Thursday, July 6, 2017

Day 3

Friday, June 23, 2017

 The day began with me, as a member of the executive, having the privilege of announcing the poster of work winners at the opening session.

The first place outstanding poster award went to Linda McGilvary, Lori Schoening, Doreen Hayward, and Hannah Foss from the Geophysical Institute, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA. The title of their poster was "Learning Through Cultural Connections: The Northern Lights."

 I personally love the idea of learning about the North and cultures through science, and I would love if kids around the world could follow the curriculum that is shared openly from this grant from the US Department of education. More information can be gleaned  from the following website:

Afterwords our keynote was delivered by Karen Schriver of KSA Communication Design and Research, Inc. on "Implications of Information Design for Technology-based Learning".  Many of the design and writing styles we teach in our communication classes at BCIT were covered; she said that there is less of a debate on sans serif font use now, but spacing between letters is crucial for comprehension of words on screens.   Something I learned was the impact of "small multiples". According to Wikipedia, "A small multiple is a series of similar graphs or charts using the same lscale and axes, allowing them to be easily compared." To me, small multiples seems to crowd screens, but for the effect of contrast, I may consider using them in the future.  And for scientific writing that my students do, transferring teh concept into their presentations may, indeed, have a place.  In sum Karen emphasized spending time on design and plain language to improve the student experience.

I popped into a 10 am session on "Assessing without Testing", but it was geared towards elementary learners and a purchaseable software from a vendor, so I popped out recommending to EdMedia that knowing a topic in my 3.4/3.8 stream would have been more helpful to know that it was for primary audiences. The 3.4/3.8 stream to which I refer is the code for session topics that fall under these two categories:  Improving Classroom Teaching and Teaching/Learning Strategies.

As I planned to go to the room for my next presentation, I was able to catch the end of Alan Amory's presentation on the African storybook initiative (   And like us, and the poster session in British Columbia on open educational resources (OERs)  for cultural connections by the University of Alaska, I am heart warmed to see the early adopters who are sharing materials for the benefit of others worldwide. I am planning on sharing these materials with the educators in Greece and meet at ICICTE so that I can help promote literacy and shared curricula. The country of Greece is experiencing such dire times economically which has a top-down effect on education and learning environments. OERs like this can be a game changer for countries who need resources at no cost. I, too, would like to contribute to the OER materials by producing  course materials with PressBooks starting from the fall.  I miss being a researcher and presenter at these educational technology conferences and will endeavour to be presenting next year. Complications to my foot surgery last September prevented me from contributing a research project,  but being healthy again gives me options!

The next session I attended was entitled "From "Sit and get" to "Stand and Deliver": Harnessing the Power of Digital Media to Enhance Learner Engagement and Student Success" by Katie Alaniz, Houston Baptist University River Oaks Baptist School, and Dawn Wilson, Houston Baptist University USA.  The presenter reminded us in a very interactive style that some jobs today did not exist before, like being a Blogger or Analytic Processor. She provided us with a very effective graphic on the six Cs of 21st-century learning.  She recommended three websites for collaboration and ownership,
Image result for six Cs of 21st century learning(from

Finally, the last session I attended at the conference was on cognitive load theory entitled, "How Might Technology Impact Student Learning?" where the presenter posits we keep adding to students' loads but never take away anything. Larry Tinneman, the presenter,  from Indiana State University observed how our brains are changing, shrinking with language capabilities and moving to the more visual area of our brains. Like other presenters, he reminded us to consider including the way students today communicate as part of our assignment criteria, like using video production. Building the creative side of the brain with problem-solving objectives will also engage today's learners. We do not want to become obsolete as we watch students who often learn more outside the classroom than inside the classroom, and remember to teach the critical thinking skills for them to navigate through the technology as we've seen evidenced in the Smithsonian artifacts of explorers who had to forge their way with new methods.

Although EdMedia will now be hosted annually in Amsterdam as of 2018, I hope to still be involved. I have had such a rewarding conference experience since 2009 as a participant, researcher, presenter to executive team member.  Being a part of the executive and seeing how things are run from behind the scenes has impressed me even more about the quality of this conference and its dedicated Chairs, organizers, volunteers, and participants. I thank BCIT and EdMedia for making all this sharing and learning possible.
Social Night

2017 Executive

Day 2

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The day began with Paper Awards and the keynote. Today's speaker was Diana Oblinger, President Emeritus of EDUCAUSE, USA. The title of her talk was "The Futures of Higher Education".   The subtitle could have been "interdependence on the ubiquitous use for availability of technology. Oblinger showed a myriad of ways that technology should be enhancing our lives and showed us evidence of computer-based research capabilities. At the end she reminded us to plan for our students' realities of having their jobs potentially enhanced with technologies like robots that may work alongside of the students doing their work.

We also need to be aware, she warned, of the potential of how analytics work and realize the good side where students can actually take advantage of how analytics can be doing searches for them getting jobs on a potentially global scale.    

For me, the most interesting thing she shared was how analytics have massive potentials for learning, knowledge, and news. These analytics can do research using the incredible number of research papers being done each day and find solutions that would take human beings potentially years to achieve. We need to watch our students' reactions to such inundating information and work with them to navigate their world. 


 The first session I attended for the day was in a round table configuration. Many of the presenters were graduate students wanting/asking for input on their research. The session I selected was called, "The Potential of Media-Augmented Instruction to Foster Empathy at a Foundational History Course at the Collegiate Level" by Andrea Dawn Rector from Indiana State University.  This topic addressed the presenter's (and my) concern for her students' inability to feel empathy for horrific world events. She quoted writers such as Jason Endicott (Historical Empathy) and Simon Cohen (The Science of Evil).  It is my experience that we definitely need to be aware of the impact the constant bombardment of graphic images our millennials are exposed to and the effect it can have on their psyche.

In my own classroom this year, I had the largest number of students needing accommodation for unwielding degrees of anxiety and depression. Following the research by academics like Rector can help get ideas for supporting our students by teaching empathy, and then addressing severe degrees of mental health issues which are popping up in our learning environments.

It was clear that our current theme in this conference on educational technology was, indeed, the impact on social and emotional learning.  I also attended the session and titled, "Teaching Assessment in an Online Environment: Ethical Conflicts, Concerns, and Solutions" by William Garner from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  Much of this presentation focussed on self assessment tools, and the presenter provided a selection of the ones he uses for students who are undergoing rehabilitation counselling at Little Rock Arkansas. He recommended and other tools like the Keirsey and Myers-Briggs sites which I already use as part of my resume building curriculum. More links were as follows:
-(Free occupational Career exploration tools)  
-(Texas career check interest profiler) Connected to all the schools in the schools in the USA)
-(California career zone)   
-(Self reporting tool)

Often as instructors of  technical communication at BCIT, we help students prepare their job packages, and even though they know the field into which they are training, knowing more about their own selves to get ready for an interview is always helpful


 As a general comment to presenters, I would recommend that they always check in with their audience to see how much the audience already knows on the topic, and remember that a presentation can also be a collaborative event.  These kinds of conferences are asking us to change the way we teach based on personalized learning models, so we must begin with how we present and practice these methodologies. Just last week on my own campus at BCIT, we were  told that the students coming in to campus will have these learning experiences, and we must adjust our styles to engage them and us. 

 Chairing a networking lunch table was also part of my executive duties: 

 All delegates discussed software  they used to build community, dialogue, and participation in the courses. I'm pretty sure that our LMS,  D2L, has the capacity to handle many of these types of activities, but great to hear about collaborative techniques that are happening in so many ways throughout North America and Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand. I was dutifullykeeping track on my napkin:

To annotate some they are as follows: 

  1. Google Hangout
  2. Slack
  3. Groupme
  4. Zoom
  5. Today's Meet
  6. Basecamp
  7. Trello
  8. Voicerecorder (app)

There was a lot of discussion on giving feedback through audio tools from both the student and the instructor. I wish I knew more about these systems, but learning and having an open mind and networking is all about why I am here!

 In the afternoon, as part of my executive duties, I bought metro tickets for and accompanied a group to the Natural History Museum. I learned that Theodore Roosevelt offered 250 carefully labelled specimens of birds and mammals that he began collecting from Egypt in Africa with his father from before he was 10 years old, pre-1900! I would encourage my Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation students to go and see these intact artifacts, which surprisingly, have been kept in such amazing condition for over 100 years!


I returned in time to be a part of the executive committee who judged the poster sessions. The criteria were "Concept, Presentation, Innovation, Methods and Results, and Implications for Practice". Joining the executive for the final decision was always encouraging because almost unanimously we all agreed on the top three! Executive member, Betsy, had provided tips on the conference website for making an exceptional presentation. It's clear some of the presenters followed the guidelines. The other great thing about working in a team, in terms of the poster composition, was hiring a design team to help with the display. The winning poster made good use of their media design team at their institution. We must always remember to rely on the strength of people on our teams and institutions and call on them when we need their input and skills

I'm excited to be announcing the winners tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Day 1

EdMedia Blog 2017

Notes DAY 1

I arrived in the US National Capital after a long night of flying and felt the 33 degree heat -- quite a contrast to the cool, rainy weather we'd been experiencing in Vancouver. The first day, June 19, only had a conference executive meeting at 5pm and some potential Smithsonian tours, but I opted to take a foot tour of Alexandria, Virginia near the Westin Alexandria  up to the Sheraton where we had reciprocal swimming pool access. I enjoyed a short, but cool swim and enjoyed floating off the jet lag. The walk was an hour there enjoying used book stores and taking in the architecture and potted plants people created on the street outside their front doors.  I stumbled across a Trader Joe's and got the requisite salads and hustled back to my first executive meeting. 

Last year at #EdMedia2016 I offered some feedback after attending off and on since 2009 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The team was so open minded, they invited me to join them throughout the winter and #EdMedia 2017 + to contribute my ideas moving forward. Meeting the team was thrilling as I had seen them in action, but never had the opportunity to be face-to-face at a boardroom table with them. 

Part of the meeting involved going over the program and assigning jobs introducing speakers, award winners, and setting up poster session evaluations. 
It was decided that I'll be introducing award winners and evaluating posters. I am so honoured to be part of this team. Other duties involve attending hosted lunches and Special Interest Group (SIG) lunch tables. What a great way to really get even more involved in the conference and engage with delegates. Over the last few years I had noticed how being a presenter opened doors to the conference because I had this new level of involvement going through the process of being a presenter as opposed to attending more passively as an observer and "student". I can see that this year I'll be learning from an even new perspective. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2017
The morning sessions began at 8am attending and helping host the "Newcomer's Welcome" event. After highlights are presented, the delegates do a kind of speed dating activity.  We were put into two lines facing one another and introducing ourselves for about one minute five or six times to the next person who rotated past us. I instantly connected with some people who were graphic designers, researchers who study how to engage learners in online environments, and a woman who was to share the consent waiver from her university (NC State). 
It never ceases to amaze me how that this kind of environment creates synergy with people you have never met. You can quickly find things in common with people and continue relationships over the years or politely move on and meet somebody else. However, I find it is more the rule than the exception that everyone you meet here has a fascinating research project or is supervising researchers and has something new to share or an inquisitive mind which is open to growth and innovation. This is definitely an environment in which I thrive. 

Immediately following the newcomers orientation session and a nice cup of Joe, we were introduced to the keynote speaker for the day: Richard Culatta (@rec54). His topic was "Using Technology to Personalize Learning". Richard was a topknot presenter who has been selected to give Ted talks, and his slides were a helpful addition to the words and ideas he presented.  
Just like the conference I attended at my polytechnic last week, Richard cautioned educators to not use a cookie-cutter approach to their learners' needs. He had a great metaphor of us imagining going to the doctor and the doctor prescribing a "yellow" pill on Mondays and a "green" pill on Tuesdays, for example, that would suit all medical needs. He advised for all learners that we do formative evaluations and get to know the students so we can create an environment that could work for them and optimize their learning. 
Richard shared "A White Paper Creating a Shared Understanding of PersonalizedLearning for Rhode Island"  available at and encouraged us to read it. The paper is freely available through a simple Google search as well. 
He reminded us that our goal is to prepare students to be owners of their learning and cultivate learners to be able to use technology actively instead of passively to be successful. Using technology actively includes the following uses:
  1. Interactions with experts
  2. Global connections
  3. Design
  4. Peer collaboration
  5. Coding
  6. Immersive simulation
  7. Media production. 
It would seem to me that today's students have the whole world at their fingertips and with the right skills can access information and exchange information and ideas instead of being seen as people who just spend all their time looking at their devices. The opportunity for them, I have noticed, can be overwhelming and stressful, yet they have such amazing opportunities to find partners worldwide and move beyond their own neck of the woods. Essentially Richard posited we must use power to enable and not divide. 

Wednesday Presentations

Guide to Designing Subject Outlines. Jorge Reyna. University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

Jorge refers to subject outlines as we in BC would a course outline. He has additional information that he suggests to include on our outlines at BCIT. 
  1. Using a conversational style in active voice in the introduction of the outline
  2. Including teaching and learning strategies which include some but not necessarily all of the following
    1.  Preparation before the classroom (flipped classroom and how this is linked to face-to-face sessions
    2. How students will engage in active and collaborative learning during the classroom, lab or practical 
    3. How the Learning Management System (LMS) will be used to support student’s learning 
    4. How formative and summative feedback will be given to the students 
    5. What additional tools and resources will be available for them such as library workshops, software download, and so on.
  3. Additional support for the subject should be explained to students, for example, library workshops on citation management, software required and IT support, Open Educational Resources (OER), training and so on.
  4. Assessment is also evolving with personalized learning environments. Verbatim off the paper are recommendations as follows: 
    1. "Each assessment task should be linked to the relevant subject learning objectives, Faculty/School graduate attributes and ideally with Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOS). Constructive alignment ensures that learning outcomes are aligned with assessments and task the students will perform during the semester. This approach is globally required in higher education institutions, as it will ensure the quality of teaching and learning (Biggs & Collis, 2014). Authentic assessment is a task that represents a real-life scenario and should satisfy the following criteria:
    2. [sic]Transferable to real-life situations
    3. Requires problem-solving and higher order thinking skills
    4. Produce [sic] does not reproduce knowledge
    5. Requires group work and collaboration
    6. Promotes depth of knowledge
    7. Provides multiple indicators of learning (Herrington & Herrington, 1998)."
  5. "Good examples of authentic assessments can be considered: 
    1. Conduct, write and present an experiment
    2. Develop a digital media presentation
    3. Write a grant application
    4. Analyse, discuss and present a data set
    5. Develop a brochure to communicate to the public
    6. Write a blog posting
    7. Design a website
    8. Produce an audio podcast
    9. Produce a conference poster".

Reducing the anxiety for students by taking pressure off of final exams, unless an Institute has a required policy for exams, can benefit students according to Jorge and others. Students of English as an Additional Language can also benefit from a flipped classroom model giving them time to prepare in advance getting them up to speed with native writers and speakers. "Authentic assessments could disadvantage students with visual impairment, dyslexia, anxiety or physical disabilities."  More and more we are being asked to be more inclusive of all learners in our formative assessments. 

Creating environments for more student success not only increases student engagement but also empowers academics to build their evidence-based practises. 

Finaly, the new way of producing a course outline according to this author is to "consider having a subject
outline in a different format such as blended media format
(talking head + still images) or interactive presentation with a
table of contents. Students will have a more visual experience,
and it is likely they will engage in it." 

Attending conferences such as these brings new ideas and new discussions to include more learning styles. And what can be wrong with that?!

Free topics lunch
As a request by the executive committee, while the topic I chose to chair was supposedly facetious, I took the subject seriously and asked people about their presentation habits and why they chose this topic to join me. The topic was, "Don't speak with me, I'm busy preparing my presentation.  I asked the delegates at the table how they prepared for their presentation.
Two gentlemen from Turkey, Hasan and Omer, had slightly different perspectives.  Hasan stated that he made six application for presentations and papers, but was only excepted for five! These five papers were sponsored by him, yet written by his PhD students, and their presentations slides were given to him by the students who were unable to attend. He said that he knew the topic inside and out and had no trouble presenting on the topic. Omer, on the other hand, said he attends the conference for the networking and the face-to-face experiences and was able to evade the topic of presentations specifically. The two other women who joined us said their topics were old hat, and they were very comfortable presenting and didn't need to spend last-minute tweaks on their presentation. I wonder if more newly minted academics were the ones for whom this topic was addressing. On the other hand, when I present, I spend a lot of the day of the presentation practising and focussing on a fantastic delivery and engaging presentation that goes beyond just the facts. I wonder if there would be a big difference between the styles and the level of audience satisfaction and engagement.   I have been told that I am an excellent presenter, and I know I spend a lot of time and energy perfecting the nuances of not just the message, but especially the engaging delivery.

Afternoon Sessions
As my role as part of the executive has evolved, I was asked to escort some attendees to and from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
The museum closes at five pm daily and delegates would miss out of the opportunity if their conference attendance were only during the days of the conference. Working in an afternoon of what the Smithsonian has to offer is definitely an additional bonus to attending the conference. Seeing artifacts of air and space technologies over 100 years old was such a moving experience, and delegates were able to still meet as they commuted over to Washington by rail/metro. One of the advantages of attending conferences that are not only online or on our own campuses as someone mentioned at lunch was academic travel and face-to-face meetings. 
Well we began our troop numbering 18, we were but two who opted to return to the hotel. 
That was a pretty rewarding and awesome task for me to be asked to do this job on behalf of the committee. 
I came back to my room and reflected on the day and joined my colleagues for an hour at the dance and socialization time in the evening. I am back in my room working on this blog and realizing, once again, the amazing opportunity that my Institute has provided for me and hopefully my colleagues reading this and working with me in the future

I look forward to another engaging day in Washington, DC tomorrow.

PS I know there is a misspelled homonym in this blog that I can no longer find, so please, let me know by contacting me!

Best regards,

Sent from my iPad