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These hours sometimes change, so please check this page often. Click the Continue Reading link below.

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End-of-Semester Sharing Session

On Friday, November 27th from 10:30 until 12:00, Ed Tech is hosting an End-of-Semester Sharing Session and we would love for you to participate. 


How can you participate? 

Share your tool or activity

If you have adopted a tool or educational technology-based activity this semester that is effective for both you and your students and you would like to share it with others, we invite you to share. 

Each Ed Tech tool/activity show & tell can be a few minutes long and up to 5 minutes and requires no formal preparation. If you would like, you can share a screenshot or share your screen to show us your activity, but it’s not absolutely necessary.  

To sign-up as a presenter, email Mirabelle Tinio (mtinio@langara.ca) or Briana Fraser (bfraser@langara) and let us know what tool or activity you plan on sharing. 

Ask questions and help solve issues

If you are looking to solve an issue with a tool or educational technology-based activity, we invite you to attend. 

Through sharing our successes and challenges, we hope to brainstorm solutions we can test next semester. 

To sign-up as an audience member, sign-up on the iWeb event page. 

We hope to see you then. 

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New Ed Tech Online Course Assistance Program

New Ed Tech Online Course Assistance Program

Have you heard about Ed Tech’s Online Course Assistants (OCA) pilot program? We have hired and trained three Co-op students who can provide online course support for your department or individual instructors.

Our Co-op students are all hard-working and detail-oriented, with strong technical skills.  They have had specific training on BrightSpace, Kaltura Capture, and Adobe Acrobat, in addition to the technical skills they acquired prior to joining Ed Tech, such as video editing.  They are very keen to take some of the non-teaching and non-marking work off your plate, including helping to get test banks into Brightspace for Fall final exams, and helping you prep your Spring 2021 courses.

Through the OCA pilot program, the OCAs can:

  • help you to organize and populate your courses, making sure there is a consistent look and feel to everything;
  • ensure course links are working, or add in new links;
  • organize your modules and submodules so that students find it easier to navigate the course, with the likelihood that you’ll have less student confusion and fewer inquiries to deal with;
  • turn your printed handouts into interactive PDF fillable files that students can type in and upload to assignment folders – no scanners needed;
  • edit your videos, such as breaking them into chapters and adding titles;
  • assist you with other functions as appropriate.

All we need is content, such as Word or PDF documents or your exam in a Word format and we’ll work with the Online Course Assistants (OCAs) to upload this content to your course. In most situations the OCAs will work in a course that isn’t live, thus protecting your students’ data. If they must work in a live course, they will sign a non-disclosure form.

Taking advantage of the OCA program may help you enjoy your winter break more. Please contact us edtech@langara.ca  to find out more about how we can help.

Who are the OCAs?

Picture of Fredrick Chen

Frederick Chen

Frederick is a 4th year BBA Marketing Management Student. He has worked in technology sales, acquiring advanced knowledge of productivity software and file transfer support, as well as developing excellent customer service skills.  He has advanced Excel skills, as well as experience course building in BrightSpace, and making Adobe fillable files. Frederick is excited about this opportunity to provide support for instructors in their transition to an online teaching environment.

Picture of Michael Cui

Michael Cui

Mike is a 4th year BBA Student. Mike is detail-oriented and highly committed to excellence in project execution.  Well-versed with educational technologies like Brightspace, Kaltura, and Zoom, he also has excellent skills converting handouts into fillable PDF documents. He looks forward to helping relieve some of the pressure instructors are experiencing because of the transition to online course delivery.

Photo of Lily Tran

Lily Tran

Lily is a 4th year accounting student who is proficient in Microsoft Office, BrightSpace, WordPress, and Sage 50, as well as video editing. She has 3 years’ experience as a Langara accounting marker, a position that has honed her attention to detail. She looks forward to helping instructors save time and create a better distant learning experience.

Video Introduction to the OCAs: https://stream.langara.ca/media/t/0_6zkmdscv

Video Showcasing OCA Skills: https://stream.langara.ca/media/t/0_3rai92zj

Posted in Remote Teaching | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A Curated List of Ed Tech Articles

A Curated List of Ed Tech Articles

""Whether you are on your NID and preparing for the spring semester or you are currently tackling your debut semester teaching remotely online, this list has something useful for you. In this short curated collection of articles, you will find practical tips for the use of educational technology in online classes, lessons learned and opportunities made possible by the pivot to remote teaching and food for thought related to the use of tech for teaching and learning.

Ideas for Remote Online Classes

""“Structuring Synchronous Classes for Engagement” by Bonni Stachowiak suggests how one can structure a 50-minute online synchronous session followed by an after-party office hour.

Zoom to the next level: Active learning in the virtual classroom An openly licensed Pressbook from Indiana University.

From note-taking tools, to online book creation, to 3D modelling tools, you’ll find a plethora of free tech tools in a “Typology of Free Web-based Learning Technologies” by Matt Bower and Jodi Torrington.

“7 High-impact evidence-based tips for remote online teaching” by Youki Terada offers ideas on organizing your virtual learning space and time, and other simple but powerful practices.

Lessons Learned

""The pandemic is forcing many instructors to rethink and sometimes reinvent their teaching practices. Here are one instructor’s reflections:

“What an Ed-Tech Skeptic Learned About Her Own Teaching in the Covid-19 Crisis” by Manya Whitaker

Nine ways online teaching should be different from face-to-face by Jennifer Gonzalez (Cult of Pedagogy podcast).

For certain courses, technology may be a learning outcome, but for most courses, it isn’t, so it’s useful to be reminded that it’s a tool and re-direct our attention to how we can effectively achieve our learning outcomes.

The images gives examples of how technology can be used as a tool, not a learning outcome.

Posted in Best Practices, Professional Development, Remote Teaching, Tools and Apps | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Langara’s Learning Tools and Technologies

We know you are becoming Brightspace experts, but have you tried out any of Langara’s other learning tools and technologies? Try this quiz to see how much you know about our tools and support.

Langara’s Ed Tech department provides expertise, support, and guidance in a wide range of learning tools and technologiesTo clarify our support structure we have categorized these into four levels: Level 1: core, supported technologies, Level 2: advised-on technologies, Level 3: recognized technologies, and Level 4: technologies in the pilot phase. 

Level 1: Core, Supported Technologies 

Core technologies are those that Ed Tech administerscontrols, and supports as part of our core business. Support for core technologies includes: 

  • Providing full support to faculty and instructional staff using these technologies 
  • Offering a comprehensive faculty and instructional staff development and troubleshooting service 
  • Collecting statistics regarding use 
  • Ensuring that their setup complies with legal requirements (i.e. FIPPA and PIPA) and institutional policies (i.e. retention, backup, risk management) 

Ed Tech’s core, supported technologies are currently: 

Level 2: Advised-On Technologies 

Ed Tech faculty and staff have expertise with a range of apps, software, and cloud tools which have the potential to enrich learning and teaching. However, we do not necessarily have administration rights or control over these tools and they are not part of our core business. Support for these tools predominantly consists of advising on effective pedagogical practice in embedding them in learning and teaching activities. Where troubleshooting or technical support is required, please be aware that it may take us longer to respond as we prioritize our Level 1 technologies. 

Users must ensure that their use of ‘advised-on’ technologies complies with legal requirements (i.e. FIPPA, PIPA, data protection, copyright) and institutional policies. 

Ed Tech’s advised-on technologies include: 

  • Pressbooks (a free to use open textbook publishing platform based on WordPress) 
  • Screencast-O-Matic (screen capture software: currently we have 25 ‘Deluxe’ licenses per month available) 
  • Mattermost (instant chat software provided through OpenETC https://opened.ca) 
  • Audacity (a free, open-source audio editor) 
  • PeerMark (a peer review assignment tool integrated with Brightspace) 

Level 3: Recognized Educational Technologies 

Recognized technologies are used in many educational institutions to enhance learning and teaching. Ed Tech does not offer any formal support of these tools so be prepared to seek out online support yourself; however, faculty and staff may be able to offer some support. 

Users must ensure that their use of ‘recognized’ technologies complies with legal requirements (i.e. FIPPA, PIPA, data protection, copyright) and institutional policies. 

Ed Tech’s recognized technologies include: 

Technologies in the Pilot Phase

Before Ed Tech adopts a tool as a core supported technology it must go through a pilot process. The following technologies are currently in the pilot phase:

  • Padlet (digital bulletin board)
  • H5P (interactive content creation tool)
  • WeBWork (online homework system for math and science courses)

To connect with us about a tool or technology, visit our Hours page for contact information.

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Using Padlet to Enhance Online Group work

Wondering how to keep your online students engaged?  EdTech Advisor and former Chair of Library Tech, Diane Thompson, suggests Padlet, a tool that facilitates interactive and collaborative creativity.

Using Padlet to Enhance Online Group work

The challenge of maintaining teaching continuity in the era of COVID, which has forced the rapid switch from classroom to online activities, requires creativity. Fear not: familiar ways of engaging our students can be modified for online use.

Collaborative work in the classroom is relatively straightforward. Students can be divided into groups and active learning techniques can be employed to explore relevant course topics. In an online course, this is a bit more challenging as students may be in other time zones, or have different schedules.

The goal of technology is to solve a problem. One technology tool that may prove to be very effective in the context of online group work is Padlet. This visual tool allows your students to express their thoughts on a given topic or assignment. Its application allows users to include various content, such as images, videos, documents, and texts in real time communications. In my experience, the collaborative nature of Padlet makes for a great way to explore ideas as a class or in small group projects. Padlet allows for a number of different templates, including a timeline template, grid or map.

Here is an example from an English class where everyone contributed to literary quotes.

Here’s another example from Jessie Smith’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) assignment. She used Padlet to explore specific topics for her Latin American Studies course in connection with her partner and class in Argentina.

The last Padlet example demonstrated is from my own course (LIBR 1219) where students collaborate to come up with engaging questions to ask their tour guides when visiting various libraries in our community as part of their field work / practicum course. Students are asked to form groups and come up with categories. Once categories are established, they must then work together to come up with questions pertaining to the workplace. This is all done online.

Overall, Padlet is very easy to use. All you need to do is sign up at padlet.com and start creating. Security levels can be adjusted so that you can share your Padlets publicly or keep them password- protected. Sharing the link to your class is simple and, from your students’ perspective, editing is also straightforward once you have selected the template and explained how to complete the assignment.

The basic version of the programme will allow you to have up to three Padlets, whereas if you choose to sign up for the Pro version (not free), you can have multiple Padlets going at once.

If you have stories to share about how you are using Padlet, I would love to hear them.

Posted in Best Practices | 4 Comments

Kaltura Capture for Mac (v 4.2.29)

Some instructors have reported an issue with synchronisation of audio and video when using Kaltura Capture on a Mac. We have posted below a link to the latest version of Kaltura Capture for Mac (4.2.29) which we believe solves this issue.

Please note that this version is currently unsupported and you use it at your own risk.


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General Guidelines for using Zoom

Zoom is a modern web-based video communication platform that can be used to introduce a synchronous (real-time) element to online teaching and learning. For example an instructor could use Zoom to conduct online office hours or use the breakout rooms functionality for student group-work.

It takes commitment from all participants in a Zoom session — instructors and students — to develop and maintain a positive learning environment. Everyone is responsible for creating a safe and inclusive collaboration space when using Zoom and is expected to behave in a manner that is professional and ethical.

Before Using Zoom

For resources on using Zoom, visit Langara’s Zoom landing page to learn more about the functionality and use of this platform.

Ensure Zoom is accessible to the students in your classes. Synchronous learning tools often present unique challenges to students including whether they have access to devices with webcams, caps on data, internet speed and stability, finding a quiet place to participate, and the challenge of studying in different time zones. If in doubt consider using pre-recorded video instead.

If you are recording synchronous Zoom sessions, students need to be notified. Zoom recordings are to be used to support student learning only and should not be shared or used for any other purpose. Ask students to turn off their webcam and identify themselves using a first name only. If you upload the recording to Kaltura Mediaspace for sharing, make sure you delete the recording from your personal computer.

Setting up Zoom Sessions

There are a number of recommendations below on how to use Zoom effectively in teaching and learning to increase the safety and security of the learning environment.

  • Set up a password for all Zoom sessions as an added layer of security.
  • Enable the “mute upon entry” feature for your classroom participants
  • Control the chat function and disable private chats. Chats are retained if a session is recorded, and may be accessible under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  • If possible, set up a co-host to help during Zoom sessions. This could be a colleague,  teaching assistant or other responsible student that can assist you to host the session. Co-hosts can help manage the chat function, set up break out rooms, and help manage the learning environment.
  • If practical, you can enable the “Waiting Room” feature – one of the most secure ways to allow only those invited to the session to attend.
  • The default screen-sharing option for educational accounts is “Host Only” – this allows only instructors to share their screen, unless they change it. If you want others to share their screen content, you can invite them during the session to do so, or via settings beforehand. See here for information on screen sharing.

Adapted from University of Calgary Guidelines for Zoom

This content is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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OER Publishing With Jekyll, Reveal.js, and GitLab

Learning management systems (LMS) have some great content authoring tools. Unfortunately, LMS have some limitations when it comes to OER publishing. Students typically lose access to the content once the course ends and LMS are not really designed for broad collaboration among content authors. One practical solution is to author OER content outside the LMS. The problem then becomes which tools to use and how to make that content available to others to collaborate on. I recently completed a project to do just this using a collection of open source software and services.

I wanted to create a collection of lecture notes, lab exercises, and presentation slide decks for a new course I was developing and make the content available online to students. For the lecture notes and lab exercises, I settled on using the Jekyll static site generator. A static site generator transforms simple content written in markdown into a beautiful website. Using markdown allows the author to focus solely on the content without getting hung up on the minutiae of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Many themes are available and most of the more popular ones produce a website that works well on desktop as well as mobile browsers.

For presentation slide decks, I used Reveal.js. Like Jekyll, slide decks can be authored either in markdown or very simple HTML. The major benefit of Reveal.js is that you can present directly from the browser. No special software or plugins are required. Presentations can contain many of the basic features that you might expect from PowerPoint or Keynote.

The final piece of the puzzle is making the content available and inviting collaboration. Both of these objectives can be met using the GitLab service. GitLab is an online service primarily designed to enable computer programmers to collaborate on the development of software projects. The service can be easily adapted to collaborative authoring of OER content. It is a simple matter of creating a public project and letting others know. For public projects, anyone can submit a “pull request” which the project owner can accept and incorporate into the project. For an OER project, this might be other instructors or even students. Like any other public project, if some members of the community are dissatisfied with the direction the project is taking, they are free to “fork” the project and continue developing the project independently. Finally, GitLab offers a service called “Pages” which allows the project to published in a format suitable for consumption by students and others.

jekyll logo reveal.js logo GitLab logo
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We’re (still!) here to support you!

Ed Tech is still here to support you, but we’ve moved to remote support.  We are available via email and Zoom (https://langara.zoom.us/j/6043235403), which will be staffed by an Instructional Assistant between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm.  Email questions can be answered between 8:30 am and 8:00 pm. You will need at least a microphone to participate in Zoom meetings.

As you can imagine, many people are trying to contact us now.  Please be patient:  we will get to your requests as soon as we can.

In the meanwhile, check out our resources for teaching remotely here:  https://langara.sharepoint.com/sites/edtech-employees/SitePages/We-are-Here-to-Help.aspx

Hang in, Langarans!

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