EdTech Digital Media Can Help You Create Engaging Content for Your Courses

Are you looking for ways to enhance your online teaching and learning experience? Do you want to create media-rich content that captures the attention and interest of your students? If so, you should check out EdTech’s Digital Media services at Langara College.

EdTech Digital Media provides support and resources for Langara faculty and instructional staff who want to translate their ideas into educational, professional, and engaging media content. Whether you want to do it yourself or get some expert help, EdTech Digital Media has something for you.

Here are some of the services that EdTech Digital Media offers:

  • Studio: You can book the EdTech Digital Media studio, a professional space equipped with a green screen, a lightboard, a teleprompter, podcasting mixing desk and various cameras and microphones. You can use the studio to record lectures, presentations, interviews, demonstrations, and more. To book our studio, email us at edtech@langara.ca
  • Audio & Video Production: Get assistance from the EdTech Digital Media team to produce high-quality audio and video content for your courses. The team can help you with scripting, storyboarding, filming, editing, and publishing your media projects.
  • Digital Media Consultation: Before using our studio or other services we ask that you consult with one or more of our EdTech Digital Media team to discuss your media needs and goals. The team can provide you with advice, feedback, and recommendations on how to best use media in your courses. Email edtech@langara.ca to schedule a consultation.
  • Drop-Ins: You can pop by the EdTech Digital Media studio during our scheduled drop-in times for a studio tour or to get quick help or tips on any media-related projects.
  • Green Screen: Use our green screen technology to create immersive and interactive videos for your courses. You can replace the green background with any image or video of your choice, such as a map, a diagram, a historical scene, or a virtual environment.
  • Lightboard: You can use our lightboard technology to create engaging and dynamic videos for your courses. You can write or draw on a transparent glass board with fluorescent markers, while facing the camera and your audience. The lightboard allows you to illustrate your concepts and ideas in a clear and captivating way.
  • Motion Graphics: Take advantage of our expertise in motion graphics technology to create animated and eye-catching videos for your courses. You can use motion graphics to explain complex or abstract concepts, to visualize data or processes, or to add some fun and creativity to your media content.
  • Podcasting: Use our podcasting setup to create audio-only content for your courses. You can use podcasting to share your insights, opinions, or stories, to interview guests or experts, or to provide supplementary or alternative material for your students. Come and talk to us with any ideas or questions you might have about this popular way to share content.
  • Screen Capture: You can use screen capture technology (on your own or with our guidance) to create video tutorials, demonstrations or mini-lectures for your courses. You can use screen capture to show your students how to use software, a website, or an online tool, or to walk them through a problem or a solution.
  • Slide Design: Work with our team to create effective, attractive and accessible slides for your courses.

If you are interested in any of these services, please visit the EdTech Digital Media page to learn more, to book a service, or to contact the team. EdTech Digital Media is here to support you and your media needs. We hope to see you soon!

Brightspace Accessibility in Five, Bonus: Accessible Uploads

Brightspace plus accessibility logoBrightspace is an excellent tool to provide equitable, inclusive access to course content, documents, and media. 

As you create content, take advantage of Brightspace’s built-in tools and the Accessibility Checker to ensure what you share is accessible. Accessible content is inclusive, democratic, and maximizes learner independence. 

However, Brightspace is also a good tool to distribute other material such as lecture slides and documents. It is important that that material also be accessible. 

Creating accessible Word and PowerPoint documents is straightforward. Ensuring a PDF is accessible requires additional time and understanding of unique tools and code. 

The best practices (link text, colour contrast, headings, tables, and text equivalents) listed in this series apply to documents of all types. The process to ensure accessibility is slightly different depending on software.  

Microsoft Office Files

Word and PowerPoint have a built-in accessibility checker. To use this tool: 

  1. Navigate to Review 
  2. Select Check Accessibility 

Read more about making Office documents accessible.


To make accessible PDFs, it is best practice to make a Word or PowerPoint presentation accessible and then export to PDF. Adobe Acrobat Pro is required to ensure your PDFs are accessible. Try to avoid PDFs for content, except for forms and content to specifically be printed directly. For more information on making PDFs accessible, consult Langara’s Accessibility Handbook for Teaching and Learning. 


Brightspace now features the docReader tool. When a Word, PowerPoint, or PDF file is uploaded a Brightspace course, students will be able to have them read aloud using the Open with docReader button below the document viewer pane.

This tool does not absolve content creators of generating accessible content. This tool will not be able to read inaccessible documents.

Check out the other posts in the Brightspace Accessibility in Five series:

  1. Link Text
  2. Colour
  3. Headings
  4. Tables
  5. Text Equivalents

A.I. Detection: A Better Approach 

Over the past few months, EdTech has shared concerns about A.I. classifiers, such as Turnitin’s A.I. detection tool, AI Text Classifier, GPTZero, and ZeroGPT. Both in-house testing and statements from Turnitin and OpenAI confirm that A.I. text classifiers unreliably differentiate between A.I. and human generated writing. Given that the tools are unreliable and easy to manipulate, EdTech discourages their use. Instead, we suggest using Turnitin’s Similarity Report to help identify A.I.-hallucinated and fabricated references.  

What is Turnitin’s Similarity Report 

The Turnitin Similarity Report quantifies how similar a submitted work is to other pieces of writing, including works on the Internet and those stored in Turnitin’s extensive database, highlighting sections that match existing sources. The similarity score represents the percentage of writing that is similar to other works. 

AI Generated References 

A.I. researchers call the tendency of A.I. to make stuff up a “hallucination.” A.I.-generated responses can appear convincing, but include irrelevant, nonsensical, or factually incorrect answers.  

ChatGPT and other natural language processing programs do a poor job of referencing sources, and often fabricating plausible references. Because the references seem real, students often mistake them as legitimate. 

Common reference or citation errors include: 

  • Failure to include a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or incorrect DOI 
  • Misidentification of source information, such as journal or book title 
  • Incorrect publication dates 
  • Incorrect author information 

Using Turnitin to Identify Hallucinated References 

To use Turnitin to identify hallucinated or fabricated references, do not exclude quotes and bibliographic material from the Similarity Report. Quotes and bibliographic information will be flagged as matching or highly similar to source-based evidence. Fabricated quotes, references, and bibliographic information will have zero similarity because they will not match source-based evidence.

Quotes and bibliographic information with no similarity to existing works should be investigated to confirm that they are fabricated.  


Athaluri S, Manthena S, Kesapragada V, et al. (2023). Exploring the boundaries of reality: Investigating the phenomenon of artificial intelligence hallucination in scientific writing through ChatGPT references. Cureus 15(4): e37432. doi:10.7759/cureus.37432 

Metz, C. (2023, March 29). What makes A.I. chatbots go wrong? The curious case of the hallucinating software. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/29/technology/ai-chatbots-hallucinations.html 

Aligning language models to follow instructions. (2022, January 27). OpenAI. https://openai.com/research/instruction-following 

Weise, K., and Metz, C. (2023, May 1). What A.I. chatbots hallucinate. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/01/business/ai-chatbots-hallucination.html 

Welborn, A. (2023, March 9). ChatGPT and fake citations. Duke University Libraries. https://blogs.library.duke.edu/blog/2023/03/09/chatgpt-and-fake-citations/ 

screenshot of a Turnitin Similarity Report, with submitted text on the left and the report panel on the right

New – Zoom Lifecycle Policy


What is it?

Beginning in May, 2023, Zoom users will be required to have a minimum version of Zoom in order to join meetings.

Why update Zoom?

Updating Zoom will ensure users have access to the latest safety, functionality, and compatibility features. If users run an end-of-life version of Zoom, they will be prompted to update it or join the meeting from the Web browser.

How often do I have to update Zoom?

This update will be required every three months.

Please note: Langara IT’s version of Zoom will always be an older version than the Zoom version downloaded through personal computers and devices.

How do I update Zoom?

On Langara-Issued Computers and Devices

On a PC, log in to your computer and click the Start button .

Type “Software Center.” Select Updates to check for updates and download and install them if they are available.

On a Mac, open the Langara College Self Service application from your Applications folder or search for “Self Service.”

Find the Zoom app by typing “Zoom” in the browser or scrolling to the end of the list. Click Install to upgrade Zoom.

On Personal Computers and Devices

To update Zoom on your personal computer, or for devices on which you downloaded Zoom from the Web, open the Zoom Desktop Client or mobile app. Sign in and click on your profile picture, then select Check for Updates. When an update is available, Zoom will download and install the new version.

For more information, please refer to the Zoom Software Quarterly Lifecycle Policy.

Brightspace Accessibility in Five, 1: Link Text

Brightspace plus accessibility logo

Brightspace is an exceptionally accessible platform. Using Brightspace for your course content, documents, and media is an excellent way to provide equitable, inclusive access to learning material.

Take advantage of Brightspace’s built-in tools and the Accessibility Checker to ensure what you share is accessible. Accessible content is inclusive, democratic, and maximizes learner independence.

In the first of this five-part series, we will learn about adding link text to your Brightspace content.

Link Text

Link text should provide a clear description of the destination, independent of the surrounding text.

Students that with a visual impairement may use screen reader software that allows them to navigate by links. Descriptive link text helps orient and guide them to resources. A list of “click here”, “click here”, “Read more”, etc. is not going to provide users with any meaningful information. Pasting raw URLs in Brightspace should also be avoided as, for example, heading “https://iweb.langara.ca/edtech/blog” is jarring and not a useful indicator of what that link would lead to.

Additionally, sighted users can easily spot or relocate a link when it has a clear text description. As well, all users benefit from quality link text to understand why they would want to click on the link.

Effective link text should be:

  • Descriptive
    • Describe the destination
  • Concise
    • Try to limit link text to a few words
  • Unique
    • If two links on a page go to the same destination, they should have the same link text, otherwise ensure all link text is unique
  • Visually distinct
    • Links should be visually distinct from surrounding text. In Brightspace, stick with default formatting (blue underlined text) for links.

To Link Text in Brightspace

  1. Highlight the text to be linked and select Add/Edit Link
  2. The highlighted text will appear in the Title field. Paste the URL in the Link field and select Create.

Find more information about link text in the Langara Accessibility Handbook and read more about adding hyperlinks in Brightspace.

Accessibility Checker

Brightspace includes a built-in accessibility checker. The checker appears on the second row of the editor toolbar.

  1. Select More Actions to reveal the second row of the toolbar
  2. Select Accessibility Checker

The accessibility checker will highlight many accessibility issues and offer solutions to correct them.

Watch for more posts in the Brightspace Accessibility in Five series coming soon, including:

  1. Link Text
  2. Colour
  3. Headings
  4. Tables
  5. Text Equivalents
  6. Bonus: Accessible Uploads

Using Peer Assessment for Collaborative Learning

Peer Assessment

Peer Assessment PictureThere are several benefits to using peer assessment within your course, one of which is to provide students with a more engaging experience. Opportunities to assess other learners’ work will help students learn to give constructive feedback and gain different perspectives through viewing their peers’ work. There is evidence to show that including students in the assessment process improves their performance. (1) (2) (3)

Research also shows that students can improve their linguistic and communicative skills through peer review. (4) The exposure to a variety of feedback can help students improve their work and can even enhance their understanding of the subject matter. Furthermore, learning to give effective feedback helps develop self-regulated learning, as ‘assessment for learning [shifts] to assessment as learning’ in that it is ‘an active process of cognitive restructuring that occurs when individuals interact with new ideas’ (5).

In addition to the benefits to students, peer assessment can also provide instructors with an efficient way of engaging with a formative assessment framework where the student is given the chance to learn from their initial submission of an assignment.

Options for Peer Assessment within Brightspace:

Within Brightspace, there are several ways that instructors can set up peer assessment activities depending on the nature of the assignment and the needs of the instructor. Here we highlight several use cases.

Peer Assessment Example #1:

The instructor wants to have students assess each other’s group contributions for an assignment within Brightspace.

Using a Fillable PDF, which gives the students a rubric-like experience, a student can rate their peers based on different criteria that has been built into the assessment by the instructor. Students can provide feedback on a rating scale but also can provide more in-depth feedback if needed.

The advantage of using a fillable PDF is that the student can easily download the file and fill in the blanks. The student can reflect on the built-in criteria and the entire process should be quick and easy. The scores are calculated, and the instructor can interpret the results once the student has uploaded the PDF into the assignment folder.

A few disadvantages of this method are that the instructor will have to download each fillable PDF and manually enter a grade if marks are captured for peer assessment. The other issue is the level of student digital literacy. Directions on downloading the fillable PDF to the student’s desktop and not using the PDF within the browser is a key step for this process to work. Not all students are aware that fillable PDFs cannot be used successfully in-browser.

Peer Assessment Example #2:

Students are working towards a final paper that is worth 15% of their overall mark. Before they submit the final version to the instructor, they will have the opportunity to evaluate another student’s draft and their own work using a rubric. If time is limited for this activity, learners can be invited to submit just the first paragraph of the paper, rather than the whole draft.

Through peer assessment, learners can often receive feedback more quickly than if they had to wait for the marker or instructor to review the class’s work.Aropa

Students upload their work to Brightspace Assignments where they are given a link to Aropä, a third-party open software which pairs students so they can assess each other’s work using a built-in rubric. Assessment can be anonymous, and the instructor can restrict feedback to students who have already submitted one review. Self-assessment can be required.

The advantages of Aropä is that it is free and gives instructors the ability to modify rubrics to suit one’s objectives. The disadvantage of this software is that it requires more time to set up. Rubrics provide only basic options: radio buttons or comment boxes. Instructors should be aware of privacy issues with Aropa and only upload first names of their students but avoid uploading student numbers.

Peer Assessment Activity #3

Students complete group presentations after which the class assesses each group’s performance, including their own group’s presentation, using a predetermined marking scheme.

The activity of assessing presentations encourages engagement with the work, versus passive observation, since students will be required to give feedback, encouraging deeper learning and enhancing retention.

The advantages of using an H5P Documentation tool are that H5P can be created directly within Brightspace. It looks nice and is versatile. The disadvantage is that learners will have to export their feedback and then upload it into Brightspace. This two-step process requires some digital literacy skills.

Sample H5P Documentation Tool

Peer Assessment Activity #4:

This peer assessment activity is more about checking completion. Instructor needs to ensure accountability with group work.

Students are given an MS Form with some basic criteria by which to rate themselves and their peers in terms of attendance to meetings, work on the final product / assignment and collaboration. Students will use a point rating scale and need to justify their evaluation by providing a concrete example.

Similar to Example #1, students can complete a form using a Fillable PDF or another software such as Jotform or MS Forms to reflect and assess their own work as well as the work of their teammates. Jotform allows for more complex form building and will calculate totals for each student while MS Forms will not calculate but will allow you to get a sense of how students are doing overall with a basic rating on each criteria. (Focus on qualitative assessment)

Sample MS Form

Sample Jotform

A Note on Third Party Peer Review Software:

There are many different software available for peer assessment. Edtech is currently testing out several different ones and hopes to pilot them in the spring or summer semester. Currently, the only one that we are recommending (because it’s 0-cost) is Aropa. Aropa does a great job of providing several options for peer assessment, including self-assessment, privacy options for students, anonymous assessment, etc. It does not integrate completely with Brightspace so that is one disadvantage over some of the paid peer assessment programs currently available. Programs such as peerScholar, Feedback Fruits and Peerceptive have the capability to integrate into the Gradebook, thereby making it very easy to provide marks for the feedback that your students provide for one another.

For more information on any of the above tools, please contact edtech@langara.ca


  1. Wu, Wenyan, et al. “Evaluating Peer Feedback as a Reliable and Valid Complementary Aid to Teacher Feedback in EFL Writing Classrooms: A Feedback Giver Perspective.” Studies in Educational Evaluation, vol. 73, June 2022. EBSCOhost, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2022.101140.
  2. Double, Kit S., et al. “The Impact of Peer Assessment on Academic Performance: A Meta-Analysis of Control Group Studies.” Educational Psychology Review, vol. 32, no. 2, June 2020, pp. 481–509. EBSCOhost, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-019-09510-3.
  3. Planas-Lladó, A. et al., 2018. Using peer assessment to evaluate teamwork from a multidisciplinary perspective. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(1), pp.14–30.
  4. de Brusa, M. F. P., & Harutyunyan, L. (2019). Peer Review: A Tool to Enhance the Quality of Academic Written Productions. English Language Teaching, 12(5), 30-39.
  5. Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Education, 2006 p.41

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


Video Showcasing OCA Skills


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

More than technology!

There’s more than technology in EdTech! This month, we want to introduce our EdTech Advisors, all of whom are passionate about helping faculty use analogue and digital technologies to enhance the delivery of their materials.   

Sarah Bowers 

sarah avatarOne of my interests in EdTech is using formative assessment in online environments to increase student engagement and success, and my not-so-secret passions are applying universal design for learning principles to course design, dispelling neuromyths in education and researching evidence-based approaches to teaching . I’m happy to talk about anything related to curriculum and course design and redesign regardless of the mode of delivery.  I spend my free time gardening, knitting, cooking and wrangling three teenagers with varied appetites and demands.


Karen Budra 

karen photoBalancing between English & EdTech allows me to indulge what I love to do:  teach and create.  When not at work, I dance, write, shoot short documentary films and try to learn as much as possible about the stories we share and the ways in which we share them, especially via video and podcast production.  I’ve been at Langara since 1989 (!), teaching regular and field studies programmes specialising in LiteratureTheatre & Cinema Genre and History.  I was once a stage actor, and continue to enjoy co-operative activities, like EdTech’s Digital Media Creator programme, which I was happy to help develop.  In addition to an MA in English (U of T 1984), in 2016, I completed an MA in Documentary Film & TV Production at the Cambridge School of Art (UK)  Currently interested in augmented reality in video, I am pleased to help faculty determine how best to engage students using narrative.  I am film, fashion and music-mad, and thrive on co-creation and discovery.    

Brian Koehler 

brian photoI’ve been an instructor in the Computer Science department since 2000, teaching general computer science courses as well as specialized courses in web development. I’ve worked half time as an EdTech advisor since 2015. I have a keen interest in exploring technologies that can be used to increase engagement directly in the classroom, such as student response systems. I am also interested in applying open source software and platforms to enable instructors and students to publish on the web. Outside of work, I try and spend as much time as possible in the outdoors  hiking and biking.  



Julian Prior 

julian photoI am currently Chair of Educational Technology and an EdTech Advisor, having come to Langara (and Canada) in Jan 2016. I taught Sociology at a UK further education college for 12 years before moving into learning technologies at the University of Bath and Southampton Solent University. I have a keen interest in digital media (especially podcasting) and am a passionate advocate of open education. In my spare time I play Masters level badminton and get to travel to tournaments throughout Canada and the US. I love photography and noodling around with electronic music – although I’m definitely an amateur at both!  



Diane Thompson 

diane photoI enjoyed my time as a student in the Library & Information Technology Programme (1993) so much that I pursued a Masters in Library & Information Science at UBC (1995.)  After working for the Centre for Health Services & Policy Research, I moved to the Federal government as Library Manager for Natural Resources Canada.  In 2013, Langara beckoned once more, and I was hired as the Chair of Library Technician programme.  Coupling my love of new challenges with that of technology, I began work with EdTech half time in 2018.  When I am not at work, I can be found with some sort of racquet in hand (badminton, ping pong, tennis or pickle ball), making art with my 2 girls or standing on the soccer field in the rain with my husband.