Hello.. I am, NETWORKING!!!

Last summer I was literally forced to accompany my baby cousins to a park because lets accept the fact, “Kids nowadays emotionally torture you to an extent that you give in.” Moreover they are cute!!!! So coming back to the part where I was sitting and helplessly staring at them, I noticed a very strange thing. One kid was very “popular” and “cool” according to others because he knew everyone in the park. He was jumping like a teeny tiny kangaroo from one group of kids to other groups, playing all sorts of games and having the most fun. Later that evening I couldn’t help but think about the incident. It reminded me of a very important yet simple thing, “Your network is your Net worth.” Now the important question here is, “How to Network the right way?”

We are so busy in our work and lives that we tend to forget the basic rule of living, “Dependence”. We all are dependent on each other for healthy relationships whether they are Personal or Professional. Our network defines us. We need to invest into our relationships. There is a reason why Multinational Companies spend so much on Social Gatherings or monthly/yearly employee meetings and Why Employee referrals are given so much weightage. Also, Why people with better networking skills are more successful. It all makes sense now. So I decided to share a few tips and tricks that helped me to network my way in.



Honestly, one year ago, I was at a stage in my life where I had no connections. I was new to this country and I knew no one at the University. I did not know where to start. I had no idea whatsoever that how to make connections and how to talk to Professionals without awkward pauses and awkward conversations. I thought, “Networking was a necessary evil and I had to build a network” similar to the fact that “I have to eat Broccoli because it’s healthy” (PS I am not kidding here…I hate Broccoli!!!). But my whole approach was wrong. So I changed this perception and with the help of few online videos and articles, I started understanding the concept of Networking. The secret to networking isn’t to attend a networking event and pass out as many business cards as you can. It’s not how many people you know, it is how much you have transformed yourself into a better person. It is what you are sharing with other people and how much you are enjoying the process. If you really want to learn Networking, try to make authentic connections.



We all have our own difficulties and fears. I understand that some people have a fear of talking to other people. It is completely normal. We all have been there. Nobody was a born speaker. We all learn and in the process, we overcome our fears. We can help ourselves. As students, we have plenty of opportunities to go out and meet new people. We must attend seminars and workshops that are specially designed for this purpose. There are ‘Networking 101’ sessions that are hosted by Career Services at the University where you can meet the prospective employers or Professional people and grow your network. Participate in Volunteer programs. You will be surprised to see how many new people you come across. You can always talk to your peers, seniors, Teaching Assistants and Professors.



Sometimes two people fail to connect because of the difference of opinions and interests. Similar is the case when it comes to Networking. You need to figure out your goals and passions and then try to connect to people with similar goals and passions. Thus, in the beginning stage of Networking, if there comes an instance where you feel out of place, don’t loose heart. It might be the case of a “false positive” where you were trying to connect to someone completely different and you failed. It is normal too. It’s not meeting as many people as possible and hoping something will work out. Instead, you need to concentrate on the people who you know will be able to make a difference in your career.



There are many different social platforms where we can meet different people. Facebook, LinkedIn, Glassdoor etc can help us meet our prospective connections. There are more specific platforms as well. For example, if you are interested in coding then StackOverflow, Quora, CodeRanch, Google Groups etc. can really be helpful in building your own network. Social networking demands that you share, like, comment and respond to what you read, watch and hear. The two-way process of sharing, liking, responding and commenting means you can build up a dialogue with your followers and respond to their needs. In order to maximize your presence, you have to keep your profile up to date, share relevant information, post comments and intervene in debates. This doesn’t need to take up a lot of time. Even 5-10 minutes a day should help.



Despite our best intentions, projects at work and family at home sometimes put our networking activities on the back burner. There are many reasons why we may lose contact with someone. They move away, we change jobs, one of us stops the hobby or common interest that brought us together. But it is very important to stay in contact or revive a lapsed connection. One of the easiest ways to reconnect is via email. You should always follow up with your friends, co-workers or people you have met at some Networking event. It is nice to read emails that say, “It was nice meeting you and how much you are acknowledged.” Instead of beating yourself up and following the rules of Professional emailing, give yourself permission to be human and try to add a personal touch to your message. Don’t assume that the person won’t want to hear from you. If you need a recommendation or would like an introduction, say so. Chances are your contact knows that there is some reason that you’ve reached out to them. They are waiting to hear it and are probably willing to help. 



A network has become a crucial part of our Personal and Professional Lives. We need to start building our network and try to work together in a collaborative team environment. It is healthy to build symbiotic relationships where we can grow together. The best relationships are born from mutual benefit and that goes double for professionals who are building new networks from scratch.

So, here I am trying to expand my network. Hello, my name is Suchina Parihar. I am a Learning tools coach at Schulich School of Engineering. My Professional interests are D2L, TopHat, Active learning techniques etc. My personal interests include dancing, solving puzzles, blogging, gymming and cooking. Let’s get acquainted. It would be my pleasure to get to know you.


Useful softwares to record your educational videos

Here is a list of some useful softwares that help you creating an exciting video for your class.
1- Camtasia (Video editor, screnn recording, effects)



2- Snagit (Screen recording)



3- Powtoon (quick animated videos)



4-Articulate storyline (Interactive videos, quizzes, adaptable with D2L and SCORM)



Nedal Marei

Nurse in Translation

My name is Teya and I’ve been acting as the e-Learning Technology Coach for the Cumming School of Medicine. In real life, I work as a Registered Nurse at the Foothills Hospital, fresh out of the nursing program at the University of Calgary. Nurses often act as translators between patients and physicians, and in this position, I’ve been attempting to translate progressive technology to new users. OpenLabyrinth is a virtual scenario and education research platform that medical professionals can use to create case studies for students. Students can test out their clinical decision making skills as they navigate an interactive “choose your own adventure” style of learning.

While OpenLabyrinth is incredibly powerful with many unique features and limitless possibilities, it isn’t entirely user friendly. It’s producers found that once they could get new users over the initial “technology adoption hump” they could use the technology successfully. I had the pleasure of working with the brilliant Dr. David Topps, Medical Director of the Office of Health and Medical Education Scholarship (OHMES). As the consortium lead, he knows every intricacy and idiosyncrasy of OpenLabyrinth. I came on as a set of new eyes with the task of helping new authors pick up the technology a little easier and get over that first “hump.”

I began by teaching myself how to use the program through arduous trial and error, sympathizing greatly with new users. Once I had the hang of it, I had to decide on the best mode to translate this technology for new users. Enter the one and only, Leanne Wu, the tech-savvy queen of the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. With her help and some networking with e-Learning Coaches from other faculties, I learned how to use the program Snag-It to video capture my screen while I talked through some of the starting functions of OpenLabyrinth. This method worked particularly well to have the visual prompts alongside my audio instruction. A sample video will be posted when editing is complete!

I was asked to do this project because my clinical background as a nurse and limited (zero) knowledge of the OpenLabyrinth technology. It was challenging and rewarding work to learn the program and hopefully make adoption of the technology easier for new users. This is just one way that the Taylor Institute uses technology to support teaching and learning at the University of Calgary. Keep an eye on this blog to read about many more!

Lecture capture tools: Office mix and Adobe Presenter

I recently put together two “how to” documents for Haskayne explaining  Office Mix and  Adobe Presenter  as  lecture capture tools and the concept of the flipped classroom.

There are some helpful papers and websites listed as well.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and feedback is always welcome.




The Course Trailer Experience

This past summer, I made a course trailer for a class called KNES213: Introduction to Research in Kinesiology for Dr. Larry Katz. I want to share my experience taking on this project because I learned a lot from it and hopefully my experience can inform yours should you choose to create a course trailer of your own.

Be meticulous with your scheduling

I approached Dr. Katz mid-June with the project idea and he jumped on board right away. We set the deadline for the final project to be early September so it would be ready for his Fall 2016 class. What we did not realize in June however, was how difficult it would be to arrange meetings to complete the project. Between our travel plans and all of the other work we had over the summer, there wasn’t much wiggle room and as a result, much of the work was still left undone by August. Luckily Dr. katz has a wide network of support so while I was absent for the last two weeks of summer, the project miraculously finished itself.

Set realistic goals

You can go out and hire a whole film and production team to make a Hollywood-grade production, or you can make an amateur video that will make you cringe and groan every time you look back on it. In my opinion, the most important part of these videos is the message that you are trying to send, and video quality doesn’t necessarily take away from the message (unless your trailer is for a film and design class I suppose.) So don’t fret if you don’t have the resources for a critically acclaimed trailer, but if you do and want to invest a bit more, nobody is stopping you from going the extra mile!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

This project was extremely exciting in the beginning but as the deadline loomed closer and closer, it was becoming less of a fun challenge and more of a hardship. This was an especially hard truth to reconcile with since I was the one that invovled Dr. Katz in this project in the first place so I didn’t want to say I was losing faith in the project I had started. However, Dr. Katz had invited a huge team of individuals to help with the project from the get-go, so when I expressed my concern for the time constraint and my travel plans, the framework to accommodate for any bumps in the road was already present, and asking for help allowed me to realize there really wasn’t much to worry about.

All in all, making a course trailer was a fantastic experience! I got to look at the course again through a different lens, and also learned how to use amateur animation software. It was definitely a challenge that I would love to take on again.

Live Streaming the “Fruit Fly Life Cycle” to the Classroom


Hi!, my name is Laura and I’m a Learning Technologies Coach for Science. Let me tell you about a cool project I’ve been working on during this Fall semester.

The project was meant for first year biology students and consisted on implementing a real time observation activity of the Fruit Flies’ life cycle. Fruit flies….those annoying but amazing little insects that most of us brush aside, have been responsible for some of the greatest discoveries in modern science. They go through their entire life cycle in about 15 days! That’s why they are an ideal model organism and a great learning tool.

What did we do?

The project required the creation of a reliable live stream video that would be accessible to 400 students daily during the Flies’ life cycle (around 15 days). The activity was designed to be accessed through the D2L site of the course.

How did we do?

The instructor prepared the experimental set up for the flies and I set up a desktop computer to be used for the streaming. The live streaming was done daily through YouTube during 5/6 hours and integrated into D2L. In that way, the last 3 hours of the streaming were saved and stored in the YouTube Biol205 channel every day.

How did it go?

It was a UToday story last October!. The activity turned out to be really cool, lots of views from students and lots of ideas on how to improve it started flourishing right after the activity was launched.

A reflection….

We faced many challenges with the technology. The most difficult one was finding the appropriate camera. We needed to be able to capture good quality images from the the starting tiny larvae all the way up to the flies. Thanks to a great tech advice we found what we needed: Logitech HD Pro Webcam c920. Great inexpensive web-cam with manual focus control through software.

As a coach, I learned a lot of things by working closely with the instructor in this project, by facing different kind of challenges, by pushing things to the limit and trying to do the best we can, and …. I learned things I didn’t know about flies.

It was a great experience, I enjoyed a lot by doing it and I got the chance to see a hatching event live! 🙂


Twelve Apps of Christmas

For those who are interested in new and different e-learning apps, you might want to check out 12 Apps of Christmas. This is an initiative put on by BC Campus to have post-secondary educators try out different apps and discuss them. They have a contest going to keep the comments going, on-topic and engaging.

So far they’ve tried out a favourite here, Padlet, as well as two tools from Google. It’ll be  interesting to see what’s next.