prefer to work with their peers. There isn’t one means of engagement that will be optimal for ALL learners; providing is essential.

UDL SLAM 2016 Stories | SLAM Story #3: School of Nursing

In October 2016, the eLearning unit in CETL hosted Camosun’s first “UDL Slam.” Faculty and staff were invited to share stories about practical applications of UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Principles they have implemented in their courses or programs. The “Slam” format required that these stories include the following details and be told in 5 minutes or less:

  1. The specific barrier to learning;
  2. The solution applied to address this barrier;
  3. Some assessment of the solution to date.

Darlaine Jantzen

Joan Humphries Karen FoxallIn this third in a special series of posts, we give you a resourceful example of UDL in practice at a program level. This initiative out of the School of Nursing was spear-headed by Darlaine Jantzen (Program Chair), implemented with the assistance of Karen Foxall (Program Assistant), and was presented at UDL Slam 2016 by Joan Humphries (Associate Program Chair).

At the bottom of this post, we have included our own mini-analysis of which UDL Principles & Guidelines underpin the School of Nursing’s solution to a barrier that presented risks to accessing applied learning opportunities throughout the program.

Barrier: Intuitive, Consistent & Sustainable Orientation for New Students

Each fall, the BSN Program welcomes around 160 new students, all of whom need to become immediately oriented to not only the program itself but also to some fundamental expectations of professional Nursing practice. Those expectations include 13 different documents (certifications, credentials, etc.) that each student is required to complete and submit in order to be eligible for the practicum placements that are the cornerstone of the program; students who do not provide the required documentation cannot work in practicum locations.

In the past, the faculty teaching first-term courses were made the point-people for collecting the hundreds of pieces of required documentation from their students and tracking outstanding pieces – while also managing responsibilities inherent to delivering first-term curriculum. The communication about these requirements also largely fell to the 1st-term teaching-faculty to manage, so attendant issues included inconsistencies between each faculty member’s approach to messaging and managing the process. Finally, the previous process did not allow students to access and submit all documentation electronically, creating additional challenges for the tracking of these required documents and presenting constant concerns about lost forms and repercussions for student learning opportunities.

In sum: the previous process made it difficult for students to get consistent information about fundamental program requirements, lacked a central point of contact for them to get clarification and support, was entirely paper-based, and added an enormous administrative workload on top of the teaching responsibilities of 1st-term faculty.


In an effort to minimize student confusion about expectations and goals, avoid losing essential documents, and relieve 1st-term faculty of administrative responsibilities on top of their existing teaching load, the BSN Program decided to centralize the program orientation (now known as the “BSN Primer”) into a dedicated module in all first-term course D2L sites. Program Assistant, Karen Foxall, was made the primary point-person for the BSN Primer; she became the consistent point of contact for questions students had about the orientation and also took over tracking their successful completion of the BSN Primer requirements.

By integrating the BSN Primer into D2L course sites, new students have the additional benefit of becoming familiar on Day 1 with common D2L functions that they will encounter throughout the program (e.g. Dropboxes, Quizzes, Content, etc.)

And finally: the old paper-based process that was both clunky and risky, was replaced by a fully digital process. All forms were converted into electronic format and students now submit their materials online via task-specific Dropboxes in D2L. This allows the Program Assistant to easily retrieve all completed documents and confirm student completion at a glance.

Example Sections from the New BSN Primer

The BSN Primer is organized around 4 primary themes that orient students to both the expectations of the program and their professional practice:

  1. Presenting & Preparing Yourself for Classes
  2. Preparing Yourself for Registered Nursing Practices
  3. Consent Forms
  4. Confidentiality: Yours and Others.

Below are screen-shots of two of these sections. These sections include: instructions for students, electronic copies of required forms, Dropboxes for form submissions, and short “quizzes” or checklists used to confirm that students have completed all of the requirements for that section.

BSN Primer Example 1: Preparing Yourself for Registered Nursing Practice

BSN Primer Example 2: Confidentiality: Yours and Others


Primary benefits:

  1. Consistent messaging and support; accountability. With Program Assistant, Karen, as the central manager of this process and with all of the forms being submitted online and in a centralized location, the process of tracking outstanding documentation is much easier and follow-up is timelier. Students who have not completed all of the required documentation or whose documentation includes errors are less likely to fall into an administrative gap and find themselves ineligible for practicum placements.
  2. Intuitive and user-friendly. The BSN Primer introduces students to program goals, expectations and schedules on Day 1 of their program. By Karen’s estimation, in the Fall 2016 trial run of the BSN Primer, approximately 75% of the new student intake had no difficulty completing the requirements and/or read all of the instructions and completed all of their requirements by the deadlines.
  3. Orientation to LMS (D2L) prior to formal course work. By integrating the BSN Primer orientation into the same LMS used to deliver course curriculum, students are given immediate familiarity to D2L functions and navigation.
  4. Timeliness. Based on the program’s experience in previous years, the digitization and centralization of the orientation moved the typical schedule for collecting students’ documentation up by about 10 weeks.

Additional benefits:

  1. More sustainable practice for Faculty. Instructors who teach the first-term courses expressed appreciation for having the administrative responsibility for collecting and tracking all of the required forms taken out of their hands.
  2. More environmentally sustainable too! By moving this orientation online into D2L, the sheer volume of paper used collected by the program has gone down tremendously.

UDL Breakdown & Analysis

We think this story positively illustrates the practical application of two UDL Principles:


UDL Principle #1: Provide Multiple Methods of Representation

By digitizing the documentation component of the Nursing Orientation and incorporating the same LMS (D2L) students will use throughout their program, the BSN Primer supports at least two of Principle #1’s guidelines (“Perception” and “Comprehension”). Through the BSN Primer, the program is:

  1. Offering learners ways to customize their display of information: the BSN Primer provides digital formats of all the required documentation that give students options for accessing and viewing materials.
  2. Providing background knowledge. The BSN Primer centralizes essential program and professional expectations of the students that they need to know and practice throughout the program; students access the BSN Primer on Day 1 of their program.
  3. Supporting transfer of learning across the program; the BSN Primer incorporates explicit opportunities for students to review program expectations and requirements & practice navigating through D2L functions

There isn’t one means of representation that will be optimal for ALL learners; providing options for representation is essential

And second:

UDL Principle #2: Provide Multiple Methods of Action & Expressions

By providing new students with an essential orientation to program and professional expectations with consistent and centralized support, the School of Nursing’s BSN Primer illustrates Principle #2’s Guideline 6: Executive Functions*.

*“Executive functions” allow us to set long-term goals and plan effective strategies for reaching those goals. CAST

The BSN Primer underpins this guideline as it:

  1. Guides appropriate goal-setting by posting goals, objectives & schedules in an obvious place, and providing cues to help learners identify resources required – including time.
  2. Supports planning and strategy development by providing checklists and setting up prioritization and sequences of tasks for students;
  3. Facilitates managing information and resources by providing templates for data collection & organizing information;

Learners differ in the ways that they navigate a learning environment and express what they know. There isn’t one means of action and expression that will be optimal for ALL learners; providing options is essential.



UDL SLAM 2016 Stories | SLAM Story #2: Rid Lidstone (Plumbing & Pipe Trades)

Contributed by Sue Doner (eLearning) and Rod Lidstone (Plumbing & Pipe Trades)

On October 14, the eLearning unit in CETL hosted Camosun’s first “UDL Slam.” Faculty and staff were invited to share stories about practical applications of UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Principles they have implemented in their courses or programs. The “Slam” format required that these stories include the following details and be told in 5 minutes or less:

  1. The specific barrier to learning;
  2. The solution applied to address this barrier;
  3. Some assessment of the solution to date.

Rod LidstoneIn this second in a special series of posts, we give you this thoughtful and transferable example of UDL in practice, which was shared at UDL Slam 2016 by Rod Lidstone from Plumbing & Pipe Trades.

At the bottom of this post, we have included our own mini-analysis of which UDL Principles & Guidelines underpin Rod’s solution to a learning barrier.

Barrier: In-Class Demonstrations to Students of “How To Use” Equipment & Tools

Before students in the Plumbing & Pipes Trades program can begin to get their hands-on experience with shop tools and equipment, they are required to gather around the tool in question while their instructor gives them a demonstration of how to use it. These demonstrations involve detailed, step-by-step directions on both using the equipment correctly and using it safely.

However, as Rod explained, these demos are given on the shop floor and the locations tend to provide limited space for students to gather around and be able to view all the details. In addition to the physical limitations, the in-class delivery of the demos doesn’t always give students enough time to digest the particulars of all the required steps.

So: how to give students as much access as they need to content they have to understand before they can begin to gain hands-on experience in their trade? As Rod observed, among other issues at stake are the safety risks to students if they don’t recall all of the requisite steps or missed some of the details.


Create videos of ALL the equipment and tool demonstrations and post them online for students to access any time. (To date: instructors in the Plumbing & Pipe Trades program have created almost 100 videos of 5 minutes or less.)

Once students have watched a demo video, they take a follow-up quiz to track and assess their comprehension; students can watch videos as often as they need to and can retake the quizzes. If they score well on the quiz, they schedule time with their instructor for a 15-minute pre-project meeting; pre-projects meetings are student-led presentations in which the student demonstrates to the instructor how to use a piece of equipment.


Whereas the in-class equipment demonstrations limited students to a one-time-only run-through by the instructor, students can watch these demonstration videos over and over until they really “get it”. In fact, they can watch and review videos via a tablet or mobile device while they are actually in the shop, with the equipment. All of the videos are closed-captioned, so the instructions are still accessible within the environmental noise of the shop.

Lessons Learned

In the process of developing close to 100 video-based demonstrations, Rod and his team have learned several valuable lessons about creating effective instructional videos, especially when jockeying for access to the College’s limited and in-demand Audio-Video Services (AVS):

  1. Pay attention to lighting; for detailed demonstrations in particular, good lighting of the subject matter is critical.
  2. YouTube’s auto-generated closed-captioning service is convenient, but the accuracy is often poor. Be prepared to manually edit these. (Rod and his team are currently working through all of their videos to make corrections to YouTube’s auto-generated captions).
  3. Develop your script in advance. Not only will this help to make the best use of limited AVS time to shoot but it will also help to save time in editing.

Examples of Demonstration Videos


  1. Tying a Trucker’s Hitch
  2. Two-Person Ladder Set-up
  3. Sharpening Chisels 

UDL Breakdown & Analysis

We think this story is a great example of a practical application of this UDL Principle:

UDL Principle #1: Provide Multiple Methods of Representation

By providing close-captioned, video-based versions of equipment demonstrations to prepare their Plumbing & Pipe Trades students for hands-on experience, Rod Lidstone and his fellow instructors in the program are supporting at least two of Principle #1’s guidelines (“Comprehension” and “Perception”). They are:

  1. Guiding information processing by “scaffolding” students’ learning (i.e. supporting learning that builds from one step to another);
  2. Supporting transfer of learning by incorporating explicit opportunities for review and practice and providing opportunities to revisit key ideas;
  3. Providing alternatives for visual information by including text (closed-captions) for all videos.

Learners differ in the ways that they perceive and comprehend the information you present. There isn’t one means of representation that will be optimal for ALL learners; providing options for representation is essential.


UDL SLAM 2016 Stories | SLAM Story #1: John Lee (Chemistry)

Contributed by Sue Doner (eLearning) and John Lee (Chemistry)

On October 14, the eLearning unit in CETL hosted Camosun’s first “UDL Slam.” Faculty and staff were invited to share stories about practical applications of UDL (Universal Design for Learning) Principles they have implemented in their courses or programs. The “Slam” format required that these stories include the following details and be told in 5 minutes or less:

  1. The specific barrier to learning;
  2. The solution applied to address this barrier;
  3. Some assessment of the solution to date.

John Lee, ChemistryIn this first in a special series of posts, we give you this engaging and creative example of UDL in practice, which was shared at UDL Slam 2016 by John Lee from Chemistry.

At the bottom of this post, we have included our own mini-analysis (see below) of which UDL Principles & Guidelines underpin John’s solution to a learning barrier.

Barrier: Template-based Lab Reports.

The majority of John’s students hate “tedious lab reports”, i.e. the formal lab reports that follow a dry, written, template format. From John’s observations, the format doesn’t meaningfully engage all learners (such as those with difficulties writing) or even reflect professional practice.  (These lab reports wouldn’t be part of real-world forms of reporting out results.) John feels that the only reason for these templates is to familiarize those students who will be going into 3rd-year Chemistry at UVic with the process used there.


Give students a rubric to guide what information they need to include in their reports, but beyond that let students choose different methods to present their lab results.

Students have chosen a wide variety of methods and end up learning other skills that they wouldn’t have picked up by completing a dry, template lab report. Students also like to showcase talents that otherwise wouldn’t get noticed in a science class.  Some of the reports styles have included:

  • Comic strips/Graphic novels
  • TV show/video; YouTube and animations
  • Music (song writing)
  • Radio interviews and peer teaching.


Primary benefit: Students get into the labs in more depth and really enjoy creating their reports.

Additional benefit: Students often pick up additional skills via the method they choose to create their report (e.g. technological skills; presentation skills).

Examples of Students’ Submissions

TV Show (via YouTube)

  1. The Life & Death of Sproinky: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy” by Gabe and Aaron.
  2. Titration TV: featuring Xylenesuphonic Acid” by Gabe and Aaron.

Comic Strip/Graphic Novel

  1. Bad Chemistry (PDF)” (PDF) by Ivy and Dayna.

UDL Breakdown & Analysis

We think this story is a great example of a practical application of this UDL Principle:

UDL Principle #2: Provide Multiple Methods of Action & Expressions

The flexible format of lab report submissions that John Lee encourages in his Chemistry course reflects what one of Principle #2’s guidelines (“Expression & Communication) recommends:

There is no medium of expression that is equally suited for all learners or for all kinds of communication.  It is important to provide alternative modalities for expression, both to the level the playing field among learners and to allow the learner to appropriately (or easily) express knowledge, ideas and concepts in the learning environment.