“My interest in teaching and learning has propelled me to think about research in a new way – asking questions about my own teaching practice and ways in which I can improve and support student learning.”
Senior Instructional Designer and Sessional Faculty at the Justice Institute of British Columbia
Researching for good
As an organization, our commitment to personal development and professional learning drives us to better understand the current learning ecosystem, encouraging us to explore new resources to help us communicate better, research more effectively, think bolder, network further, empower more leaders, enhance access for everyone, and facilitate improved pedagogical processes locally and globally.
Multicontextual needs require multiple perspectives and input from knowledge and context experts, so we work collectively to share authority, decision-making, and accountability with our partners, stakeholders, and local learning communities.
The following are highlights of the learnings we’ve acquired during the past fiscal year:
The Indigenization Project
To understand and assess the current state of Indigenization within professional learning in post-secondary education, BCcampus and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training worked together to engage a project steering committee. Dianne Biin, Indigenization Project Manager and Content Developer at Camosun College, completed an environmental scan to highlight existing professional resources available at the post-secondary institutions in British Columbia.
The Indigenization Project brought together 30 Indigenous and allied writers from 14 public post-secondary institutions to author and illustrate open educational resources designed to build structures and processes to improve the post-secondary experience for Indigenous students in B.C.
The initial product of the Indigenization Project, the Pulling Together Learning Series, is a collection of guides that can be adapted and localized by instructors and institutions to embrace place-based Indigenous knowledges, languages, and practices. The collection was released in September 2018 under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International License.
Early Years Professional Development
As part of the Early Years Professional Development (EYPD) portal pilot project, BCcampus co-hosted a community of practice with Child Health BC and participants of the Appetite to Play workshop. The two-hour virtual workshops were held over four weeks, offering an interactive experience to early years providers and stakeholders interested in extending their understanding of physical literacy and healthy eating. There were 331 interactions over the course of this four-week event, promoting learning and development through physical literacy, healthy eating, and healthy child development.
The EYPD program has continued to develop, with 231 registered learners and 128 organizers as of December 31, 2018. Visitors to EYPD came from 168 locations across British Columbia, a 29% increase in visits between 2017 and 2018.
“To support the creation of Indigenized open professional learning resources for the post-secondary education sector in British Columbia, the Steering Committee applied a model developed by Janice Simcoe, Anishinaabe scholar and Director of Eyēʔ Sqȃ’lewen at Camosun College, based on the work of Ken Wilber. This Indigenized quadrant model provides lenses that we can use to better understand each other: Bear (intention), Raven (behaviour), Wolf (community), and Salmon (systems fit).
Because it views human beings and human interactions in a multi-dimensional way, it has helped me recognize and appreciate the motivations and innate needs of the people I’m working with.”
Senior Manager, Collaborative Projects, BCcampus
The Open Education Advocacy and Research Fellows continued to research informed and intelligent approaches to improve the student learning experience in B.C. through open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP) in post-secondary institutions.
- Dr. Jonathan Verrett from the University of British Columbia is researching the open homework system WebWork for required homework in engineering
- Steven Earle at Vancouver Island University and Thompson Rivers University is focused on understanding how students use open textbooks
- Florence Daddey from the Justice Institute of British Columbia is analyzing the use of OER in law enforcement courses
- Erin Fields, also from the University of British Columbia, is investigating the state of critical information literacy in action using open pedagogy
We have created an online resource to showcase and share the research completed by the Open Education Advocacy and Research Fellows.
Scholarly Teaching Fellows
Building on the success of the BCcampus Open Faculty Fellows program, we launched the 2018-19 Scholarly Teaching Fellows program to invite educators to take a research approach to their teaching practice to discover and share evidence on ways to support student learning. They have been actively sharing their research with the local and global learning communities, and we’re looking forward to seeing the outcomes spin into new projects and further opportunities to learn about learning.
This year’s fellows include:
“Scholarship of Teaching and Learning… begins with intellectual curiosity, is conducted deliberately and systematically, is grounded in an analysis of some evidence, and results in findings shared with peers to be reviewed and to expand our knowledge base.”
Assistant Director, Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching
“I am new to online teaching, so there was a learning curve to be able to use the tools; faculty were very helpful.”
“There was a lovely mix of high-touch, high-tech tools used in this course. I appreciated Ross and Sylvia’s ability to float between the two. I learned a lot! Great peers, great facilitators.”
Facilitator Development Online (FDO)
Facilitating Learning Online
We care about encouraging access and removing barriers to professional development for educators. In an effort to increase enrollment in all FLO courses, we reduced registration fees by 50% and have made online learning eligible for LAP-E funding. We continue to invite graduates of the course to work with paid facilitators to get hands-on experience as facilitators in the FLO online course environment.
Drawing on feedback from FLO course participants and others in our community, we learned it can be challenging for some to commit to longer courses and thus developed FLO MicroCourses – intensive one-week courses focused on high-interest, useful topics. The revised courses are short, free, and focused, and became available in June 2018.
In January, we announced the launch of the Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) Facilitation Guide, a companion resource designed to help FLO facilitators in institutions and organizations throughout B.C.
Online learning survey
A recent study supported by BCcampus and completed by the Canadian Digital Learning Research Association revealed that online course registration surpassed 1.36 million Canadian students. This underscores the need for continued support for programs like Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) so we can foster and develop the skills needed to effectively teach online. BCcampus is preparing to work with senior leadership at B.C. institutions to assist in the development of strategic approaches to online learning.
Learning with our system partners creates an opportunity for everyone to explore and engage with each other, finding new ways to test different tools and approaches to the benefit of our local learning community. The Blackboard Ally project was one such endeavour, and in partnership with Camosun College, Langara College, North Island College, Vancouver Community College, and the University of British Columbia, as well as CAPER-BC and BCNET, we investigated an automated process to help create accessible learning content. The project is completed, and results are available on BCcampus.ca to provide a snapshot that future users, instructors, and institutions can use to understand and evaluate the tool for their future needs.
“One area of focus this past year has been on tools and technologies, such as Blackboard Ally, that improve accessibility and ensure students with differing abilities – visual, auditory, cognitive, and otherwise – can use the learning materials and enjoy the benefits of education.”
Manager, Educational Technology, BCcampus
ETUG community survey
We recently conducted a survey of the Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG) to find out what is important to them, what challenges they face in their institutions, and which technologies we should consider in the near future.
We evaluated the survey responses and presented our findings at the end of March. We have created an infographic to illustrate the substantial response rate we achieved, the variety of answers shared, and the array of technologies, such as Learning Management System (LMS) being used regularly across the province.