EdTech Help Hours

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

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PebblePad ePortfolio Pilot at Langara

What is PebblePad*?

Langara is currently in the pilot phase of implementing the online portfolio platform, PebblePad. Digital portfolios, or ePortfolios, are powerful tools for learning, assessment, and career development because they enable users to document their skills, learning, and creativity, as well as reflect on what/how/why they learn. Using PebblePad, students can create portfolios, blogs, basic webpages, online collections of files, formal and informal reflections, action plans, and more.

Why Use PebblePad?

PebblePad is student-owned. Once a student takes a course using PebblePad, they will be issued a PebblePad account that they will have for their entire time at Langara and beyond.  This makes it a great tool for them to make connections across their learning journey, and it can support the transition to further studies or employment.

Research indicates that using digital portfolios like PebblePad within courses and programs also seems to advance student retention and success (Eynon, Gambino, & Török, 2014). Proponents theorize that ePortfolios are beneficial because they support learning in the following ways:

  • learning can be made visible, including through reflection activities
  • connections can be made across and between academic (course, program), extracurricular (work experience, volunteering), and personal (family, community life) learning
  • personal, academic, and professional identity construction can be supported
  • social pedagogies can be employed, supporting group work, peer feedback, mentorship, etc.
  • competencies – within and outside of formal academic courses – can be documented and assessed

How Might it Be Used Within a Course or Formal Learning Experience?

Instructors interested in using PebblePad have many options in terms of assignment type. Classic portfolio assignments are often used for students to document and showcase their creative work, or to create individual or group presentations.  This type of assignment empowers students to design and collate content ranging from text and hyperlinks, to images and video. In addition to portfolios, instructors can also create more guided learning activities by building templates, workbooks, and other resources for students to complete and share for assessment. We hope to be able to share some Langara examples soon, but in the meantime you can go to the PebblePad Community Learner Showcase to explore some of the work being done at other institutions.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in learning the basics of PebblePad, a workshop series is starting the first week of November that will run for 7 weeks (there is a morning or afternoon option — please don’t sign up for both):

Mondays: 4:00-4:30 Sign Up | PebblePad (Afternoon Series)

Thursdays: 9:30-10:00 Sign Up | PebblePad (Morning Series)

If you are unable to attend these synchronous sessions, a self-directed asynchronous option will also be made available concurrently.  If you would like to do the asynchronous option, please email edtech@langara.ca for more information.


*PebblePad is now the preferred ePortfolio technology of BCNET.


Blake Yancey, K. (Ed.). (2019). ePortfolio as Curriculum: Models and Practices for Developing Students’ ePortfolio Literacy. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Eynon, B., & Gambino, L.M. (2017). High-Impact ePortfolio Practice: A Catalyst for Student, Faculty, and Institutional Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Eynon, B., Gambino, L. M., & Török, J. (2014). What difference can ePortfolio make? A field report from the Connect to Learning Project. International Journal of ePortfolio, 4(1), 95-114. https://www.theijep.com/pdf/IJEP127.pdf

Penny Light, T., Chen, H., & Ittelson, J. (2011). Documenting learning with ePortfolios: A guide for college instructors. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Watson, C. E., Kuh, G. D., Rhodes, T., Light, T. P., & Chen, H. L. (2016). Editorial: ePortfolios – The Eleventh High Impact Practice. International Journal of EPortfolio6(2), 65–69.

Yeo, N., & Rowley, J. (2020). ‘Putting on a Show’ Non-Placement WIL in the Performing Arts: Documenting Professional Rehearsal and Performance Using Eportfolio Reflections. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 17(4).

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Ed Tech Sandbox Sessions

What is an Ed Tech sandbox? Playground

The Ed Tech sandbox is a small, contained space to safely learn and practice using various educational technologies and tools. Participants may explore a specific tool or a range of tools that can be adopted to support a specific teaching or learning goal. To create a safe environment and allow time for practice, enrollment is limited to 10 participants.

Do you want to gain confidence with teaching & learning tools?

These weekly sessions are an opportunity to develop an understanding of how technologies and tools can be effectively used in teaching, learning, and assessment before introducing them in the classroom.

When are the sessions held?

Ed Tech sandbox sessions are planned for every Friday from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm. Participants choose whether to attend via Zoom or in-person.

Upcoming sessions

October 22nd – Kaltura Mediaspace and Capture

Kaltura Capture controls.Using video in your course is a great way to engage students and present learning content in alternative ways, following the principles of UDL.

In this session we will demonstrate recording your screen, using the Kaltura Capture application to record your screen, and uploading the recording to Mediaspace. There will be lots of time to ask questions and play.

October 29th – Brightspace Rubrics Tool

""A Brightspace rubric can:

  • Be reused (they can be copied and used in multiple course shells).
  • Set out expectations and criteria for students.
  • Provide grading transparency and clear feedback.

Join us to learn how to associate rubrics with assignments, graded discussion topics and grade items.

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Illuminate your lectures with a lightboard video

Yes, EdTech has a lightboard!

Not sure what it is or what to do with it? Think weatherperson on the evening news: the lightboard is an illuminated sheet of glass that acts much like classroom whiteboards. Except that the presenter faces her audience as she lectures, draws and indicates areas of importance on prepared projections. Recorded on video, lightboards energise your message and create the illusion of real-time interaction. EdTech is embarking on a pilot project across many disciplines in an attempt to familiarise faculty with this tool. If you’re interested in exploring it further, contact Karen Budra kbudra@langara.ca to chat about possibilities. One faculty member who’s already mastered the technology, Yue-Ching Cheng, has kindly offered to share his lightboard video as exemplar:


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Fall EdTEch Book Club 2021

This fall, the EdTech Book Club will read and discuss The Manifesto for Teaching Online by Siân Bayne, Peter Evans, Rory Ewins, Jeremy Knox, James Lamb, Hamish Macleod, Clara O’Shea, Jen Ross, Philippa Sheail and Christine Sinclair.













This book is an update to a provocative manifesto intended to serve as a platform for debate and as a resource and inspiration for those teaching in online environments. In 2011, a group of scholars associated with the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh released “A Manifesto for Teaching Online,” a series of provocative statements intended to articulate their pedagogical philosophy. In the original manifesto and a 2016 update, the authors counter both the “impoverished” vision of education being advanced by corporate and governmental edtech and higher education’s traditional view of online students and teachers as second-class citizens. The two versions of the manifesto were much discussed, shared, and debated. In this book, the authors have expanded the text of the 2016 manifesto, revealing the sources and larger arguments behind the abbreviated provocations.

Join us for discussions on The Manifesto for Teaching Online. We will reflect on our practices as users of educational technology, question assumptions and consider new ideas.

We will meet on Tuesdays, from 4:30 – 5:30, from September 21st – November 16th (for 9 weeks). We will be experimenting with a hybrid model; you can join us online and/or in person in the TCDC/ETech space (cookies and coffee/tea available).

Please note: While we encourage participants to sign up for the duration, if you wish to attend only one or two sessions, please contact us at tcdc@langara.ca to get the Zoom link and meeting details.

Unlimited e-book access and limited hard copies of the book are available through the Langara library. The book is also available for purchase via Book WarehouseChapters, and Amazon.

The EdTech Book Club is a supportive environment in which to share ideas, pose questions, and learn about effective online teaching practices, EdTech theory, and hands-on online tools.


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Podcast Playlist – Podcast recommendations from your Ed Tech team

Looking for inspiration? Podcasts are a convenient and approachable way to pick up some new tools for your teaching toolkit. In this new feature, we’ll share a few of our favorite episodes with a teaching and learning focus.

Maybe It Doesn’t Need to be a Video

In this episode of Think UDL Clea and host Lillian Nave talk about multiple ways of representing information in online classes, customizing the display of information, offering alternatives for text or auditory information, and guiding information processing and visualization for students

In this episode of Teaching in Higher Ed, Dan Levy, faculty director of the Public Leadership Credential, the Harvard Kennedy School’s flagship online learning initiative, talks about his book, Teaching Effectively with Zoom.

Talking Tech

In this episode of tea for teaching Michelle Miller, author of Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology, examines how we can talk to students about technology in ways that will help them become more efficient in their learning and professional lives.

How to Use Audio Lessons in Your Course to Engage Students and Improve Learning

In this episode of Lecture Breakers Yehoshua Zlotogorski the power of audio for learning, especially when the audio lesson or audio course is intentionally designed based on cognitive science and pedagogy.

Equity-Enhancing Data Tools

In this episode of Teaching in Higher Ed Viji Sathy, award-winning Professor of the Practice in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Kelly Hogan, Teaching Professor of Biology and Associate Dean of Instructional Innovation at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, share two equity-enhancing data tools.

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Podcast Playlist

""Podcast recommendations from your Ed Tech and TCDC team

Looking for inspiration? Podcasts are a convenient and approachable way to pick up some new tools for your teaching toolkit. In this new feature, we’ll share a few of our favorite shows with a teaching and learning focus.

Trends and Issues in Instructional Design, Educational Technology and Learning Science is a bi-monthly podcast presented by Abbie Brown (East Carolina University) and Tim Green (California State University). Episodes are short at around 10-15 minutes and cover news on a wide range of topics connected to technology enhanced learning. Accompanying the podcast is a Flipboard magazine.

Hosted by Thomas Cavanagh and Kelvin Thompson, the monthly The Teaching Online Podcast focuses on issues related to online and blended learning. Episodes clock in at about 30 minutes. Recent topics explored in the show include OER adoption, blended learning course design, community engagement, and the role of synchronous online teaching post-COVID.

ThinkUDL host Lillian Nave interviews guests about their experiences implementing Universal Design for Learning. Recent guests include Kirsten Behling, co-author of Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education, Flower Darby, co-author of Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes, and Kevin Kelly and Todd Zakrajsek, authors of Advancing Online Teaching: Creating Equity-Based Digital Learning Environments.


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Summer EdTech Book Club: Intentional Tech

Join the EdTech Online Book Club as we read and discuss Derek Bruff’s:
Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching.

“Arguing that teaching and learning goals should drive instructors’ technology use, not the other way around, Intentional Tech explores seven research-based principles for matching technology to pedagogy. Through stories of instructors who creatively and effectively use educational technology, author Derek Bruff approaches technology not by asking ‘How to?’ but by posing a more fundamental question: ‘Why?’ “

The EdTech Book Club is a supportive environment in which to share ideas, pose questions, and learn about effective online teaching practices, EdTech theory, and hands-on online tools.

Date: Tuesday, May 11th – Tuesday, June 29th

Time: 4:30 – 5:45 pm

Location: Online

Register here.

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A Curated List of Ed Tech Articles

""A recently released study out of Stanford warns that synchronous Zoom lectures and meetings are making us tired. In this short article, Vignesh Ramachandran notes Stanford researchers identify four causes for ‘Zoom fatigue’ and their simple fixes.

Asynchronous videos offer an effective alternative to synchronous Zoom lectures. These articles outline the benefits of synchronous video and offer advice for effectively incorporating them into courses.

Unbounded by Time: Understanding How Asynchronous Video Can Be Critical to Learning Success

Improving Problem-Based Learning with Asynchronous Video

Five Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Instructional Videos

Engaging Students Through Asynchronous Video-Based Discussions in Online Courses

Thinking beyond Zoom: Using Asynchronous Video to Maintain Connection and Engagement during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Improving Colour Accessibility for Students with Colour Deficiency

Improving Colour Accessibility for Students with Colour Deficiency

Colours as perceived by those with normal vision, deuteranoptia (green-blindness), tritanopia (blue-blindness), and protanopia (red-blindness).

Image CC by Johannes Ahlmann

Did you know that approximately 1 in 12 men is colour blind? Colour blindness — or more accurately, poor or deficient colour vision — can affect a person’s ability to distinguish between certain colors, usually greens and reds, and occasionally blues. Because colour vision deficiency reduces the number of color dimensions, it can be difficult for colour blind individuals to distinguish between certain colors. To improve colour accessibility of course content, it is important to ensure adequate colour contrast and not rely on colour alone as a means of conveying information.

Colour blind friendly alternatives

Use sufficient colour contrast

Effective contrast can make the text easier to read and images easier to see for all students. To ensure text is readable it should pass accessibility guidelines based on the combination of text colour, background colour, and text size. Test contrast using the WebAIM colour contrast checker.

Colours used to convey information on diagrams, maps, and other types of images must also be distinguishable from the background. To ensure adequate contrast use a combination of light and dark background and foreground colours.

Color combinations to avoid for people with color blindness include:

  • Red & green
  • Green & brown
  • Green & blue
  • Blue & gray
  • Blue & purple
  • Green & gray
  • Green & black

If you absolutely must use one of these combinations, adjust the contrast, making adjusting the shades so one is extremely dark, and the other extremely light.

Use colour with another cue to show emphasis or differences

Use elements such as patterns to visually distinguish information

Image source Smashing Magazine

Do not rely on colour alone to communicate meaning. Different patterns and textures can help colour-blind people further distinguish between different elements in charts and infographics.

Use color plus another element to emphasize a point or visually distinguish information differences. Emphasis elements include:

  • Bold
  • Size
  • Patterns or shapes

For more information on improving the accessibility and data visualization, visit Penn State’s Charts & Accessibility web page.

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Ed Tech Sandbox Sessions

Ed Tech Sandbox Sessions

""Are you facilitating an online course this semester or next and still feel a bit overwhelmed about using technology? Join the Ed Tech Sandbox Sessions to try out your tools and synchronous teaching in a safe and supportive space.

To give all participants a chance to practice, registration is limited to 10.

Sessions will be held from 11:00 until 12:30 on January 29th, February 26th, March 26th, and April 30th.

The January session will be dedicated to using Zoom. The rest of the sessions will be open to whatever tools and technologies participants want to try out.

Registration is open and space is still available.

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