Category Archives: Projects

ePortfolio Series – Episode 2: What Are Available Platforms at U of C?

There are mainly two platforms available at U of C which are specifically tailored for ePortfolio:

UCalgary ePortfolio:

UCalgary ePortfolio is your personal flexible digital space for reflecting, documenting, representing, collaborating, and sharing your learning. You can decide what to collect here such as documents, graphics, audio files, videos, presentations, course work, etc. But these collections are much more than a bunch of stuff. It’s about organizing what you collect to show a process of learning over a period of time. It can also relate to your participation in specific academic fields or experiences outside of your academic career.

Instructions to create your ePortfolio site on UCalgary ePortfolio can be found here.

If you have any question, please email: tiapps@ucalgary.ca

D2L  ePortfolio:

Demonstrate life-long learning and capture your personal and academic achievements with the D2L ePortfolio, which is a personal portfolio tool for storing, organizing, reflecting on, and sharing items that present your learning. You can include documents, graphics, videos, audios, presentations, etc. that showcase your gain skills and qualifications in certain area. You can decide what items you want to include in your ePortfolio, how you want to organize them, and who you want to share them with. Through D2L ePortfolio you can create artifacts (individual items), collections (groups of items), reflections (thoughts on your learning), and presentations (private website showcasing your achievements). All these items can be shared with others by providing them with permission to view, comment on, assess and edit.

The D2L ePortfolio document will walk you through a series of screenshots that will help you to build an ePortfolio in D2L, where you can begin to reflect on your learning journey over time. You can download ePortfolio in D2L User Guide Basic here.

ePortfolio Series – Episode 1: What is ePortfolio?

Hi there,
My name is Mohammad. I am the ePortfolio coach at the Schulich School of Engineering and this is the first episode of a series on ePortfolio. Through this series of posts, I am going to introduce you to ePortfolio and its benefits for your personal, professional, and educational development. I will also assist you with setting up a compelling ePortfolio and will list available platforms at the University of Calgary.

Having an ePortfolio has recently become one of the most effective ways to organize works you have done and to share them with others. ePortfolio is a process of generating deeper learning and planning for personal, professional, and educational development. It is also a product (an electronic collection) of learning evidences such as essays, photos, videos, assignments, etc.

ePortfolio enables you to plan ahead, collect learning evidences, self-assess your learning outcomes, make connection between your curricular and extracurricular activities, and reflect on the works you are most proud of through a structured and supported process. In fact, the process of creating an ePortfolio assists you to clearly define and understand your strengths and weaknesses. By continuing to add to your ePortfolio, you will be able to see where you began, and how far you have come!

For more information, please visit my site. Also, watching the following video tutorials is helpful (and fun!) for understanding ePortfolio better.

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!

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

blogui

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! 🙂

 

Our ‘D2L Basics’ Workshop at the Faculty of Arts

d2l

This post is about how my fellow LT coach at the Faculty of Arts – Hany Ibrahim and I organized and presented a workshop on D2L Basics.  I will take you through the different stages of preparation and then the workshop itself.

What to cover?

First, after answering numerous professors’ questions on how to build a course on D2L, we realized we had to give a session on the very basic stuff, to instruct a bunch of people at the same time, rather than each one of them individually. We decided to cover the topics that regularly came up as questions during our one-on-one sessions and ended up with 5 large areas: Adding content into D2L, Communications with the Class, Creating a Gradebook, Creating a Dropbox, How to Release and Export Final Grades.

How to present?

Next, we had two ideas on how to present the material: as a PowerPoint Presentation or just to show directly how to do these things on D2L using our Sandboxes. After a long consideration, we decided to combine the two as our goal was to make something hands-on and visual. We also printed out hand-outs with instructions from elearn.ucalgary.ca

How to organize?

We set the date of the workshop and collasuccessful-presentationborated closely with our Associate Dean – Dr. Dawn Johnston, who helped us book a room, send out a series of advertising emails around the Faculty of Arts and even organize some catering (coffee and muffins).

How did it go?

It was great! The Workshop ran quite smoothly and received positive feedback.

What could be improved?

What we realized was that PowerPoint Slides are only good for presenting the overall structure of the Workshop, not for showing the sequence of steps a D2L User needs to take. Everything should just be shown on D2L, and the professors can simply rely on hand-outs from elearn.ucalgary.ca for detailed instructions that they can take home with them.

Another issue was the time. The room was booked immediately after our workshop, and we only had 1 hour, which was barely sufficient for the amount of information we were going to present. Consequently, we didn’t have much time for the profs’ questions. However, they had a chance to ask questions during our presentation as we went along.

What next?

Now we are planning another workshop for more advanced D2L users to cover some features professors may be unaware of. We would also like to incorporate the professors’ feedback and questions into it to come up to the expectations of as many people as possible.

 

Trailers? Trailers!

One of the things a lot of the technology coaches have been working on through the summer is helping faculties and their members produce trailers for their courses and programs.

A trailer? Why would you do that?

The simple truth is that students, either current or prospective, often don’t have time to read through the stack of paper they get at the beginning of the semester. Calendar entries are couched in the vocabulary of experts in a particular area – there’s no real effort to explain to somebody who doesn’t know anything about the field yet what a particular course or program is all about.

Enter the trailer

The solution a lot of post-secondaries have hit upon is to produce a course trailer – a short video which explains what the course is all about to people just starting the course or who are starting to think about it.

Think about how movie studios advertise their films to the public – they’re able to produce 30-second “spots” which are incisive, informative, and (hopefully) capture the spirit and plot of the film to encourage the audience to go see the entire work once it’s released. This is the educational equivalent.

There are a lot of course trailers out there already – here are a couple of my favourites:

At the University of Calgary

I spent part of my summer working with my colleagues, Haboun Bair and Ykje Piera getting people onto the course trailer bandwagon. We’ve done two mini-workshops with the Learning Technologies Coaches to show them how to make them, as well as another one with faculty members here at the Taylor Institute. We’re likely to hold more as we go.

We’ve also had two course trailers finished and released. While they’re not posted for public consumption yet, the reception has been really good. We’re looking forward to seeing where people run with this project.